Training a new dog or puppy to eliminate outside can be one of the most frustrating things about owning a canine. Young puppies need to eliminate with great frequency. Puppies that are excited or playing can pee as often as every ten to fifteen minutes! What is a person to do?
A crate can be your best friend. Your puppy’s crate should be the only place the puppy never, ever eliminates. However, if you need to be out of the house longer than your puppy can hold it, another option is needed. An exercise pen, kinda like a play pen for dogs, is wonderful. Similar to a small, moveable fence, you can put it any where. The exercise pen, or x-pen, can be placed on easy to clean area, such as a kitchen. The x-pen is larger than a crate, and allows the puppy to eliminate when necessary, and still be confined. Remember, the average puppy that has just eliminated can wait for one hour per month of age. So, an average eight week old puppy might be able to wait for two hours. You might have a puppy that cannot quite hold it that long, or you might have a puppy that can hold it a bit longer. If you routinely ask your puppy to wait longer than he should, he might get sick.
Baby gates can also be a life saver. If you have made the mistake of being angry with your puppy for eliminating inside the house, he will be very sneaky about peeing and pooping when you are watching. A brief moment looking at a child or a spouse, and puppy has left you a present! Living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms are popular places for puppies to make a mess. Blocking these rooms, either by shutting the door or using a baby gate, can reduce the chance for a mistake.
In the past, it has been popular to hold a puppy’s nose in his pee or poop when he makes a mistake. This is counter productive. Puppy will avoid you when he needs to go, inside as well as outside the home. If you have ever taken a dog on a walk, you know dogs live for the opportunity to smell dog urine. Pressing a puppy’s head down just scares him. He will resist if you push his head down on urine, and he will resist equally if you push his head down on a clean spot on the rug. This method does not pass the logic test, and is incomprehensible to the puppy.
House training is a puppy is about successes, not failures. Take the puppy outside often. Do not play with him or distract him until after he has eliminated. Be still and quiet, wait for the puppy to do the right thing. If other dogs or children are distracting the puppy, take the puppy outside without company. It is important that you go outside with the puppy. One, you must know if he eliminated or not. You will not know unless you watched. Two, young puppies are likely to be distressed at the separation from family, and not able to concentrate on peeing and pooping while alone. Later, much later, when your dog is well house trained, he may be able to go outside alone.
Lastly, if you have an adult dog, previously house trained in your home, that begins to have accidents, see your vet first. If you believe your puppy consumes more water than normal, urinates or defecates more than normal, see your vet!
Finally, your puppy should have clean fresh water available to him at all times. Depriving a young puppy of much needed water can cause medical problems.