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How to toilet train your puppy

Your furry friend will be a pro in no time at all!

A small puppy reading a book called How to toilet train your puppy
House training your puppy early is a good idea

Puppy owners often find toilet training their puppy one of the most challenging things they will ever do. Not only is it frustrating when your puppy has an accident inside, but sometimes it can be really tough to house train your puppy. You might feel like you are doing something wrong, or that your dog is just "being naughty."

We have put together all of the tips and tricks you need to successfully house train your puppy in no time at all!

If your little pup does have a few accidents along the way, check out this article about the best ways to clean up pee, stains and smells.

Table Of Contents

Why toilet train your new puppy?

Cute puppies lined up waiting to learn how to be house trained
Can you teach an old puppy new tricks? Of course you can!

There are many reasons to house train your puppy; the most important is that it makes life easier, cleaner and healthier for both you and your new dog. If you don't start house training as soon as possible, then they will find a spot inside the house that they like (such as on the carpet) to go to the toilet - which not only can make your house very smelly, the lingering scents that only your puppy can pick up on may signal that that is the spot they should return to time and time again.

House training your puppy is also a way that you can set boundaries and rules for your new dog, teaching them what they can and can't do. This means you will need to start house training your puppy outside so it's important to be consistent with this rule.

The last reason house training is very important is due to the potential dangers of allowing your puppy to toilet inside. If you don't pick up your dog's mess quickly, then they can eat it and become unwell - which results in a vet bill that will cost you time and money!

How long does house training usually take?

This varies from pup to pup as all dogs are different. Some puppies learn very quickly, while others take a lot longer.

With patience and consistency, however, you should be able to teach your dogs in about 6-8 weeks.

Getting started with toilet training your puppy

The most important thing to remember when teaching your puppy is that they are a baby, and need to learn very quickly what is expected of them - it's difficult for small puppies to hold their bladder all day long, so it's important to make toilet training an easy task. By following these tips and tricks, toilet training shouldn't take you very long at all.

Make house training a positive experience

Make it fun! Get your puppy motivated and encouraged to go outside each time they need the toilet. Remember that puppies have tiny bladders, so will need to relieve themselves about five times a day on average. In order for them to learn quickly, you will need to be patient and calm when teaching your puppy.

Keep sessions short - no more than five minutes. You can also teach more than one puppy at a time, which will make the toilet training process go even faster.

If your puppy is reluctant to go to the toilet when you take them there, keep trying until they toilet outside rather than inside - don't give up!

Things you might need while potty training

A cute puppy being rewarded for successful toilet training
Here's some advice on the accessories you might need while teaching your fogs

A Collar and lead

Your puppy probably isn't used to being outside in the garden yet and might get easily distracted. That's why it's important to always take them out on a lead and guide them where you want them to be. You can find some really great collars and leads for puppies in our shop here.

Puppy treats

Keep some extra delicious puppy treats in your pocket and reward them with a treat each time they go to the toilet outside. Make sure to only give him the treat outside so that they associate the reward with behaviour you are pleased with.

An area where you would like your dog to toilet

On the grass or down at the end of the garden, maybe it's a spot near a flower bed, wherever it is, keep it consistent so they can associate that area with going to the toilet.

Time and patience

Don't expect miracles overnight!

You will need to be patient when teaching your puppy or dog. Don't forget, you are teaching them something completely new so the process might take a bit longer than usual - it's important not to get angry with your puppy if they have an accident in the house.

Two little puppies really happy with themselves for learning not to pee in the house
Two hours is the maximum time between toilet breaks for young puppies

How do I toilet train my puppy?

Keep a diary

The key to a house trained dog is to keep a log of when your puppy relieves themselves in order for you to get an idea of when they need to go to the toilet.

- This will also help you to see any patterns in their toilet behaviour. Are they going outside at the same time every day?

- Do they need toilet breaks more often if they have been playing with other dogs or drinking lots of water?

Take them outside at these times in order to reduce the risk of accidents.

Your diary should include the following information:

- Date - Time - Where did they toilet?

- How long did it take for them to toilet (after you took them outside)?

You can download this free PDF training diary to print and use.

Puppy Training Diary - Free Download
Download • 79KB

Puppy's age

Start house training your puppy when they are about 3 months old. Puppies will be able to hold their bladders better at this age than younger puppies, and house training should go a lot smoother

Have a toilet break schedule

Start straight away, first thing in the morning, as soon as they wake up, take them outside because they will definitely need to go.

When you first start teaching your puppy, they might not even know they need to go until it's too late. Take them outside regularly, like clockwork, on the hour, every hour. They will quickly start to learn that it's toilet break time and the penny will start to drop that they have to do it outside.

Pick a command and stick to it

"Go Potty", "Go Wee Wees" or "Do your business" ..... It doesn't really matter what you say, just choose a phrase, and say the same words in the same tone of voice every time you take your puppy outside on their scheduled pee break. This one may not click with them straight away. But you're playing the long game with this one. The peeing on command comes in really handy in adult life, if you're about to go visit a friends house, take a long car ride or a trip to the vets, it's really handy to be able to have them pee on command just before your set off.

Be Patient and Consistent

Your puppy will learn the rules at their own pace and it is important not to get angry with them if they have an accident. Just show them what you want the toilet area to look like and keep taking them back outside until they do their business where you want them to go.

Learn the signals that your dog needs to go toilet

When you see the signals that your dog is ready to go, take them outside straight away. This could be wagging their tail, sniffing around or scratching at the floor - you'll soon learn the way your puppy communicates with you. They love to tell us what they need in their own little ways, so just keep an eye out for their way of telling you they need to go.

You can get doorbells and talking buttons to put near the back door so they can let you know - But that's a whole different level of training that we don't have time to cover here.

Get a doggy door

So you can spend less time toilet training and more time enjoying your puppy!

If you have a secure back garden, then a doggy door is a great idea. As soon as your puppy catches on that they need to go outside, if they can access the garden on their own, toilet training will be so much easier.

The shortcut to house training your puppy

Well, it may not be a shortcut exactly, but we know for a fact that your puppy is going to go first thing in the morning.

This is when to lock in all of the positive reassurance that your puppy needs. Remember your commands "Go Potty" "Go wee wees" and so on.

Do different breeds learn at different speeds?

Every dog is different, just like with people.

But most dogs will learn toilet training within a couple of weeks.

This can be any breed from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane!

But remember, while you might read on the internet that your breed is a fast learner or a slow learner, there is nothing set in stone. What's important is consistency, positivity and patience, and your little furry friend will get the hang of it in no time at all!

A puppy being told off for peeing on the carpet
House training is only effective when it is done as soon as the mess is made

What not to do when toilet training

If your puppy or dog has an accident inside, you should immediately take them outside to show them where they should have gone to the toilet.

Aggressive training methods like rubbing their nose in it are outdated and cruel, and you should not resort to those methods.

Instead, praise them when they toilet outside and follow the same toilet training guidance as above.

If you have a dog door, when you start training your puppy, don't just let them go out to the toilet without taking them outside yourself - remember it's a good idea to introduce positive phrases and start training your puppy to go on command from the start.

If your puppy dog has an accident inside the house you have to correct it immediately while they remember it was them. If it's even 1 minute later, they will have forgotten what they did and have no idea what they are being reprimanded for.

How to clean up an accident inside the house?

If your puppy or adult dog has an accident inside the house, you need to clean it up with a cleaner specifically for pet accidents, to get rid of all traces of smell because dogs will always go there again. You can get one like this from posh paws.

If they can still smell where the accident was, they are not toilet trained and won't forget about that spot until any traces of scent are removed.

If you have cleaned up but it's left a stain on your carpet then try using something like this really good stain and odour remover by Posh Paws.

Now you should have a house-trained puppy

Or, at least, be well on the way to success. Use the tips to train your dog and you will be laughing when people asked you how you did potty training so fast!

Puppies and dogs are toilet trained by following a set of rules and being patient and consistent. Different breeds learn at different speeds, but with some basic tips everyone can train their dog to go out of the house for the toilet. If your puppy has an accident inside, clean it up immediately and remove any traces of smell so your puppy doesn't re-offend in that spot.

Do you have any toilet training tips?

How did you house train your puppy?

Let us know how you get on in the comments below, and feel free to share your top toilet training tips with the rest of the community.

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