With Our Resident Animal Behaviourist 

Housetraining your puppy

Reading progress

Housetraining a puppy can be challenging, however with consistency, proper management, and positive reinforcement, you can housetrain your puppy effectively.
Here are some guidelines for more successful housetraining:
  1. Ensure a designated toileting area ( for example, outside in the yard on the grass )
  2. Use positive reinforcement. When you reward your dog (praise, play, food, toys, etc.) when they respond to you or offer an action or a behaviour that you like, then that behaviour is likely to be repeated. Your dog learns that good things happen to them when they do the thing you like.
  3. Applying positive reinforcement methods to housetraining means rewarding our puppy every single time they toilet in the designated area.
  4. Take your puppy on leash to the designated area and wait it out ( be patient, they’re still learning). Once puppy has eliminated, reward them!  Remember not to take pup off the lead until they’ve finished, as puppies can become so easily distracted or run off to play and may not have been done relieving themselves.
  5. Set a timer for every 1-2 hours, so that you can take puppy out to their designated area regularly.
  6. Did you know that pups cannot hold their bladder for long like adult dogs? A general rule of thumb is to take puppy outside to their designated toilet area every hour, as well as after eating, before bedtime and after a nap are good times for a toilet break.
  7. Observe your puppy’s body language for signals they may need to toilet. Pawing at the ground, circling, sniffing or standing at an exit may be signs they need a toilet break.
  8. If your pup has an accident inside the home and you observe them doing it, quickly and gently interrupt them and take them to their designated area.
  9. Do not hit, smack or push the puppy’s face in it this will ONLY MAKE THINGS WORSE and cause FEAR.
  10. Punishment will only prolong the learning process and increase fear and stress. Punishment does not teach the pup where to eliminate and the use of punishment will only make them fear you and break their trust in you.

TOP TRAINING TIP: don’t be stingy with reinforcement. Puppy treats must be tasty and motivating! We recommend tiny bite sized liver biltong ( available at SPCA Vetshop ) as it is a high value food reward and your pup will learn effectively, safely and have fun!

Share This


Thank you for everything you do to help make this a better world for all animals.


Keep our Adoption Centre going to help us feed, house, and care for animals while they wait for their fur-ever homes.

Your continued dedication, ongoing support and passion for protecting animals from cruelty is what makes us successful.

Do you have a Happy Home for me?

Consider adopting today, and give an animal a lucky second chance at a happy life. Browse through our adoption albums to see who is waiting for their fur-ever home:

Animal Behaviour News

Animals for Adoption

Browse through our albums of animals waiting for their fur-ever home

Shopping Basket