What Is the Best Way to Potty Train a Dog?

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Potty training for a dog entails rewarding it for doing its business outside and discouraging it from soiling the inside of the home, according to the ASPCA. Puppies and some older dogs require firm and consistent training to learn where they are allowed to eliminate.

In most cases, puppies can be house trained by the time they are 4 or 6 months old. Owners should take them for walks outside just before going to bed at night, after waking in the morning, and following meals, naps and play time. Dogs need to be watched closely for signs that they need to urinate or defecate, which include pacing, whining and circling.

Upon seeing a dog relieving itself inside, owners should clap their hands a couple times to get the animal's attention. The pup can then be quickly led outside to finish its business. Hitting a dog or pushing its nose into the mess it just made is ineffective. If the pet is not caught in the act, nothing can be done. A dog does not understand scolding or other punishment for past actions.

It is also crucial to reward a dog for doing the right thing. An owner should praise the pet and give it treats for eliminating outside. Puppies learn the lesson quicker if they are taken to the same spot in the yard every time.