There are 2 methods to housetrain your dog, the crate method and the paper-training method. The crate method is preferred but requires constant supervision. The paper-training method is a bad idea and can lead to real difficulty down the road, after all, you’re training your dog to relieve herself in the house! This is only a good idea for a small percentage of pet owners depending on their circumstances.
The Crate Method
The crate method uses the principle that the dog would prefer not to soil her living area. The dog is crated for a couple of hours at a time, and then taken out to one place in the yard to use the bathroom. Introduce a command like “go potty” while the dog looks for a place to go, as soon as the dog goes, praise warmly, and give a treat. The focus is on positive motivation. Things to remember for all housetraining:
Regulate food and water intake. Feed on regular schedules and do not leave water and food in the crate or lying out. Allow the dog to drink as much as she wants at meal times and after playing or exercise.
Take up all water after 8:00pm, or a few hours before your bedtime, and use the crate for sleeping overnight.
If your house is not temperature controlled, you cannot remove water during the day if it is hot inside your house because the dog may dehydrate. However, this may destroy your schedule.
Things to Avoid
Do not hit or yell at the dog if she goes inside the house. Do not take her to a mess and scold her. This teaches the dog only to be afraid of you and will encourage her to relieve herself out of your sight. If she goes inside the house, consider it your fault for not properly supervising her. Take her directly outside even if it is after the fact, and give her the “go potty” command near her bathroom spot outside.
Avoid leaving the dog unattended. If you see her circling to use the bathroom inside, make a loud noise such as a hand clap, grab her and take her immediately outside and give the “go potty” command. When not supervised, the dog should be in the crate. Period.
Gradually lengthen the time the dog is crated between bathroom breaks, allowing for age and success. If the dog is still having accidents, or has an accident in the crate, you must give more frequent bathroom breaks. Always give a bathroom break initially directly after eating, or playtime being patient and consistent. Be sure to over-do the number of bathroom breaks the dog needs at first to ensure she doesn’t have the opportunity to have accidents. Again, this requires a lot of supervision.
Be patient when taking the dog outside, you must be more persistent than the dog! Sometimes you may have to wait 10 or 15 minutes until she goes in her spot outside. Always remember to praise warmly and give a treat for each success.
Use a vinegar and water solution to deodorize any accident spots in the house so the dog is not drawn to them by smell and incorrectly think that is where she is supposed to go.