How do you house-train a puppy?
House-training a puppy is much easier than most of us think. The most important thing to keep in mind is consistency:
· feed your puppy on a regular schedule, so he needs to go potty on a regular, predictable schedule
· take him through the same door to the yard, or to potty papers in the same room of the house, immediately after he eats, drinks, wakes up, after a heavy bout of playtime, and every couple of hours in between; you can hang a strand of brass bells next to the "potty" door: place a bit of Easy Cheese in the lowest bell, and when the puppy licks the bell (and, therefore, rings the bell) praise him and let him outside--thereby training him to "ask" to go out!
· use baby gates to restrict the areas of the house your puppy has access to--after all, would you allow a human toddler unrestricted access to ALL of your house? All too often, puppies will wander down a back hall, feel the urge, and house soil--and think that's the right place to do it!; restrict your puppy to where you can see him at all times; that way, you won't miss any signals when Nature calls
· do not feed your puppy within 2 hours of bedtime, and take his water bowl away 1 hour before bedtime, to reduce his night-time need for "nature breaks"
· take your puppy to his potty area right before bedtime, and STAY WITH HIM until he performs; crate him at night and when you're gone from the house; crates not only teach a pup to control his bladder & colon, they also keep him out of trouble!
· lavish praise him with praise when he does perform
Keep in mind puppies are physically unable to consistently hold their urine/feces all night long, or all day long, until at least 12-14 weeks of age. Consequently, don't get angry about house accidents if your puppy has not been given an opportunity to relieve himself in several hours. Expect to take him outside or to his potty papers at least once during the night. If you consistently train in this manner, your puppy will soon be a respectable family member.
One last thought: unless you catch your puppy IN THE ACT of house-soiling, do NOT punish him! Above all, do NOT rub his nose in his accident, even if you DO catch him in the act. Rubbing his nose in it does nothing but terrify and bewilder your puppy. If you find a house-accident that you didn't witness, it means you're not keeping a good enough eye on your pup. If you DO catch him in the act, yell "NO!," clap your hands, scruff him and hustle him outside, and STAY WITH HIM until he performs, then lavish praise. That way you'll teach him where you want him to go potty, and NOT teach him to be terrified of you.