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How to House Training a Puppy

Posted by marco

This time around we're going to share the tips on how to House Training a Puppy, as you probably already know we have shared some other puppy training tips before such as; Basic Puppy Training, The Ultimate Dos And Donts GuideDog Training Vs Puppy Training, and Best Puppy Training Tips

The Basic of How Dogs Think and Learn
If you want to succeed in house training a puppy, you need to understand how dogs think and learn.

You might be thinking: "It will be cool if there is a device that can convert dog language to human understandable language or vice verse, so that I can communicate better with my dog." Well, based on the current technology, this is only possible in our dream.

How to House Training a Puppy
I may surprise you; the fact is dogs do not think as all! Dogs react or response through motivation and drive. When dogs feel good about something, they will continue to have that behavior. Ok, may be dogs do "think". They think in sensory impressions like visual, sound and odor.

Some example:
When it is almost time to feed your dog, I guess your dog will be looking at you. In her mind, she probably imagine the words that you usually say (eg: "meal time") or the sound of the opening of the dog food can during her meal time or image of you carrying the dog bowl (even there is nothing in the bowl!).
How to House Training a Puppy
Food treat is a very good motivator for dog. So, in order for she to get the treat from you, her mind probably learns to associate what is the command that you give her during that time (eg: "sit") and how she needs to react (she needs to sit down).

Illustration of Human's Command and Dog's Action
How to House Training a PuppyHuman: "Sit" command + the dog is sitting = give her the food treat.
For us, we will only give the dog treat only when we say "Sit" and she is sitting.

Dog: Food treat = "sit" sound + I need to put my butt on the floor.
For dog, when she hears the sound "sit", she understands that she has to put her butt on the floor in order for her to get your treat.

I hope that with this illustration, you understand better that about how dogs think and further help in house training a puppy.

Four Dog Learning Stages
How to House Training a PuppyBy definition, acquisition means the act of acquiring something. In our case, it is the training that we give our dogs. Dogs basically acquire the knowledge of the training when they are motivated to do so. Normally, we motivate our dogs by using food treat as reward. So, a dog will choose to engage in an action again and again so that she can continue to receive the rewards.

How to House Training a PuppyAutomation is when your puppy performs certain action to a particular command without being lured. Let's say your puppy has passed the acquisition stage with accuracy of 90%. You may slowly reduce the dog treat when asking your puppy to perform the same action. Until your puppy reaches a stage where she is able to perform actions without the food treat, then she is in the automation stage.

After the automation stage, you may further generalize the actions that she needs to perform. How? You may ask different people give the command or ask your puppy to perform the action in different locations or both. You may slowly change one aspect as a time. Your puppy will learn that she needs to perform the actions in any situation when commands are given.

How to House Training a PuppyIn order for your dog to continuously behave or perform certain actions based upon your command, you will have to maintain the association of her sensory with the actions. So, refresher training from time to time is needed. In any case when your dog has any accident in your house, this is the time you will have to repeat the puppy house training.

Step-by-step House Training a Puppy Guide
How to House Training a PuppyI have included the four dog learning stages in the guide of the 7 days house training a puppy. This is a general guide which can be applicable for most dog breeds. Please adjust the in home dog training plan according to your needs.

First Day
Your puppy is in acquisition stage. She is learning to get use with your house and is learning some basic commands in potty training a puppy and crate training. She has been repeatedly trained with the command that you have selected for potty training, crate training and meal time.

Second Day 
How to House Training a PuppyYour puppy is still in acquisition stage but slowly move to automation stage. Same like the first day, your puppy has been repeatedly trained with the same commands during potty training, crate training a puppy and meal time. Additional to that, she is introduced to her collar and leash. This is to train her to recognize the path from her crate to the elimination spot. All these actions are repeatedly done with the same person and same location. Your puppy should slowly associate commands in the house training.

Third Day
The third day is practically repetation of the things in the second day. You will realize that your puppy's actions will be more automated.

Forth Day
How to House Training a PuppyThe forth day is the day to change one of the variables. For example, during the potty training, you can ask a different person to bring her to the elimination spot and use the same command you have used. She is now in the generalization stage. She needs to know that different people give the command, the response should be the same. During the puppy obedience training, you may also ask a different person to give the command.

Fifth Day
How to House Training a PuppyWith no doubt, her automated acts will happen more often. During the obedience training, you may change to a different location. She is still in generalization stage. But, change location during the potty training is not advisable. You need to understand that some trainings can be generalized but some can not. Generalization is more applicable to obedience training.

Sixth Day
If your puppy has reached the generalization stage during obedience training, then you may introduce more different commands to her one at a time. But remember to repeat the previous commands so that you can maintain her behavior (maintenance stage).

Seventh Day
This day is maintenance stage and I believe you have successfully housebroken you puppy! Congrats! You can slowly move on to the next step which is teaching your advance puppy obedience training, leash training a puppy, collar training, dog clicker training, agility training and more.


To succeed in house training a puppy is not an easy task. The dog will go though different stages of learning. Patience and Consistency are the keys in successfully house training dogs, especially with puppy, so be confident and follow this tips on how to house training your puppy carefully, hopefully it all will pay off.

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