Can I Housebreak a Puppy Without Using a Crate?


Golden Retriever puppy
Bede Montgomery / Flickr

New pet owners commonly put their pup in a crate. It’s a common practice, not just for housing purposes but for housetraining tactics as well. But some do not like confining puppies to a crate.

It may seem mean or cruel. But it’s not. Crates are very comfortable and homely for young pups that like it tight and warm. They can sleep, play, and go places with it. You just put your young pet in it for pretty much of its early months.

Crates are easier for housetraining. That’s true. But if you’re the type of pet owner that dislikes crating your dog, then you may be wondering if you can housebreak your puppy without a crate. Well, you actually can. Let’s lay out some tips to help you do just that.

Puppy sleeping
Kate / Flickr

Schedule Your Pup’s Potty Breaks

Don’t wait for a sign that your puppy needs to go potty. Initiate the action. Bring it out frequently during the day, especially:

  • When your pup wakes up
  • Before it sleeps at night
  • After eating a good meal, which is every time actually
  • After drinking water
  • After a good play.

Observe Body Language

Your pet is still young and new to your home. It probably can’t tell you when it’s ready to go potty. Watch for signs of urges to go pee or poop. Circling is one sign. Sometimes, a pup may sniff or pace about. When you see your pup doing these, take it out to its special place to go potty.

Give Your Pup Special Treats as a Reward

Have one type of dog treat to hand out to your pup after each potty break. Choose a delicious tasting one. This way, your pup is eager to do its business because it knows a reward is coming up.

Use a Leash for Potty Training

Sometimes, your pup may not be ready to go yet. In that case, you may leash it outdoors to circle the designated area. Then wait for it to finish going potty before you take it back in.

Place Your Pup Outdoors When You Can’t Supervise It

As a young pup, it may go potty frequently. If you don’t have time to supervise it indoors, take it outside to play and lounge while you finish some task or job. Have it on a leash if needed. And if you can do your work outdoors with it, then do so.

Pups shouldn’t be left alone for a long time. You’re just taking it out so you can prevent it from accidentally going potty inside the house.

Final Thoughts

The crate is a common means to housebreaking a puppy. But you can choose alternatives. The important thing is for your dog to go out to its assigned place so it can go potty. Initiate the act frequently throughout the day. And make sure you do it first thing every morning, and the last thing every night. Always show praise to your pup when it reaches its milestones, especially when it comes to going potty.


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