How to Housebreak a Dog

With kindness, time, and lots of newspapers, you can train your dog to go to the bathroom outside of the house.

You will need

  • Lots of patience
  • Newspapers
  • White vinegar
  • Liquid detergent
  • Odor-masking spray

Step 1 Keep the papers in one spot Choose one area, such as a back bedroom or the bathroom, and lay down three layers of newspapers on the floor. This will become your dog’s “potty place” in the house. During the times that no one is at home, keep your pet confined to the potty place.

Step 2 Watch for warning signs Whenever your dog crouches, sniffs the ground, or walks in circles, take them outside; these typically mean they “gotta go.” While they’re relieving themselves, speak a voice command such as “Go pee” or “Go outside.”

Step 3 Transition them outside As your dog gets used to going outdoors, the next time you see one of the warning signs, ask your dog if they have to “Go pee” or “Go outside” and then take them into the backyard. Give them lots of praise after they’ve gone to the bathroom outside the house.

Step 4 Accidents do happen While your dog is learning, accidents will happen. If they relieve themselves in another part of the house, say “No!” Then firmly pick them up and take them to their potty place. After your dog has finished doing their business in the right spot, praise them for going in the right spot.

Step 5 Hide the scent Clean up an accident with 1/4 cup white vinegar and a squirt of liquid detergent mixed with 1 quart warm water. Scrub the area with this mixture and then spray it with an odor-masking product found at pet stores. This will keep your puppy from coming back to this area.

Step 6 Smaller targets Over time, reduce the number of papers in the potty place. This will teach your dog to go in one small spot. Within a few weeks, you should be able to stop using papers totally – your dog is now housebroken!