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Potty Training your Puppy - The easy way



Puppies are not born with the knowledge that peeing or pooping on your floor or carpet is not acceptable. It is up to you, the responsible pet owner, to teach them exactly where you require them to pee and poop.

This is a long article but I ask you to please read it in its entirety. It is not difficult to house train a puppy and this article will give you the understanding to successfully achieve complete house training. (Also known as house breaking)

Potty Training Guide

*You will have to put some effort into house training your puppy or dog.
*You have to be consistent.
*You have to be diligent.
*Expect accidents.

Tools Required for Potty Training:

Happy Voice   Unhappy Voice     .....That's all you need.

Have a Schedule

If you are able, take your puppy outside once an hour. Stand with him but don't distract him at all. Let him sniff around. If he goes to the bathroom while outside  tell him what a good dog he is while he is actually peeing or pooping  Choose a word for his elimination. You can call it what ever you want as long as you are consistent with it. For example: While he is peeing say, "Do a pee, good boy, well done" or "Go potty, great work, good dog". By saying these words your puppy will then be able to learn these words and associate them with the action. In the future you will be able to ask your dog to urinate on command.

If he pees or poops when you take him outside make a big fuss of him. Praise him, pat him, play with him. Let him know that if he goes to the bathroom outside you are very very pleased with him.

If you take the puppy outside and after three or four minutes he hasn't gone to the bathroom bring him back inside and try again in ten minutes.

FACT: Puppies will normally need to eliminate just after they have eaten and just after they have woken up from a sleep.

Always take your puppy outside as soon as he awakens from a sleep or within minutes after eating.

They go plenty of other times too so keep a watch out.  Puppies may also need to potty while playing. If your puppy runs away from a game you are having always suspect he is off for a bathroom break.


Have an acceptable area where you will allow him to go to the bathroom

If it isn't possible for you to frequently take your puppy outside then you must decide where you will allow your puppy to go to the bathroom inside. Have acceptable areas where he can eliminate. When my puppies were small I allowed them to either go outside or on newspaper placed at the door that led to the outside. (You may prefer to use potty training pads rather than newspaper)

I only used newspaper for a short period of time and only when the puppy was very young. Over a period of time I moved the newspaper from just inside the door to just outside the door and then I completely removed the newspaper altogether.



If you are potty training your puppy to go outside ensure that he can get out! Can you leave a door open? Do you have a doggy door? Does he know how to use the doggy door? Sometimes stairs to gain access to the outside can be an issue. Puppies may be afraid to go up or down them. You could teach your puppy to ring a bell to go outside to potty Click on the link for instructions on how to do this.


Constant Supervision. Contain your puppy to one or two rooms.

Before your puppy is potty trained don't let him have the run of the house. Try to contain him to the room you spend the most time in so you can watch him most of the time. Close all bedroom doors and barricade other areas that do not have doors. You could use baby gates to contain your puppy.

Watch your puppy as much as you can. This is where diligence comes into play. You must be prepared to watch your puppy as much as possible. 


If it is possible try to organize at least a week off from work so you can spend some intensive time potty training your puppy.

Know the signs that your puppy is about to eliminate

Puppies are quick. One minute they are playing and the next minute they are peeing on your carpet.

Some of the signs that your pup is about to pee are:

Sniffing the floor
Taking off suddenly to another room or area. They often do this when they want to poop.

Often there are no warning signs, the puppy just squats and pees.



Give your puppy the right message

When you notice your puppy doing any of the above things gently and without a big fuss pick him up and place him on the newspaper or take him outside. Don't frighten the pup when you do this. It's a fact of life that your puppy has to pee and he has to poop so you don't want him to get the wrong message that peeing and pooping are wrong. You want him to get the message that peeing and pooping in the wrong place is not acceptable behavior and pottying in the 'allowed' area is acceptable behavior.


Catching Puppy in the act

When you catch your puppy in the act of going to the bathroom in the wrong place tell him firmly in a 'not happy voice' , "Nooooo don't pee there." Then take him to the newspaper or take him outside. If you shout and carry on at him it will only frighten him and he will soon learn to sneak off and do it where you can't see him.

Your puppy may have already started to pee by the time you reach him and although you may have dribbles across the floor still take him to the newspaper or outside and then praise him for being there. Sometimes you are not quick enough and he has finished peeing by the time you reach him. Never mind.. take him to the paper or outside anyway and tell him 'Do a pee here, good boy. Clever dog. ' Don't ever make the newspaper something to be frightened of.

It helps to put some dog pee on the newspaper because the pup will identify the smell and associate it with going to the bathroom. When your puppy has an accident blot a little of the urine on to the newspaper. Somewhere in his brain he might think 'Hmmm, pee smell here. I think this would be a good place to pee.' and so he pees on the newspaper.

When your pup goes to the newspaper or outside of his own free will, wait until he starts to eliminate and then as he is doing it tell him in a happy voice what great fellow he is. 'What a good boy... do a pee on the paper... good work... well done'

Expect Accidents

Don't have unrealistic expectations of your puppy. He is going to have plenty of accidents before he gets the message of what is expected of him.

Praise not Punish

Praising your dog for doing the right thing will always work far better than punishing him for doing the wrong thing. Don't get angry. Don't go overboard by yelling and screaming. Teach your dog by positive means instead of negative reactions.



Cleaning up is very Important

When your puppy pees or poops on the carpet or floor you must clean it up immediately. If your puppy smells pee on the floor or carpet then he is more likely to return to this area to pee again. In addition to all other information on this page you must clean all odors of previous accidents so as to prevent him re-offending in the same spot. A dog relies very much on his sense of smell.

On hard floor areas such as tiles or wood this is not a great problem. Wipe up the pee or poop with some paper towels and then use some disinfectant. If your puppy pees or poops on the carpet use an 'Oxy Action' laundry stain spray to get rid of the odors.

(Image at left is just an example. Any laundry spray that uses 'Oxy Action' is suitable.)

Below are two links which give detailed descriptions of how to effectively clean up dog urine and poop using household products that you probably have on hand.

How to Remove Dog Urine Odors From Carpets using Household Products

How to clean up Dog Poop stains and odors from your carpet

Too Late. He's already done it.

Accept some of the blame yourself, perhaps you could have been watching him better. Don't get angry.

If you find the mess or puddle after the event has happened do not rub his nose in it. This is a big NO NO and such an old fashioned idea that doesn't work. However, you must let him know that this is unacceptable. Put your dog on his leash or in the case of a small puppy pick him up and take him to the puddle or mess. Change the tone of your voice... adopt a not happy voice and say 'I'm not happy with this' while pointing to the puddle or poop. Make him look at the 'accident' It is very likely that your pup will not want to look at what you are pointing to and he will avert his eyes from what you are showing him. Hold him there and tell him several times in a not happy voice, NO! Not Good!  He will feel uncomfortable when you do this and this is what you want to achieve.

Have some tissue at the ready and pick up the poop or blot the urine and take it outside and put it where you would have liked him to do it in the first place. Make sure you still have him on the leash and that he accompanies you and watches every step of the procedure. Put the tissue on the ground and then tell the puppy in a happy voice, 'Good place... do pee here... very good place' or words to that effect.

I still keep finding little surprises on the floor

If you are constantly finding puddles and messes follow the above procedure with one small change. When you take him to the puddle or poop and he averts his eyes and doesn't want to know anything about it, tie his leash to something nearby such as a table leg or chair leg. Make sure he can't escape seeing it. Leave him like this for a few minutes while you walk away and ignore him. Don't leave him there for more than five minutes, that's long enough to get the message across.

When you are not there

You can't always be with your puppy 24 hours a day. When you go out you have the choice of putting him outside or containing him to one room or area. In some very cold climates putting your puppy outside is not an option. You could for example put him in the garage with a warm kennel or bed. If your house is open plan you may have to come up with some idea of barricading off a containment area. Baby gates often work well. Choose an area that can be easily cleaned after accidents. Put newspapers in the room with him near the door. 



snug bed for dogSome people choose to contain their dog or puppy in the basement when they are away from home. Before you consider this option ask yourself if you would be happy to be locked in your basement for several hours. Is it cold and damp? How could you improve the conditions of the basement? Is it possible to provide heating? A snug bed would be the absolute minimum requirement.

Don't shut him up in a pen or a small bathroom. That's not going to teach him anything. Don't put him in a crate. Crates teach dogs NOTHING. They are imprisoned and have no choices. Imagine if you really needed to pee and you were locked in a small cage. How long could you hold it? Could you hold it for 5 hours until someone got home? I doubt it. Now imagine your puppy is a small child locked in a cage. Could a toddler hold it for 5 hours?

You can't expect your puppy to hold it for hours on end. You should expect that there will be pee or poop on the floor when you get home. Just make it easier for yourself to clean up by containing him to an area that is easier to clean. For example, choose an area that is tiled, hardwood or concrete. 

As your dog gets older he will have more control over his bladder and bowels but when he is a baby you cannot expect miracles.

How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

On average it will take about two to three weeks. Remember that all dogs are not the same and some will learn very quickly and some will take a little longer. I once had a dog who learned paper training after one day. I caught her 'In the act' and put her on the newspaper and she never again went anywhere else apart from the newspaper or outside. She was a very smart puppy and an exception to the rule.

Expect Regression

Sometimes months after you think you have successfully potty trained your dog he will have the odd slip up. Expect this and deal with it as you did in the beginning. Accidents may happen with fully trained dogs. Dogs that are not neutered or spayed have a higher incidence of eliminating in the house. Scent marking is another form of undesired elimination and can be managed by neutering and refreshing housetraining. If scent marking is a problem there is further reading here: Prevent urine marking inside the house






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