Housebreaking a puppy is one of the most necessary steps you must do with your Doberman. You should take advantage of the puppy's natural instincts of wanting to keep the place he or she sleeps clean. A crate is a must ! If you can confine the sleeping quarters, you can make a schedule for him to successfully housetrained your dog.
The crate should be large enough so that he or she can lie down comfortably and turn around. We recommend a plastic large crate because it's easy to clean. You want one large enough so that he or she doesn't hit there ears on the top when wrapped. I buy an extra large one for each dog so that they can use it as an adult.
Let's get over any idea that this is cruel. Dogs in the wild will not lie in a field or open area where they feel unsafe. A crate provides security. Our dogs know exactly which crate is theirs and when it's time to eat, they rush to their own crate. Your dog may have to spend overnight at the vet or be boarded or taken somewhere where they can not run free in the yard or home. You want him crate trained for the unexpected. I make it a positive experience and give the treats when they rush in. I never crate is not an option and it is not cruel if used correctly.
A schedule and common sense is necessary. A dog was not meant to live in a crate by any means but with a schedule you will be able to avoid bad habits. The schedule is vital The very first thing in the morning, take him or her outside and let him go. Praise him or her so that you don't miss his event to make sure he knows exactly why you are so happy with him.
As soon as they do there business, take him inside in one room where you can supervise, not free run of the house. Remember you need to catch them in the act. If they act like they are about to go .... take them back outside and say "Potty".
Praise him again and play with them inside, watching carefully. Never leave them alone to run free without supervision. Allow him about an hour of play and then, crate him or her again. It's a good time to feed him in the crate. Leave him or her for a few hours and then take them back outside, let them go, and praise them again. Repeat this routine at mid-day, in the evening, and finally just before bedtime. Routine, consistency, and supervision are vital.
If you follow this routine, you should be able to totally housetrain your puppy in a few weeks. He has to learn to hold it and they can't do that running free in your home. You can increase the time playing with him or her as they becomes more reliable.
Having explained how we housetrained, you will need to use common sense to make a schedule for you. Not everyone is home all day but most people could take two weeks to ensure they have a housetrained Doberman to enjoy and protect their family.