Author Topic: How do I toilet train my puppy?  (Read 26269 times)

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Offline Jane S

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How do I toilet train my puppy?
« on: April 16, 2003, 01:38:47 PM »
Toilet training your new puppy

Patience and more patience is the key to successfully house training your new puppy. Very few puppies have much idea of what to do and where, when they go to their new home. You have to show them what you need them to do and where and encourage them all the way.

You will get the greatest success if you watch and observe your puppy and take him outside and stay with him at just the right time. You must persevere. It can seem like an age sometimes, but by the time your puppy is 12 months old you should have a clean and dry dog 24 hours a day. With any luck your puppy will be clean and dry much earlier - but all puppies are different and develop at different rates. The following tips will hopefully help you and your puppy through toilet training.

Getting your new puppy home and using the garden

Start by showing your new puppy the garden. Take them outside as soon as you get them home. Stay with your puppy so you can give praise. Let them sniff around and if they do anything – then give him/her lots of gentle praise.

A useful trick is to teach your puppy word association. Whenever they perform use a word or short phrase and repeat it each time they go. For example – say “Hurry up” as they are weeing in a bright voice with “good boy/girl” afterwards. Say something different for a poo if you wish. This then helps when you are out and about as your pup will learn to toilet on command.

Indoor training

Once indoors you need to have eyes like a hawk. Establish a routine - take the puppy out shortly after every meal and/or drink, after play, and soon after waking up from sleep/a nap. Stay with them so you can see if they perform. If they do – more praise. Take them out in the same way if they start sniffing the ground or turning around in circles and anytime when they haven’t been out for an hour or so. You will learn to spot the signs of when your puppy needs to go – but ignore those signs and you will have an accident to deal with.

Dealing with accidents

If you catch your puppy toileting indoors – say a firm “no”, don’t smack or rub the puppy’s nose in it, simply pick him/her up and take him outside. Again, stay with him. If he finishes outside, then give lots of praise again. If nothing more – just go back indoors and clean up.

If you find an accident after puppy has finished – don’t scold the puppy. He won’t know what he’s done wrong. Simply clean up the mess and be more vigilant.
When cleaning up, don’t use products with bleach or ammonia in them.  A puppy may associate the smell with previous toileting and think it’s OK to go in the same spot again. Use biological washing detergents.

Nightime and Leaving your puppy

When you have to leave your puppy – don’t be surprised to find an accident on your return. This goes for them being left during the day or night.

At night you can either get up when you hear your puppy stir and take them out or leave them until the morning. If you choose to take them out – don’t be tempted to play with the puppy. Just let them toilet and gentle praise and straight back to bed. If you wish to leave your puppy in the kitchen – watch where you step in the morning! Your puppy will learn to hold on more with time.

Deal with any accidents as shown above. You can put paper down if you want but that does confuse some puppies and many owners are cross when the puppy wee’s on the unread Sunday papers!

Paper training

If you do wish to paper train, try placing a soiled piece of paper under the clean sheet so the puppy can smell where to go. Gradually move the paper to the door and eventually place it outside.


One thing that many people forget is to keep on praising your dog when he/she goes. Even into adulthood. This constant reinforcement that they are doing the right thing really helps prevent them forgetting. If you don’t praise them, they can forget and go backwards.


So many times we hear of puppies/adults who seem to lapse and forget their training. There is only one thing for it – go right back to basics. Start right from the beginning and remember to clean thoroughly if there is an accident and give lots of praise every time your pup performs.

Good luck – the vast majority of dogs are fully housetrained before they are 12 months old. There are always exceptions though, so don’t worry if yours isn’t the one who has done it all after two weeks. I have yet to meet a dog who truly has.

By P Gair 2003