Potty Training a Puppy- A Complete Review and Guide

Carrying a puppy home is always exciting. But the responsibilities of pet parents enhances as instilling good habits from a younger age is one of the toughest jobs for a long and happy journey ahead. One of the greatest challenges a pooch parent faces in the initial stages of a puppy growth is to house train it. Pieces of pieces of evidence have proven that house soiling is one of the primary reasons for many puppies ending up in shelters.

House training the small canine requires immense patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. This process is not an instant procedure it is a tedious process of 4-6 months or sometimes a year. This depends on the size of the breed. Smaller breeds have tiny bladders and higher metabolisms which require more frequent trips when compared to medium and large breeds. If the pup is an adopted one the house training time is directly proportional to its previous living conditions.

This article enlightens about the various steps one need to know to house train the new member of the family. Experts recommend researching puppy training prior to bringing them, as this will aid in providing an idea as to how to initiate the process.

How to potty train a puppy?

The following guidelines will effectively aid in house training the pups.

Part 1: Learn the basics.

This is a pivotal step in potty training. The following section needs to be pondered carefully.

A. Introduce the new pup to the new surroundings.

Like humans, even canines burst with excitement, curiosity, fear and joy at a new place. Hence this the best time to layout basics for a better relationship construction. Puppy like toddlers is quick to grasp things that a parent or family member would want to convey to it. All it needs is consistency, the more times an individual guide or stress what it needs to do the faster it will adapt.


  • Introduce the places of the home where it is granted access only.
  • Shut down the areas where you would not like the pup to wander and do his business.

B. Study the puppies behavior and needs.

It is always a better option to experiment the breed specific needs and characteristics before the puppy is brought home. But as every individual is different so is dogs. Hence it always wise to observe its needs and behavior for some days post its introduction to the new atmosphere. Canines are intelligent creatures but are one sense lesser than humans. Hence our actions are more important than our commands. Understand the ways a pup tries to communicates and study the clues they leave for a better rapport.

C. Do not leave the puppy unattended.

When house training a puppy it is always a wise option to keep an eye on them. This will allow grasping clues or early signs which will help us to understand when it is going to pee or poo.

Note: Look for the signs of scratching, circling, barking, whining,  sniffing or any other weird behavior. These are clues the pups show prior to home soiling. Immediately guide them to the exterior or a place where you expect them to do their duty.

D. Interrupt during accidents.

Commanding language with actions is what that helps to guide and train a pup. During the act of urinating or pooping indoors or at places where the pup should not soil, make a sudden noise like clapping your hands and say no and lead it to the outdoors or the designated area for soiling.


  • A loud noise is done not to scare the pup but to grab its attention immediately and letting it know that its action is disapproving. Be consistent with the command each time when an accident occurs, this will help to differentiate as to what is approved and what is not.
  • This interruption act may work only with urination and fail with defecating. But don’t stop this teaching process.
  • Never punish the little pooches post accidents. Refrain them from smelling or reminding them of a previous occurrence or accident. Puppies have a short memory hence will not remember it.
  • Punishing them for littering indoors will not only make them sacred but will also make them hide at less known places of the home during potty.

E. Designate or choose a potty zone.

Experts recommend picking a potty zone outdoors or place a training pad or newspaper at a designated area indoors which is easy to access and clean. Make sure it is not visited by other dogs.


  • The odor of the urine will the tiny canine to associate it to a bathroom.
  • Avoid taking the puppies outdoors like a park, or making it share its potty area till its third set of vaccinations.

F. Choose a specific command or sound during the training process.

When taking the puppy outdoors always be consistent with the command or sound that designates it to urinate or defecate in the designated zone. This will help the puppy to adapt and point out the area of potty easily with practice.

Note: Refrain from using the same command for any other activity. This will create confusion in the small minds.

G. Praise the puppy when it does right.

Always praise or treat the puppy when it potties in the right place. Use a cheerful tone that will convey the pup that it has pleased his parent or pack leader.

Note: Treating or praising the pup will motivate it to do right.

H. Make the housebreaking experience a relaxed and rewarding event for the pet.

Motivate the pup to practice to control the bladder and patiently wait when they are emptying it. Build a specific time plan to take them out and try to follow it without a miss for a hassle and quick house training process.

I. Clean up the accidents right away.

As soon as the pup potties indoors clean it up thoroughly and use urine eliminators available in the pet stores or white vinegar to wipe off the odor. This will help in preventing the pup to urinate or defecate in the same area indoors. The training pads are pre-sprayed with ammonia to help the pup detect this component that is a pivotal part of urine for urinating on it.

Part 2: Keep the canine closed.

The section beneath needs to be pondered for a faster potty training process.

A. Limit the dog’s habitation.

It’s easier to keep a close eye on the puppy if its area of movement is confined. One can control the puppy’s movement by adhering its movement to a single room and restrict it to the room by closing the door or by using a baby gate.


  • If the confined area is a smaller one the pet parent will be easily able to note the time the pup wants to be taken out for potty.
  • The area that is chosen for the puppy should not only be spacious enough for it to move around but also easy for the owner to keep an eye on it.  The best area for this would be a sectioned area of a room or a small room with an outlet that leads to the outdoors.
  • Pick an area that is easy to clean as accidents need to be washed off for better training.

B. Keep the little fido on a short leash.

Attaching the puppy to a short lease even indoors will give better control over his movement. The puppy will not only be around you all the times and when it’s the time to potty you can quickly take it outdoors.

C. Make use of a crate when one cannot keep a watch of it.

The use of a  crate is very effective in house training in the absence of a person to keep an eye over the pup. As the dog’s psychology is to keep the area of its habitation clean, the pup will not soil the crate as it will start looking at it as his or her home.


  • The size of the crate should just be such that the pup can sleep, stand up and turn around. Large crates are not recommended as the pups are seen to use half the area of the crate for habitation and the rest as a restroom.
  • For people having a larger crate for a small puppy it is advised to block off the extra space restricting the area of habitation.
  • To make the crate time positive and enjoyable one can treat the pup with a biscuit or a toy.
  • The crate time of a puppy needs to be confined post which they need to be taken to the potty area as they have a tiny bladder and do not have the ability to control the urination.
  • The thumb rule to calculate the crate time is based on the puppies age. The number of months denotes the time it can be left in the crate.
  • Post the crate time the puppy should be immediately taken out for a walk to avoid accidents indoors.

Part 3: Establishing a regime.

This pointer plays a pivotal role in potty training. Following the steps mentioned beneath will make the house training process easier.

A. Be consistent.

One of the key pointers in potty training is to keep up the time and the route. Try taking the puppy outdoors at the same intervals and through the same door. Take it to the same potty spot and use the same command each time. This will help the puppy to associate to housebreaking easily.


  • Establish a routine for taking it outdoors. The recommended time is early morning post waking up, post every meal, play, and nap time, after drinking water, and every time it is removed post the crate time.
  • For younger puppies it is recommended to take them outdoors or to the potty area every 20 minutes.
  • Regular walks post the third vaccinations will encourage the puppies to go.

B. Observe how frequently the puppy needs to go outdoors.

Note the time interval between each potty time this will vaguely give an idea as to how many times a day it needs to be taken outdoors and at what time interval.

C. Mealtime needs to be consistent.

A regular mealtime schedule will directly aid in regulating the potty time. Post every meal all puppies need to be taken outdoors. Control the diet divide the meal time into three meals and choose the high-grade food that suits an individual puppy and breeds needs. Examining the stool is an easy indication of the diet. Healthy stools depict good diet and vice versa.

The three best potty training methods that are recommended by the vets include

  • Crate training.
  • Frequent outdoor trips.
  • Pad or paper training.

Choose a method that suits the personal needs and stick to the steps mentioned above for a hassle-free and successful potty training. Happy parenting.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Why do pets soil the crates?

A. Leaving the pets in the crates for a longer period of time without taking it outdoors will make them soil the crate. This happens because their bladder is tiny and they cannot control the urination for a longer time than a stipulated time. Hence a pet parent needs to observe its schedule and take it outdoors or to the potty area as per the time interval.

Q. How to start the potty training process for a puppy in cold weather?

Taking the puppies outdoor during extreme weather conditions is not feasible hence the potty training can be begun at home in a confined area that is accessible only during potty time. Paper or pad training is recommended in such cases.

Q. Can a puppy be potty trained by both paper or pad training as well as outdoor trips?

This method will not work out of young puppies but as they grow older that is post 5-6 months it can be used.

Q. Why do fidos choose to drink water from the restrooms?

Most dogs mistake the toilet bowls as a big water bowl. Hence avoid this by keeping the bathroom door shut or blocking it with a stopper so that the puppy doesn’t enter it. Every dog likes to spend most of the time with their master or owner. so if the bathroom is the place where most of the time is spent the dog would also prefer to follow the master.


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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.


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