The Toilet Training Guide For Puppy Parents


Toilet training your puppy should be quite a simple process, as long as you take the time and trouble to get into a good routine.

Initially, you will have to build your routine around your puppy’s needs, and these are reliably predictable when they are very young. Puppies need to urinate immediately after waking up, so you need to be there to take your puppy straight to the place where you would want him to relieve himself.

Eating its meal stimulates its digestive system, and puppies normally urinate within fifteen minutes of eating, and defecate within half an hour of eating (although this might vary slightly with each individual).

Puppies have very poor bladder control, and need to urinate at least every hour or two. They can urinate spontaneously when they get excited, so take your puppy out frequently if it has been active, playing or exploring.


You can’t be with your puppy every second of the day and your puppy does need lots of rest, usually around 16 hours a day. When you and your puppy need a break, send your puppy to bed somewhere that will limit any roaming accidents. For puppies who love to chew things like power cords, this is a safety precaution that can stop your dog getting into mischief when you can’t watch them.

Some Basic Pointers:

  1. Keep your puppy with you at all times during toilet training. If you can’t watch closely and attentively, consider crate training or using a playpen, the laundry or the bathroom as a safe den.
  2. Use appropriate and motivating rewards. This is usually a treat, as most dogs aren’t motivated enough just by praise or a game. Keep your treats on you at all times so you can reward within a few seconds.
  3. Take your puppy out every hour. Repetition and consistency is key. The more occasions you have that you can reward the appropriate behavior, the quicker your puppy will ‘get it’. If it has been 24 hours since your puppy last got a reward for toileting in the correct place, it will take much longer to learn.
  4. Be patient and consistent and avoid punishment. Punishing your dog after an accident will not teach him anything, except that you are to be feared. If an accident happens, move on and try to take your puppy to the designated spot more frequently.

How To Toilet Train:

Potty-training-a-puppy - Copy
Toilet Training A Puppy

First of all keep a diary of your puppy eating, resting and elimination times for a period of 3 days. You should now notice a pattern emerging here where the puppy wants to sleep at certain times, is hungry at certain times and wants to go to the toilet at certain times and on certain surfaces. All you need to do is armed with the knowledge, is to predict when the danger times are likely to be when he wants to go give him access to your preferred TOILETING SURFACE, whilst denying him access to any other than his preferred sleeping surface-simple. The only problem is that the surface you choose may not be as attractive as the surface that the pup chooses. To encourage him to use the surface that you decide he should use, all you need to do is transfer the smell of his urine and feces to this surface via a pair of gloves and then take him there at appropriate times and allow him to sniff. A little trick here is to scatter small food treats in a large circle around this area which will encourage him to sniff the ground and nature will do the rest.
Don’t use ammonia based cleaning agents to clean up afterward as the smell often encourages the dog to use these areas again

Don’t scold puppy physically or try to rub his nose in the mess. This will have the effect of making the pup hide from you when he goes to the toilet thus making the job of house-training much more difficult for you to accomplish. Only scold your dog verbally if you  catch him in the act of going to the toilet in the wrong place and take him to the right place.

Repetition and patience is the key to success in toilet training your pup. Always make sure you praise him whenever he relieves himself at the right spot with praise or treats

Introduce a cue word: To encourage toileting on command it doesn’t take much extra work to introduce a word while your dog is urinating or defecating. So when your dog/pup starts toileting say ‘wee wee’ or whistle (or introduce a hand signal) so that the behavior is paired with a command. This means on those rainy days, or during toilet breaks on long road trips you have a way to quickly get your dog to urinate/defecate on command.

Reward! In order to motivate your dog, use valuable rewards. While dogs do respond to praise, for toilet training you want to go all out. Use tasty treats and lavish praise and really go over the top. You want to reward within a few seconds of your pet toileting, so they know what they getting all that attention for. The more motivated your pet is, the more likely they will work harder to get there.

57 thoughts on “The Toilet Training Guide For Puppy Parents”

  1. U make it sound easy…surely owners struggling with their pets will find it helpful super informative proud of u ?

  2. Wonderful, great, caring article about potty training – one of the most important pieces of information you shared: don’t scold puppy because puppy made an accident! Exactly – it wouldn’t work for anyone to do that, so if your article can help with this, holy smokes, you are an angel!

  3. I just went through this with my puppy! Following these basic steps made it such a breeze. I have a leash that attaches to my waist that I used for keeping him with me during the day. I’d take him out after every nap, meal, and pay session. He had it down pretty well by 10-12 weeks, but it took till he was 7 months before I’d leave him alone and could trust he wouldn’t have an accident. They say they should be able to hold it for an hour per month of their age up to 6-8 months. So a 3 month old puppy should be able to hold it for 3 hours. I followed that with Echo and found it to be pretty true.

  4. Oh it feels like only yesterday when I was potty training Edie. You mention wonderful tips to help the pet owner understand potty training. I’ve always believed that its most important to have patience, don’t get upset with your puppy and be consistent with taking them out on a regular basis.

  5. This is exactly how I potty trained all of my pups and it’s a method that definitely works! I’m so happy when I see people advocating positive methods of training! Great blog post!! 🙂

  6. When I rescued Layla she was about 4 years old and not properly potty trained and it took me about a month to get it sorted out, now she refuses to do it inside even when its raining outside – any tips on how to get her to do inside on really bad rainy days – I would be so grateful

    • Ruth try putting in a cue word when she does her jobs outside. She will soon start associating the cue word with the job and do it on the designated spot indoors during rainy days

  7. We just adopted out six rescue puppies to amazing families through the rescue I work with and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this post to offer them as a resource! (I will email each of them the link!) This is the method I used when potty trained all three of my dogs as well and it’s a fantastic approach that works beautifully!

    • i am so happy to know about the rescue work that you do may your tribe increase. Please be my guest in emailing the toilet training link, thank you

  8. You can’t share how to potty train a puppy too much at all! Although it’s been 6 years since my mom learned the hard way it’s always good to have a refresher course! Love Dolly

  9. Great post for new parents. I’m also revisiting these timings with our new guy, Jack. He’s not a puppy but he’s new to us and these timings are really helpful until he gets used to the routine.

  10. I have that same deck potty featured in the top photo and we love it. I haven’t had to potty train a puppy in 9 years and reading this t all came flooding back to me, I had to take a stress break and eat a cookie. LOL. I really regret not teaching a cue word. It would come in so very handy now that we live in an apartment and have to go out more often!

  11. These are some great tips for those getting a new puppy. I grew up with a dog, but just don’t have the lifestyle right now for one. I travel a lot and wouldn’t be able to give a dog the attention it needs. I’ll share these tips with people I know who have puppies.

  12. Great tips- we use similar with Kilo the Pug. He was not well housetrained and still occasionally prefers to pee (and poop) inside. We have Puppy Pads and bath matts around and he uses those if he needs to but we take him out every 2 hours and he does pee and poop on command now. U used to give treats but now mainly verbal rewards then a treat and game at the end of the walk.

    • Will do one soon on teething. Use a product to clean that doesn’t leave a scent of its own which will only attract the pups attention. There are lots of pet products you can choose from


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