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How to Toilet Train A Puppy
Life and Style Daily
July 26, 2021
8 min

Bringing your first puppy home is absolutely memorable and exciting! However, taking care of pets isn’t always rainbows and sprinkles---it can also be challenging at some point. For one, you need to toilet train your puppy from scratch.

And of course, if you have an older dog or rehomed a dog that is already toilet-trained, house training is still necessary to refresh its memory. This is because whether a puppy or not, any dog will need some time to get used to their new environment and routine, particularly if they’ve spent a long time in kennels.

Besides, they won’t be able to figure out automatically where they are expected to do their thing in their new home.

Why is Toilet Training a Puppy Important?

Toilet training is essential as puppies have no control over their bladder during the early stages. Hence, they’re likely to poop and pee literally anywhere they feel like doing it---may it be on your new carpet, your newly polished tiles, your freshly upholstered sofa, or even on your bed with laundered sheets. It is also worth noting that puppies usually pee to mark their territory, especially if it’s a male.

We all know how tedious it is to clean around the house, right? It is very time and energy-consuming. You don’t want to reach the point where you’ll get burned out because of non-stop cleaning after your dog’s mess.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your adorable little pup is potty trained in one place? That would mean less cleaning tasks for you and your family!

It is always better to leave the house with peace of mind and not having to think about whether you will step on your puppy’s poop or pee when you get home. Plus, it is relatively more fun to take care of a disciplined pet!

When Should You Start Toilet Training a Puppy?

Now, when is the right time to start toilet training your puppy? According to some experts, it is highly recommended for owners to begin potty training their puppies once they reach 12 to 16 weeks old. At this point, they already have adequate control over their bladder, and they can already learn how to “hold it.” It would also help if your pets can already recognize their names, so it’s easier to make them go to a particular area.

Keep in mind, though, that if you are going to potty train outside your house, make sure that your puppy already has its initial vaccination. You’ll never know what kind of disease or virus might linger outdoors, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Want to potty train your puppy but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry--- we got you! Here are some tips on how to toilet train your puppy easily:

How to Toilet Train Your Puppy Outdoors

Are you lucky enough to have extra space for a potty area outdoors? Here’s what you should do if you want to toilet train your puppy outside your home:

1. Choose a Potty Zone Wisely

Take advantage of your lawn by choosing this as your pet’s potty area. This is the best choice for people who don’t want their house to smell and their furniture, valuables, and other belongings to be at risk. It will also be easier to clean if done outside as opposed to a part of the house.

After you’ve explicitly decided where the potty zone will be, let your puppy adjust for a while. Soon, by remembering the smell of urine and getting familiarized with that particular area, your pup will start associating the yard as its potty zone.

2. Introduce a Reward System as you Toilet Train

Puppies will have a hard time adjusting to their new potty area, so it is essential to have some patience.

Like humans, dogs also enjoy being rewarded. Hence, make sure to praise and give them some treats as a reward whenever they pee outside your home--- particularly in your chosen potty area.

Do not scold or throw tantrums at them wherever they make a mistake, as this may slow down the toilet training process. This type of conditioning was first recognized by B.F. Skinner and applies to both humans and animals.

3. Develop a Routine

Of course, toilet training your puppy would be useless if it’s not being practiced regularly. Hence, make sure to have a routine in place when it comes to your pup’s potty time.

Dogs may have to pee every 2 hours, especially in the beginning stages. Therefore, it is crucial to give them as many opportunities to poop and pee as possible. It is highly suggested that you let them out in the yard after mealtimes.

Keep in mind that consistency is the key. Accidents are bound to happen, but if you stick to the potty routine, your puppy will be toilet trained in no time.

4. Do Not Carry Your Puppy Outside

Let your pups be independent and walk on their own, and they will get familiar with their surroundings easily. If you carry them to their potty area all the time, they won’t be able to go alone when they need to.

The goal is for them to learn how to poop and pee by themselves so that they won’t be in such a bind afterward. Letting your puppies walk will help stimulate the bladder and bowels as well.

How to Toilet Train Your Puppy at Home

If your house doesn’t have a backyard, that’s okay. Here’s how you can toilet train your puppy at home:

1. Familiarize your Puppy Around the house as well as the Nearby Outdoor Area

It doesn’t matter if you do not have a backyard or a garden. You can still train your puppies by giving them time to familiarize your house, including the nearby outdoor area. This will help them distinguish the selected toilet areas that they can use for themselves.

Show your pet the purpose of each room. For example, if you play in the living room, your puppy will think it’s okay to play there as well. However, it may take some time for your dog to get familiar outside. In that case, keep walking your dog outdoors until it gets used to it.

2. Set a Potty Schedule for a Better Routine

Aside from being familiar with their surroundings, creating a potty schedule will also help you and your puppy have systematic training.

Puppies have small bladders. And because they most likely use the toilet once they woke up, just had their meal, were very excited or happy, and when they are easily distracted, you might want to schedule a frequent toilet visit to avoid accidents.

Keep doing so until they remember where and when they can use the potty zone. Since you don’t have a lawn, you can use this chance to tell your puppy when it’s time to go outside as well.

3. Learn How Associations Work

Associations are very important when doing toilet training. This is the key to letting your puppies memorize the areas where they can relieve themselves. If an area smells like urine, feces, or ammonia, your puppy will think it’s the toilet area.

If you practice taking your dog to a certain spot or location, then your puppy will believe that this is where it can do its business.

Factors such as the relationship of the surface and the paws, the physiological influence of routines, and commands are also part of the associations in toilet training. That is why routines are fundamental, so they’ll know when to use the toilet zone both in your house and the outdoor area.

How to Toilet Train Your Puppy in an Apartment

Are you one of those pet lovers who live in a small apartment? There’s nothing to worry about! Here’s what you can do to toilet train a puppy in your apartment:

1. Restrict to a Small and Easy-to-clean Area

To start with indoor toilet training, make sure you already have a designated potty zone for your pet. Choose an area in your apartment that is easier to clean such as the kitchen or the bathroom.

You may use a baby gate or any similar object to block your puppies during their first few months until they become fully potty trained. Doing so will ensure that you can watch over them and correct their behavior while they do their thing.

2. Establish a Potty Routine

Set a schedule when feeding your puppy and take potty breaks at the same time every day. Feeding may be done when you get home from work or maybe during lunchtime while you’re taking your time off.

Even if your puppies aren’t showing any signs that they want to relieve themselves, stick to the scheduled time anyway. Always take them to the same spot, so they can recognize the smell and get used to it easily.

3. Keep an Eye Out for your Dog’s Behavior

You can easily indicate when it’s time for your puppy to go and poop. Some of these signs include circling, sniffing, squatting, or restlessness.

If you caught your puppy in the act, pick them up and place them in the corner you designated in your apartment to let them finish their business. You can immediately place them in a puppy pad or dog litter box if you have one, as well.

4. Clean Accidents Immediately

Toilet training is a tedious process as it takes longer for your puppy to get used to the routine every day. Hence, accidents are normal--- and should be expected.

Younger puppies are more frequent to poop since they cannot hold it as long. If your puppy suddenly pees somewhere else in your apartment, do not scold them. Punishing does not make the situation better as it will only cause fear, and it will undermine your relationship with your pet.

If your puppy has an accident, clean the area right away with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any traces. This kind of cleaner is crucial as it eliminates the odor, preventing your puppy from peeing or pooping at the same place over again.

Overall Toilet Training Tips

  • Pay Attention to Signals Made by your Puppy. Toilet training your puppy includes paying attention to their signs and signals. For example, if you catch your pup whining or having a short attention span, then it’s a sign that it needs to go to the toilet ASAP. Their potty area should be in a specific location, either inside or outside your home. Once you’ve noticed their signal, guide them towards the chosen potty area until they get used to it. Your pets need to know where exactly the toilet area is, so they can easily go and do their own business, especially when they are left alone at home.
  • Use Specific Cues to Let them Know When to do it. Watching out for your puppies’ signals is one thing, but using specific cues is another good way to toilet train them. This will help you command your pets during specific times that you want them to use the toilet. These particular times are usually long, such as before going to bed or before traveling. Decide on the cues you plan to use wisely. Make sure your pup understands it. Do not change it frequently to avoid confusion. For instance, if you say the word “toilet,” your dog knows that it’s time to do their business in the potty zone.
  • Follow a Reward System. Having positive reinforcement will encourage your puppies to follow you and participate in toilet training. It is also a way for them to know that they are doing a good job, so they will keep doing it. As the trainer, you have the freedom to decide which rewards you will give to your dog. It can be a treat, belly rubs, affirmations, toys, playtimes, etc.

Your Role As The Trainer

Toilet training your puppy doesn’t need to be stressful. Think of it as a way to bond with your pet. Have fun! After all, this isn’t just for your dog, but also for you. By paying attention to signals, using cues, practicing positive reinforcement, being consistent, and by following our tips mentioned above, your pet will surely be potty trained in no time!

However, as an owner, keep in mind that you should not push your pups to be trained at once. Punishing them for not following you will only scare them and they may no longer cooperate with the training. That is why housetraining requires lots of patience because it can really take some time and practice, meaning you can’t get the result overnight.

Also looking to house train your fur baby? Read ”How to House Train a Dog or Puppy” to learn more.


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