When it comes to house-training, you must have patience. Not all dogs learn at the same pace, and puppies can take several months before they consistently go potty where they’re supposed to.
Remember that your puppy isn’t punishing you, nor are they necessarily a slow learner if they have accidents. You may simply have missed their signs that it was time to go.
However if you feel that house-training isn’t working despite your best efforts, then there may be something wrong. Here are a few common issues that hinder house-training:
1. Health Problems
Many health issues can result in dogs peeing or pooping more than usual, and other medical conditions prevent dogs from going potty enough. It’s not uncommon for a urinary tract infection or some other ailment to make house-training next to impossible.
Keep up with regular vet visits to detect any health concerns early. If you’re having serious housetraining problems, ask your vet to check your puppy’s health.
2. Too Much Water
Your puppy may drink too much water and have to pee more frequently than they should. This may especially be true if your puppy drinks water before bed and has accidents at night.
That said, don’t limit your dog’s access to water right away. You don’t want to risk dehydration.
Instead, ask your vet for recommendations on how much water your dog needs. Individual puppies can vary in breed and size, so they often need different amounts of water to stay hydrated.
3. Being Too Relaxed On The Rules
While you shouldn’t punish your puppy for accidents, you shouldn’t coddle them too much either. For example, if you carry your dog outside like a baby instead of walking them out, they may refuse to go outside unless you hold them.
Also, if you bring your dog inside and reward them when they haven’t done their business outside–either with treats or lots of free time outside of the crate–then they’ll come inside with a full bladder and no incentive to go potty outdoors.
Don’t cave in! If your dog hasn’t gone to the bathroom after a few minutes outside, preferably on leash, return them to their crate and try again later.
4. Not Supervising
If your puppy goes through most of the day unsupervised and outside of the crate, then they’re bound to have accidents. There’s no one around to catch them in the act or read the signs that they need to go out.
Supervise your puppy as much as possible. Do not give them free access to all areas of your home if you can’t watch them. Limit your puppy to the room or area of the house where you can see them.
5. Learning To Go In The Wrong Place
As mentioned before, many dogs like to go potty in the same place over and over again. That’s great if your puppy’s potty area is outside, but not so great if they’ve learned to go inside the house.
If this is the case, then it may take longer for you to convince your pup to go outside again. After all, wouldn’t you find it hard to use an outhouse after years of indoor plumbing?
The solution for this problem is to make sure your puppy has no access whatsoever to the area they’re using as their toilet. Gate it off, close a door if you can, or watch your puppy like a hawk.
If your puppy consistently eliminates in their crate, this usually happens because a puppy was somehow forced to pee or poop in their living quarters. Maybe they were trapped in a crate for too long before you adopted them.
Puppies with this type of background often do best if you forego the crate and tether them either to you or to an object near you with a short leash during the day. You should double the frequency of your trips outside.
Most of all, remember to have patience, both for your puppy and for yourself. If all else fails, consult your vet and a professional trainer for advice. Almost every puppy can learn to be house-trained when their humans follow the right steps.