How to Train a Puppy to Pee Outside

If you're training a puppy, there’s a lot for them to learn. There’s also a lot for new puppy owners to learn (especially if it’s your first time as a dog owner) - including house training.This can be a challenging process, but with a consistent training schedule and plenty of patience you can teach your pup the basics - while saving your upholstery and furniture from those little accidents.


Just like human children, puppies thrive on structure - not only does it create a sense of security, it also lets them know when it’s time for specific activity like eating, sleeping - and in the case of learning how to train a puppy to pee outside - when they are able to toilet.

Try to establish a routine for all of these and maintain it so your puppy learns through repetition and association.


In general, a puppy can control their bladder for an hour for every month of their age - so if your puppy is three months old, this means they can wait for about three hours before they need to go. They won’t be able to control it fully until they are at least 16 weeks old.

This is only an estimate, so it’s a good idea to take your puppy outside at least every two hours. You should also make sure to take them:

● As soon as they wake
● Before, during and after play
● After food or drink

Also keep an eye out for signs that your pup needs to go. These can include circling, hunching of the back or sniffing. If you see any of these, take your puppy outside - just in case.

Feeding Times

Knowing how to train a puppy to pee outside also involves other parts of their day, including meal times. Eating can stimulate your puppy’s digestive system, so once they have eaten they are likely to want to relieve themselves within thirty minutes of finishing their meal.

A regular feeding schedule will also help to make things a little more predictable for you both. Unless your pup is experiencing a digestive issue (such as constipation) feeding your puppy at regular intervals (two to three times per day) means you’ll know when they might need to go outside again. Feed them a varied, healthy diet (puppy food, if appropriate) and avoid salty food, as this can make them drink more water.

Sleep Schedules

Similarly, try to establish a routine at night by setting a regular bedtime - and remove your puppy’s water bowl about two-and-a-half hours prior to their bedtime - that way, there’s less chance of their bladder waking them in the night - and fewer accidents.

If they do happen to wake, keep everything as low key as possible (including the lights) - or your pup might think it’s playtime and won’t settle back down.

If they need to go outside to pee, interact with your pup as little as possible - simply take them outside and bring them back in before returning to bed.

House Training

While your pup is eliminating, repeat a specific word or phrase they can associate with this particular action, so they know what to do. Make sure you use the same word or phrase each time, so as not to confuse it with other activities.

As soon as they have finished, follow this with a treat and some praise as soon as they have finished (i.e. before they have time to be distracted!) They can then associate positive behaviour with a reward (you can then gradually phase the treat out as they get used to going outside to pee).

Where possible, try to take them outside to the same spot each time, so they become familiar with peeing outdoors. You can follow with a slightly longer walk or some playtime afterwards - but only after they have finished, otherwise they may get distracted “mid-flow” and have an accident later on.

Alternative Training Methods

Crate Training

If you crate train your puppy, this can be a helpful way to deter them from soiling inside - but make sure it’s large enough to lie down, stand up in and turn around. You should also be sure that they are happy using it and avoid leaving them in it for long periods.

If using a crate and your puppy needs to go, they will typically alert you by scratching and whining. If they do this, let them out immediately and take them outside, or they could start to think that it’s normal to go inside the crate.

Indoor Potty Training

While some pet owners use pee pads, paper or dog litter trays in a particular area of the home, these are only a temporary solution. letting your pup eliminate in the house can create some confusion about when it’s okay to go.

Using pee pads or other indoor toilet training tools may also create a preference for eliminating on surfaces other than grass and soil. Supervision
To avoid getting into mischief, having any accidents - or putting themselves in danger, it’s important to watch your puppy at all times.

You can also use a six-foot leash to keep their movements relatively restricted until they are properly toilet trained, but never leave them unsupervised as this can pose a strangulation risk.

While you’re Away

If you have to be away from home for more than four hours at a time, a puppy might not be the best choice right now (instead an older house-trained dog might be more suitable, as they tend to require less training and can wait for slightly longer periods).

That said, if you need to be away for a longer period, try to arrange care from a professional pet sitter or trusted neighbour, and inform them of their daily schedule so that you can keep things on track.

When Accidents Happen

When it comes to toileting, puppies tend to be more accident-prone than older dogs (submissive or excited urination is also common in young pups). A few mishaps here and there are inevitable - if they do occur, don’t panic - take them immediately to their “toilet spot” outside and if they manage to finish there, give them a treat and some pets.

Make sure you clean up thoroughly and avoid using ammonia-based cleaning products - not only are these toxic to your pet, they also smell similar to urine which may encourage your pet to urinate or defecate in the same place again. Pet-safe enzymatic cleaners are more effective as these break down the proteins and bacteria that create unpleasant smells.

If your dog has an accident, don’t punish your puppy - pets learn through positive reinforcement, and scolding, shouting or even rubbing their nose in it will only make them afraid of you.

Keep Trying

While there are no strict rules on how long it takes to potty train your puppy, if they are still soiling in the house after 4-6 months you may need to see a vet, who will check for any underlying medical issues that could be causing digestive or bladder issues, such a urinary tract infection. If your pet is healthy, they may then refer you to a dog behaviourist.

If your puppy continues to pee or poop in the house, it’s usually due to unclear training or too much freedom too quickly: introducing your puppy to the house one room at a time can help to teach them not to have accidents in any of the rooms. Stay patient and consistent - and you should see results.

Whether it’s a dog harness for your puppy or large dog beds, we have a range of products for all types of dogs - young or senior, big or small. Find out what’s in store today.


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