Dog Training - Agility, Conformation, Obediences and More!

One of the first and most important training steps any new dog owner makes is training the dog or pup to relieve itself outside. With a little patience and repetition you can have your dog going potty outside in no time.

The first step in a successful housebreaking training program is to have a plan. Hopefully before a dog or puppy is brought home it has been discussed who will take the pup outside and what method will be used. If you did not plan ahead, do not worry because it is never to late to start planning. Below are some tips to consider:

Who will get up during the night to take the dog out?

I prefer to alternate nights if more than one person owns the puppy.

Will a crate be used?

I would recommend a crate for housebreaking and other reasons. If used properly a crate can provide the dog a comfort area to feel safe and keep your valuables safe while you are away.

Will the pup be on a leash, if so who will take it out and wait for it to go to the bathroom?

At first it will take time for a new pup to get on a schedule with you so additional time will be needed. It is important to discuss what time the pup will be taken out and who will take it out ahead of time to avoid future frustration.


One of the best methods for getting your pup to go outside is consistency. Each time the dog is taken outside to use the bathroom, go to the same area. This will help the puppy learn that this is where it should go to the bathroom and when you go to that area it is time to go to the bathroom.

To remember where the spot a rope laid on the ground in the shape of a circle can be used. This will help you and the pup remember where it is suppose to go. Leaving some of the dog’s stool in the area has also seen success and when it comes back ad smells it a trigger will happen and the dog will feel the need to use the bathroom.

Potty Command

Believe it or not dogs can be taught a command to use the bathroom. No, they will not go on command anytime but will go when it is time. The Potty Command is very useful for puppies because they have short attention spans. By using a consistent command at potty time, the pup will stay focused and go quicker.


Just like humans, dogs are creatures of habit and learn scheduling quickly. By taking your pup out at the same time each day, it will quickly learn and know when it is time to go to the bathroom. The best times are when the pup first wakes up, after eating, when you come home and before bedtime. A new pup will need to go about every 2 hours at first. As the pup gets older its bladder will also grow and the frequency it needs to relieve itself will decrease. One note of cautious is that if you miss a time the dog will let you know!

Praise and Reward

The main ingredient in the training program is the praise and reward stage. Just as with humans, dogs love praise for a job well done. Usually start off with treats followed immediately after the bathroom is used and praise the pup. This will teach the dog it is doing right and it will want to go outside to get rewarded. After a month or so, reduce the treats and simply praise the pup for a job well done.


A great resource for potty training is the crate. By placing the dog in a crate it creates a safe environment for it and will help it learn to wait before relieving itself. When choosing a crate the size is of the up most important. A crate too large will allow the pup to use the bathroom in half and sleep in the other. You also will not want a crate too small to where the dog cannot move around much. Dogs are like humans and do not want to sleep where they relieve themselves and thus will wait to be let outside. This is an invaluable tool for assisting your dog to learn to wait to use the bathroom.

Additional Resources

Discuss training in our dog training forum.

Find other Puppy Training articles in our Dog Training section.

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