House Training A Dog

An easy and effective method for house training a dog.

House training a dog is one of the most frustrating things for dog owners, but this shouldn’t be the case because a dog’s natural behavior is actually your biggest help in dog house training. Dogs are by nature clean animals and only in extreme circumstances will they soil in an area where they live and sleep. They just need to be shown where to go and, as with most aspects of dog training, once they ‘get it’ they will repeat it again and again.

The number one tip is to start house training a dog early – the minute you bring your new puppy home. But bear in mind that puppies are just babies. Accidents will happen, and the worst thing you can do is to punish the dog when they do. This can lead to serious psychological and health problems later on as your dog actually becomes afraid to ‘go to the bathroom’ for fear of being punished.

Young puppies will need to relieve themselves regularly, particularly after eating or drinking or after waking from one of their many naps. Be aware of these times and be ready to pick the puppy up and take him to a designated area where you have put down the newspaper for this purpose. Also, watch for tell-tale signs that your pup is ready to go. These include sniffing the ground, often accompanied by frantic running around. Try to catch him before he gets into the squatting position or else you could have a mess on your hands (quite literally!)

When cleaning up, don’t remove all of the soiled newspaper. Dogs will go where they can smell their scent so, by leaving a small piece of paper with his urine scent on it, you will encourage him to go to the same area when he wants to relieve himself.

house training a dog

house training a dog

Don’t have time to watch your dog 24/7? Here’s an easy, low-supervision way of house training a dog

  1. Decide on a ‘training area’. An area that can be blocked off, but still receives a good amount of human traffic is ideal.
  2. Cover the entire area with newspaper, and block it off using a dog-gate.
  3. Put your dog’s bed, toys, food and water bowls into the area, as he’ll be spending most of his time in here.
  4. With the entire floor covered, every time the dog ‘goes’ it will be on the paper. Clean up any messes, but leave a small piece of urine stained paper behind.
  5. Soon you’ll start to notice that your dog prefers a certain area for his toilet. You can now start removing the paper from the rest of the room. Do this slowly – only one or two sheets per day.
  6. If he starts to ‘go’ off the paper, re-paper the entire area and begin again.
  7. Eventually, you’ll notice that he is consistently doing his business in a particular area.
  8. Now move the papers out of his ‘training area’ and start moving them towards the area you want him to use in the future. Only move a foot or two per day, gradually getting to the location you want.
  9. Eventually, you can remove the paper altogether.
  10. It takes time but is a pretty effective way of house training a dog.


Always praise the dog for using the newspaper. Never punish him for accidents. A common form of punishment is to rub the dog’s nose in his own mess. This is quite possibly the worse thing you can do. It will just make your dog afraid of you, and make your training efforts more difficult and frustrating.

House Training a Dog Outdoors

Once you’ve trained your dog to ‘go’ outdoors, you can train him to use a particular area of the garden as his bathroom. Dogs prefer going to a place they’ve used before, so use this to your advantage. Be alert for signs that your dog needs to go, then clip on his lead and take him to the location you want him to use. He’ll quickly get the idea.

As your dog gets older you can also control when he goes to the bathroom. Just develop a routine of letting him out at regular intervals, so that he learns to go when, and where you want him to. House training a dog takes patience and persistence but is relatively simple if you follow the advice above.