We all love our new puppies. They are cute and cuddly, fun and playful. We enjoy almost every aspect of being a new puppy owner. Except for that one thing that we all have to contend with, house training.
House training can be the most frustrating part of being a new puppy parent. But the fact of the matter is, your puppy is just a baby. He can not be expected to know how to control himself and always go when and where you want. It is up to you, the new puppy owner, to understand your puppies needs, physiology, behavior and ability to learn.
When you first bring your puppy home you will need to be vigilant about watching him and taking him out regularly. At 12 weeks old a puppy may need to go out as often as every 15-20 minutes during the day and at times of play. A resting puppy may be able to last an hour or more and hopefully as your puppy starts sleeping through the night, he will be able to last 8 hours or so. Activity creates urine so when your puppy is playing and romping he will need to go more often.
At 12-15 weeks of the age you can not expect to be able to rely on your puppy to tell you that it is time to go out, as that is beyond his current comprehension level. It is up to you as the responsible new puppy owner to accommodate his needs and spend the time and energy to teach him until he is old enough to control himself and he has learned enough to communicate with you. Therefore, when your puppy first comes home, you may need to take him out as much as 2-3 times per hour.
Use a leash and take him to the spot where you would like him to do his duty and be very boring. Your puppy needs to know that this is not the time or the place to sniff around, play and explore. This is the time to be serious and finish business. Use a command such as "potty now", "quickly" or "hurry up". It is also useful to use different commands for his different needs, for example, "potty now" for urination and "poop now" for defecation. The actual words that you use are not important but it is very important to be consistent.
Also, with house training you should repeat the command over and again until he does it. Both of you will develop a habit and very soon you will only need to say it once and he will do it. Potty training is the only time you should repeat a command while you are training your dog. After your puppy completes the elimination task, reward him or her with a treat, some lavish praise and even a short playtime.
When you are not actively playing with your puppy or anytime you are away, you should also use a crate. This will also help you with your house training. By nature, dogs are den animals. They crave the safety of a smaller "home" of their own. A crate gives them this space that is their own and a small bathroom or laundry room will just not be the same. Also dogs by nature tend to keep their own areas clean and a puppy will not generally soil his or her own space.
A crate will help him learn to control himself. A crate will help you to make sure that your puppy does not develop bad habits and you will have a happier puppy. You will also enjoy knowing that your puppy is safe and happy when you are doing other things and you can not have him underfoot. At the very beginning he or she may fuss in the crate so just make sure that he has a soft blanket or pillow and a chew toy and do not respond to the fussing by taking him out and soon he will adjust to his new home in the crate.
Soon your puppy will be completely house trained and you both will have developed the communication you need to eliminate accidents in the house. Proper house training takes only a few, short weeks but it is the probably the most important aspect of becoming a new puppy owner.