We all love puppies, and with good reason. It’s had hard to imagine a purer combination of furry goodness and unconditional love. Dogs truly are Man’s Best Friend, and that friendship starts in the cutest way imaginable with ever-loveable puppies.

That said, for as much as we may all love our four-legged friends, that doesn’t necessarily mean we love everything they might do to our furniture or carpeting. Pets can have an unfortunate tendency to “make a mess” of these areas by “marking their territory” or leaving little “presents” behind, and puppies are the biggest offenders here. On the one hand, you don’t want to be harsh on them over this – it’s not their fault, they’re just puppies, after all. On the other hand, unless you want your home smelling like your puppy’s personal toilet forever, you really need to potty train them, and fast.

To that end, here are a few tips and tricks on how to house train a puppy.

Keywords Are Key

One of the most important tools you have at your disposal when teaching your puppy how to behave are verbal keywords. You will, thus, want to create a keyword which they associate with a place and time to go to the bathroom. Importantly, you’ll want to make sure to keep this keyword consistent. If you change it frequently, your puppy will simply become confused, and be that much slower to learn where and when to relieve themselves.

Consider Your Dog’s Breed

You will also want to pay attention to your dog’s breed. Smaller dogs often need more toilet breaks than larger ones, and so you’ll want to keep that in mind while training them.

Watch Out for Signs

In addition, you’ll want to watch out for signs that your puppy may be ready to pee. If they start sniffing or circling around, you’ll want to stop then and encourage them to do their business in the proper spot – this is the perfect time to put your “keyword” into action.

Don’t Punish Your Dog

When your puppy is first learning commands, they are bound to make mistakes. That’s okay – after all, consider how many times we as infants make mistakes when first learning anything. You never want to punish your puppy for an accident. Not only will it not do anything to correct their toilet faux pas, but it could leave your puppy mentally scarred for life. Rather, you want to use the techniques listed above to demonstrate to your puppy the proper place to potty, and reinforce success with treats.

Clean Their Toilet Area

Would you want to do your business in an unsanitary area? Of course not, and puppies are the same way. If you tell them to do their business in an area which is not sanitary, they will be reluctant to do so, and very understandably so. As such, if you want your puppy to learn to use a given area as their toilet space, you’ll want to make sure that it is clean enough for them to use.

All this and more can help you housetrain your puppy.