Top 5 potty training tips for housebreaking your pet

Girl with her dogs

The companionship of a pet can bring can bring joy and laughter into your life for many years, but first thing’s first: housebreaking! While the concept of taking your furry friend outside for a potty break is not novel, each pet’s personality is different, and so the process is not always simple. The following tips are good guidelines to follow when training your pet where and when to do the deed.

  1. Set up a routine. A pet on a schedule is a pet that’s predictable, and predictable is good when you are trying to prevent accidents from happening on your floor or furniture. Feed your pet at the same time every day. If their meals are routine, then so should their need to go outside. Young pets who haven’t yet had the opportunity to be housetrained should be picked up and taken outside frequently at regular intervals. For example, puppies should be taken outside once an hour initially in order to learn that the outdoors is where they can go to the bathroom. As you and your pet become more familiar and understand their body language better, you’ll be able to adjust how strictly you follow the schedule.
  1. Reward for good behavior. The training method of positive reinforcement is recommended by experts as the preferred way of housebreaking your pet. With this technique, you reward your pet whenever they perform good behavior, which in this case means when they relieve themselves outside. The reward could be a treat or a favorite toy, and should be presented with verbal praises and petting. Remember that consistency is key; to truly housebreak your pet, you will need to reward them the same way every time they go to the bathroom outside. After a few months, your pet will learn this good behavior and won’t need treats to perform it.
  1. Clean up accidents right away. When pets have an accident inside, do not yell or scold them. Instead, focus your energy on cleaning up the mess immediately. Eliminating the smell as quickly as possible is key here, as it will keep your pet from being attracted to going in the same spot in the future. Besides, it’s hard to love the look of a pet-stained carpet.
  1. Try a “puppy apartment.” If you find it hard to keep your pet on a regular schedule, the time to get them outside is scarce, or you simply don’t want to take them outside for bathroom breaks, then you may want to consider a “puppy apartment.” This kind of crate is divided into two sections: 1) a bedroom for relaxing and sleeping and 2) a bathroom, which is lined with an absorbent relief pad. The pet can freely move from the bedroom to the bathroom. Keep in mind that this is not a quick fix to housetraining your pet; he or she will still need time to learn where to go, which can be taught using positive reinforcement.
  1. Keep your pet in a restricted area. At first, you should keep a close eye on your pet to better understand their behavior and body language when it comes to needing to relieve themselves. Letting them have full access to your entire living space might make it hard to do this, so keep them restricted to a smaller area at first using baby gates. If possible, this area should be a place where accidents can be cleaned up easily, such as a kitchen with a hard floor. As your pet learns housetraining, you can give him or her more rein to roam. You may also want to keep your pet in a crate at night, as they likely will not want to soil the area where they sleep.

How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment [WikiHow]

Housetraining Indoor City Dogs [Doctors Foster and Smith]

How to Potty Train a Dog in an Apartment [The Nest]

The Pros and Cons of Using a Puppy Apartment for Potty Training [PetHelpful]