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Daniela Linsbauer Hundetraining

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Daniela Linsbauer Hundetraining

A new member of the family comes into the house – the joy of the new dog parents is great. Getting your puppy house-trained is a big issue at first. The following 10 tips are sure to help you to get your beloved puppy clean. You can read about the most common mistakes in housetraining and how to avoid them here. 

How do I get my puppy clean?

1. Curiosity and excitement prevent your puppy getting clean.

Everything is completely new to the puppy and he might miss something. The little puppy is confronted with so many unbelievable stimuli that he can’t filter at first. Often he just doesn’t have time to pee. 

Often it happens that the puppy doesn’t even let go during a long walk. However, as soon as he comes home, a little mishap happens.

Suggested solution:

  • Provide a quiet environment where the puppy can empty itsself. Avoid all potential distractions, such as other people and dogs. After he made his business, he is welcome to romp with his friends again and pursue exciting smells.
  • Cheering – “Make pee pee” – also creates pressure and distracts the puppy too much. 
  • Sometimes it is also helpful to declare a certain spot as a “pee zone”.

2. Not noticing or knowing the dog’s signals.

With puppies, the span between becoming aware of the need to urinate and urinating is often very short. Nevertheless, they indicate it in their “doggy” way that they need to relieve themselves. Some turn in circles, become frantic, whimper or sniff the floor. You have to know the dogs language.

Suggested solution:

  • If you want to get to know your puppy, you have to watch it a lot. Every dog has a kind of “ritual” or signal just before it squats. You must not miss this start signal.
  • When the puppy shows the start signal to get loose, you have to be quick and make sure he gets outside as soon as possible.
  • Sometimes it helps to lift the puppy (preferably on signal) because then he cannot pee out of reflex. As he cannot “pinch off” it does not help to lift him up while he is peeing.

3. Fear & insecurity: If the puppy feels threatened, it has no need to detach itself at all.

Not everything the puppy sees, smells or hears leaves a positive impression. Sometimes the puppy simply has a negative association with a certain dog or smell and encounters this one dog, of all things, right after the front door. Then the emotion of fear is simply stronger than the urge to disengage.

Suggested solution:

  • Again, it is important to look for a quiet environment (“pee zone”).
  • A puppy’s self-confidence can be increased with small “tests of courage”.
  • Sometimes the puppy simply lacks the experience that new things are not bad. Allowing the puppy to gain positive experiences is certainly of great importance here. 

4. Cheers and shouts: Who has time to pee?

It is not uncommon to hear the best tip that you should praise the dog exuberantly as soon as it squats down. But if you start shouting for joy at the exact moment, the dwarf will probably want to join in and probably forget the essentials. 

Suggested solution:

  • Quiet praise is enough, even during the toileting.
  • Sometimes he can also be rewarded with a treat after solving.
  • The biscuits shouldn’t be too good either, otherwise your four-legged friend won’t be able to pee because of the joyful anticipation or will hold something back.

5. Impatience & pressure: No one can pee under these conditions.

Pressure creates stress – stress creates fear and insecurity. This certainly prevents the puppy from loosening up. Everything is new for the puppy, it first has to adapt and adjust to you and your rhythm. That takes time.

Suggested solution:

  • Schedule time for a relaxed walk. Simply set the alarm earlier and always plan a time buffer.
  • Breathe deeply and take it with humour. It sounds banal now, but the puppy senses the tension.
  • If you are pressed for time or are already annoyed, ask someone else (family member, dog sitter) to go for a walk (if possible).
dog harness that fits your dog

6. Illness or wrong food leads to diarrhoea or frequent toileting.

Sometimes the answer is so simple and obvious and the puppy “just” has a pure bladder infection. Occasionally the puppy simply does not tolerate the food. Especially with a change of food, the digestion can go crazy.

Suggested solution:

  • Consider changing the food.
  • If a change of food does not help, please consult a veterinarian. Have the faeces and urine examined.

7. Misattribution, misunderstandings & wrong habits

Some puppies learn to walk on a crate at the breeder. This puppy then thinks that he has a “mobile toilet” available at all times. Also, going home immediately after release, may be perceived by the puppy as punishment.

Suggested solution:

  • Go outside from the beginning and do without a puppy toilet, so that not every carpet is mistaken for a toilet.
  • The puppy should be allowed to experience exciting things after it has done its business and should not associate doing its business with stopping its walk. 
  • Ask the breeder how the puppy was trained to be house-trained.
  • If the puppy has made the wrong connection, simply start the housetraining all over again.

8. Punishment for a mishap

Unfortunately, punishing for a mishap can quickly lead to incorrect associations. The puppy then does not dare to leave the house in the presence of the human. Then he looks for a “secret” place. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not have a guilty conscience. They merely react appeasingly to the “threatening” behaviour. Old-fashioned methods, such as dipping the puppy’s nose in its urine, are also guaranteed to be unsuccessful. The puppy does not understand what it has done wrong. 

Suggested solution:

  • Ignore mishaps and praise positive things. Simply wipe it away without comment, done.
  • Praise the puppy for solving the problem outdoors, but as mentioned earlier, please don’t shout for joy.
  • If nothing else helps and the puppy has become stressed about releasing, please consult a professional.

9. Wrong rhythm when walking the dog

Just like us humans, every dog has its own rhythm that you should follow. Of course, it can happen that the puppy has to pee again 20 minutes after going for a walk.

Suggested solution:

  • As a general rule, the puppy must go to the potty after eating and also after playing or other excitement.
  • Dogs also have a “night’s rest”. In any case, it is important that the puppy is able to relieve itself again directly before going to bed.
  • It is usually unnecessary to set an alarm clock during the night and go out every 2 hours. The sleeping place should be positioned in such a way that you notice (acoustically) when the puppy wakes up. Then it is time to go outside again. 
  • You may want to put up a “puppy fence” around the bed. As a rule, dogs do not get loose from the place where they sleep.

10. Incorrect or insufficient cleaning of soiled surfaces

Dogs are more likely to defecate where there is already a smell of urine/ faeces. Usually such a place then becomes a “solution place”. Even if we humans constantly clean the spot and can no longer detect the urine smell, the dog still smells it.

Suggested solution:

  • Clean soiled areas in the flat with special cleaning agents (enzyme cleaners), which can be bought in a specialist shop. The fine urine crystals that develop within a very short time can only be removed with special agents.
Welpe macht draußen Pipi


Some puppies take a little longer, so be patient. Show understanding if your puppy has to go to the potty at short intervals. We humans didn’t learn to sleep without a nappy overnight either. And no one has ever managed to housebreak their puppy within a few days. Getting your puppy clean is a matter of time. Forgive mishaps and keep at it.