Individuals and families who decide to bring new puppies into their homes understand that their lives are bound to change until the new pup acclimates to the household. Many are willing to accept the work involved because of the love and affection their adorable puppy offers.
Arguably one of the most challenging – and often frustrating – components about puppyhood is training the dog to use the outdoors for bathroom needs. It’s easy to underestimate the time involved in housebreaking a puppy. The Humane Society of America says puppies typically can control their bladders for one hour for every month of age. That means if the dog is three months old, he can hold it for about three hours.
How often a puppy will need to defecate depends on the food being fed and when meals are offered. The American Kennel Club says that most puppies will need to poop shortly after a meal, anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours.
Puppies typically can hold urine a little longer overnight, but probably won’t be able to go the entire night without a potty break. Many pups can last around six hours from the last time they’ve gone out. An early-morning bathroom break will be needed, or consider penning the dog with puppy pads to catch the mess until the dog gains greater control over its bladder.
The following are some other tips for housebreaking success:
- Take pups outside immediately in the morning, after naps and after vigorous play
- Pick up food bowls and water several hours before bedtime. This can prevent accidents by ensuring dogs’ stomachs and bladders are not full overnight.
- Some pups may be hesitant to go outside when the weather is cold, rainy or snowy, so people who live in cold climates may want to wait until the weather warms up to adopt their puppies.
- Err on the side of caution at the start and take the pup outside once every 30 to 60 minutes to establish a system of reward and praise for going outside
- Contain the pup when you can’t provide it with your undivided attention. It only takes a moment for a puppy to wander off and have an accident.
Housebreaking requires extreme patience, routine and practice. Eventually the puppy will gain greater control of its bowels and stop soiling inside the house.