Auggie's a good puppyWhen housebreaking is done correctly, puppies should eliminate only outside and in the place of your choosing. Puppies should be 100% housebroken by 10 to 12 weeks of age...

When I moved to Malibu California in 1994, I changed my company’s name from ABC Dog Training to Malibu Dog Training to reflect the locale of my new clientele.

After arriving in Malibu, I found the number one issue pet owners needed help with was “housebreaking” (or house-soiling). Within the next few years, I became an expert at housebreaking dogs. My clients had the big-big houses, with big-big expectations from their trainer (me).

They led very busy lives and many of them weren’t fully on board with the concept that they might have to participate in the training of their dogs. Often times the task was delegated to live-in house keepers, personal assistants or the kids. For the house-keepers and assistants, their hands were already full maintaining the homes and lives of their employers. As for the kids, (with a few exceptions) they were living the lives of Malibu kids and training the dog was not first on their list of priorities.

So, the challenge for me was to create a winning formula for the owner, housekeeper, assistant or child so the dog learned good behavior quickly and with the least amount of wear and tear on the dog (and the dog’s care-taker).

When housebreaking is done correctly, the puppies shouldn’t eliminate inside the home (or very few times), and should be eliminating outside in the place of your choosing. With just a few weeks of practice, a young puppy can be 100% housebroken by 10 to 12 weeks of age.

Auggie's a good puppy
Auggie’s a good puppy

The speed at which housebreaking can take, depends on several things; the owners knowledge, the owners attention to the process, the breed, age of dog, where the puppy came from (pet shop, shelter, breeder) and how big your home is. There are many short cuts that can help speed things along. If you’ve had more than 4 weeks of practice with no success,  you’ll need a professional dog trainer to teach you how to train your dog.

Other than calling me to set up an appointment, I’ve made a video tutorial to help people properly crate train their dog.

 Comments are very welcome… Do you have a housebreaking nightmare?


  1. your website is great. it is well written and very informative. i am sure you will be helpful to many many dog owners. love, mom

  2. Great housebreaking tips! I do have a rather challenging case, & would appreciate any suggestions that you may have…my dog was already about a yr. old when I adopted him, & he had not been neutered. I tried crate training him, but he “marks” everywhere, & everything! After having to steam clean the carpet 3 times the first 2 months, I finally put one of those “male diapers” on him. It has solved th problem of urine in my high rise apartment. I have placed potty pads for him on the balcony, & he gets treats when he goes there. He is good about that, but even though I finally got him neutered on the advice of a second opinion vet, he still makes boo boos indoors! He does seem to be marking less, though.
    Please, any suggestions are welcome! I love my baby…just not the mess!

  3. Thanks Bryan- your welcome. Yes, we all need a little , OK a lot of support from friends and family, especially when it comes to the internet. So many dog trainers out there, I occasionally ask, why bother?, but I do feel I have something to contribute. Thanks again Bryan, for listening.

  4. Hello Donna,

    Appreciate you visiting my site, I hope you’ve subscribed so you will be notified when I post something new, second I’m hoping you have already read my blogs through-out the site? Although I may not directly blog about “housebreaking” you will learn how other things are directly or indirectly connected. Having your dog understand the difference between right and wrong or in your case safe and not safe, is part of your solution.
    I’m not very much of a suggestions kinda trainer. suggestions or training tips are only effective when you explain the other 95% reason your suggesting them. That takes time and knowledge about each individual situation.It’s my fault for leading people to think I can help everyone if they contact me and I’ve just changed the housebreaking blog to reflect that. I try to give as much free info on my site as possible but I have to charge for any personalized advice. I offer Skype lessons for a discount to what I charge for private in-home lessons. Let me know if your interested. hope to talk to you soon. Robert


  5. I just purchased a purebred German Shepherd puppy. She is 7 weeks old. I take her out regularly and she does fair. Sometimes when she doesn’t go & I bring her back inside, she will then squat down and pee on the carpet. I’m also using the crate to help things along. Anything I may be missing??

  6. Hello Laura,

    First, 7 weeks old is very young, you can’t expect success so soon, I usually recommend people get a puppy after 8 wks. (Not just for housebreaking reasons). Young puppies eliminate frequently, it will take a few weeks for those muscles and knowledge to fully develop. Have you watched my video tutorial on crate training? Check it out on my YouTube channel. If you were a client of mine, I would give you a few things to do after your pup is 8 wks old.

  7. Hello, I seen you video on crate training. My puppy is almost 10 weeks and he was going very good with not going to potty in the carte, he has now started to go in the crate more often the before. What can I do to get him back on track. I have two dogs, the oldest is 5 months and I was hopping that he would be a good example for my pup.

  8. Hi ,your blog was just pointed out to me today from Sharon K. I am on my third generation of breeding borders along with the beardies. I do not at this time have any affected dogs or know of any but would it help to send in blood of dogs NOT affected? for the base study? My ages run the gammit of 12 years down to two years?cheers and hope all is well Kathy Pavlich

  9. Hello,

    1. Give him more bathroom breaks. 2. Have him stay inside crate less until he gains more muscle control. 3. Wear an old sweater for 5 minutes, then place it on the bottom of the crate for him to lay on, especially during the time he might be eliminating inside. 4. Reduce the amount of space with a ceramic plant pot (upside down of course), a piece of plywood or a cardboard box (unless he’s a chewer). 5. OR for just a few weeks, he may need to spend time in a puppy pen Or small area (room) with his crate at one end and simulated grass (or real grass) at the other end (toys in the middle). Tell your friends about me and keep me updated with your progress.

  10. Hi! We recently adopted a 12 week old German shepherd who was always outside in a kennel, we have been following all the tips for crate training and he still wets in his crate and in the house, he also poos in the house. I’m not sure what we are doing wrong. I am home with him all day as are my kids, and he goes out very often and is always given 10-15 min outside to eliminate.

  11. Not being taken out at key times, left in crate too long, watching him outside walking in figure 8’s till he eliminates. moving the crate around, put an old sweater in the crate to lay on. Did you watch the video? 2-6 weeks to housebreak

  12. Love your crate/potty training video. Just got 12 week Morkie from breeder two weeks ago. Been bell training to go potty outside 1.5 weeks. Was doing fairly well until last 3 days. Likes to pee in her crate even after going potty an hour ago in crate and in the morning. I have small crate for her just enough to turn and lay down. I had old towel for her to lay down in. Do I take towel away so it might discourage her more (lay in it) not to pee? She seems smart but are Morkies stubborn? During working days she is crated for 4 hours intervals tops and 7-8 hours at night. Only whines 2-3 minutes after u put her in crate then quiet. We only feed/drink at 6 am and 4 pm. I’m worried she hasn’t got this down and everyone we talk to says she should by 12 weeks of age. Jumping the gun? She has yet to ring bell on her own, too. We take her paw and show her but she has yet to do it herself. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  13. So, for 2 weeks you’ve been following the advice in my video? if not, start over. Only then, You can place an old sweater (with your smell) on the bottom, dogs don’t like to urinate on you (that’s why the sweater) sometimes a bed that your puppy lays on outside the crate, can go inside.

    I don’t recommend using a bell, never have. If you’re not supervising your new puppy 100% when loose around the house, along with giving your puppy frequent trips outside, then you’re not raising/teaching the puppy correctly. by doing this you learn to read your puppy and your puppy learns which door to stand near waiting for you to open the door.

    If you insist on using the bell, don’t worry about it now, your puppy is too young anyway. 4-6 months is a better time to focus on that behaviour

  14. Hello,
    Great videos on IG – I love watching Didga and Boomer!
    We have a 12 year old male cat (tabby) at home who recently lost his sister, who was with him his whole life. He is perfectly behaved.

    We got a female Bengal kitten who is now 4 months old to keep him company. We got her at just under 3 months. They get along well but we have a terrible time with inappropriate elimination. I now have three litter boxes, one of which is covered and they are in different areas, not near the food. I use silica litter. The kitty had giardia and diarrhea until recently (now prasite free according to stool culture and the diarrhea is resolving) but she never ever eliminates solid waste inthe box! When she has to go, she will walk to the box, scracth around, then leave and poop behind the tv or on the floor.

    She usually pees in the box but today exhibited the same behavior: going to the box then deciding to leave and instead she peed on the couch!.

    I feel like she knows I want her to use the box and her big brother uses it perfectly. I don’t understand what is going through her mind. She is a very smart cat so I know there must be some reason for this. The breeder told me her mom stopped feeding her at 2 weeks so she was raised by another mom cat with slightly older brothers.

    I don’t yell at her. I clean it up. I tried putting a small piece of waste in the litter box.

    It is a big problem. She literally never poops in her box. Now that we know she is not sick, I don’t know what to do. I hoped once we got the parasites under control this would stop but it hasn’t. I thought maybe since you have a Bengal, you might have a suggestion.

    Tips from the internet have not helped.

    Thank you so much for any help/advice you may have.
    AE, Paris

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