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Housetraining 101

Cydni True is an educated, experienced Dog Trainer & Behaviorist. She specializes in Reactive to Relaxed Dog Training.

Cyd with her teacup Chihuahua, Dorothy Barker.

Cyd with her teacup Chihuahua, Dorothy Barker.

Simple, effective Dog Training Solutions to Housetraining!

As a dog owner and a professional Dog Trainer, I understand firsthand the challenges and frustrations of housetraining. But I have good news! Following the below steps will transform your dog's "the world is my toilet" thinking into a well-trained, outside eliminator. It does require vigilance, consistency, patience and persistence, but you will get there! I know, because I have done it and IT WORKS!

Here are the steps:


Housetraining is really about managing the environment. Training a pup to not eliminate inside, starts with ensuring that the dog is ALWAYS within sight so she does not have the opportunity to eliminate inside and so that you can see the pup eliminate when outside. This can be achieved through several methods: securing the dog to a leash, setting up an exercise pen, closing off a small space such as the balcony area, etc. These tactics prevent the dog from having access to any space in which she can secretly “go”. Set up a bed, pee pads and water/food bowls within this confined area so that the dog begins to learn the difference between elimination spots, rest spots and consumption spots. Dogs, generally, do not want to eliminate where they eat/drink or rest, so setting up specific little areas for each will help the pup start to discern where to go inside the confined space.


The next thing to commit to is “interrupting” the dog each/every time they are eliminating indoors. Catch them in the act with a verbal "Unh Unh!" and rush over to physically move to the preferred location. This means you see that the pup is about to do her business and you pick her up and take her outside, as quickly as possible, even if it is midstream or mid-plop. As she finishes outside, you throw a huge celebration of praise, affection and treats. She has just won the reinforcement lottery by going outside.


Completed accidents that happen inside are ignored. The dog will not understand scolding of any sort and results in the pup being afraid to eliminate IN FRONT OF YOU! We are also always keeping the dog in your sights when outside. You will see the outdoor elimination and throw the reinforcement celebration. The goal is that the pup will begin to notice the difference between the silence when going inside compared to all she gets when she goes outside. Any sort of scolding or negativity about indoor accidents only teach the pup that it is not safe to go in front of humans. This results in the dog not eliminating outside on walks, because you are there, and the pup will continue to find secret places to go, when you cannot see. In other words, scolding and such only makes the problem worse and prolonges housetraining.

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I would take this pup outside every 60 minutes or less, whether it is placement in her confinement area or an outside walk. Be sure to set up the three separate spaces for consumption, rest and elimination, inside the confinement area. Always monitor the pup and throw a reinforcement celebration party every time they go in designated potty area and/or outside.


We will need to keep the dog in our sights 24/7 until she has gone three weeks without an indoor accident. Each and every indoor accident sets us back and the 3WK count starts over. This sounds like a long and arduous process, but when done right, we have a pup that is housetrained for life!


*Having said that, I do want to note that housetraining often needs to be reviewed with the dog after major life changes such as a house move, loss/introduction of a companion, etc. The good news is that, because the pup has the strong foundation established by her previous housetraining, this refresh will probably be very quick/successful!


  • Set up confined area
  • Set up three separate areas within confinement space: food/water, rest, elimination
  • Celebration party each and every time pup goes in designated spot and/or outside
  • Never have pup out of sight - indoors or outdoors
  • Three weeks without an indoor accident and the pup is trained!
  • Each indoor accident during this time period is a setback and training starts from Day 1
  • Life changes and/or medical issues can cause indoor elimination and a need for a medical exam and for housetraining review

© 2022 Cydni T True

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