It is important to recognize that house breaking a puppy does not occur in days or weeks, but sometimes, in months. We have all heard the tale from a friend or relative – “I got my puppy house broken in one week.” Well, it really depends on their definition of house breaking. My definition is that a puppy can be left unsupervised for 6-8 hours and will not urinate or defecate in the house as well as not destroy anything in the home. Frankly, this takes time. I do not expect a puppy to be fully house broken until about 6 months of age based on this definition. So, remember, it takes time.
So, follow these tips to ensure success with house breaking:

TIP #1: Select a designated potty area where your puppy should always relieve themselves and stick to that spot.
Run your puppy to that area on a leash so they can’t get distracted and roam around. If you take your time getting your puppy to his or her spot, you may find that she pees or poops en route. Hurrying your puppy tends to “encourage” her the moment your let her stand still and sniff the designated area. When you get to that designated area, it is important to stay silent do not distract the puppy – you can simply say, “Go potty.” That is it – nothing more. Minimal distraction is the key. Finally, no more than 2-3 minutes in this area.

TIP #2: Puppies usually sniff the floor and start to circle before they go to the bathroom.
Look out for this after food, water, sleep, or playtime. It is a sign you must learn to recognize and means your puppy is ready to go outside and relieve herself. When you see this, bring your puppy out immediately to the yard or designated area.

TIP #3: Attach a bell to the door going to the yard where you take your puppy outside.
By the door going outside to the yard/area designated for your puppy – attach a string with a small bell onto the door handle. “Ring” this bell when going outside for a potty-break. This will make it easier for your puppy to learn to go outside to poop or pee.

TIP #4: Praise, Praise, Praise
If your puppy does eliminate outside in the right spot, then immediately reward him/her with a verbal praise. A “happy” voice that is encouraging to your puppy is the key. You can use a special treat only for this time – not to be used at any other time. This will help your puppy associate this area with praise or rewards.