House Training Your Puppy: A Survival Guide

Kelley Blackston of Beaufort Dog knows a thing or two about phases of training a new puppy, particularly when it comes house training. 

Photo courtesy of Liz Mitchum

Kelley calls this phase two – now that you have started setting guidelines for your puppy, it’s now time to take it to the next level: potty training and play time. 

If you notice your puppy pacing, acting frantic, trying to get your attention…or sneaking away to have an accident, your puppy has conquered phase one of house training and moved into phase two,” says Blackston. “These behaviors tell us the dog knows that they should not go in the house, and is trying to decide what to do about this feeling. Should they find a hiding place, get your attention, or go to the door? It’s our job at this point to make this decision clear and consistent.”

To be consistent, they should still not be allowed any unsupervised playtime. If you are not actively playing or holding them, they should be crated or tethered to you,” continues Blackston. “If they are able to sneak off and relieve themselves without being redirected while in the act, this may become their first choice.” 

As a trainer, Blackston can make an optimal schedule for you using your family schedules and follow the golden rule: the two hour/twenty minute balance: A puppy up to two years needs 20 minutes of hard play/exercise to every 2 hours of rest. 

Using this schedule, immediately after the rest period, take your puppy out. On the way out, pause at the door, get eye contact, take their paw and ring a bell you have hung from the door knob, give the release word – “okay” – and open the door. They will associate the bell with going outside. If you are consistent with the schedule and supervision, they will quickly master phase two and be completely house trained. You should not need to use the doorbell past a few weeks.

Does this sound like something Fido needs? Check out Beaufort Dog and the plethora of classes and training they provide to dogs of all ages.