Housetraining is one of the first things you’ll want to start on with your new Havanese puppy. Crates can be an excellent tool while housetraining, and if you plan on leaving your puppy alone for hours at a time while you work or run errands, then they are nearly a necessity! Please read our page on Crate Training for more information.
Scheduling and Consistency
Consistency is the most important part of any dog training and housetraining is no different! You should start off by feeding your Havanese puppy on a consistent schedule. This will help you figure out how soon after eating your puppy needs to potty, which will allow you to anticipate their pottying so you can bring them outside on time. Your puppy should always have access to fresh water in the daytime, but you can pick up their water shortly before bedtime to decrease their likelihood of needing to potty at night.
When you’re home, you should be taking your Havanese puppy out at least every two hours. As a small breed puppy, your Havanese may need to go outside even more frequently than every two hours! It is important to learn your puppy’s habits and adapt based on that. For example, if your puppy needs to pee every 30 minutes, then you should be bringing him or her outside shortly before every 30 minute mark.
The Tether Method
A popular form of housetraining, the tether method involves “tethering” your Havanese puppy to you or a nearby piece of furniture at all times. You can do this by using a hands-free leash to clip onto their collar or harness, and then wrap around your waist, clip to your belt, put over your shoulder, or clip to a piece of furniture near you. This keeps the puppy with you at all times and keeps you mindful of their presence. Your puppy cannot wander off to pee in a corner if they are attached at your hip, literally! However, it is important to regularly allow your puppy free time off the leash. The tether method is best used when you cannot sit and observe your puppy; for example, when you’re cleaning.
How does crate training help?
Crate training your Havanese puppy will give you a safe place to leave them while you are away. Dogs generally will not potty in the place they sleep, so by crating your puppy, you can nearly eliminate accidents in the house while you are absent or asleep. It is important to find a crate that properly fits your Havanese puppy, however. It should be big enough that they can stand up, turn around, and lay down, but no bigger than that. Many crates come with dividers so that you can expand the space as your puppy grows.
For more information on crate training, check out our Crate Training page!
Positive reinforcement is key!
You should reward your Havanese puppy every time they potty outside. Keep treats on you at all times so that you can reward them as soon as they are done pottying! You’ll want to praise them for a job well done as they’re pottying outside and then reward them with more praise or a treat or toy once they have finished. Do not wait until you have gone back inside. By then your puppy will not know why you are rewarding them.
If your puppy told you they needed to go outside, then a big reward (called a “jackpot”) should be given!
What do I do if my Havanese puppy has an accident in the house?
Never punish your puppy for pottying indoors! If your puppy peed on the rug, it is not their fault; it’s yours for not supervising them or observing their behaviors! Your puppy does not pee on your rug out of malice. They simply have to go. Would you punish your child for peeing in their diaper? Hopefully not!
Furthermore, by the time you have found the accident, your puppy has long forgotten what it has done. Punishing them will only cause them to be afraid of you and will encourage them to just be more secretive about where they potty in the future.
What if I catch my Havanese puppy in the act of going potty in the house?
Scoop them up and take them outside! If they successfully finish their business outside, then praise them for a job well done. Remember, by this point, your puppy has forgotten about where it started doing its business.
What about puppy pee pads?
Some people choose instead to teach their puppy to potty on pee pads, especially those with smaller breeds such as the Havanese. While you can do this, it is in the long run more work than simply training your puppy to potty outside. If you do decide to go the route of puppy pee pads, then the training involved is no different than regular house training. Just bring your puppy to the pee pad instead of outside!