How to Potty Train a Puppy

tips for potty training a puppy

Congratulations on bringing home your newest furry family member! If you are a new dog owner, you are probably looking for tips for potty training a puppy. Now that you have made the plunge in raising a puppy, you might be asking yourself: how long does it take to potty train a puppy? What is the best way to potty train a puppy? what is the easiest way to potty train a puppy? While potty training a dog is quite different from toilet training a human child, one thing is certain: you need to have patience and be consistent. Keep in mind that your pup will have accidents in the house and that is OK! That is part of housebreaking a puppy and part of the learning process. Be kind, be patient, and give your dog time to learn. It helps to also prepare your home accordingly, so roll up those vintage persian rugs, store up on cleaning supplies and have plenty of treats handy.

Toilet training a dog properly is one of the most important steps you must take as a dog pawrent. Not only will you be setting up your pup for success in our human world, you will also be bonding with your pup as any type of training is ultimately a bonding experience. We’ll outline some steps and puppy potty training tips.

Steps You Need to Follow to Potty Train a Puppy

Potty training (also referred to as house training or housebreaking a dog) can be accomplished in different ways. The best method depends on where you live, the age of your dog and your pup’s personality. The steps you take for a puppy and an adult dog are the same, however, an adult dog may take even longer to become fully housebroken. Keep in mind that a puppy can go about an hour for each month of their age between potty breaks. That means a very young puppy will need more frequent potty breaks than one that is older. Designating a “potty spot” is also helpful. Whether that is a puppy pad in a specific corner of a room or a spot in the yard. Using a leash to take the puppy to potty, whether inside or outside, also helps them to learn to walk on leash and potty on walks.

Some people opt for puppy pads and paper training. This can be helpful if you live in a highrise building, where it can be tricky to get the puppy outside quickly, or your puppy is too young to be outside safely due to lack of vaccinations. It also helps if you cannot take the time to take your puppy outside several times a day. Some people opt to go directly to outside potty breaks, which can be quicker if you have the ability to go this route. However, this method should only be used temporarily o else you will prolong the housebreaking process.

The best way to house train a puppy is to establish a daily routine. Having a schedule for your puppy helps them to understand the daily routine and they will start to associate going potty as part of the routine. Try to set specific times for waking up, meals, playtime, potty breaks, bed time. Having set meal times is crucial as puppies will need to go potty shortly afterwards, so if you have set meal times, you can also set up a more regular potty schedule. However, if your dog is very young, you should take them out more frequently. They are just learning how to behave in the house and won’t know that they should not go potty inside. Going outside more and allowing them to eliminate will help the process go much more quickly. Additionally, a very young puppy does not have good bladder control.

Timing is important. You should take your puppy to the potty as soon as they wake up, after every meal, after drinking water, after playtime, right before bedtime. Sometimes during very rigorous play, your puppy will need to go potty even sooner than you might expect so take them to pity after about 10-15 minutes of intense play. Same with meals as the digestive system works very quickly and your puppy will need to go to the bathroom shortly afterwards.

Pay attention to your dog and the cues they give when they need to go to the bathroom. Some cues include sniffing around, circling and fidgeting. If you see these signals, it is  time to take your dog to the designated potty spot, even if it does not follow the schedule. If your dog starts to try and potty in the house or a spot outside where they shouldn’t (like your neighbor’s freshly planted flower bed) you should gently interrupt the process and take them to the desired bathroom spot.

Always reward your dog with plenty of verbal praise and treats every time they go to the bathroom in the proper location, whether it is on the puppy pad or outside on the curb. The treats should be administered immediately so they associate the reward with the behavior. However, wait until the puppy is actually done peeing or pooping so they know that the reward happens when they completely eliminate. Using treats greatly increases your dog’s ability to learn quickly as positive reinforcement is always the best route to go with training. As your dog starts to go to the bathroom, try using cue words as well like “toilet” or “go potty” so they learn that command. If you are training outside, continue to take your dog for a walk so they can enjoy time with you.

If you need to leave your puppy alone, unsupervised, make sure to confine them in a crate or pen.The easiest way to potty train a puppy is by using a crate. Having a crate is an excellent tool to utilize with dog training. Dogs are naturally den animals, so getting your pup accustomed to a crate properly allows them to have a safe space to go to whenever needed. Crates also provide protection for the dog, especially if they have tendencies to chew or eat objects. Not to mention it can help for when you might need to crate your dog down the road, whether at the vet, a kennel, whale traveling, etc. Having a crate also keeps them from having accidents all over the house. Dogs usually don’t want to go to the bathroom where they sleep so keeping them in crates and pens helps the learning process. This means that you should also have the correct sized crates. If a crate is too large, it can be anxiety inducing. It can also provide space for the puppy to eliminate comfortably in the crate and be able to lie down comfortably away from the mess. There are crates that come with an additional “wall” so the crate space can be extended as the dog ages. That being said, if your puppy is crying, scratching or giving cues they need to potty while in the crate, do not delay in taking them to potty. We don’t want the pups to think it’s ok to potty in their crate, in the home or in their space. Not to mention you don’t want your puppy to be uncomfortable or develop a UTI.

Never penalize your puppy for having accidents. They will not understand why you are mad, not to mention that the negative interactions will only make them fearful of you or of going to the bathroom in general. If there is an accident, do not react. Do not praise the puppy, but also, do not scold or punish. Calmly clean the area.

When it is time for bed, it helps to have your puppy in a crate or a pen. Do not let your puppy eat or have water shout two hours before bedtime. Your puppy should sleep for several hours and likely through the night as puppies spend ost of their days sleeping. However, if your puppy does wake up and need to go outside, make sure to take them out quickly and without much fuss. Do not baby talk, turn on all the lights, turn it into a game, etc. This will only excite the puppy more and turn potty time into playtime. Keep your reactions as neutral as possible.

Good luck!