The key to success when housebreaking your new puppy is timing and paying attention to the cues your puppy is giving you.
As far as timing is concerned, take your puppy outside immediately after eating, upon awakening or after playing. Initially taking your puppy outside for business every 2 hours will help avoid mistakes inside your home.
At Red Rock Doodles, we begin using a cue word once puppies are 4 weeks old. Whenever they are taken outside to potty and do their business, we cheer them on with “Hurry, hurry!” We also cheer them on and reward them once they have done their business with a “good girl/boy!” With consistent praise, your puppy will eventually potty on cue when they hear their cue words. There are lots of choices for cue words – “do your business”, “get busy”, etc – are other phrases that can work. Whatever you choose, consistency is the key to success.
Paying attention to behavior is also key to success when housebreaking your new puppy. Puppies will provide clues – nose to the ground, spinning in a circle, whining, pacing. When you notice these behaviors, it is time to head outdoors.
Lastly, remember that housebreaking is a process. Puppies, like children, have small bladders and don’t have the muscle control when they are really young to hold their bladders for too long. As they get older, their ability to control their urination improves. Patience is important. Reward the behaviors you want (pottying outside) and when an accident happens, say “no” if you see it happening and take them outside immediately. When they do potty outside, celebrate!