As with most things in life, there are hard ways and there are easy ways to get things done. Rubbing a puppy's nose in a mess is an inappropriate way to housetrain. Using ample amounts of supervision and positive reinforcement is the easy way.
Starting Off On the Right Track
The first course of action in housetraining is to promote the desired behavior. You need to:
By occasionally giving a food reward immediately after your dog finishes, you can encourage him to eliminate in the desired area. The odor left from previous visits to that area will quickly mark it as the place for the pup to do his business.
Timing Is Important!
A six- to eight-week old puppy should be taken outdoors every one to three hours. Older puppies can generally wait longer between outings. Most puppies should be taken out:
Eliminating On Command
To avoid spending a lot of time waiting for your puppy to get the job done, you may want to teach him to eliminate on command. Each time he is in the act of eliminating, simply repeat a unique command, such as "hurry up" or "potty", in an upbeat tone of voice. After a few weeks of training, you will notice that when you say the command your puppy will begin pre-elimination sniffing, circling, and then eliminate shortly after you give the command. Be sure to praise him for his accomplishments.
Most puppies will eliminate within an hour after eating. Once you take control of your puppy's feeding schedule, you will have some control over when he needs to eliminate.
Expect Some Mistakes
Left on his own, the untrained puppy is very likely to make a mistake. Close supervision is a very important part of training. Do not consider your puppy housetrained until he has gone at least four consecutive weeks without eliminating in the house. For older dogs, this period should be even longer. Until then:
When you are away from home, sleeping, or if you are just too busy to closely monitor your pet's activities, confine him to a small, safe area in the home.
If your puppy squats and urinates when he greets you, he may have a problem called submissive urination. Dogs and puppies that urinate during greetings are very sensitive and should never be scolded when they do this, since punishment inevitably makes the problem worse.
Most young puppies will grow out of this behavior if you are calm, quiet, and avoid reaching toward the head during greetings. Another helpful approach is to calmly ask your dog to sit for a very tasty treat each time someone greets him.
Direct Him Away from Problem Areas
Urine and fecal odor should be thoroughly removed to keep your dog from returning to areas of the home where he made a mess.
Don't Make Things Worse
It is a rare dog or puppy that can be housetrained without making an occasional mess, so you need to be ready to handle the inevitable problems.
Do not continue to scold or correct your dog after he has stopped soiling. When he stops, quickly take him outdoors so that he will finish in the appropriate area and be praised.
Never rub your dog's nose in a mess. There is absolutely no way this will help training, and may actually make him afraid of you.
The basic principles of housetraining are pretty simple, but a fair amount of patience is required. The most challenging part is always keeping an eye on your active dog or puppy. If you maintain control, take your dog outdoors frequently, and consistently praise the desirable behavior, soon you should have a house trained canine companion.
Training a puppy to be comfortable in a crate is a popular way to provide safe confinement during housetraining. The majority of puppies will rapidly accept crate confinement when you make the introduction fun. Since it is important to associate favorable things with the area where your puppy is confined, it is a good idea to play with him there, or simply spend some time reading or watching television nearby as he relaxes with a favorite chew toy. If he is only in the area when you leave, it becomes a social isolation area that he eventually may resist entering.
A good time to start crate training is at dinner time. Feed your puppy his dinner, one piece at a time, by tossing pieces of kibble into the crate for him to chase and eat. This way, you can make a game out of training.
When you pick up his toys, store them in the crate so he will enter on his own to play. You may even want to occasionally hide a biscuit in the crate as a nice surprise.
You should not use the crate for periods that exceed the length of time the pet can actually control the urge to urinate or defecate. If you are gone for long periods each day, you will need to provide a larger confinement area. You may want to consider using an exercise pen or small room.
Provide an area large enough so that if your puppy has to eliminate when you are gone, he can do it in a space that is separate from his sleeping area. A 15- to 30-square foot area is adequate for most puppies. If he chooses a specific place to eliminate, cover it with paper to make clean up easier.