A beginner's guide to house training a puppy

by Gary Vermaat 06/30/2024

House training a new puppy can seem like a daunting task for a new pet parent. Even for experienced dog owners, the process is never perfect. Luckily, with some careful planning and understanding, you can train your dog to do his business in the right way at the right time - every time.

How to potty-train a dog indoors & outdoors

The house training process is actually made up of multiple smaller lessons. These concepts all come together to ensure your pup knows when and where it’s allowed to go. Here are the basic things you’ll need to teach your puppy:

  1. The appropriate place to go.
  2. Where not to go.
  3. How to “hold it” if you’re not able to go immediately.
  4. How to communicate to you that they need to go.
  5. A special word or phrase as a bathroom cue.

Keys to success

One of the most important things to help your potty training schedule is to establish a regular feeding schedule. This will help you learn when your puppy’s usual “go time” is, not only helping you train but helping them learn to communicate. 

Patience and positivity are also paramount to successful potty training. It may take several tries for your dog to learn these new behaviors, so be ready for quick clean-ups. Never punish or exhibit anger towards your dog if they don’t make it, but always reinforce and praise a perfect potty trip with treats.

Supplies you’ll need to house train your dog

Here are the basic supplies essential to successful house training:

  • A crate or small exercise pen
  • Training pads
  • Treats for positive reinforcement
  • Carpet cleaner
  • High-quality puppy food

Litter box training for dogs: Does it work?

Some new pet parents wonder if you can litter box train a dog. The answer is no - not only will larger dogs struggle with going in a confined space, their instinct to dig will make an enormous mess of your home.


Most dogs aren’t fully potty-trained for months. Patience is crucial, but having the right supplies and strategies ready will help make the process as easy as possible.

About the Author

Gary Vermaat

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