Preventing Accidents

Please refer to the relieving guidelines chart and relieving log in addition to this article.

  • Usually pups need to relieve at these times.
    • First thing in the morning
    • After playing, eating, or napping
    • After a new experience, training, or being exercised
  • Learn how frequently your pup needs busy breaks.
    • Young puppies need to relieve frequently, but older pups learn to wait until given the opportunity.
  • Do not allow your puppy to drink too much water before bedtime.
    • Do not limit their water too early, but remove water an hour or two before bedtime.
    • Always offer an opportunity to relieve after their last meal and before bedtime.
  • Read your pup’s body language.
    • Some pups slow down, pause frequently, vocalize, or start sniffing the ground.
  • Take your young puppy out every time they signal even if it’s late at night.
  • Be patient and consistent.

Set up for success

  • Always have your puppy in their crate when you cannot supervise them.
  • Make sure the crate is not too large that they can soil in one area and still be comfortable.
    • A crate divider or a box to take up space should prevent your puppy from soiling their crate.
  • Supervise and watch your puppy’s body language. If they are in their crate or supervised there will be less opportunity for accidents.
  • Always take your puppy to the same area to relieve themselves.
  • If you catch your puppy relieving inside the house gently correct them.
    • Do not correct your puppy after the accident has already occurred.
    • If you catch them relieving, take the puppy outside to finish relieving.
  • Do not scold or hit your puppy. Do not rub their nose in the accident.
  • Praise your puppy if they finish relieving outside.

If your puppy has an accident in the house it is important to clean the area as soon as possible. Puppies will be drawn to the area where they have already relieved. Most grocery and pet stores have effective cleaners that will deodorize the area and prevent staining.

Relieving without permission for puppies over 5 months old

  • If you are in a public place and your puppy indicates they need to busy tell your puppy NO, place them into a sit for about 1 minute, and, if possible, take your puppy home to busy.
    • Taking them home will teach the puppy they have to relieve only when asked to do so.
    • If you feel your puppy cannot wait to get home to busy take them to a close, appropriate busy area.
  • If you are in a situation where you can act more dramatically, give a sharp leash correction and more intense verbal correction to disrupt the relieving. Firmly place your puppy in a sit for several minutes and then take them home to their designated busy area. Your puppy should be praised enthusiastically when they relieve in their designated busy area.
  • Remember that your puppy should not ask to relieve by pulling or indicating. They should be given a time and place by you – this will prevent accidents and the development of undesirable habits.

If your puppy continues to have accidents or you are having problems establishing a busy routine please contact your area coordinator or advisor.