How to toilet train a puppy?

by PetCloud / Pet Owner Advice / 11 Jun 2020

Puppy wee on floor

Toilet training can be tricky but we’ve got the answers to your most-asked questions, from the best methods to must-have products! Our toilet training guide is here to make life easier for you and your new pup!

Why is it important to toilet train my puppy?

For a puppy, peeing and pooping in one spot outside, is not instinctive, in the wild, they would go wherever and whenever the urge takes them. This means that your puppy will need to be taught where and when it’s acceptable to go. But don’t despair! With the right approach, toilet training can be a relatively stress-free experience!

It’s important to properly train your puppy so they can be trusted inside the house when you’re not there and you can take them to friends houses, shops and the vets without any mess or embarrassment. Once your puppy is fully trained, if they do abnormally go inside, this could be a sign that they’re not well and may have, for example, a urinary tract issue that needs to be checked by a vet.

When do I start toilet training my puppy?

Toilet training is picked up easiest between 8-17 weeks but it’s important that you start training as soon as you bring them home so they don’t get into the habit of peeing in the house. If you leave it too long, they will become confused once you begin training so make sure you stay consistent with them so they know what to expect.

How long will it take to toilet train my puppy?

On average, it will take around 4-6 months to fully toilet train your puppy to the point where they are no longer having accidents in the house but this will depend on their age when you begin training, their breed, size and the consistency of your training.

How do I approach toilet training my puppy?

The best approach to any kind of training is positive reinforcement, when your puppy gets it right, meet this behaviour with lots of enthusiasm and praise. If they get it wrong, remember that they are still learning, don’t shout at them, and don’t ‘rub their nose in it’. This method will teach them that you will be angry when they go to the toilet in general, meaning they’re more likely to hide it from you e.g. behind the sofa! Instead, say ‘no’ sternly and take them to the correct spot for them to go to the toilet.

Crate training is a popular technique used for toilet training and is particularly useful for nighttime or when you go out. The crate will become a safe space for your puppy and they will want to keep it clean. Make sure you buy one that’s the right size; too small and they may be reluctant to go inside but too big and they might think they have enough space to both sleep and go to the toilet in.

What do I need to toilet train my puppy?

Before you begin training, there are several products you can buy to make your life easier! Firstly, puppy pads are great for overnight use in the house and to mark out a designated spot for them to go when indoors.

Accidents are inevitable, especially when you first start training so it’s worth investing in a good carpet/floor cleaner made specifically for puppies and dogs. These cleaners contain an enzyme to effectively break down urine and faeces and are usually suitable for most surfaces (but be sure to read the label!).

If you opt for crate training, it’s important to find a crate for your dog that is the right size for them.

Lastly, remember, the best training method is positive reinforcement so make sure you have lots of your puppy’s favourite treats on hand and well as a big smile and lots of praise!


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How do I toilet train my puppy in the house?

If you plan on training your puppy inside the house, try to keep a regular feeding schedule and keep an eye on when they’re drinking so you can anticipate when they might need the toilet. Take them outside to a designated toilet spot at regular intervals, including first thing in the morning and after eating. You should also use a phrase/command such as ‘go to the toilet’ every time you take them to their spot and be sure to praise them straight away after they go so they make the association between going correctly and receiving praise.

It may also be worthwhile to invest in a ‘pet potty’ that can be used as their designated toilet space in the house. Make sure their potty is not used for anything else such as playing or sleeping and when they use it you should clean it straight away so the smell doesn’t encourage them to go in other places in the house.

How do I toilet train my puppy outside?

If you’re training your puppy in the backyard, you should use the same approach as when training indoors. But make sure when you take them outside, you don’t play with or distract them until they have been to the toilet. In the early stages of training, you should bring them back inside after they’ve been so that the main function of the backyard is as a toilet until they are fully trained.

How do I toilet train my puppy when I’m not at home?

When leaving your puppy alone in the house, you should confine them to just one room (preferably non-carpet such as the kitchen) until they are housetrained and put down pads or a potty as well as bedding, water and safe toys.

If you know you're going to have to leave your puppy unsupervised when you go out for work it may be worth investing in a dog sitter. PetCloud has some great registered pet sitters in your area who can supervise your puppy and help with toilet training while you're away.

How do I toilet train my puppy at night?

A very important consideration when toilet training your puppy at night is deciding where they’re going to sleep. This should be a permanent arrangement as changing it can be upsetting and confusing for your puppy. If you are crate training, this should be where they sleep as it is a safe space and will discourage soiling and prevent them from wandering around the house and making mess.

They should also be within earshot if they cry to be let out for the toilet and you should try and take them out a few times during the night if possible - this may be annoying but it’s worth it and it won’t be forever!

How do I toilet train an adult/rehomed dog?

If you have adopted an adult dog, depending on their past, they may not already be housetrained (e.g. if they were kept outside all the time). Other factors such as anxiety and being territorial may also affect their toilet training. When training an adult dog, you should take the same approach as when training a puppy and be prepared to be patient.



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