Potty training your puppy is important for the cleanliness of your home and the health of your family. The guide below will help you get started by providing you with tips on how and when to train your puppy.
What is Puppy Potty Training?
Puppy potty training is just what it sounds like: training your puppy to relieve themselves outside. This allows you to leave your dog unattended without worrying about coming home to a mess.
To potty train your puppy, you should begin training when they’re between 12 and 16 weeks old. Although older dogs can still be trained, it is easier to train your puppy as soon as you bring them home.
Before you start training your puppy, there are three things you should have on hand:
- A leash – taking your puppy outside on a leash will make it easier to keep them focused on doing their business.
- A crate – keeping them in a crate can help minimize accidents, as we’ll explain below.
- Treats – have treats on hand to give to your dog when they successfully pee or poo outside.
To start potty training your puppy, find a spot in the yard to designate as your potty spot. Once they’ve gone to the bathroom on this spot, the scent will signal to them that this is a good place to go potty.
When taking your puppy outside to go potty the first few times, keep him or her on a leash. Puppies are easily distracted, and a leash allows you to guide them to a potty spot. This also ensures you’re close enough to reward desired behavior (going to the bathroom outside).
You should watch your puppy and give them a treat or praise immediately after they’ve gone to the bathroom. This helps train them to do this action since they’ll associate going to the bathroom outside with treats and praise.
If you wait too long to give your puppy a treat, they may not know what behavior you’re rewarding.
Verbal Cues & Treats
Give your puppy about ten to fifteen minutes to go potty outside. During this time, try to talk as little as possible, so they don’t become distracted.
Decide on a verbal cue you want to use to tell your puppy to go to the bathroom outside. This can be something as simple as “go potty” or “do your business.”
When you’re getting started, you’ll want to watch your puppy and give the verbal cue as they’re going potty. This will help them to associate those words with the desired action. Over time, they’ll learn that those words mean they should go outside and relieve themselves.
You should give your puppy a treat or praise immediately after they relieve themselves. This should be a high-value treat that they’ll associate with going potty outside.
Dogs, especially puppies, respond better to rewards than threats. Positive reinforcement will help you greatly in your potty training efforts.
Importance of Crate Training
Create training is a powerful tool for puppy potty training. Buy a crate to keep your puppy contained during potty training and at night.
The crate should be big enough that your puppy can sit, stand, lay down, and easily turn. However, it should not be so big that they can designate one area for going potty and another for rest. Some crates offer partitions to help you expand the crate’s space as your puppy grows.
Your puppy’s crate should not be seen as a punishment but as a cozy space for your puppy to make their own. Dogs dislike relieving themselves in the same space they sleep, so your puppy will have fewer accidents when confined to a crate.
This also reduces the number of spaces where your puppy can hide their pee or poo. If they’re free to run through the entire house, especially while you’re away, you’re more likely to find hidden spots where they’ve relieved themselves.
Dealing With Accidents
No matter how consistent you are in training your puppy, they’re going to have accidents during this process. It’s important that you don’t yell at your dog. If you happen to see, your puppy beginning to relieve himself indoors, loudly and sternly say “no!”
However, many accidents are not found until after the fact. If you find your puppy’s waste after the fact, don’t make a fuss or punish your puppy.
This will only confuse them and cause them to be anxious. To prevent undesired behavior, you must stop them in the moment when that behavior occurs.
How Long Does it Usually Take To Potty Train A Puppy?
The amount of time it takes to potty train your puppy can vary greatly. In most cases, it takes between 4 to 6 months to potty train a puppy.
Because their bladders aren’t fully developed until they’re five months old, they may not have full control over when they go until then. However, you can start training your puppy between 14 and 16 weeks.
Smaller dog breeds often take longer to train. If your puppy is coming to you from an abusive home, this may also make it harder to potty train them.
Although some online sources claim you can potty train a puppy in seven days, your puppy’s progress will depend on your consistency and your puppy.
Keep track of progress and accidents in a journal. Even though it’s frustrating when accidents occur, a journal can help you look back and see how much progress your puppy has made.
What is The Fastest Way to Potty Train A Puppy?
Unfortunately, there is not shortcut to potty training your puppy. Your consistency and your dog’s disposition will play major roles in how quickly your puppy learns.
Although some dogs can learn to go outside in days, others may take months. Four to six months is a typical amount of time for potty training your puppy.
It’s important to consistently train your puppy. Instead of thinking your “done” when they’ve gone outside a few times, remember to keep a consistent schedule until they’re no longer having accidents.
Does A Dog’s Age Matter When it Comes To Potty Training?
A dog’s age does matter when it comes to potty training. Although it is typically easier to train a puppy, they still don’t have full control of their bladder until they’re about five months old.
You should start teaching them before this stage with the understanding that potty training may not be “done” until they’re five or six months old.
When you first start training your puppy, you should take them outside every 45 minutes or so during waking hours. You can slowly increase the time between potty breaks as the puppy gets older.
A good rule of thumb is the “one hour per month” guideline. Your puppy should be able to hold in their pee or poo for one hour for each month old they are.
For example, a four-month-old puppy should be able to go four hours between potty breaks. However, you’ll need to work with your puppy to build up to that amount of time between potty breaks.
Why is Potty Training Important For Puppies?
Potty training is important because it teaches your puppy to relieve themselves outside. Although some people are tempted to get pee pads to allow their puppy to go indoors, these pads are rarely a good idea. This only reinforces the idea that it’s okay to pee and poo indoors.
It’s important to start potty training when your dog is still a puppy. Puppies are typically easier to train. This also gives you more time to enjoy with your dog instead of cleaning up unnecessary messes.
What is a Potty Training Schedule?
A potty training schedule is one of the most important things in determining the success of your potty training efforts. You should create a schedule for taking your puppy outside to go potty. When possible, follow this schedule consistently.
You should take your puppy outside:
- When you wake up
- After each meal
- After playtime
- After naps
- Before you leave home
- Before bed
Write down times for each of the above times. You should feed your puppy at the same times each day. All meals should be followed with a trip outside to use the potty.
This schedule is important because it gets your puppy used to going potty at certain times. They’ll start holding their pee and poo until they can go outside.
If multiple family members are helping with potty training, write down their potty schedule and post it where everyone can see it. Consistency across caregivers will provide the best results.
Each time you take your puppy outside, watch to see if they go potty or not. When you’re first starting out, take them back inside and have them sit in their crate for fifteen or twenty minutes.
After this time, take them outside to try again. This will help reinforce the idea that when they go outside, they should go to the bathroom.
Potty Training Summary
Consistency is the single most important thing when it comes to potty training your puppy. Use the information and methods described above to begin your potty training journey. As you develop a daily schedule, make sure your puppy is going outside at the same time every day.
This allows them to learn faster. As with all kinds of training for your puppy, be ready with rewards and praise when they do something right. Every time they go potty, affirm what a good puppy they are. Positive reinforcement will help your puppy learn.