How to Successfully Potty Train Your Puppy

Training your new pup so he doesn't soil in your house can be challenging. However, he can learn to keep your home clean quite quickly if you train him using supervision, consistency and repetition.

Here is a step by step breakdown on how to potty train your pup.

Toilet Area

It's important that you set aside part of your yard to be your pup's potty area. When you take him outdoors to eliminate, keep him on a leash and make sure you always go straight to this area. He will recognize the odors and the smell will encourage him to go to the toilet there.

Crate Training

It's definitely easier to potty train your pup if he is crate trained. He isn't likely to soil in his crate, so you can use this to your advantage.

If you let him rest in his crate for a couple of hours, you can then take him straight outside to his special potty area. He is likely to eliminate and you can then praise him heartily.


Whenever your pup isn't in his crate, have him on leash and tethered to you. By doing this, you can keep an eye out for any indication that he needs to go to the toilet and get him outside in time.

Watch for him start to sniff the ground and walk around in a circle. These are common indicators that he is just about to eliminate. If you miss these, then you're sure to notice him start to squat. With your pup right next to you at all times, you won't miss these signals and you won't have any accidents to clean up.


Your pup is a creature of habit, and it's a good idea to create a routine for him around eating, sleeping and toileting. This means that as soon as he wakes up, as soon as he finishes dinner and even every 30-45 minutes throughout the day, take him outside to his potty area. When he does urinates or defecate, reward him with a treat.

Feed him and take him for his walk as close to the same time every day as possible, and you'll find that you'll be better able to predict when he will need to go to the toilet.

Take Your Time

When you take your pup out to his toilet area, he may not want to go to the toilet straight away. He might want to sniff a little and explore your garden. That's okay, don't be in any hurry to come back inside. Keep calling him back to his potty patch and wait. When he does go, praise him. Stay outside for a little while after he has gone to the toilet, so he can potter around for a little while. This isn't easy when it's cold outside, but it will teach your dog that going to the toilet doesn't mean the end of his fun.

Use a Command

Just as your pup can learn what to do when you tell him to “sit” or “drop”, he can also be taught a command for eliminating. You may choose to use “potty” or “toilet” or some other one syllable word. Every time your pup eliminates in his potty area, say the word, and give him a reward when he goes. Over time, he will associate the word with the action, and when you use that word, it will encourage him to go to the toilet.

Don't Punish

Whatever you do, don't punish your pup if he has an accident inside, and certainly don't rub his nose on the soiled carpet. This will frighten him and he will become anxious around you. It won't teach him anything about potty training and it will adversely affect your relationship. If your pup is still soiling inside, then it is more likely to be your fault than his.

Potty Training Problems

Some dogs are more difficult to potty train than others. They just seem to take a little longer to figure it out. It is thought that small and toy breeds such as the Maltese or the Havanese fall into this category. In these cases, persistence is the key. Most pups are fully trained by around 4 months of age.

If your pup urinates with excitement when you arrive home from work, this isn't a failure of potty training. It is most likely because he is young, and it will resolve with maturity.

Those pups with separation anxiety will soil the house while you are out. They will also show other symptoms such as crying and howling, and destroying your furniture. If you suspect your pup is suffering from this condition, you'll need to seek help from your veterinarian.

Toilet training needn't be a chore. Follow these guidelines, and you will soon be able to trust your pup as he wanders freely through your home or dozes on the carpet.