You can easily teach your puppy to eliminate in an acceptable location by keeping a close eye, recognizing the signals, understanding his instincts and rewarding appropriate behavior.
- Do NOT allow your puppy to wander all over the house without supervision and keep the puppy confined in a small area (even a crate) when you can't observe him constantly.
- When your puppy sniffs the ground or circles, quickly but calmly take him to the desired elimination area. Ideally, don't wait for these behaviors and, instead, take him outside regularly as described below.
- Feed a measured amount of food at the same time every day.
- Be aware that puppies instinctively need to eliminate after eating, drinking, playing, resting, sleeping or being confined (these rules apply to adult dogs too!).
- Five to 30 minutes after any of the above activities, take your puppy to the selected elimination area.
- Use a specific verbal command that you want your puppy to associate with going outdoors (for example "out" or "potty").
- When your puppy begins to eliminate, quietly praise him.
- When your puppy is done, praise him enthusiastically, pet him and reward him with food immediately. Don't wait until he's back indoors. If he doesn't eliminate, return him to his confinement area and take him outside again in 15 minutes.
- Reward each time with praise, but as your puppy learns, give the food rewards intermittently.
- Remember, it's YOUR responsibility to prevent accidents!
Prevention is the key to success and the fastest way to the brain (and learning) is by way of the stomach. You have not done your job if you find an accident in the house, and it does no good to scold, yell and spank the puppy — simply quietly clean up, deodorize the soiled area and start again. Good luck!