The easiest way to go about house training your new bulldog puppy is by utilizing a crate. Dogs are and always have been den and pack animals, they naturally and instinctively prefer the shelter of a den. A crate provides your puppy with a “den” like safe place to call his own. Dogs have a natural instinct to keep their “den” or sleeping quarters clean. Therefore most dogs will not urinate or defecate in their crate, which is why it is such an invaluable tool for housebreaking.
The first thing to understand, though, is the need for repetition and consistency. Your bulldog puppy will not understand what you want unless you repeatedly show him/her the desired behavior many times over and do so consistently.
Begin by purchasing the appropriate size crate. Think den not condo! It should be small with just enough room for your bulldog to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. It is not an exercise pen. The use of too large a crate will encourage your bulldog puppy to use a small portion of it for a bed and the rest of it as a place to potty. Buy a crate that will accommodate your bulldog when he/she is fully grown but also has an adjustable divider panel that will enable you to close off a portion of the crate and then expand it as the puppy grows. We use the Midwest Life Stages crates.
The Training Process
Use a bed pad or an old towel or blanket for bedding and include a few “safe” toys. Leave the crate door open and allow your bulldog puppy to come and go as he pleases. Keep his favorite treats handy that you only use for the crate. Every time you put your bulldog puppy in the crate toss in a couple of treats and give the “Crate” command. It gives the puppy a nice reason to go in and creates a positive experience. At mealtimes, feed your bulldog in the crate with the door closed.
At night, just before bedtime take your bulldog puppy out to potty. When he eliminates give him lots of praise, tell them “Good Potty” (or whatever phrase you decide to use) and a treat. Put your puppy in his crate and shut the door. For the first 3 nights set your alarm for 3 hours. When your alarm goes off get your puppy and CARRY him out to potty. Set him down and wait. When he goes potty, praise him and put him back in his crate. Set your alarm for 3 more hours and repeat.
After three days, if it has been successful and there have been no accidents, move to 4-hour intervals.
After three more nights, you have hopefully taught your puppy that you will be there to take him outside when he has to go. If there have been no accidents you can then start going to bed and waiting until your puppy wakes you up to potty. It is important to respond and take him out immediately if he wakes during the night.
In the morning, as soon as you wake up, immediately take your puppy out. Allow him time to do his business and when he does tell him “Good Potty”, give a treat and lots of praise. Bring him back in the house and allow him to have “House Time”. By house time, I mean freedom to move about but always in the same room as you so that you can keep a constant eye on him. We use baby gates to block off access to other rooms.
During the day repeat the above process and continue to take the puppy out every hour. If he does not do his business put him back in his crate and try again in 15 minutes.