That's a good question. How to house train a Jack Russell puppy is one of the most daunting tasks you'll face as a dog owner. However, because Jack Russells are so intelligent, house training a Jack Russell puppy can be accomplished easily and quickly if you follow some basic guidelines.
Puppies 8-10 Weeks Old
Depending on how old your puppy is, you may be expecting too much. If your puppy is too young, physically, he may not be able to hold his bowels. Most dogs come to their new homes 8-10 weeks of age. At this stage, they are unable to hold their bladder for an entire night and they have to be taken out every few hours.
If your JRT is less than 6 months old, be prepared that you're going to have less than perfect compliance to house training and that you'll have accidents at times. Be patient and stay positive.
First, and foremost, if you really want learn how to house train a Jack Russell puppy, you have to be willing to take at least 2 weeks off work. Why? Because you'll need to keep watch over your pup very carefully so that you can sense when he has to pee and then intercede.
Designate His Own Space
Designate a space just for your JRT. Make it a space where the floor is easy to clean. This will be his play and sleep area. It should be an area that can be easily closed off and small enough to be manageable.
This will be your terrier's "room" until house training gets under way and until you introduce the crate. Get him a blanket – perferably one with your scent on it, a bowl of water and some toys, and keep it in his new "room."
Don't Let Home Roam Free
If you're serious about house training a Jack Russell puppy, and want fast results, your Jack Russell can't have free access to the house until he's fully house trained.
I know that sounds cruel, but there's a good reason for this kind of rigid restriction in the beginning. If you give your dog free reign of the house, he'll pee all over the place. You won't have an opportunity to intercept him and take him to the appropriate place you want him to eliminate – which is outside.
When you're learning how to house train a Jack Russell puppy you're going to be asked to do a lot of things that seem cruel to your dog at first. But you've got to trust the process and do what you're asked to do if you want results.
Keep Your Eyes on Him Every Minute
Your job is to watch your pup like a hawk. If you have to wash dishes, tie a tether to him, this way he can only go so far and you can still catch him in the act if he starts to go to the bathroom.
During Jack Russell house training, it's important that you catch your dog in the act, pick him up and take him outside so that he associates grass, dirt and cement, with going to the bathroom.
Be Prepared to Make a Lot of Potty Trips
If you can't stay home with your puppy for two weeks, find someone who can. The more you're able to catch your dog in the act and pick him up and take him outside when he has to pee or poop, the faster he'll become house trained.
Buy a Crate
I know you think it's cruel to put a dog in a crate. But really, dogs love the idea of having a den. They like to curl up in corners and hide. It comforts them. So a crate to them is like their own home.
The Purpose of the Crate
The purpose of the crate is to teach your dog that it's his safe haven and that he shouldn't soil in it. So how does this help with house training?
Dogs hate to sleep where they poop.
So when your dog is in his crate at night and he starts to whine, it's a sign he has to go to the bathroom. Take him out immediately to the backyard and let him do his business. Then praise him – even if it is 2:00 am!
By the way, if you're in the house but can't watch your puppy, you can put him in the crate. But only leave him in there 2-3 hours. Then take him out to go potty.
What Size Crate Should You Get?
Your crate shouldn't be so big that your puppy has tons of room to move around. If that happens, he'll just go to one end and use it as his bathroom. We want to avoid that. Get a crate that's big enough for him to stretch and stand in.
Don't leave him in his crate all night either with no way to relieve himself! Remember, if he's under 6 months, he still hasn't developed strong bladder muscles.
When Should He Go Potty?
There are three times a puppy most needs to relieve himself:
1. When he first wakes up
2. After he's eaten.
3. After vigorous play
If you pay close attention to your puppy, you'll sense when he has to go potty, and you'll start taking him before he exhibits the symptoms.
Your Jack Russell will also need to go potty right before bedtime and a couple of times during the night.
Remember, your puppy is still learning and doing the best he can. When he does have accidents, and he will, don't yell at him, rub his nose in it (that doesn't work) or hit him. You'll just frighten him. Praise him for the great job he does when he does go potty in the right place!