shutterstock_53582179Puppies are unable to have full control of bladder and bowels until they are older and properly house-trained.  As a general rule of thumb, puppies should be able to hold their eliminations at a rate of one hour for every month of age, plus one hour.

Example: 4 months old = ability to hold eliminations for 5 hours

This isn’t always the case depending on breed/size and environment, so it is up to you to ensure proper elimination habits.

 Here are some tips:

  • Select a site outdoors that will be easy to get to

  • Take your pet outside to the same area within 5 minutes of sleeping, eating, drinking, and playing

  • As soon as you see your puppy squat, give the action a name such as “go potty,” and as soon as the action is completed, give encouragement or rewards (make a big deal about it, praise them and give them a small reward)

 If you find eliminations in an inappropriate place after the fact, the opportunity to correct your puppy has passed. Supervise your puppy more closely to prevent this mess from happening again. Do not punish your pet for eliminations!

Once your puppy has been error-free around the house for about a month, you can begin to decrease the confinement and supervision. Gradually increase the time that your puppy is allowed to roam while you are home. Once he/she can go unsupervised for a couple of hours without an accident, it may then be possible to leave for short periods of time.  If your puppy chews or has accidents, confinement and supervision may still be necessary.

By using consistency and rewards, your puppy will learn appropriate elimination behaviors and take its first steps to becoming a happy and healthy member of your family.