House Training Your Puppy
The best and most reliable way to house train your puppy is to provide frequent opportunity to eliminate in an appropriate place and to reward this behavior immediately as it occurs. To do this, walk your puppy on a leash at regular intervals and at least twice every day. The direct house-training method requires you to be nearby and to start good lifetime habits from the beginning. Other methods may seem easier and may appear to demand less initial investment of time. The direct training method, however, is sure to save you time and energy in the long run.
Puppies require more frequent walks until they are able to reliably control sphincters. This usually occurs by 6 months of age. The best method of house training is to take your puppy out within several minutes after each meal and each nap. These are predictable moments during the day when bowel and bladder are most full. A wave of rhythmic contractions along the length of the digestive tract (the gastro colic reflex) begins when food and water is swallowed. The contractions are particularly strong after eating, which explains why bowel movement is so likely after a puppy eats. Feed your puppy at scheduled mealtimes and avoid snacks between feedings. The gastro colic reflex may be conditioned by feeding your puppy at regular intervals. Allowing your puppy continuous access to food makes house training more difficult. Prevent accidents between meals by taking your pup out before the accidents occur.
It is best to leash walk your puppy within 15 minutes or sooner after each meal. Continue to walk, incorporating play to make it fun, until the puppy has eliminated. If you puppy is too young to walk on a leash, carry it outside to an enclosed, safe area. Stay nearby and play with or pet it. If your pup is slow adjusting to leash walks, be patient. Avoid pulling the leash and allow your pup to take its time. When the pup prepares to eliminate, begin praising it in a happy and light tone of voice. Continue your praise until the task is completed. Immediate encouragement is necessary for your pup to learn to eliminate in an acceptable area. As your dog eliminates, pleasantly say something like "Hurry" or "Do It" and give abundant praise. This teaches the pup to void on command so that you won't freeze unnecessarily on a cold winter night while your pup leisurely looks for the right spot. If your pup is initially afraid of the leash, leave the leash on indoors for brief periods without holding onto it. When the pup becomes more accustomed to the collar and leash, take the pup for brief leash walks indoors before graduating to walks outside. Daily leash walks throughout a dog's life help maintain good elimination habits.