Dog will make mistakes. Especially when they’re first being housetrained. Mistakes can be a sign that your puppy or dog does not know what is acceptable, and that means the family has to find the source of confusion and fix it.

Too much freedom too quickly is the most common error some families make. Even if some dogs understand the concept of eliminating outside, you will have to reinforce this behavior for months before your dog is 100% reliable. If he has an accident or two, it’s okay. And it might be a sign that you are not providing enough supervision.

The younger your dog is, the more often he will need to eliminate. A 2-month-old puppy may need to relieve himself every couple of hours. As he grows older and as his digestive system matures, the period between eliminations will increase.

Here are some other points to keep in mind:

• Providing a crate that is too big for your dog encourages him to eliminate in one end and sleep in the other.

• Never hit your dog. Dogs do not understand being hit or grabbed. A dog is unable to connect punishment with a past mistake and will believe you are angry for no reason, possibly leading to fear and confusion.

• Changing your dog’s diet can cause digestive upset that might result in accidents. Late night feedings without the opportunity to eliminate can also lead to accidents.

• Even well-trained dogs may have accidents. Clean the area with a pet odor neutralizer so your dog won't be tempted to repeat the mistake. Avoid using ammonia-based products because they smell like urine to dogs.

• If a well-trained dog starts having accidents, you may need to let him go outside more. You may also not be paying enough attention to his signals. Or, it may be possible that your dog is experiencing some health issues. Consult your veterinarian if the problem persists.

• Watch for territorial markings like spraying urine on objects. Spaying or neutering may help stop this behavior. There are also specially-made diapers for dogs that can help teach him to stop marking. Remember to supervise your dog at all times and stop him if he starts marking and clean the area thoroughly.

Litter Training: A Housetraining Alternative

There are different approaches to housetraining. One innovative approach for smaller dogs involves a dog litter. Using a litter, your puppy or dog can easily be trained to eliminate in one spot, indoors. This reduces the need for trips outside in the middle of the night, or messes that are found when you get home from work. It is also a good option for apartment dwellers in cities and big towns where outside space might be limited. Visit for more information.

Mistakes are part of any family’s growth with a dog. It’s always a learning process. And when your family works together, you can eliminate mistakes and avoid unnecessary accidents.

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