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HOW TO TOILET TRAIN YOUR NEW PUPPY

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Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting experience but it’s easy to forget that puppies are also hard work.

House training a puppy requires patience, commitment, and consistency - as well as the knowledge that accidents will occur no matter what. Follow our toilet training guidelines to give the newest (furriest) member of your family the best possible start to their training.


In This Article
 

a dog standing up on its hind legs wearing an orange collar while their owner holds onto their leash and feeds them a treat with the other hand

When Should You Begin Toilet Training Your Puppy?

Toilet training should begin as soon as your puppy enters the front door. A puppy’s bladder is extremely weak at eight weeks old which means it will take a while before your puppy learns to fully control their bladder. The sooner you get started on house training your puppy, the better the results.

How Long Does It Take To Toilet Train a Puppy?

As a general rule, it can take anywhere between 4-6 months to toilet train a puppy. However, this may vary, a puppy's ability to learn is influenced by many factors, including breed, weight, size, age, and ability to consume knowledge.

Did you know (in some cases) it can take as little as one week to toilet train a puppy? Although, as mentioned above, it will take a few months before your puppy learns to hold their bladder for longer than 8 hours - so they will need proper supervision until then.

 

What Supplies Do I Need for Toilet Training My Puppy?

Toilet training your puppy is a lengthy process, and there’s bound to be accidents - which is why housetraining and cleaning supplies are essential for making it a more seamless process.

We’ve created a list of essential puppy house training supplies below:

     
Puppy Pads
      Crate
      Pooper Scooper
      Stain & Odour Cleaner
      Poo Bags
      Puppy Barriers
      Treats (to act as a reward)
      Leash & Collar

Being prepared for your first puppy is no easy task, which is why we’ve put together a list o
f essential puppy supplies to help you along the way - that’s not just focused on toilet training. 

a puppy wearing a pink collar has its nose on the floor sniffing and collecting treats that have spilled out from their food bowl in front of them

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON TOILET TRAINING YOUR PUPPY AT HOME

Puppies are easily distracted; add a new environment, smells, faces, and other pets to the mix and it can be quite a difficult task getting their attention. Not to mention it's often a stressful and unsettling experience for them in the first few days.

The key to success comes down to two factors; patience and positive reinforcement. Establishing a regular training schedule helps to boost their confidence, build trust, and set boundaries to decrease the likelihood of undesirable behavioural traits forming later. 

1.Create A Toilet Training Schedule for Your Puppy

To be more successful in toilet training your puppy, create a schedule around their feeding times. Puppies need to be fed three times per day until they're 5 months old. Puppies that are fed on a consistent schedule become regular in their elimination habits (going to the toilet), which helps with house training.

Dogs thrive on a daily regular exercise routine; set aside time each day for walks, play, and obedience training. This not only helps with house training but is also important for creating good house manners. Take your puppy to their designated toilet area at these key times of the day:

●      Immediately after waking up in the morning

●      After a nap

●      After meal times

●      After playtime or training sessions

●      Before going to bed


Important note: 
Avoid feeding a large meal before confinement (restricting their movement). Similarly, your dog’s last feeding of the day should be several hours before bedtime.  

 

2. Designate A Toilet Training Area for Your Puppy

We recommend sectioning off a small area indoors for your puppy to be toilet trained, before introducing them to the rest of the house. This will allow you to monitor your pup's behaviour more closely throughout the day - which (hopefully) results in fewer accidents.

To be able to properly monitor your puppy, we advise you to use a leash to make sure your puppy doesn't run away from you when you're not looking. Getting a puppy used to a leash takes time, but with a lot of encouragement (and treats), they'll learn to be comfortable with the idea. Once you've managed to clip on the collar and attach the leash, allow them to walk through the room to get used to the smells and their surroundings. If you're training your puppy to go to the toilet outside then we suggest walking to the designated area with your puppy on a leash to avoid them running off. As soon as they've finished going to the toilet, be sure to reward them with plenty of praise, and treats in the beginning; positive reinforcement is the key to success.

Often, dog owners can also use a crate. When introduced to your puppy properly, crates can be a really useful tool for speeding up the toilet training process, as they provide a haven for your puppy to escape when needed.

Important note: 
We strongly advise that your puppy not be left in a crate for longer than 2 hours a day. 

3. Introduce A Command

As soon as your puppy starts to sniff, circle, or paw at the ground, it usually means they need to go to the toilet. When you notice this behaviour, introduce a cue command such as “go toilet” so that they know to associate going to the toilet with your chosen command.

As soon as they’ve finished, encourage their behaviour through verbal praise such as ‘good job' or ‘yes’ and reward them with a treat (if on hand).

Eventually, you can use the command to encourage your puppy to go to the toilet in various situations. Training your puppy to go to the toilet on command is particularly useful for when you're in a rush to get somewhere or heading off on a road trip. 

a person in an orange jumper holding their puppy in their arms and patting their face as their puppy looks back at them excitedly

 4. Don't Give Your Puppy Too Much AttentioN

Giving your puppy too much attention during their toilet training can result in them associating the outdoors with ‘playtime,’ rather than using this area to go toilet. In the early stages of their training it’s important to remain aloof.

In all aspects of training, giving your puppy too much attention can result in behavioural issues, such as separation anxiety. Due to this we recommend coddling to a minimum when they’re a puppy (we know it’s hard).

5. Positive Reinforcement Is Always Best Practice

As we mentioned earlier, it’s imperative to your puppy’s training that they receive plenty of praise whenever they do something good, (like going to the toilet in the area you designated for them).

The easiest way to show your puppy they’ve done the right thing is through verbal praise. Using words such as ‘good boy’ or ‘well done’ will encourage a puppy to continue their good behaviour and help them to progress more quickly. Treats are a big help too!

However, it’s important to remember that overuse of treats can spoil your puppy’s appetite and potentially lead to your puppy becoming overweight or unhealthy (moderation is key). Belly rubs, pats, and toys are all great substitutes for treats when showing your puppy praise for their good behaviour. 

6. Look for Signs That Your Puppy Needs To Go To The Toilet

As we mentioned earlier, it’s imperative to your puppy’s training that they receive plenty of praise whenever they do something good, (like going to the toilet in the area you designated for them).

The easiest way to avoid a puppy eliminating indoors is by knowing the signs to look out for and acting on them before it’s too late. Here's a list of common behavioural changes that often occur in puppies when they need to go to the toilet:

●      Circling and pawing at the ground before squatting

●      Barking or whining excessively

●      Going to a door and scratching

●      Sniffing or licking their genitals

●      Revisiting a previously soiled area

●      Restlessness and or aggressive behaviour


7. Repeat the Process

The moment your puppy indicates it needs to go to the toilet, be sure to pick them up and take them to their designated toilet area (whether that’s inside or outdoors). In time this process will become natural for them and you won't need to supervise your puppy as frequently. 

Toilet training your puppy is all about rinse and repeat. When your puppy is finished doing their business outside, bring them in straight away, remember we don’t want them to associate the outdoors with ‘playtime’ just yet. Wait for an hour or so, (sometimes less) before taking them outside again to go to the toilet.

The frequency in which you need to take your puppy outside for toilet breaks is completely dependent on the puppy, and accidents are best avoided by keeping a close eye on their behaviour.  

 a black and white bedroom with a puppy curled up on the bed with a black blanket and pillows

HOW TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS DURING A PUPPY’S TOILET TRAINING

There’s no easy way or ‘quick fix’ when it comes to preventing house training accidents, however, below we’ve listed a few tips to help minimise the risk of accidents occurring in your home.

The most important thing to remember is that you must remain calm when your puppy has an accident and avoid any form of punishment. Punishing your puppy will only cause unnecessary stress which will only prolong the training process.

 

More often than not, getting angry at your puppy can encourage them to avoid you when going to the toilet which makes it difficult for you to teach them the correct behaviour. To avoid this from occurring keep reading to find out our best practices for dealing with toilet training accidents.


Take Your Puppy Outside For Frequent Break

The best way to prevent accidents in the home is to take your new puppy outside for regular toilet trips. 

If your puppy is between 7-12 weeks of age then toilet breaks need to be roughly every 20 to 30 minutes, especially during periods of high activity or playtime. You can always refer back to our key times to take your puppy outside for toilet breaks if you need.

Sometimes it may feel like you're spending an awful lot of time taking your puppy out for toilet breaks during those first few weeks, we promise, it's time well invested. Your puppy will quickly learn that the outdoors is the place for elimination and the number of toilet accidents will reduce. 

 

Always Supervise Your Puppy

The most efficient way to recognise when your puppy needs to go to the toilet is through heavy supervision. Playpens are perfect for controlling a puppy's whereabouts while giving them enough space to roam around, should they be left on their own for periods of the day.

In time, as they become more reliable - you can gradually increase their freedom, allowing them access to more areas in the house and not having to supervise them as frequently. 

a golden coloured puppy wearing a red collar looking side on

WHAT DO DO IF YOUR PUPPY HAS AN ACCIDENT INSIDE

Puppy accidents inside are inevitable no matter how careful you are. Knowing how to deal with the situation will better prepare you for when it happens next time (because there will be a next time) and allow you to deal with it more calmly. 

If you catch your puppy, pick them up and place them in their designated toilet area. As they finish doing their business be sure to reward this behaviour verbally, or through using treats. 

 

How Do I Prevent My Puppy From Peeing In The Same Area

Puppies, like adult dogs, will return to the same area they’ve previously peed if you allow it, preventing this from happening really comes down to how you tackle the situation. If you’re trying to prevent your puppy from peeing in the same area twice then be sure to follow our steps below: 

1. If you witness your puppy relieving themselves in the house, quietly interrupt them and take them outside to finish. Even in this case, do not use a correction or say “no” because you will only teach your puppy to avoid elimination in your presence.

2. Clean the spot thoroughly with a biological cleaner designed for pet waste and make a note to intensify your supervision techniques

3. Place your puppy's favourite treats near the spot where they eliminated, (puppies don’t like to eat where they go to the toilet) so this will hopefully deter them from visiting this same spot twice

4. Close off areas to your puppy where you don’t want them to eliminate, or use a crate

Puppies are highly motivated to soil in areas where they’ve been to the toilet before so you must follow the above steps to ensure they don't repeat this behaviour. 

 a fluffy golden coloured puppy staring into the camera with its toy eagle in its mouth

How To Toilet Train A Puppy While Working From Home

Creating a routine for your puppy to stick to will allow you to toilet train your puppy comfortably while you’re working from home. As much as we know you’d like to, it’s impossible to be with your puppy for every second of the day, especially if you have a full-time job. 

House training a puppy through the use of a crate is a game-changer for full-time workers. Whether it's a pressing deadline that needs to be met or a meeting that you're trying to get through undisturbed, a crate allows you to keep your pup in a confined space to do their business while you finish the work at hand. Remember crate training isn't a long-term solution and puppies should only be contained inside the crate for a maximum of 2 hours. 

Puppy pads (or potty pads) are another useful aid for toilet training your puppy. The greatest advantage of using puppy pads is the convenience - the clean-up is as easy as tossing away the old pad and laying down another in its place.

Oh, and of course frequent toilet breaks are a must. 

 

How To Toilet Train A Puppy While At Work

If you're not currently working from home, then you may have to accept the fact that your puppy’s toilet training will progress a little slower while you’re at work. 

Full-time dog owners often resort to enlisting the services of a dog walker or puppy daycare that can help facilitate the toilet training process when they're not home.  Alternatively, you can section off an area of the house using a playpen, whilst covering the floor with old newspapers and puppy pads for your puppy to do their business on. 

Having said that, we don't recommend leaving your puppy surrounded by their faeces for the whole day. If you're going to leave your puppy for more than a couple of hours then we suggest you enlist some help. Whether it be a neighbour, relative, or dog sitter, to come and check on your puppy throughout the day. 

Leaving your puppy unsupervised in a crate or playpen with nothing to keep their minds stimulated can lead to aggressive, anxious behaviour that causes them to bark excessively or show signs of separation anxiety. 

To keep your puppy entertained while you're away make sure you leave them with plenty of food and water, as well as their favourite toys and a bed to sleep on. 

 

How To Toilet Train A Puppy At Night

To be successful in toilet training a puppy at night, calmly navigate them towards their toilet area before bedtime. At night, when they're feeling sleepy, puppies will often fall asleep instead of going to the toilet - which is why you need to wait and check to see whether they've gone to the toilet or not. 

Although it’s tempting, avoid playing with your puppy at night - you want your puppy to learn that nighttime is for sleeping, so encouraging adverse behaviour may confuse your puppy or lead them to be quite energetic and restless during the night. 

The most important rules to remember when toilet training your puppy is proper supervision, frequent toilet trips, implementing a toilet training schedule, and providing plenty of positive reinforcement. Combine that with a little patience and you'll start seeing results in no time!