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How To Potty Train A Puppy

Written by Ella White

Updated

Puppy going to toilet outside

Potty training your puppy is one of the first tasks at hand when you bring a new pet home. As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure our pets are toilet trained as soon as possible, so we can live a happy life together – in a nice, clean house! 

A lack of toilet training is one of the main reasons dogs end up in shelters. But if you’re tired of your pet soiling in your house, it’s worth remembering that they’re not going to teach themselves… We owe it to our dogs to potty train them from a young age so they can be trusted without constant supervision in the family home.

What do I need to potty train my puppy?

There are plenty of items you can purchase to support your potty training efforts, like puppy pads if you’re choosing to begin your training indoors. However this comes with its own issues, as it can teach your puppy that it’s okay to go indoors rather than waiting until they’re outside.

Crates are an important starting point as they can help your dog understand the difference between spaces in the house. And since they won’t like soiling the area where they sleep, they’re likely to learn that it’s not the place for pooping fairly quickly. 

More than anything though, you’re going to need patience. The key to effective potty training is a consistent schedule and constant attention until you’re sure they’ve learned where to go – and where not to.

How long will it take to toilet train my dog?

There are many factors that contribute to how long potty training can take. The younger you can get started on your training, the easier it will be to teach your dog to form good toilet habits. But if your dog is a rescue and has never lived in a home with a human, or has come from a disruptive background which means they were never properly trained, it could take longer. 

Whatever your training situation – don’t give up. Persistence is key and in the end it will mean you and your dog are much happier living together.

Potty training puppy using a crate

If you’re put off by the idea of putting your puppy in a crate, read our blog about crate training dogs and its benefits here. Dogs are den animals that naturally seek out cozy confined spaces to relax in. So don’t project your human ideals onto your pet – what might seem cooped up and cruel to you is actually something of a sanctuary for them.

And because dogs are naturally clean animals that don’t like to make a mess where they sleep or chill out, they will learn to ask to be let out of their crate when they need to go. From there, you can lead them directly outside to reinforce the lesson that that’s where they go to the toilet.

Get to know their habits

By observing your dog and picking up on their toilet habits you can begin to predict when and how often they need to go. Some can hold it in longer than others, so once you’ve got an idea of their routine you can begin to plan your training around their natural rhythms.

Create a schedule

Developing a plan that guides when you let your puppy out for the toilet is a good way to ensure they have enough time outside to go when they need to. Because puppies have tiny bladders, they’ll need to be let out more often than older dogs. A rule of thumb is that they can hold their bladder for the same number of hours as their age in months – but this only applies up to 9 months, which is a very long time to hold it in when you need to go!

Letting your puppy out first thing in the morning, after eating or drinking, after playing, after naps, after extended time in their crate, and last thing before they go to bed should give them plenty of opportunity to let it all out – and understand the habits you’re helping them to form.

Praise them plenty

Dogs respond to praise far more than aggression or scolding. So be sure to tell them what a good job they’ve done every time they go to the toilet in the right place. It can be tempting to tell them off when they’ve just peed or pooped on your carpet, but next time they’re desperate to go, that lesson won’t help them. 

What they will remember is the cuddles and treats they got when they went in the right place, and it will help reinforce the connection between going outside and going to the toilet. When they do go inside, just clean it up and ignore them if they’re looking for praise.

Keep them healthy

Because puppies don’t have fully developed digestive systems, they can’t eat that much. This is one of many reasons for developing a healthy and natural diet for them from a young age. Good quality food is easier to digest and is less likely to result in loose or runny stools.

Keep an eye on their poops and notice if there are any changes. If they eat too much it will make training harder as they’re more likely to suffer with diarrhea and an unpredictable toilet routine.

If you want to learn more about your dogs excrement (a bit yucky we know, but your dog trusts you to look after their health so it's always good to learn!) you can learn everything you could possibly need to know about poo over here.

Front of the Pack’s air-dried food is made with 100% pure natural ingredients. So you can trust your pup is getting all the nutrients they need to live healthily, without any digestive issues. It tastes great, and only includes ingredients you’ve heard of and probably eaten yourself. So you can focus on getting them to go in the right place, without the worry of runny poop ruining your carpet.