There’s no greater feeling than bringing home a new puppy for the first time and watching your children’s reaction. The delight may fade somewhat, once you appreciate how much work is involved, particularly in relation to house-training your puppy. There are a few things to consider as you work toward establishing bathroom routines for your new dog.

1. Learn to read the body language of your puppy which would indicate he has to go to the bathroom, such as fidgeting. Make sure you know the signs of his having to go out, including getting into a position to go the bathroom. Many pet owners teach their dogs to stand by the back door as an alert that they need to go out, and this is a good way to prevent him from having an “accident” on the carpet.

2. Be sure to go outside often with your new puppy, even late at night. You may find this difficult, but he hasn’t yet conditioned his bladder and bowels to be able to hold them throughout the night. Keep in mind that this need will lessen as time goes on. Wean him gradually from having to go out so often and he will become accustomed to waiting until the morning to eliminate.

3. Designate a certain area of your backyard as your puppy’s bathroom, and take him to that spot each time you go out with him. This will accustom him to eliminating in that spot only, so that all his waste is kept there. Since you’ll be the one mowing the lawn, this practice will help you as you take care of the yard once summer comes.

4. Make sure that when your puppy figures out that he must go outside to use the bathroom, you reward him with a treat. It’s always a good idea to use such positive reinforcement to encourage him to go to the bathroom in the yard, as negative methods such as hitting or yelling only scare and confuse dogs.

5. Buy an appropriate size puppy crate for him to sleep in at night, because he will not soil his sleeping area. Most dogs also tend to be soothed by being in an enclosed area, and the routine of going to that spot will indicate to him that it is time for bed. If you decide to let him sleep somewhere else eventually, such as in your room, wait until he has been properly crate-trained first.

If you remember only one thing about housetraining a puppy, it’s that you must always be consistent. Creating the routines your puppy will get used to is crucial so that he learns that it’s not acceptable to go to the bathroom inside the house. You may find housebreaking to be taxing, but once you’ve accomplished it, you’ll be glad you did. Your house will be cleaner, and your puppy will no longer need to go out at night to use the bathroom.

About the Author:

Ruth Williams is a journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, and online education websites. Her interests include scholarships for adult learners and online colleges offering graduate degrees.