Housetraining is a matter of establishing good habits in your dog. That means you never want her to learn anything she will eventually have to unlearn. Start off housetraining on the right foot by teaching your dog that you prefer her to eliminate outside. Designate a potty area in your backyard (if you have one) or in the street in front of your home and take your dog to it as soon as you arrive home. Let her sniff a bit and, when she squats to go, give the action a name: “potty” or “do it” or anything else you won’t be embarrassed to say in public. Eventually your dog will associate that word with the act and will eliminate on command. When she’s finished, praise her with “good potty!”
That first day, take your English Bulldog puppy out to the potty area frequently. Although she may not eliminate every time, you are establishing a routine: You take her to her spot, ask her to eliminate, and praise her when she does.
Just before bedtime, take your Bulldog to her potty area once more. Stand by and wait until she produces. Do not put your dog to bed for the night until she has eliminated. Be patient and calm. This is not the time to play with or excite your dog. If she’s too excited, a pup not only won’t eliminate, she probably won’t want to sleep either.
Most dogs, even young ones, will not soil their beds if they can avoid it. For this reason, a sleeping crate can be a tremendous help during housetraining. Being crated at night can help a dog develop the muscles that control elimination. So after your English Bulldog has emptied out, put her to bed in her crate.
A good place to put your dog’s sleeping crate is near your own bed. Dogs are pack animals, so they feel safer sleeping with others in a common area. In your bedroom, the pup will be near you and you’ll be close enough to hear when she wakes during the night and needs to eliminate.
Don’t Overuse the Crate
A crate serves well as a dog’s overnight bed, but you should not leave the dog in her crate for more than an hour or two during the day. Throughout the day, she needs to play and exercise. She is likely to want to drink some water and will undoubtedly eliminate. Confining your dog all day will give her no option but to soil her crate. This is not just unpleasant for you and the dog, but it reinforces bad cleanliness habits. And crating a pup for the whole day is abusive. Don’t do it.
Pups under 4 months old often are not able to hold their urine all night. If your puppy has settled down to sleep but awakens and fusses a few hours later, she probably needs to go out. For the best housetraining progress, take your pup to her elimination area whenever she needs to go, even in the wee hours of the morning.
Your pup may soil in her crate if you ignore her late night urgency. It’s unfair to let this happen, and it sends the wrong message about your expectations for cleanliness. Resign yourself to this midnight outing and just get up and take the pup out. Your pup will outgrow this need soon and will learn in the process that she can count on you, and you’ll wake happily each morning to a clean dog.
The next morning, the very first order of business is to take your pup out to eliminate. Don’t forget to take her to her special potty spot, ask her to eliminate, and then praise her when she does. After your pup empties out in the morning, give her breakfast, and then take her to her potty area again. After that, she shouldn’t need to eliminate again right away, so you can allow her some free playtime. Keep an eye on the pup though, because when she pauses in play, she may need to go potty. Take her to the right spot, give the command, and praise if she produces.
Tip – Water
Make sure your Bulldog has access to clean water at all times. Limiting the amount of water a dog drinks is not necessary for housetraining success and can be very dangerous. A dog needs water to digest food, to maintain a proper body temperature and proper blood volume, and to clean her system of toxins and wastes. A healthy dog will automatically drink the right amount. Do not restrict water intake. Controlling your dog’s access to water is not the key to housetraining her; controlling her access to everything else in your home is.