Toilet training your puppy should be quite a simple process, as
long as you take the time and trouble to get into a good
Initially, you will have to build your routine around your puppy's
needs, and these are reliably predictable when they are very young.
Puppies need to urinate immediately after waking up, so you need to
be there to take your puppy straight into the garden without any
Eating its meal stimulates its digestive system, and puppies
normally urinate within fifteen minutes of eating, and defecate
within half an hour of eating (although this might vary slightly
with each individual).
Puppies have very poor bladder control, and need to urinate at
least every hour or two. They can urinate spontaneously when they
get excited, so take your puppy out frequently if it has been
active, playing or exploring.
You may find it useful to keep a record of when your puppy eats
sleeps, urinates and defecates. A simple diary list will do. Repeat
cue words like 'wee wees' and 'poo poos' or 'be busy' and 'be
clean' while the puppy is actually urinating or defecating. Use
different words for each action so that you will be able to prompt
the puppy later on.
Always go with your puppy into the garden so you are there to
reward and attach the cue words to the successful actions!
Fortunately, puppies are creatures of habit, so as long as you
introduce the garden to your puppy as its toilet area early on, you
should be able to avoid most of the common pitfalls.
How to toilet train your puppy: common errors
Unfortunately there are many reasons why 'toilet training' might
not go as smoothly as it could, so make sure you do not make any of
the following mistakes:
- Feeding an unsuitable diet or giving a variety of foods.
- Not feeding at regular times.
- Feeding at the wrong times (which could cause overnight
- Punishing the puppy for its indoor accidents (which can make it
scared of toileting in front of you - even outside).
- Feeding salty foods (e.g. stock from cubes) which makes them
- Using ammonia based cleaning compounds (which smell similar to
- Expecting the puppy to tell you when it needs to go out; this
is unrealistic, so it is better to take them out at regular
- Leaving the back door open for the puppy to come and go as it
pleases (a puppy will think that the garden is an adventure
playground, rather than a toilet area. Also, what is a puppy meant
to do when the weather gets cold, and it is faced with a closed
- Leaving the puppy on its own too long, so that it is forced to
go indoors (which sets a bad precedent, or even a habit of going
- Mistakenly associating the words 'good girl' or 'good boy' when
they toilet, as opposed to the specific cue words. Guess what could
happen the next time you praise your dog?
- Access to rugs or carpet (which are nice and absorbent - just
- Laziness on your part, resulting in more wees indoors than
- Leaving the puppy alone in the garden, so you are not there to
reward it for going outdoors… how is it meant to learn that it is
more popular and advantageous going outdoors, if you are not there
to show your approval?
- Submissive or excited urination on greeting (if this occurs,
take your puppy outside before you greet it and tone down your
greeting so it is less exciting or overwhelming).
- It is unfair to expect your puppy to go right through the night
when it is very young.
- Sleeping the puppy in a crate or puppy pen can help with house
training but you should let it out in the garden to relieve itself
during the night.
How to teach your puppy to toilet out on a walk
Many owners appear disappointed that their young puppy will not
toilet when out on a walk, yet relieves itself the second it gets
back home. This is because the puppy has been taught to toilet only
at home (hopefully in its garden), and being creatures of habit,
they often wait until they have returned home before evacuating
their bladder and/ or bowels.
To break this habit, you will have to get up very early one
morning (when you have plenty of time), and get your puppy out on a
walk before it has had its morning wee. You should not bring it
home until it has been forced to go out of desperation. If however,
you are unsuccessful, and your puppy has not toileted, then take it
immediately into the garden on your return, or you risk it
relieving itself indoors. Need more help? Follow these additional
puppy training tips (e.g. socialisation techniques to prevent
behavioural problems) or visit the Puppy Socialisation Plan
Puppy training videos
Potty training for your dog the kind way with free, expert
video advice from Jane Hanshaw - Dogsclub.tv's Kennel
Club Accredited Trainer.
With over 30 years experience, she tackles everything from
excessive dog barking to toilet training puppies, using nothing but
reward and positive re-enforcement.
more puppy training videos here