How to Toilet Train Your Puppy

Puppy Toilet Training

Bringing a new puppy home is always a whirlwind of happiness and excitement. During this time, it’s easy to let yourself slip and ignore your usual routines, however, it’s important to settle down and develop routines with your puppy as soon as possible. 

Toilet training is one of those routines that you’ll likely want to develop as early as possible to avoid damaging accidents in the future. By sticking to a routine early in your puppy’s life, you can ensure that you form a happy relationship with your furry friend from the outset.

Why is Toilet Training My Puppy Important?

Whether your puppy will spend their time indoors on the couch or outside in a kennel, toilet training is a vital part of their development. Here are just a few of the advantages of toilet training your puppy:

  • Toilet trained puppies can be trusted inside
  • Toilet Trained puppies can be left with family and friends guilt free
  • Toilet trained puppies won’t eliminate when travelling
  • Toilet Trained puppies can be trusted when at the local store
  • Toilet Trained puppies will leave less mess on walks

When Should I Start Toilet Training My Puppy?

Our advice is to start toilet training the moment your puppy enters your home. This way, your puppy will know exactly what you expect from them.

Puppies actually have an amazing ability to be toilet trained. As part of their natural conditioning, puppies are really good at toilet training between 8 and 17 weeks of age. From birth, mothers will begin ‘toilet training’ their puppies to pee and poo outside of the ‘den’ by clearing away any mess. The puppies will then copy their mother and go to the toilet outside of the den.

Note: Keep in mind that orphaned puppies may be harder to toilet train because they haven’t had the guidance of a mother from birth. Also, remember that smaller puppies will have smaller digestive tracts and bladders and will need to use the toilet more often.

How Do I Toilet Train My Puppy?

The aim of toilet training is to get your puppy to hold their bladders until they can go to the toilet outside. This process can be achieved, quite simply, through routine and commitment and has vast benefits for both you and your puppy.

While puppies should generally be kept inside prior to receiving their full vaccinations, they should be fine to roam around the backyard, so long as there are no other dogs in that space.

The Process

  1. The first step to toilet training a puppy is choosing a buzzword which will trigger them to use the toilet. This could be something like “toilet”, “go to the toilet”, or “flush”.
  2. Young puppies have small bladders and need to be taken outside every 30 minutes to 1 hour. Time between toilet breaks can be extended as your puppy gets older.
  3. Take your puppy to its designated toilet spot. Point to the area where you want it to urinate, and give them your chosen buzzword.
  4. If your puppy does go to the toilet, wait for them to finish, praise them, and bring them back inside.
  5. If they don’t go to the toilet, go back inside and repeat the process in the next 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Toilet Training

  • Clean up your puppy’s poo regularly. Leaving them won’t necessarily encourage your puppy to go in the same spot.
  • If you catch your puppy going in any spot besides the designated toilet spot, say “No” sternly, and take them to the designated spot.
  • Some puppies may need to go to the toilet more often than others. Keep this in mind when taking your puppy to the toilet.
  • Puppies should be let out to go to the toilet after three things, food, sleeping, and excitement. This is the golden rule.

How Do I Know if My Puppy Needs to Poop?

There are a few signs to look out for when your puppy needs to use the toilet. By keeping an eye out for these signs, you can avoid unnecessary accidents and toilet train them faster.

  1. Sniffing

Your puppy will search for an area to go when they feel an urge coming along. This is how they will find places they’ve previously soiled. Keep an eye out for sniffing for an early indication that your puppy needs to use the toilet.         

  • Whining

When your puppy needs to go, but can’t access the designated toilet spot, they may begin to whine. This is a good sign because it indicates that your puppy is beginning to associate the outdoors with toilet time.

  • Standing near the door in a corner of the room

When your puppy disappears for a while, stands near the door, or in a corner of a room, it may be an indication that they need to use the toilet. Always be aware of where your puppy is to avoid accidents.

What to Do if Your Puppy Has an Accident

  • Let them know they’ve done something wrong

If you catch your puppy going to the toilet in the wrong place, let them know they’re doing something wrong using a stern voice. Take them to the designated spot to finish.

  • Ignore accidents if you catch them too late

If you find a mess that your puppy has left, scolding them is unlikely to get you anywhere. You’re better off cleaning it up and paying better attention next time.

  • Clean it using enzymatic cleaner

Enzymatic cleaner will remove traces of the accident and (hopefully) prevent your puppy from going to the toilet in the same place again.

What Not to Do if Your Puppy Has an Accident

  • Rub your puppy’s nose in the urine

Rubbing your puppy’s nose in their urine only teaches them to associate negative emotions with going to the toilet itself. This may cause them to hide from you next time they need to go.

  • Shout at your puppy

Again, shouting at your puppy when they are going to the toilet will likely scare them. You want your puppy to understand that they are doing the wrong thing but you don’t want to scare them.

  • Scold them afterwards

If your puppy has already finished going to the toilet, disciplining them will not teach them that what they did was wrong. Keep a better eye on them and catch them in the act next time.

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