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The key to housetraining any dog is consistency, patience, and TREATS! A good way to begin is to go back to how you would treat a new puppy coming into your home.
Consider tethering the dog to you while training. Tie the leash to your wrist or belt loop so the dog is always very close, you’ll be able to see any potty clues and react immediately.
Until the dog is trustworthy he shouldn’t have the run of the house, confine him to a small area unless he has just pottied outside. Too much space will make it difficult for him to learn where he’s supposed to go.
Create a potty schedule, try taking the dog out every hour and use the same words each time…”go potty”, “go pee”, “go poo”. Stay out for 15-20 minutes and if the dog doesn’t go, then he goes back into his crate unless he’s very closely watched or tethered.
The dog should go outside immediately upon waking up in the morning, after eating breakfast, after drinking lots of water, after a nap, and after a play session. While walking through the door say “outside for potty” every time. Use the same door as that will help him associate going out that door for potty time.
Many dogs use Poochie Bells, bells on a strip that hangs from the door knob and the dog learns to ring the bells when he needs to go out. These are available from our store, HavToHavIt for a low price and work great.
When the dog goes potty it’s time for a POTTY PARTY! Lots of praise and a treat! Tell him “good potty!” every time and lavish him with snuggles, tummy scratches or whatever he loves! He also gets a treat immediately when he goes. Limit treats to potty training only and he’ll quickly realize that going outside will get him a reward. Keep reward treats close to the door he’s going out so they’re easy to grab as you head outside.
The dog should be watched at all times while outside so he can be rewarded for good potty behavior immediately. Anytime the dog will be crated, he should be taken out prior to going into the crate so he doesn’t need to go while he’s in there. As soon as you return home and open the crate, pick him up and outside he goes!
If he has an accident, don’t scold. Ignore the incorrect behavior and quietly clean it up. If it’s in his crate change the blanket or bedding immediately so he doesn’t have the smell there to encourage going again.
Housetraining can be one of the most difficult things to master with your dog no matter what his age. It will require a great deal of patience and a commitment from everyone in the home to work hard at making your dog successful!