You have decided to give a puppy a new home? The joy a new addition to the family brings is wonderful. The dog must become house-trained and learn to relieve itself outside as quickly as possible. However, puppies still have a very small, untrained bladder and an unfinished digestive system and have to relieve themselves often. Then they become restless, run around, sniff the ground intensively and look for a suitable “toilet”. We have top tips how to successfully house-train your puppy in this guide.

Little dogs and their big mishaps

Dogs are very clean by nature and pay close attention to keeping their home clean. In his new home, however, the puppy first has to learn what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do. In addition, he is overwhelmed by all the new smells and sensory impressions and may feel left alone. A “mishap” can happen much more quickly.

Some puppies understand after only one accident where they are allowed to go to the toilet, while others are slow learners who need several weeks of training. Remember that puppies are not physically able to control their bladder and bowel sphincters until they are 14 weeks old. Therefore, patience is the key when training.

As a rule, puppies need to relieve themselves quickly immediately after sleeping, eating, drinking or playing. Pay attention to the signals your puppy sends as it is best to get ahead of him. Because if he is already circling and sniffing on the carpet, it is almost too late.

The first step to house-training your puppy

During the first two weeks, you should start a routine and take your puppy out to go to the toilet every two hours.

“Toilet word”: In order for your puppy to relieve themselves on your signal later on, you can support them each time they relieve themselves with a word such as “toilet”. In time, he will associate this signal with the action. This is especially useful before a long car journey, because you can use this signal to encourage your dog to go beforehand.

Tip: If your puppy has a mishap on the living room floor, you can clean the pee with old newspapers and use the newspapers to set up the actual “toilet spot”, because the puppy uses its nose to relieve himself and likes to look for places that are already marked.

Show your puppy where it is allowed to go by carrying it to the new “pee spot” as soon as it gets restless – but please do not pull it. Repeat this procedure every two hours. You will see how quickly he learns.

Tip: Pee mat as an alternative for apartment living and high floors

If you live on a high floor, you won’t be able to take the lift down fast enough for your pet to relieve themselves. A pee mat or a space lined with one can help in your home. Take a tub with a flat edge and line it with old newspapers or the training pads developed for this purpose. Place it near your entrance door or the balcony door.

When the accident has happened …

In case of an accident, clean the spot without scolding, because the puppy should not get scared of you, which could lead to more mishaps when you are not present. Clean the soiled area with a strong-smelling agent that dogs do not like. This will discourage repeat accidents.

Puppies and young dogs also pee for pleasure or out of fear. They do this because they cannot yet control the sphincters of their bladder when excited. It would affect your dog’s development if you scolded him for this.

The second step when housetraining: Work with praise and use a solution word

Training your pet starts during a walk. Take your new family member outside – equipped with training snacks and poop bags.

Start the training by offering the puppy green, soft surfaces (lawn, a corner in your garden, etc.). This meets his animal needs, and also has the advantage that the adult dog will prefer to relieve himself in the grass and not on the footpath. As soon as the puppy is outside, call out a predefined solution word such as “toilet”. Praise him, but not too excitedly. This is because young dogs can easily be distracted. Give him a treat immediately afterwards.

You can combine this exercise with clicker training. Click and praise with a clicker after each of the puppy’s actions. After a short time, your puppy will be able to go on your command.

Patience and consistency on the way to a house-trained dog

Housetraining your dog requires patience and consistency. It is important not to scold your dog for accidents, as this often makes the situation worse and upsets him even more. Make sure that your adult dog is never left alone for more than a maximum of four hours.

Help, my dog is not house-trained!

If your dog is not housetrained, this may also be due to physical reasons. In this case, it is best to talk to your vet and ask for advice. If a disease of the organs is ruled out, consider psychological causes. Consult a vet in difficult cases.

If a new pet has joined your family you need to be perfectly equipped from the start to ensure they can settle in to their new life easily.

Maxi Zoo are on hand with our new pet starter kits for every kind of pet.  You can find out more information about them here. Our store staff are available to give customised advice so you choose the perfect product for your new arrival, and you can get 10% off* your starter kit when you visit your local Maxi Zoo store, find yours here.