Make House Breaking Your Dog a Breeze with these Supplies

By Janice Jones     |Last Updated 04-29-2024

House breaking your dog is probably the first task you will have when you get your new pet, whether he is a puppy or an adult.  There are some must have supplies that will help make the job easier.  Here is our list of the ten most essential supplies to make your house training work a little easier.

Just in case you're wondering, the products listed below can be purchased from Amazon at a lower cost than would be if you went to your local pet supply store.


A crate is a real problem solver for puppies just learning how to manage their pottying. 

Crates can be as simple or as elaborate as you care to go and can double as your dog’s bed and safe haven. 

The one featured on the left can double as a piece of furniture!

Small cage with crate cover

Adult Dog House Breaking Aids to use when House Breaking Your Dog

For adult dogs with incontinence or territorial marking issues, we highly recommend these products

Belly bands for the guys:  disposable or washable

You can use washable bands that work very well with a feminine hygiene product. 

The bands can be as colorful as you like, and all my guys who like to mark will wear them with no problems. 

Most bands I have tried last a long time, but the Velcro that holds them in place will wear out after a number of washings. 

Be sure to measure your dog's waist before ordering

Diapers for the gals: disposable or washable

If you have girls that mark their territory (and girls will do that!), are in heat or have problems with incontinence, diapers are a life saver. 

You can purchase washable diapers that use disposable liners or go for the disposable variety that requires no laundry. 

When using either a diaper for the gals or belly bands for the guys, we recommend that you keep a supply of wipes handy for use when changing them out. 

Clean Up Aids

Dog Poop Bags

If you are out and about with your favorite small dog, cleaning up after him is a must. 

You can save and recycle your old plastic bags or buy a fresh supply in any color of the rainbow. 

We thought we should add these here even if they are not exactly an aid for house breaking your dog.

Pooper Scoopers

Perhaps it's not you favorite weekend chore, but it's gotta get done either by you or you can hire a service to do it for you.

Best to have the right tools for the job and a scoop with a rake is necessary if you are removing feces from grassy areas.

What Doesn't Work when House Breaking Your Dog

Sprays, drops, stakes, cute little articles infused animal urine

These products are supposed to encourage the dog to sniff and urinate. 

Most people find the odor offensive, and we think it is a waste of money.  If you want to train your dog to go in one area, then you have to take them to that area. 

A sample of their own urine is FREE, and you can collect it with paper towels and then rub it on the surface where you want them to go. 

This is just as effective as buying an awful smelling product that doesn’t work any better than the stuff your dog will gladly give you for free.

Questions and Answers from our Readers

Potty Training a Rescue Dog  by Heidi

Question:  Hi all.. we have a five-month which we have named Peggy. Only had her for only two weeks. Rescued her from dogs home. We are trying to potty train her as I’m sure you can imagine it been very tricky as she has been used to just doing it when and where she wants... our vet has suggested a crate which we now have... 3 nights of her barking the entire time and pooing everywhere in it... can anyone give us any further advise... do we keep going and hope she will stop messing. She is stressed. Many thanks.


Congratulations on your new family member, and many thanks for adopting a rescue dog in need of a good home.

Potty training a small dog is one of the hardest tasks most of us undertake when we decide to get a little dog. Compared to the larger breeds or even some of the medium size dog breeds, small dogs not only seem to take longer but have more setbacks with pottying than their larger cousins.

Your dog is also disadvantaged because she has not had a consistent upbringing so may not have had the opportunity to learn better habits. The good news is she is still very young and can pick up good habits easier than an older or senior dog.

The excitement and love you feel for your new dog are now mixed with the frustration and annoyance of having to deal with a problem that sometimes feels insurmountable. I know, because I've done it before. Sometimes these conflicting feelings of love and happiness mixed with anger and helplessness can be overwhelming. But wait... there are things you can do.

Confinement is very important when potty training any dog, and crates usually work well. The philosophy behind crate training is that the crate serves two purposes. One is confinement, so the dog does not potty wherever she chooses. The second purpose is to provide a special place where she feels secure, a place to rest, sleep, or munch on a tasty treat in a stress-free place of her own. The other premise behind crate training is that dogs naturally will not eliminate in their den (crate).

Once a dog has begun peeing or pooing in their crate, the crate is no longer an effective method of housetraining. There is, however, a few things you can do.

Don't throw the crate away, yet. It can still serve as a haven, but you will need to add a bit more space for her to eliminate especially when you are not there. X-pens or dog enclosures allow a bit more room where you can add a crate or bed, pee pads, even toys, and food dishes. Dogs don't need food and water during the night when they should be sleeping.

This is a solution for you during the times when you are not with her or at night while at sleep.

The second part of training involves getting her back on a schedule where she knows when and where she needs to pee and poo.

The best way to begin is to choose where you want her to eliminate and introduce her to the area. Plan on taking her to that location numerous times a day. (after meals, first thing in the morning, after naps, after playtime, any time you notice she is looking anxious and needs to go out, last time before bed) Have plenty of great treats on hand to give her each time she does what you want her to do. The treats will likely need to be continued for quite a while until you feel she has finally "got the idea." Eventually, you'll want to wean her off of the treats, but in her case, I wouldn't do that too hastily. Add plenty of praise and enthusiasm when she does what she is supposed to do.

Assume this is going to be a process and don't expect overnight success.

In the meantime, get a good enzyme cleaner that will eliminate the odors in your house where she has gone. Here's a little hint: Dogs will always end up wanting to pee where they smell the odor of either their own or others' urine. Eliminate the scent using the enzyme cleaners. Dogs also will try to find other places to poo so don't give too much freedom. Scented potty pads work well if you want to potty train her to use them indoors rather than training to go outdoors.

It is my personal opinion that dogs are more adaptable and able to travel and if they have had experience using both pads and going outside. Going on outings and including your dog in normal family activities is also much easier if your dog feels comfortable eliminating in other places.

I hope this helps. I am encouraging others to jump in here and add their experiences about what worked and didn't. Good luck, Heidi

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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