Dog Housebreaking Schedule

Dog housebreaking can be difficult, especially if your dog already has the habit of eliminating in the house. To reduce this problem, it's important to set a schedule that will help you anticipate your dog's needs so you can catch him before he has an accident.

Keep a Journal

Every housebreaking schedule is different, since every dog can hold it a different amount of time depending on their age and experience living in a house. Your schedule needs to be geared toward your individual dog, so it's important to keep a journal of when and how often he goes.

Start feeding at the same time each day. This will help you predict when your dog will go. If your dog is used to free-feeding, don't worry. He will quickly get used to eating at a set time. If there is still food in the bowl after 15 minutes, pick it up and save it for the next mealtime. He'll get the idea.

Then, start recording when you take him out, what business he does and how often he goes on each trip outside. You'll start to see a pattern. Notice how long between bathroom breaks. This is your baseline.

Crate Training

Another important component of dog housebreaking is crate training. Your dog should not have free reign of the house until he's completely potty trained. If you can't watch him, he needs to be in his crate. Of course, you will want to increase the exercise during this time.

If you do have time to watch him, keep him in the room you're in. If he starts to wander off, that's probably a clue that he needs to go. If you see him start to sniff around, you can rush him outside and reward him for going in the right place.

Keep a small leash on him during this time so you can lead him to the door rather than carry him. If he learns to run to the door when he needs to go, he will beg at the door rather than staring at you, waiting for you to carry him, which can be misinterpreted as begging for attention.

Setting a Schedule

Once you've made the schedule, if you notice your dog has to relieve himself every hour, it's your job to take him out every hour. When you see that it's time, lead him outside. Let him go as many times as he normally would.

Don't do this on a walk, just out in the yard. The walk is the reward for doing his business. Dogs often learn that they have to go back inside after they've relieved themselves and hold it to prolong the walk. Don't get into this habit.

If he doesn't go during his allotted time (no need to wait longer than 5 minutes), put him back in his crate for another 15 to 30 minutes. Then, try again. If he goes, he is rewarded with an hour of house freedom. If not, back in the crate.

During the house freedom, remember your dog still must be in the same room as you. If you see him start to sniff, you still need to lead him outside. After an hour, repeat the process.

If your dog can hold it for four hours, you obviously don't have to take him out each hour. The dog housebreaking schedule completely depends on your pet, so vary as necessary.