Housetraining Schedule for Dogs

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Keep this schedule for two full weeks, including the weekends.  You won’t always have to do this but remember your long-term goal.  It’s a small sacrifice in the end.

“Puppies and dogs are creatures of habit and will tend to repeat the behavior.  Anything they do once they are likely to do again.  We use this to our advantage when training puppies by controlling circumstances to make it more likely that they will develop desirable habits.” Guide Dog’s Victoria Puppy Rasing Manual

Next two weeks

6:30 a.m. – wake up and take your puppy to go potty. She tends to have two bowel movements in the morning so you may need to put her back in her kennel if you can’t supervisor her

8:00 a.m. – feed your puppy in a crate and give her water. (we add water to her food for extra hydration)

8:30 a.m. – take your puppy to go potty.

Take your puppy out to potty before going to work or, if home, sometime around noon


3:00 to 4:00 p.m. – take your puppy to potty


6:00 p.m. – feed your puppy & give water in the crate

6:30 p.m. – take your puppy potty

Evenings, especially in the summer when it is cooler, are a great time to take your puppy for walks and socialize with her. Plus, this will help tire her out for the evening.

9:00 p.m. – take your puppy potty

10:30 – 11:30 p.m. – take Your puppy potty last time for night

10:30 – 11:30 p.m. – put Your puppy in a crate for bed


Look for signals between scheduled potty times that Your puppy needs to go out: sniffing around the ground, circling, etc. When you see her start this, CLAP YOUR HANDS to stop the action and then say in a happy tone something like “Want to go out?” Take your puppy outside immediately to her potty area and encourage her to go. Use “Go Potty” – use the same command each time and praise as soon as the action happens.

Along with a solid schedule, your puppy needs to be with you and not roaming the house unsupervised. Use baby gates or if you are walking about, umbilical cord your puppy to you with a leash. This way, your puppy is never out of your sight. The best redirection (correction) is the one that happens the instant the behavior of pottying inside happens. If your puppy is wandering the house and gets to realize there are times she can potty inside, she will continue to do so. Also, a correction after the fact is a correction that is lost. If you are going to be in a position where you cannot watch her (napping, going out) crate her. And NEVER leave the leash on your puppy when she is crated.
Should your puppy have an accident in the house, you must catch her in the act for discipline to be effective – why in the above paragraph the use of gates and a leash was brought up. If your puppy has pottied five minutes ago on your best rug and you just see it, the correction is totally lost. Dogs forget faster and will interpret the discipline not being done because she pottied in the house but for something different. Clean up the spot well and with something that will neutralize the odor. Use one of the commercially made products which contain an enzyme.

Bear in mind that should a housebroken puppy or dog begin having accidents, there could be an underlying physical reason such as a bladder infection. Should this not be the case, there could be a behavioral issue such as submission urination or stress. Should you start having problems with a dog not prone to problems, seek medical assistance first. Also, as dogs age, accidents may happen. Accidents also happen with fully trained dogs. Dogs not neutered or spayed have a higher incidence of elimination in the house as well.

General Housetraining Instructions

Mark each task as it is completed on each day.  Make a note on each trip out if the dog eliminated (urinated or defecated).

Don’t assume that everyone in the home is following the pattern.  Please make sure that they are or do the job yourself.

Use the command word “Potty” every time to go out, and when she’s eliminating, say “Good Potty” in a low, soothing voice.  Put a label on it and make it a command.

Within days, you should see a pattern of just how long it takes your dog to digest her meals.  You want to change the pattern so you can get your dog out before she has an accident and can praise her (in a soothing, not excited voice).

Be proactive instead of reactive.  If she eliminates outside, bring her in and engage in play with her for about 5 minutes as a reward.

You must go out and stay out with your dog when it’s time for potties.  If you are out with your dog, you can take her to one specific area.  That area becomes “boring,” and the scents are not as exciting each time.  She will start to understand that it is the potty area.  It also makes it easier for you to keep your yard clean.   However, even more importantly, you will know just what she’s done while she was out there.

Please don’t assume that she did her business.  If she gets distracted, she might ‘forget’ why she’s out there.  Smaller dogs tend to get excited and break their stream midway and not fully eliminate the first time it tries to void its bladder.

Take her out after any nap or strenuous playtime.  If the playtime goes on for a while, interrupt it to get her outside.  Your dog will have to eliminate anything she takes in, so really watch water consumption and treats in between meals.

If you are not watching her 100%, then put her in the crate.  It isn’t punishment.  You are working on an end goal of having your dog housetrained.  Most dogs will not soil where they lay.  Use that to your advantage.  If she has accidents on the blanket in her crate, take it out.   Even if you wash it, they may still smell the urine and therefore continue to mark that area.

If you want her out of the crate, use the leash to tether her to you so she can move about freely in the home with you, but you can still supervise closely.  This will improve your bond and allow you to learn if she’s signaling to go out and what that signal may be.

The proper crate size is enough room to stand up, turn around, and lay down.  Any more room than that gives her an area to eliminate and then move to the soil-free area.

If you do no catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the home, you can not correct her for it.  Period.

Use an enzymatic cleaner on accidents in the home.  Please clean up the mess and then really saturate the area and let it air dry.  The enzymes will eat the bacteria to remove any traces better.  Don’t let her see you cleaning the mess.

As your dog becomes more reliable in the 2nd week, start to extend the length of time between trips out to help strengthen her bladder and get more long-term control.

Let’s talk dogs, or even better, let’s learn about dogs.  Set aside some time to receive Spike’s dog blogs by Acme Canine.


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