House training is an essential step in raising a puppy. Successful potty training will teach a puppy to respect their space, and develop a schedule. It can also help create a bond between puppy and owner, the sort of connection that lasts a lifetime!
However, potty training will rarely be quick and easy, and you can expect some messes to occur along the way. House training requires a lot of patience and consistent training, but it also needs positivity and rewards.
It typically takes between 4 and 6 months to house train a puppy, but for some dogs it can take up to a year.
Breed can play a key role in how long it takes to potty train a dog. Breeds with a reputation for stubbornness, such as English bulldogs, might need longer than others. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of house training, and some tips and tricks for establishing a schedule.
When Is The Right Time To Start Potty Training Your Puppy?
The best time to start potty training your puppy is between 12 and 16 weeks.
For a happier and easier time potty training your puppy, you want to start at the right time. Start too early, and your puppy won’t have the bladder control necessary. Leave it too late, and you might find it hard to break habits that they’ve already formed.
At 12 weeks, your puppy has started to gain control over their bowel and bladder. They’ll begin gaining the ability to hold their bladder movements, and to indicate to you when they need to go.
Although all dogs are unique, and they won’t all master potty training in the same timeline, this is still the best time to introduce the idea, and start the basic steps.
Leave it much longer than this to start, and house training becomes significantly more difficult. You’ll need to change your dog’s behavior, rather than just teach. It isn’t impossible, but it will take a little extra work.
If you’re bringing home a puppy older than 12 weeks that is used to eliminating in a crate, potty training is likely to take extra time. Again, you’ll need to work on reshaping learned behavior through rewards and praise.
Using Crate Training For Potty Training
A small and defined space can be used during potty training to teach the puppy that they need to head outside if they want to do their business. A crate is a common method for doing this, but a leash or small room can work as well.
The idea is that dogs like to be clean, and don’t like waste in their personal space. As your puppy learns not to eliminate in the crate, you can gradually increase their freedom.
Here are a few tips for starting crate training:
- Find the right size crate. If the crate is too big, your puppy will feel comfortable eliminating in one corner, and sleeping in the other. There should be enough room for your puppy to stand, turn, and lie down.
- If your dog does start using the crate to eliminate, try another training method.
- Once your dog starts to indicate they need to go, let them out of the crate immediately. Otherwise, they’ll start to think it’s okay to eliminate in the cage, and then elsewhere in the house.
- Provide your puppy with fresh water if they’re in the crate, especially if they will be there for more than two hours. Take them outside before putting them in, and make sure they get regular breaks if you’re out during the day.
We understand that putting your puppy in a crate might seem difficult at first, but it’s beneficial to both owner and puppy. A crate provides them with a safe and comfortable space, where they feel secure.
When they’re feeling scared, they can retreat to the crate. Being used to this small space is also helpful when they need to be transported.
Steps For Starting House Training
To make things easier for owner and puppy when house training, follow these steps:
- Keep up a regular feeding schedule, but provide the puppy with fresh water throughout the day. Between meals, take their food bowl away.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to eliminate outside, and introduce a schedule. A trip outside should be the first thing they do in the morning. Then take them out again consistently throughout the day — roughly every 30 to 60 minutes. When your puppy has eaten, and when they’ve woken up from a nap, take them outside. They should also go just before bed, and whenever you leave them alone.
- Pay attention to their habits, so you can better enforce a schedule that works.
- Bring the puppy to the same area every time. They’ll start to recognize the spot as the place to go.
- If you have to leave the puppy during the day, ensure someone else comes to let them out of the crate, and take them to their spot.
- Stay with the puppy when they go, and stay out for a little longer to make sure they’ve finished.
- Praise your puppy when they successfully eliminate outside. Give them a treat, or take them for a short walk.
- Don’t punish them if they go inside. Instead, quickly clean up the mess. Use a safe cleaner with a powerful smell, or cover the spot to encourage them not to go there again.
Common Bulldog House Training Problems And Methods To Overcome Them
English bulldogs are known for having a stubborn streak, which means they aren’t always receptive to training. Methods that work well for other breeds might not have an effect on a stubborn bulldog puppy.
Although you may have to approach potty training differently, with persistence and praise, you can successfully house train a bulldog.
Use lots of praise when your puppy eliminates outside, and don’t punish them for going inside. Positive reinforcement will gradually teach them the benefits of eliminating outside.
Keep to schedule, and be consistent with your training. It might take longer to house train an English bulldog, but don’t give up.
Be prepared for some accidents, even when you think house training is complete. This is common for all puppies, and not a sign that something is wrong. If you are concerned, speak to your vet for advice.
Final Thoughts: How Long Does House Training A Puppy Take?
House training a puppy typically takes between 4 and 6 months, but it isn’t unusual for it to take up to a year. For breeds with a stubborn streak, such as the English bulldog, expect potty training to take a little longer.
But by being consistent, remaining positive, and staying patient, you’ll start to see results.
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