How to Potty Train Your Puppy

When people adopt a puppy, one of THE most important things to learn is how to potty train that puppy. So, how do you learn how to potty train your puppy? It may seem to some to be a complicated process but really, with patience and dedication, potty training your puppy is not an insurmountable task. Also, it is important to keep In mind that the result is peace and tranquility in the household with a happy pet and a stress-free owner. 

Why It Is Important to Learn How to Potty Train Your Puppy

While this may seem pretty obvious, it does bear delving into in a bit of detail. Who wants to come home after a long day of work and have to clean up accident after accident left by the dog? That is stressful and frustrating. Who wants to have a dog that cannot be left alone for more than an hour or two for fear that he will soil the house?

Among the many reasons people surrender dogs to shelters, is the fact that they are not potty trained. However, it is important to keep in mind that every dog can be potty trained, as long as the trainer is patient and dedicated. 

Tools and Materials Needed to Potty Train Your Dog

  • Patience, and lots of it! Dogs do not learn to go outside in just a couple of days or even a couple of weeks. You must be patient; very patient.
  • Determination. Do not give up at what may seem like the dog’s inability to learn. Stick to it because the dog can, and will, learn, if you do not give up.
  • A strict schedule. This type of program is imperative, especially in the beginning, as will be discussed in further detail below.
  • Cleaning products. Accidents are bound to happen. It is not a matter of if, but when. How you clean up the accidents, though, will have a huge bearing on whether or not you are successful in your potty training effort. 

How to Potty Train Your Puppy

  • Limit your dog’s space. Keeping your dog confined to a smaller space is something that is very helpful when potty training your pup. The reason is that it works with your dog’s instinct of not soiling in the same place where he sleeps. Therefore, crating your dog during the potty training period when you have to be away from home is extremely useful. However, please note that it is only effective if you will be back in time to take him out. If the puppy gets used to soiling his crate and laying in it, you are slowing down the learning process tremendously.

Be sure also to limit your dog’s space when you are home but unable to pay close attention to his movements. In this case, you can put your dog in a larger area, like a playpen, but be sure to check constantly to ensure that your dog does not need to go to the bathroom.

  • Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to do the right thing. Take your puppy outside frequently so that he can eliminate in the appropriate place. Puppies should go out approximately every two hours, depending on their age. As your dog grows older, the length of time it can hold it will also increase.

Outside, pick a particular “bathroom spot” so that your puppy associates this area with elimination. It is also useful to have a phrase that encourages your pup to go, such as, “Go potty!” In this way, your puppy will get an audible cue, as well as the cue from the scents in his bathroom spot.

  • Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go out. Your puppy will often give you clues when he needs to go outside to relieve himself. Unfortunately, not all dogs give the same clues, so it is important that you observe your puppy carefully to make sure you do not miss the signs.
  • Keep a strict schedule. Dogs thrive on schedules and routines, so keep as tight a schedule as your personal schedule allows. Take your puppy out first thing in the morning, preferably at the same time each morning. Feed your puppy around the same time each day and take him out right after he has eaten.
  • Praise. Praise is critical because our dogs love to please us. They get a thrill from doing the right thing to make sure happy. As soon as your dog eliminates outside, praise as though he has won the lottery. Do this each and every time he eliminates outside.
  • Clean-up. People often overlook this crucial aspect of potty training. Dogs have a much keener sense of smell than we do. This means that, should your puppy have an accident while learning, you must clean the area thoroughly and in such a way that the dog will no longer detect a trace of that accident. While the area may smell clean to you, your dog’s keen sense of smell may tell him otherwise. If it does, he will be tempted to go potty in that area again. Therefore, to clean the area, use something that completely takes out the smell. I love using Nature’s Miracle. For me, it is something that has worked well always. White vinegar is also an option that has worked well for me during many a potty training session. 

Some Points to Keep in Mind

When your puppy wakes you up in the middle of the night to go outside, do not use this time to play with him. He will quickly learn that, when bored in the middle of the night, he can wake you up and you will play with him. That is not your goal. Take your puppy out quickly and as quietly as possible, praise him lavishly for doing his business outside, and then quickly come back inside and go back to sleep.

When you catch your puppy in the act of making a mistake in the house, do not punish him, but rather, interrupt him by making a loud noise and taking him outside immediately so he can do the right thing. Praise him once he goes potty outside.

Do not give up! The time and energy you put into training your new puppy now will pay off a hundred times over when you have a well-behaved dog that you can trust not to soil the home. 

What Do the Experts Say?

Cesar Millan

Tips on How to Potty Train Your Dog

Do’s and don’ts for housebreaking your puppy.

A short video on how to help your dog get used to his crate:

Housebreaking for an Adult Dog

What if you rescued an adult dog that is not potty trained? Here are some tips from Cesar Millan to help you.

Victoria Stilwell

Different methods to potty train your dog, including crate training and paper training. 

Using a Dog Walking Service Can Help

Since most people do not work from home and, even those who do, may have to be away from home part of the day sometimes, using a dog walking service can be an invaluable tool during the crucial puppy training period. A dog walking service can send a dog walker during your preferred time frame so that you can maintain your schedule of potty training with your pup, even when you cannot be there.

Many pet parents have used our dog walking services at PAWSitive Strides to help during this training period.

Want to learn more about our services? Contact us today for walks tailored specifically to fit your needs and those of your pup!

Read More Dog Training Articles

Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles in our series:

Train Your Dog to Leave It

Teaching Your Dog to Drop It

Train Your Dog to Heel

How to Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Teach Your Dog to Sit




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