Toilet Training or Housebreaking Your Pet
Toilet training (or housebreaking) is about teaching your dog where you want it to go potty, and in a way, where not to do it (i.e. on the carpet in the house).
Before we discuss the details, we would like to point out that there are physical limits to a dog’s ability to withhold their “outcomings”. So expecting your dog to hold it for 10 hours during the day (e.g. before you leave home for work at 7am and when you get back to your apartment at 6pm) is just not possible. Generally a dog needs its toilet break every 3-4 hours during the day.
Also, most puppies simply can’t control when they want to let it out before 3 months old (and sometimes adult dogs that are sick), so you simply need to be patient at these times.
How it works:
By instinct, dogs do not like to soil themselves so they try not to defecate or urinate where they sleep or relax. So if you keep a dog in a small enough space (i.e. a crate) where it will soil itself if it goes to potty, providing that the dog is old enough and not sick, it will try to hold it.
For toilet training, you could consider the following crates:
- Put your dog in a crate that is not too large so the dog must soil itself if it goes potty (Note: a cage too large will allow your dog to use one side as the toilet and the other side as the living room, and will defeat the purpose)
- Make sure your dog has clean drinking water so it won’t dehydrate.
- Keep your dog inside for approx 2-3 hours.
- After 2-3 hours, take the dog out to your designated toilet spot.
- Ask your dog to “wee” or “go potty” (or whatever command you wish to use going forward), and wait for the dog to do it.
- Once it does it, give the dog a lot of praise and/or treats, so the dog gradually picks up the pattern: “potty here = good things”.
Remember, just like any other dog training, dogs learn by picking up consistent and repetitive patterns (e.g. potty here = good things), it’s important that you act consistently and give your dog a consistent message.
If you sometimes leave the dog in the crate for 2 hours, sometimes for 6 (so it soiled itself), sometimes with praise, sometimes without praise, you will find that your training isn’t effective at all.