Figuring out how to get housebreaking done right the first time can be confusing.

There are so many opinions and methods coming at you from family, friends, social media, and self-proclaimed experts that you might be tempted to try something different every day. What you need is a proven plan that shows you exactly how to schedule your puppy's potty breaks.

Please remember that dogs are not born understanding where people want them to go to the bathroom.

Most of us want our dogs to take care of their needs outside. But in some situations, dogs, usually the tiny ones, are taught to use wee wee pads or a litter box. The point is that the dog must be taught what you expect. Teaching is proactive. It is not reactive. Reacting after the puppy has already pottied indoors does nothing to teach him to go outside next time. He will learn to let you know when he has to go out if you consistently take him outside on a leash to his potty spot and make it easy for him to do what you want. Put him on a schedule so you know when he has to go out.

Housebreaking, as well as all dog training, isn't driven by emotion.

So don't waste precious energy on anger or frustration. It's not fair to blame the dog for not knowing what you haven't taught him! Housebreaking is accomplished with common sense action. The problem won't solve itself.

Schedule your puppy's day around three basic activities:

  • Confinement
  • Exercise
  • Supervised Free Play

Confinement: This is usually in a crate but can be a small gated off space.

Exercise: After confinement in his crate overnight, take your puppy outside on a leash to the same specific potty spot every day. If he potties outside, praise generously. If he does not relieve himself after a reasonable time, he must go back into his crate. After 10 or 15 minutes take him out again. Repeat until he potties outside.

Supervised Free Play: This can be going for a walk, playing fetch with him off leash in a safely fenced area, or bringing him inside to play under your direct supervision. When Play ends, return to Confinement. Repeat the cycle of three activities throughout the day.

Create a Schedule that fits into your daily routine.

Food and Water: Work his meal times into the schedule and remember to take him outside to potty within 30 minutes of eating and drinking.

Keep a written log of your daily routine. After several days you will see patterns that will help you modify the routine to get the best results.