House Training: Creating Long Term Success

MARCH 18, 2019 Written by Puppy Love London Dog Trainer from

House Training: Creating Long Term Success


As trainers, we often receive emails from owners with new puppies hoping for some tips and advice to speed the housebreaking process up. It can be frustrating, annoying and set backs tend to create panic for dog owners. “Will my dog ever pee outside or let me know she has to?” The answer is yes but….

The bad news with housebreaking is that there is no real way to ‘speed it up’. The learning process is entirely dependent on your dog, your routine, and your ability to manage your pup (which we will dive into in this post!). It goes without saying that you should face the reality that you will likely be cleaning up an accident or two! And that is OK. This is all a part of the house breaking experience, and I promise you once it is done, it will be a vague memory and you can move on to other behavioural goals for your dog.

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Oh so cute but a lot of work goes into house breaking puppies!

What we can do to ensure success for your dog’s house training is to keep management and routines predictable and consistent.

The general rule with young puppies is that their age correlates with the length of time they can feasibly ‘hold’ their bladder for. For example, two months would correlate to two hours of bladder control for this age. As the dog matures in age, so to does their bladder control. As trainers, we tend to play this rule on the safe side and instead suggest you take your new puppy out every 30 minutes to an hour. Yes. You read that right.


  • It is a lot easier to ensure our dogs can hold their bladders for an hour first before trying two hours and continuously cleaning up accidents while blaming the dog. Once your puppy has gone a stretch of time with no accidents, we can build upon it.

  • We need to take into account how active young puppies are and how that affects their ability to hold their bladder. Dogs can easily learn to hold their bowels and bladder overnight for seven hours – because they are sleeping! Like you and I, inactivity causes their bodies to naturally slow down but this is not typical during the day when pups are active and consuming liquids/food consistently.

For this reason, we always recommend starting bathroom breaks in small increments and building your dogs bladder control slowly. To simplify the process, The Leash Rack has created a schedule for you to follow and build upon for success!

If you have a new adult dog and you have little history of the dog’s house breaking routine – this post is still helpful and the schedule can be applied easily. You can start with hourly ‘pee breaks’ or communicate directly with the adoption agency/foster home to see what their particular routine was like. It is important to note that a change in homes and routines can cause any dog who has mastered house breaking to regress. Stress and environmental factors can cause dogs to have setbacks so it is important to be forgiving and understanding as you navigate through the experience.

Here is a rough outline of what your new puppys day may look like, with potty breaks and activity built in.


– puppy wakes up, potty time

– play with your pup, train them, feed breakfast


– potty time, crate time/quiet time

If you work during the day, leave a pee pad out or have a friend or a hired dog walker help let your pup out. New dogs should not be left alone for the entire work day. We strongly recommend the use of a crate for times you’re away or an expen. Don’t know where to start? Check out our previous Crate Training Post here!


– potty time , play with puppy, train puppy, supervised quiet time


– potty time, play time, training time

– lunch time

– potty your dog after feeding, or within the hour


– play time / train time, potty time

– quiet supervised time


– potty time, supervised play, a walk

– dinner followed by a potty break


– wind down time, chew time, potty time


– potty the dog and bed time

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Once, a long time ago little Ebony had to master this skill too!


  • If your dog has an accident, try to interrupt them gently and redirect them outside. If you miss it, tough luck! Clean up the mess and make note of what may have caused this accident , and resolve to manage your dog better

  • Clean your accident spots with a cleaner designed for dog urine – Natures Miracle is a popular product and sold at most pet stores. This cleaner breaks down the enzymes in urine that create the pattern of ‘marking’ in dogs, and it works on all types of surfaces.

  • Use your crate! Crate training speeds up potty training because dogs are reluctant to pee/poop where they eat and sleep. The golden rule for house breaking is if your dog cannot be directly supervised, she should be in her crate!

  • Manage the amount of freedom your dog has. If your dog has come inside from the yard without doing her business, then she should not be allowed to roam free in the home with a potentially full bladder

  • After play, exercise or exciting events (ie: meeting a new family member!) are the most overlooked times when a dog may have an accident, so after playing with your dog try to take them out as soon as possible! A helpful tip to remember this? Think of the fact that we always use the washroom after a busy activity or before bed time. The same goes for our pets.

  • Reward your dog for pottying outside. This is a big deal and you want to encourage this and celebrate it – but don’t celebrate too early as your pup could get excited and distracted before finishing up.

  • If your dog is easily distracted or hyper, try to take your dog out into your yard on a leash to encourage them to potty quickly. If you are in a condo or apartment with no yard, take your dog out on leash and heavily reward a fast potty. If your dog prefers a certain spot, take them to that spot immediately.

As your dog grows and they begin to learn their ‘bathroom’ routine, you can start to increase the amount of time they go without a potty break. For example, a dog that has had no accidents for a week and a half at a one hour interval can try holding it in for one and a half to two hours!

We get it. It is a lot of work. No one says house breaking is easy, but the more diligent you are in the beginning the better your dogs bathroom habits will be. If your dog is having many accidents, cut back the time they are ‘holding it in’ for, follow the schedule above, increase your management and make use of your crate to build it back up again!

Happy Training

Bringing a New Pet Home: Crate Training - The First Night

MARCH 10, 2019

Crate Training: The First Night

Written by Puppy Love London Dog Trainer, Sophia Barquero at her blog at

Bringing home a new dog, regardless of its age is a very exciting time until it comes to bed time!

With new puppies, owners often face that dreaded first night together where a puppy may cry or bark when isolated from their family.

With an older dog, it is tempting to leave them out solo to test the waters – an adult dog can’t cause too much havoc, right? Sometimes this backfires and you end up waking up to quite the mess.

So regardless of your dogs age, you face the same questions that first night with your new companion.

  • How do we get your dog to settle through the night?

  • How do we lessen the pet guilt we feel over doing it?

  • Do we let them cry it out, or let them sleep with us just this once?  

For starters, its important to understand that crates can offer both safety and comfort to dogs, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with using one. Safety is important for young dogs or dogs who are generally destructive, and comfort can be taken from the crate as it serves its purpose; a bedroom for your dog. Most dogs crave a den like atmosphere and quiet space naturally when winding down, however as they build their bond with their humans they also want to be close to us. Crate training is thus often made to be the ‘barrier’ for dogs and their humans and this can cause distress and anxiety when they are being forced in there away from their people.

On that first night with your new dog, be sure to set up their sleeping pen or crate in your room. At least for the first few nights, they should be reassured of your presence. In the long term, having your dog crated elsewhere is absolutely possible and in most cases preferable, but those first few nights with new puppy are not the time to test it out.  We have to remember that not only is this a big change for you and your family, but for your dog as well. It is likely the first time your puppy has been without it’s mother and siblings, and for older dogs it is likely the first time they have been in a home or have been outside of their foster home. It can be distressing. So set up a cozy area next to your bed, and make the environment comfortable by adding items your breeder or foster home sent home with you and that smell like their previous home.

Once you are ready for quiet time, lure your dog inside of their crate or pen and feed them a few extra treats in there as you close the door. If it is a wired crate, you can continue feeding through the wires. If it is a mesh or fabric crate, you can keep the sides opened up to reach in and feed them. Don’t wander too far, and plan to stay in that room and head to bed with them.

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It is easy to feed and comfort your dog in these fabric crates!

This is where you may hit a road block. Most dogs do not have an issue with a closed in space; its our absence that we need to start training for.  This is why you will remain in the room, close by. Ideally your crate should be so close to your bed that your arm can reach out and touch it. Plan to reassure your puppy and wake up through the night to let them out to potty, but this is what makes this sleep training trick that much easier! You are right there for them to let you know they need to go, and to comfort them easily back to sleep, avoiding a crazy and playful puppy at 3am. You simply lure them back inside, close the door and are within arms reach if they need you.

Its pretty similar to the child who has nightmares and opts to sleep with their parents – eventually that goal is for the child to sleep solo, but there is nothing wrong with offering comfort while they adjust to their new reality.


During the day is when you can make some headway on crate training appropriately. First, starting with duration (how long can your dog hang out in there quietly?) before adding distance (how far can you go from the crate before your dog panics?)

Examples of scenarios when you can practice these sessions include

  • when you are cooking, move your crate towards the kitchen and have your dog hang out in there while you are in view. You can toss a few rewards for calmness or offer a frozen kong to occupy them, but otherwise she is learning to relax , confined, in your presence

  • if you are tidying up the house or a particular room, placing your dog in her crate while you move around the room casually can help start to build some tolerance for your absence. You can reward her calm behaviour as you move about too!

If you work from home, this set up is easy to implement in your routine but if you don’t we recommend having friends come and help you out with your new pup for pee breaks or hire a dog walking service to keep routines consistent for you. Regardless of your work routine however, crate training should be happening outside of the hours where you leave your dog alone. This is especially true if your dog dislikes it from the get go or needs more motivation to enter it. Training should be done on weekends or evenings.

Surviving that first night is something to be proud of! Rest assured most dogs settle into their new routines quickly and without fuss, but setting them up for success by slowly moving them away from your bedroom will get you on the right path faster and with less trauma (on both ends of the leash).

Need some visuals of what a training scenario may look like? Check out the video of little Bailey learning to tolerate distance while relaxing in her crate. Keep your training sessions short and successful!

Do you have two minutes?

Do you have 2 minutes of free time in your day? GREAT! Then you have time to practice some engagement with your walking! 

The goal in these sessions is to reward glances in my direction - essentially building value for ‘checking in with me’. Your dogs learns through trial and error that pulling or ignoring won't get him far - if your dog pulls you around on leash when training, simply stop moving. There are only so many places they can go! Once they offer a glance your way, THAT is the behaviour you want to repeat-  so mark it “YES!” and reward.
When dogs are in new environments the tendency is for them to zone out and ignore you - this is normal especially if it is a highly distracting environment. It's up to us to teach the dog a little focus+engagement in ALL environments earns you  freedom! Always give a clear end signal to your training sessions - “all done!"

As always start this exercise easy -
In the home, in your yard and down your driveway/street are all good examples of quiet and non overwhelming places to start this training.
Once your dog has the ability to check in with you without nagging or reminding, the foundation is set for a nice loose leash walk!

  • Written by Sophia Barquero

*photo by Julie Whalen Photography

*photo by Julie Whalen Photography