With Patience and Perseverance, Housetraining Your Pet Is Possible – and Fun!

A small black dog looking up

Millions of people have become new pet owners this year, a fact that’s worth celebrating. Never a decision to be made lightly, adopting a pet requires diligence and determination to align both human and animal preferences and patterns. In other words, housetraining your pet is likely the very first hurdle you’ll face together. 

Fortunately, once you’ve conquered the housetraining challenge you and your new pet are all but guaranteed a long, happy relationship built on mutual understanding and respect.

Young Ones

One thing you can count on with a younger animal is that accidents are going to happen, possibly numerous times a day. Remain calm and patient as it may take several weeks to a few months to get through a day without a puddle or pile on the floor.

Even adult or senior pets may need help with their bathroom needs, although picking up their new routine will probably require less time overall.

Who Are You?

Getting your new buddy accustomed to their name is a good place to start. Show them around their new digs, but limit their freedom until they get the hang of housetraining. There will be so much for them to take in and digest before their new life comes into focus.

The Cues at Your Disposal

Establish and maintain your new pet’s routine. Every single time your pet eats, drinks, plays or wakes up they should be led on leash or carried to a designated spot. Use the same words in the same tone of voice, such as “go pee” or “here’s your spot”, to reinforce their understanding.

Keep healthy treats on you at all times. Reward them immediately after they go, in the same spot where it happened. Share in their success with praise and pets. They are learning what it takes to make you happy and will eventually repeat the right steps.

Set Your Pets Up For Success

Being keyed into your new pet’s body language will help them succeed. Ignoring the signs that they have to “go” will likely result in an accident in the house. Pacing, sniffing, moving in circles, whining, and approaching the exit are sure-fire signs. You may want to set down puppy pads near the door to catch any uncontrolled urine or feces. 

Housetraining Your Pet

Building trust with your new pet is the key to successful training and a lifelong bond. Never scold or punish them for accidents (doing so will make them fear or distrust you, and may sabotage the process). Instead, remain neutral and simply pick them up or lead them to the bathroom spot if you catch them in the middle of a “situation”. 

Keep an enzyme cleaner on hand to wash up any urine or feces. If they can smell where they went to the bathroom they may repeat the behavior.

With Love

Begin to use commands at this stage in their development, such as stay, sit, go, down, etc. These will come in handy throughout housetraining your pet and are part of your ongoing communication with them.

At least for the foreseeable future, you’ll probably have to take your pet outside every 2 hours. You’ll notice over time they’ll fall into step with your routine. As they grow, they’ll have more control over their bathroom needs and you can begin to stretch out breaks to every 4 hours (give or take).
If you’re struggling with housetraining your pet, let us know. We’re always here for you at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital.