House Training When You're NOT Home

Before you start reading this particular puppy house training article, I want to make one thing very clear -- by far the fastest and easiest way to housebreak a pup is by giving it your full-time attention.  However, I realize that occasionally that simply isn't possible or realistic.  If you have a new dog and you have to leave it home alone, here is a house training method that works.


First of all, you'll need an area that you can confine the puppy to while you're gone for the day.   You need an area with some room for your pet to move around in, a place to rest and eat, and room to do its business.  Also include a chew toy to prevent boredom.  A room with a vinyl floor is ideal, for example the bathroom.  If you have a second bathroom that you can dedicate to the dog during the housebreaking period, it will make things easier for you.

A good alternative is a used play pen.  Special puppy pens are also available and it often pays to invest in one, since you'll find many uses for it afterwards.  Puppy pens are designed to be dog-friendly, long-lasting, and convenient to store and set up.  Many people use them when travelling, vacationing, etc, or to keep their puppy in a specific area of the house, even after house training.

Set up you puppy pen or house training area by covering the entire floor with paper or puppy training pads.  To save money on the puppy pads, you can use just newspaper under the sleeping area and food and water bowls.  You don't need absorbent pads, but they do make cleanup a lot easier and most will reduce or eliminate wayward smells.

To begin with, your puppy will pee and poop all over the the housebreaking area you've set aside.  it will do what puppies do and chew on the papers or drag them around a little.  Multiple layers of paper can help prevent bare spots when it relocates the top layers.  However, it's best to just accept that puppies want to play.

As soon as you return home, clean up any messes in the pen, and put down fresh paper or pads.


During this phase of the puppy house training, it's developing a habit of doing its business on paper or pads.  As the days go by, it will start choosing a preferred place to pee and poop.  Once that location is well-established, it's time to slowly start removing the extra paper or pads.  The best place to start is under the sleeping area and under the food and water bowls.  After those have been removed, start with the coverings furthest away from the area your puppy has chosen to relieve itself, and slowly work towards it.

The secret to removing the paper is "slow and steady".  Pace yourself based on the puppy's success.  If the puppy ever pees or poops on a bare area of the floor, you've moved to fast.  Simply add more paper or pads and wait another day or too before continuing the removal process.

At some point, your puppy will consistently stick to the papers or one remaining pad.  When that happens, you can keep that one piece in the training area but with the door open/unblocked if it was in a bathroom.  If it was in a  puppy pen, you can open the gate or remove one panel.  If you were house training with an old play pen, then you'll have to set the paper or pad outside the pen but, preferably, right next to it.

Once you're confident that your puppy is used to this new-found freedom, but still using the designated paper or pad, slowly start moving it to the final housebreaking destination.  Typically, this will be closer and closer to a door, then just outside the door, then the appropriate place in the yard.


Congratulations!   You now have a house trained puppy.