Most puppies are house trained by around six month of age but of course every puppy is different; from size to breed to personality. The more consistent you are in providing your pup with what s/he needs to learn the right behaviour, the quicker s/he will understand.
While being house trained your puppy should ideally be either: outside while you actively look for and reinforce elimination, inside with your constant supervision, or crated/ gated off in a puppy-proofed room.
Establish a routine from the start taking your pup for regular toilet breaks outside (every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size and age of the pup) so s/he can develop habits and expectations. In addition, take your puppy outside after sleeping/ resting, eating, playtime, drinking and after you’ve released him/ her from confinement (i.e. a crate). A regular feeding schedule will ensure regular bowel movements and you’ll be able to predict when your pup needs to go within a few weeks.
It’s important to take your puppy out and reward him/ her for toileting outside (what gets rewarded, gets repeated!), rather than leaving him/ her unsupervised in the garden. When outside, wait quietly for your puppy to go toilet and don’t nag or distract. When s/he’s done, praise and feed a tasty treat.
When inside make sure you always have an eye on your puppy; keep him/ her in the same room and ensure your pup can’t sneak off into another room unsupervised. Watch out for the signs that indicate your puppy might need to go, including:
- Sniffing the floor (also circling and sniffing)
- Wandering away from an area in which s/he just played
- Looking a bit distracted/ looking towards the (garden) door
- Wandering off to an area where s/he’s soiled before
Don’t leave pee pads around your home while training your pup to go outside, as it’ll just confuse your little friend. However, if you have to leave your puppy alone for a longer period of time, it’s advisable to leave a pad in the playpen/ gated off puppy-proofed room.
When accidents happen: if you see your puppy beginning to squat, make a loud abrupt noise to lightly startle her/ him, then immediately rush them outside (in a cheerful manner) and give lots of praise and treats when s/he finishes relieving him/herself outside. Come back in and put the pup in the crate or another room briefly while you clean up the accident (with product specifically designed for this purpose). Don’t ever punish your pup for accidents, it will only teach him/ her to avoid to go toilet in front of you.