Housebreaking a puppy is probably the most important piece of training for a new puppy. It is important to the owner and important to the puppy, as the happier you are the happier, and more settled, the puppy can be. Very young puppies do not have the muscular control to hold on for any period of time and need to go a very short time after the urge arises. With this in mind it is obvious that the more you can supervise or be available the easier the task of puppy housebreaking becomes. It is inevitable that your puppy will make a mess or relieve themselves in inappropriate locations, on these occasions you should give the dog a stern NO but do not strike or shout at the dog, this must also be done at the time the puppy is going. If you reprimand the dog later it will not understand what it is being reprimanded for. Do not rub their nose in it, as this will encourage them to consume their own waste. When a puppy starts to wet or defecate you must give the stern NO and then take them to the appropriate place to do their business, and encourage them to finish their task. Upon completing their bathroom requirements in the appropriate place you should praise the puppy, this is true if you have moved them to this location or when they relieve themselves on a walk, or when loose in the garden, etc. Training an older dog is the same principle but may take longer, as there may be some previous habits to get over. Of course though sometimes it may be easier, if the dog was already housebroken with a previous owner. Just be aware that it may take longer with an older dog, and will probably require extra patience. It is very important when housebreaking a dog to remember that positive reinforcement is the best, if not the only, method to use. Consider this from a dogs point of view. The dog starts to relieve themselves, and they are given a stern remark and then taken to a place that when they relieve themselves, they get praise and even a little treat now and then. It will become natural for the dog to wish to please. If a puppy has made a mess and some time later they are told off, they will not know why they have been told off. A dog naturally wishes to please and gain affection so if you are upset when there is a mess they may well appreciate that. However, they will not associate your unhappiness with them having made the mess. Never rub their nose in any accidents because 1 it is an accident and 2 you are putting their mouth next to an item and getting angry, a fairly natural reaction may be to consume their own waste as there is nothing else they can do with the mouth you have pushed next to the offending item.