How to toilet train a puppy

It’s hard to forget the day you first bring your dog home. But many owners DO tend to forget the daily stresses involved in the necessary training for those first few months – so here are our tips for beginners (or those needing a refreshed perspective).

When it comes to toilet training, there often comes a time when endless purchases of carpet shampoo just don’t cut it anymore, so you need to teach your furry friend when and where it’s okay to poop and pee – but the process itself isn’t as hard as you’d expect. All it requires is consistency and a little patience.

In this blog, we’re going to look at the best way to toilet train your puppy, and how to avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with it.

Get yourself prepared

Before you even think about teaching your buddy the correct toilet habits, there’s a few things you need to make sure you’re taking care of:

1) Make sure you find food that your puppy enjoys, and stick to it. Constantly changing their diet is a sure-fire way to ensure a bad belly, and more than a little unwanted diarrhoea on that lovely new carpet.

2) Be careful not to feed your pup too much. Most dogs of any age will eat until they fall asleep, but with little bowel control at such a young age, it will take much longer to learn how to toilet train your puppy.

3) Keep a fixed schedule for when your pup gets its meal. The more their daily life is regimented, the faster they learn how to prepare for a bowel movement.

4) Expect a few sleepless nights in the early days – while they’re learning, you can’t expect your pup to make it through the whole night without a quick bathroom break.

Lay out a routine

Dogs love routine, so schedule out your day in a way that you can stick to while accommodating all your puppy’s needs.


1) In the early days, it’s best to take your furball straight outside as soon as you wake up, allowing them to familiarise themselves with their surrounding and feel comfortable enough to go toilet.

2) Make sure the same is true for your evening activities. A trip outside before bed for a quick wee will soon teach your dog it’s best to go then and there, as the next 6-8 hours will be spent inside.

3) Also, if you need to leave your puppy alone for any amount of time, a quick trip outside beforehand to the same location will aid their learning with regards to when and where it’s allowed to do its thing.


How to toilet train a puppy consistently

1) Learn to recognise the signs that your little friend is thinking about going needing to go toilet. Smelling the ground, returning to areas where they have previously pooped or looking restless are all quite reliable signals about their next intentions.

2) Once learning the signs, carry your pup outside and wait for five minutes. If they fail to go toilet, try again ten minutes later. By time they finally go, the praise they receive is often interpreted as a positive experience for them.

3) If they start to go toilet while still inside, pick them up and carry them outside to finish what they started. It may not be the cleanest experience, but helps them to relate their need to go to toilet with the outside world.

4) Place puppy mats near the doors that lead outside – you may not always make it outside the first few times, but allowing them to associate the door with their bathroom routine helps them learn where to go.

5) Never punish your pup if they do have an accident in the house, dogs respond to positive reinforcement a lot better than punishment.


A rewarding experience

Dogs learn through reward based experiences. The simplest rule for learning how to toilet train your puppy is to remind yourself that praise administered at the right time will teach your pup that it has pleased you, but let’s be honest, a tasty treat is even better.

After a while, the majority of dogs will begin to master control of their bowels, and learn that requesting to go outside when they feel they need to go toilet will be a cause for celebration, and if they empty themselves in the areas you provide for them, this often leads to higher levels of praise, a greater provision of treats, and a more enjoyable routine for everyone involved.


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