Correcting Your Puppy for a Housebreaking Accident

When I was a kid, my dad brought home a golden retriever pup one day, and it was love at first sight. We named him Max, and he showed us a level of dedication and loyalty I had never seen before. However, things were not always rosy. Max kept barking and having accidents in the house. Sadly, nobody knew how to correct him or why dogs bark. And that turned out to be the biggest challenge of our lives.

In this article, I will share the dos and don’ts of correcting your puppy for housebreaking accidents so you can have a better relationship with your dog.

Avoid the “Rub His Nose in It” Strategy

This old-school technique is not only ineffective but also unpleasant for you and the dog. It creates fear instead of discipline, and that is precisely what you don’t want for your best friend. Some people roll an old newspaper and beat up the poor dog while rubbing the accident on his face.

I get it. 

You didn’t sign up for cleaning after your dog, but rubbing it in his face is way too much.

Establish a Routine

A regular schedule sends a strong message that there is a time to sleep, eat, play and potty. Ideally, a puppy can hold their bladder one hour after every month of life. That means he will go for fewer bathroom breaks as he grows up.  For instance, a four-month puppy can theoretically hold their bladder for at least 3½ hours. Ignoring these routine breaks guarantees accidents in the house.

Here’s how you can create a routine:

Take the puppy outside frequently - If your dog can associate outdoors with being relieved, he will have a good reason to hold the bladder. So, take him out first thing in the morning, after meals, and the minute you get home from work.

Pick a designated potty spot - You don’t want poop everywhere in the backyard, and the easiest way to avoid that is to designate a potty area. Of course, he will mark territory with small bursts of pee, but you should interrupt and take him to the potty spot whenever possible.

Reward the puppy for using the spot - By reward, I don’t mean treats. Praise, play, and a little freedom should be fine. The dog will realize that holding their bladder is rewarding, and he’ll make it a routine.

Confine the Puppy

Few people have the time to establish a stable routine for their new puppy. And that’s where confinement comes in. With this technique, you place the puppy in a tiny space that they won’t want to eliminate in. This works when you have to leave him for several hours, and you know he’s prone to accidents.

However, there’s a fine line between confinement and torture. You want to make sure the space is big enough for the puppy to stand, turn around and sleep. This can be a  small section in the bathroom, divided by baby gates. Also, you need to take him straight to the potty spot immediately after returning to the house.