House Training Dos and Don’ts

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 3:45pm
Brindle and white puppy with red collar on

You’ve brought a new dog into your home—congratulations! Now comes your first dog-training challenge: house training.

House training is not an exact science—there’s no sure-fire formula or timetable that will work for every dog. The important thing is to make it a positive, not a stressful, experience. Being attentive, patient and consistent are the keys to success, along with the following dos and don’ts:

Do: Closely supervise your dog. Limit the dog’s run of the house to the one or two rooms where you are able to see her at all times. Dogs usually show “pre-pottying” behavior such as sniffing, circling and walking with stiff back legs; all signs that you should get her to the potty area ASAP! As the training begins to take hold, you can slowly enlarge her territory as she learns where the potty area is—and that the house is not a toilet!

Don’t: Yell at or spank a dog for a mess she made earlier. If you catch her in the act, it’s okay to startle her by clapping or making a noise (hopefully this will stop her long enough for you to whisk her outside). But a dog will not learn anything by being scolded for a past accident, even one a few minutes old. Just clean it up and soldier on.

Do: Offer big, enthusiastic praise when she gets it right. Whether your goal is for your dog to eliminate on pee pads indoors or to do it outside, you have to really throw a party for her when she succeeds. Lavish her with praise, affection and some yummy treats!

Don’t: Rub her face in it. Ever!!! In addition to this action making your dog fear you, she’s incapable of making the connection that it’s the act of soiling indoors you object to—to her, you just really hate pee and poop. If she thinks that the waste itself is what you dislike, she’ll only get sneakier about hiding it from you.

For more detailed advice on house training specific to your pet, please visit our Virtual Pet Behaviorist articles on Weekend Crate Training, House Training Your Puppy, House Training Your Adult Dog or House Training Your Puppy Mill Dog.




Not at all, basically male dog underwear for the 'unreliable' or the incapacitated. They even make them with suspenders for those who have figured out how to wiggle out of them.

They are really helpful for older puppy mill rescues who just don't understand not going where you live and for handicapped dogs or dogs who dribble.


You can Google it. I have to wear them on my 9 year old min pin. Nothing has worked to stop him from marking.


Have you taken your dog to a veterinarian to make certain that he doesn't have any health issues? Dachshunds are prone to back injuries. Perhaps he cannot control his bladder?
Has something in your home changed? Additional animals or people that might displease him? Because there's also the chance that he's telling you that he's not happy about something.
Do you go outside with him when he asks to go out to make sure that he actually went? Maybe put him on a leash and walk with him around your property. My male mastiff marks every corner of our yard, midway, and the outside walls of the house. Yep, no dog is going to think that this house isn't under his protection.
As far as using pads inside: a pee pad might work best the first time if there's some of his urine on it. Wipe up some of his urine with the pad, then present him with it when you notice that he needs to go. Eventually, you can replace the slightly used pad with a clean one.
Crating might work for you. Keep on trying until you find what works for you and him.

Doggy Mom

Since I work and live alone, I put female panties on my pup so I didn't have a mess to clean up when I got home, then tried to train her in the evenings. Three days and she was trained... She HATED wet panties.


ugh....that's disgusting


It helps to have another pet in the house ex: dog with another puppy to help with training...they follow each other out and the puppy learns where to relieve itself.


so Abbey is such great mommy

Jan M.

Can an adopted dog become house trained? It is obvious the dog has not had any house training. And where might I find this information, soon?


Yes an adopted dog can be house trained. Just read the article here and follow the directions they set out. If you still don't have success, think about hiring a dog trainer that practices positive reinforcement techniques. Sometimes you are not set up for success but you don't know it and a trained professional can help. Make sure you are not expecting house training success on day one, it is a process. Good Luck!


These comments and suggestions are all wonderful..but it really amounts to something great attention to your pup, doing so will help you bond, and he/she will let you know when it is time to go