A Guide To House Training Puppies & Adult Dogs

A Guide To House Training Puppies & Adult Dogs

Whether you’ve adopted an energetic puppy or a fully grown adult dog, you may be struggling with one of the most important types of training: House Training. Let’s face it, having to constantly clean up after our dogs is not exactly ideal, especially with puppies and their much smaller bladders. This article will guide you through how you can house Train your dogs at home, no matter their age!

Let’s Start With Puppies…

Having a routine:

The very first step in house training a puppy is establishing a daily routine. Not just for potty breaks, but for everything. For walks, playtimes, feeding, etc. Take them out at least every 2 hours for their potty breaks and ensure that they are consistent. For walks, try to keep their walks around the same time every day, preferably when the sun is low in the early morning or early evenings, so that the ground is not too hot for their little paws. A consistent feeding schedule is also vital to maintaining an effective routine. Puppies require feedings up to three times a day, and setting up their feeding times to be around the same time every day also helps to limit them breaking their routine and peeing where they should not. An ideal feeding schedule should be established after walks, and ideally their food should be given to them at least 30 minutes after returning from their walk. Another part of the routine to include is to remove your puppies water bowl at night, in order to reduce the risk of them having an accident inside while you sleep. 

Pick their “toilet” spot:

Having their own spot to go to the toilet also helps puppies in establishing their routines. Whether it’s a specific spot on their daily walks, on a designated pee pad, or a spot in the garden. If you’re leading your pup into a specific spot in the garden or on a pee pad where you want them to go to the toilet, use a leash to guide them. You can use a specific phrase to instruct them every time, so that eventually they will know to do it on command. You can also make use of the Simple Solution Puppy Training Aid to help encourage your puppy to urinate or defecate on the targeted area. 

Positive reinforcement: 

You CANNOT go wrong with positive reinforcement! When your puppy goes to the toilet successfully in their designated area, or even just outside or on walks, praise them. Something as simple as an enthusiastic or cheerful “good dog!” or “yay” can make an impact on their training. You can even make use of treats. Lily’s Kitchen Puppy Nibbles are specially formulated for puppies’ sensitive stomachs, and are small enough to use for positive reinforcement training. Eventually your puppy will learn that if they go to the toilet in the right place at the right time they will be rewarded and will continue to maintain their housetraining.  

Dealing with accidents in the house:

There are bound to be messes along the way, and house training is not easy and is never successful without a few accidents happening along the way! In this instance, cleanups are required, but there are rules too. First of all, scolding is discouraged, as it might discourage them from peeing at all when you’re around which could undo any training you’ve been working on. If you notice your pup has made a mess, just take them outside to do their business, while you supervise. When cleaning, make sure that your puppy doesn’t see you cleaning after them, as they will likely repeat it. Another reason why they repeat peeing in one spot, is because there is still residue or some scent left over from their urine. Using any stain & odor remover will help to remove the smell entirely, and discourage repeat urination. 

Encourage further basic training:

Keeping up with basic training not only contributes towards your puppy following their routine, but it also establishes obedience. Regularly training them to sit, stay, come, etc. can make an impact. Obedience training can have a positive effect on their behavior and as a result, can strongly enforce house training. 

Moving On To Older Dogs…

Giving them their own space:

This method is effective with both puppies and older dogs. Consider getting a crate or a pen for your dog to stay in between playtimes and toilet breaks. This helps to ensure your dog is not going to the toilet inside when unsupervised. Dogs generally dislike having toilet mess in their sleeping area, and will avoid urinating or defecating inside, which encourages your dog to avoid going to the toilet until it’s time to do so. Ensure that the crate or pen you get for your dog has enough space for them to move, stand or sleep in. If your dog is crated at night or while you’re at work, make sure you have a pee pad set up for them if the need arises, so that they have some form of relief that does not make a mess. 

Regular toilet breaks:

Naturally, if your dog is going to be enclosed for long periods of time, it is imperative that they are taken out regularly for toilet breaks. Adult dogs should be given toilet breaks between 3 to 5 times a day, during that time, encourage them to run and play once they’ve done their business, so that they can get the exercise they need and release any energy they’ve built up. Playtimes during supervised toilet breaks are also an excellent way for yourself and your dog to bond. Just like with puppies, make use of positive reinforcement whenever your dog successfully goes to the toilet outside in their designated spot. JR Training Treats make ideal treats for potty training.

Cleanup in case of accidents in the house:

As is the case with puppies, it is important that your dog not see you clean up after them. Adult dogs are prone to “marking” their territory with urine (more typically those who are not castrated), which they will do repeatedly in one spot unless it is thoroughly cleaned with an odor destroyer. You can also use 

Avoid excitement:

Try to avoid too much excitement around the house, especially when you come home after being out for a few hours. When you get home, avoid making a fuss while greeting your dogs, and stay calm. Sometimes excitement can trigger your dogs into urinating whether they have control or not. Avoid loud noises or shouting as well, as this might scare your dog and may cause them to urinate or act out by going to the toilet inside. A dog that suffers from anxiety is more prone to have accidents indoors without their control, which is why remaining calm around them is imperative.


If your older dog is still making a mess inside instead of going outside for the toilet, then there could be an underlying problem at hand. Have your dog seen by your local vet in order to ensure that they aren’t fighting any infections or gastrointestinal upsets. 

We hope that this guide will help save your floors and your sanity! Being a dog parent can be tough, but putting in the work necessary to train them is very rewarding! 

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