Potty training is one of the most challenging stages of puppyhood. The good news is that anyone can successfully potty train a dog. All you need is patience, a good attitude, knowing the proper techniques, and love!
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to successfully house-train your puppy. This article is loaded with puppy potty training tips and tricks to make it easy for you!
Why Potty Training is Important
Potty training a puppy is one of the most important things you do with your new pup! It establishes boundaries and helps them know when and where they should do their business.
Having constant accidents in the house is a stressful and challenging issue, so setting the tone for correct potty habits from the day you bring your puppy home is significant.
Potty training should always start as soon as possible. In this article, we will cover all the things you need and how to potty train that pup.
What You Can Expect During Potty Training
The good news is that potty training a new dog can be reasonably straightforward. Especially if you start the housetraining process when they are still young puppies.
It is a good idea to start potty training as soon as you bring your puppy home.
You can expect that there will be good days or moments and also bad ones when implementing the potty training process.
As a general rule of thumb, lots of praise and treats and frequent trips to the potty spot will include multiple times per day.
Positive reinforcement will make the training go smoothly and quickly.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During Potty Training
Some common mistakes include waiting until the new puppy is beyond nine weeks of age.
Generally, eight-week-old puppies are brought home, but sometimes as young as seven weeks old. The sooner you start potty training, the better.
Another common mistake is not implementing consistent bathroom breaks and feeding schedules. You also want to make this a positive experience.
Otherwise, your dog may continue to have accidents well after puppyhood has ceased.
Another common mistake and the most important thing to remember is that your puppy’s bladder is small.
Therefore, in the first few months of age, your puppy may need to go potty in the middle of the night.
Creating consistent times to go potty before nighttime can help reduce how many middle-of-the-night potty sessions your pup may need.
Supplies Needed for House Training a Puppy
- Special training treats or other small treats such as little pieces of a cheese stick, kibble, or chicken portions.
- A puppy potty training schedule you plan to stick to.
- A potty space or potty area to train your new dog or puppy.
Pick the right place that will encourage your dog to go potty and somewhere you can take them for frequent potty breaks.
The laundry room or even your living room works well for inside options.
You will want somewhere you can place pee pads around for potential potty accidents while your dog is learning bladder control and bowel control.
- Puppy pads/ potty pads (You can find these at any dog or pet store.)
- Dog crate for crate training if you plan on implementing a crate into your dog’s routine- this is optional.
- Enzymatic cleaner to clean up pet urine or remove stains and paper towels to reduce laundry.
- Baby gates to keep your pup in the right place during potty training. These are not necessary but will help keep your dog in a small room or area during the process.
This will limit accidents around the house or in places you don’t want accidents.
First Week of Potty Training
It is entirely possible to completely potty train your dog within a week. With lots of positive feedback and rewards your young puppy will cut down the time it takes to train them.
Suppose you can make a positive association in your dog’s brain to going potty. In that case, it will become fun and rewarding for them. They will be eager to go potty rather than hesitant.
Make sure you have a “potty area” for them and tell them “good potty” when they go to the bathroom in your designated location or go outdoor potty rather than inside your home.
Daily Routine for Puppy Potty Training
It is important to have a regular daily routine if you are going to be successful with your puppy potty training program.
Follow a schedule similar to this:
- First thing in the morning upon waking up (sometimes young puppies may need to go very early in the morning, around four-six in the morning.)
- After breakfast.
- Before or after playtime, or both if the puppy is very young or has difficulty training.
- Before nap times or before you leave.
- After dinner.
- Before bed.
- Sometimes you may need to make a midnight potty trip.
What if My Puppy Has an Accident?
An excellent way to help your puppy understand they should not go potty inside or out of their designated potty area is by your body language.
Pointing at the potty and telling them firmly, “No,” will help solidify that it isn’t the right place to pee or poop.
Next, you should bring them to their potty area or outside and ask them to go potty. Always encourage good behavior such as whining at the door or suggesting they must go potty.
Finally, when they go potty, give them a treat! Accidents won’t last forever, but as pet parents, our job is to help keep them on the right track.
Additional Tips to Toilet Train a Puppy
You can also use different puppy training techniques, such as clicker training to help with the potty process. Young dogs especially pick up quickly to potty training techniques.
Clicker training or other similar methods teach them to respond to a sound and associate doing something with the sound.
This can be helpful in potty training. You can also work with a dog trainer if you don’t feel comfortable training them.
Another good habit to get into is taking your dog out on walks to use the bathroom. This can help get them into a routine if you walk them at relatively the same time each day.
How to Clean Up Soiled Areas
Pro-tip for cleaning up puppy messes: When your puppy or dog has an accident, you must use a special cleaner to clean up the mess. Especially when it’s concerning urine.
An enzymatic cleaner will remove all trace smells of the mess that we may not pick up, but your dog still can even after the mess is clean.
Also, if you don’t use the right cleaner, your dog may come back to that spot, smelling their urine, and pee there again, thinking it is a potty spot.
Best Way to Ensure Potty Training Success
The best and easiest way to ensure success in your potty training missions is to start with a young dog. Older dogs are more difficult to potty train and may take longer.
You can also ensure success by creating a regular schedule for your dog to depend upon.
Finally, ensure you are patient with your dog or puppy and encourage them when they go potty in the right area. Consistency will be your greatest ally in the process of potty training.
How to Potty Train an Older Adult Dog
Potty training a full-grown adult dog can take a lot of work. Most of the time, if an older dog is not potty trained, they have been adopted and potentially abused in the past or neglected.
This led to them never learning how to potty correctly or even being afraid of potty training.
Make sure you dedicate a lot of time to slowly, patiently, and carefully helping these dogs learn to go potty correctly.
You may need to keep potty pads in your house just in case they have an accident.
When to Seek Professional Help For Potty Training
Working with a dog trainer can also help alleviate stress when potty training an adult dog.
Sometimes it’s best to seek professional help instead of getting overly frustrated. Each dog will be different. Some adult dogs may take to potty training quickly, and some may not.
Effective Ways of Potty Training Toy Dog Breeds
Small and toy breeds of dogs are notoriously much more difficult to house train than medium or larger-sized dogs.
Frequently, small dog owners will purchase special potty boxes for their toy breeds to use inside their homes or use pee pads.
This can be a great option if your dog is partially potty trained or not yet potty trained.
Some owners continue to use pee pads the entire life of their toy breed dog although experts suggest that eventually, every dog will be able to be housebroken.
Note: With some dogs, mental or health-related issues can hinder your potty training efforts. It will generally take more time and more frequent visits outside to their potty spot.
Toy and small breed dogs also have much smaller bladders than medium to large-sized dogs, so set them up for success and take them potty frequently!
Health Issues That Can Lead to Accidents
There are many issues that can lead to incontinence in dogs ranging from behavioral issues to physical health-related problems and even aging.
The age and adoptive status of your dog can sometimes give you a good clue as to what type of issues you may be dealing with.
If you once had a dog who was potty trained and then starts piddling on the floor after they go out, you may want to take them to the vet to get checked out.
There are behavioral issues that can lead your dog to urinate or defecate in the house.
- Being scared, shy, or feeling uneasy. This is common in rescue dogs who have been in and out of shelters or homes frequently.
They could also have been abused at one point in time or another which would lead them to feeling uneasy and peeing.
- Being too excited. This is common among small dogs and toy breeds that have smaller bladders.
When they get excited they can’t always hold their urine and they will leak. You can help alleviate this issue by taking them outside frequently and laying down piddle pads.
- Aggression issues. Aggression issues in dogs can lead them to defecate or urinate in the house as a means of marking their territory.
You will need to talk with your vet and more than likely work with a dog behavioral therapist.
Health-related issues that could be causing urinary incontinence in your dog vary. Please take them to a vet to get checked out if you notice anything strange or different.
Puppies and older dogs alike can develop issues, complications, and diseases that will cause them pain and discomfort. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!
- Urinary tract infections.
- Anatomic abnormalities.
- Weak bladder- can be seen at any age.
- Spinal injury or degeneration- especially if your puppy or older dog had a fall.
- Inherited medical condition that occurs at or before birth while still in utero.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Prostate disorders in unneutered dogs.
- Diseases that cause excessive drinking of water, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and Cushing’s disease.
- Some medications, like corticosteroids.
- Urinary stones.
Aging dogs can start to experience incontinence due to aging body parts.
They may need to go out to go potty more frequently, or there may be an underlying cause of disease that you will need to work with a vet and nutritionist to help manage.
Related Potty Training Questions
Are some dog breeds easier to potty train?
Yes, many dog experts feel that more intelligent dog breeds are easier to potty train.
This would make sense and is something you may want to consider if you have not selected your dog yet.
What are the easiest dog breeds to potty train?
While there may be some differences of opinion on their position most agree these are the easiest dog breeds to housebreak.
- Australian Shepherd
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Border Collie
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Standard Poodle
- Shih Tzu
What If I work and can’t take my dog outside on a regular schedule?
This is a problem many dog owners face but the good news is that there are ways around it.
What about asking your neighbor if they could come let your dog out at the same time each day while you are gone?
There are also people that offer dog walking services. These dog walkers will come to your house at the time you want them to and take your dog outside.
How often should I take my dog out to best encourage them to potty outside?
Here are some general recommendations.
From age 6-14 weeks they need to go potty up to 10 times per day.
From age 14-20 weeks it drops down to roughly 6-8 times per day.
From age 20-30 weeks they will need to go potty around 4-6 times per day.
From 30 weeks on they will need to go potty around 3-4 times per day depending on the dog.
What if my dog doesn’t like to potty outside?
Some dogs truly do not like to go outside to go potty. You can help them learn to like to potty outside by setting up a doggy playpen and putting pee pads in the playpen.
Leave them outside in the pen for a short time a couple of times a day during the spring or summer months. Be sure to make sure they have plenty of water, toys, and some shade.
You can further encourage your dog to potty outside by spending time with them in their potty area and encouraging the slightest try.
How Do I Get My Dog to Go Outside During Winter?
This can be a very frustrating issue to deal with. More than likely if you have a small or toy breed, during the winter they may not want to go outside to go potty.
Here are several ideas to help encourage them to go outside in the winter.
- Start when they are small puppies.
- Keep them warm with a coat or dog jacket.
- Encourage them with treats.
- Clear out any snow in their potty area.
- Make them stay outside for a couple of minutes, but make sure to keep an eye on them!
- If all else fails, you can get special dog litter boxes that you can either keep inside your home, garage or right outside the door.
This may help your dog to actually want to use the bathroom outside versus inside your home.
Potty Training Your Dog is Not Hard
Teaching a dog to be potty trained can be a challenging task but it is something anyone can do!
This article provides you guidance on different potty training methods that may help alleviate stress and shorten the potty training time.
Just make sure to be consistent and create a feeding and potty schedule for the best results!