How to Potty Train Your Dog 101 (Tips & Tricks)


potty training a puppy

The importance of your dog’s potty training cannot be stressed enough when you and your four-legged companion are both living under one roof. Not only will this training save your time, but it will also ensure your health in the long run.

If you have a properly trained dog, you won’t have to waste your time cleaning the floor or wiping after your dog’s mess. If your dog continues to use your house as a restroom, the overall health of both you and your dog will deteriorate due to the increasing amount of germs and bacteria.

In order to help future and current dog owners, I have included helpful guidelines and tips that will help during your dog’s potty training. I hope this helps, and be sure to comment down below if you have any questions. Without further ado, let’s jump straight in!


1. Choosing the Right Bathroom Location

This factor plays a critical role, and it will vary depending on your location. If you live in an apartment with a backyard, the preferable spot would be outside in your backyard. For small suites, it can be your bathroom or in designated pee pads.

  • If You Can Help It, Don’t Use Pee Pads!

Outside would be a natural choice for most dog owners since both you and your dog can get some fresh air while going outside, and you don’t have to clean up after your dog if he/she potties outside on your own personal property. Also, you would eliminate your house as a viable toilet option by not staying inside.

Personally, changing out pee pads and washing the pad holder can be hard to do consistently for long periods of time. To save time and money, the bathroom is the next ideal place for your dog to potty since you can easily clean up after your dog by using the available toiletry or by turning on the shower hose.

  • Potty Options – Outside (1st Pick), Bathroom (2nd), Pee Pad (3rd)

As a dog owner myself, pee pads can be great if you don’t have outside access due to the location of your house. However, be sure to maintain close supervision on your dog by regularly cleaning out the poop and switching out the old sheet with a new one.

2. Setting Up a Potty Training Routine

After choosing the right location for your dog, the next step is to regularly go to that spot to potty when the need arises. Due to its young age, puppies can’t hold their bladders for prolonged periods of time, so you will probably get the wake-up call every two to three hours. 

  • Use the Bathroom After Waking Up, Meals, Naps, Playtimes

When you do take your dog to potty, it should be all business. Whether you are going outside or taking him indoors to a pee pad, you need to leash your dog to prevent him/her from being distracted. For bathroom walks during your sleeping time, be sure to go full business mode by not playing with your dog during the process.

  • Can’t Promise a Good Night’s Rest, But Potty Breaks Before Going to Bed

If your dog happens to get the impression of having fun during the night runs, he/she will wake you time and time again even though they don’t have the need to go outside and potty. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

3. Decreasing the Likelihood of Accidents

Playing a vital role in potty training, crates can be your best friend by decreasing the likelihood of unfortunate “accidents.” By training your dog to be inside the crate, you can keep a close eye on your dog without having to worry about wet spots or dark smudges on the floor.

  • Having the Right-Sized Crates Is an Important Factor!

Your dog’s crate should not be too big nor too small. To give you some key pointers, the crate should be tall enough for your dog to conveniently stand up, wide enough for your dog to easily turn around, and long enough for your dog to comfortably lie down.


advantages of crate training


Also, the crate should be placed in the main family area, so that your dog will still be a part of “the pack” while he/she is resting. You can also reward your dog by letting him/her roam inside the house after they have finished taking their bathroom break. 

  • Putting Your Dog in Crates Is Not an Abuse But a Necessity

According to a study done by Brown University, crate training protects not only the owner but also the dog by keeping them away from electrical cords and household products. Also, the above research study contains several training tips for crate training, so be sure to visit that link if you are interested. 

4. Constant Supervision 

This will probably be the hardest factor overall since it takes dedication and commitment on your part. If you are serious in training your dog towards being a household pet, you need to be aware of your dog’s needs such as going to a bathroom.

  • Being Observant of His/Her Moods and Changes in Behavior

If you see him/her circling a spot inside the house or scratching the door for the need to go outside, you need to immediately take your dog to its designated potty location. This will take time and patience on your part since you might not catch these signs straight off. 

If an accident has already happened, punishing your dog should not be one of your options. They did what they naturally should have done, and being punished for their natural behavior will lead them to do it in places where it couldn’t be found easily (EWWWW!!).

  • Positive Reinforcements Such as Rewards Work Best  

According to another research study done by Zazie Todd, higher frequencies of rewarding a dog resulted in higher obedience scores with a low score for aggression and misbehavior. One thing to remember is that you need to be consistent, and you can easily reward your dog with compliments since the relief of going to a bathroom is a reward in and of itself.

Time for Popular Questions and Answers

After hearing all that talk, now is the time to answer some of the power questions asked by current and future dog owners. Be sure to stay tuned since it will involve topics related to your training sessions. 

What Do I Do If My Dog Doesn’t Potty Outside?

For owners in this peculiar situation, the best solution is putting a leash on your dog. When he/she goes outside, they will be easily distracted by new scents and stuff lying on the ground, which may lead to forgetting the need to potty outside in the process. 

  • Limit the Distractions, It’s All Business!

To prevent this action from taking place, you need to leash your dog when you go outside and choose a particular spot outside that signifies the time for a bathroom break. If you limit the amount of space that they move, they will get bored and remember the need to potty. 

How Do I Punish My Puppy If He Pottied Inside My House?

If the accident already happened, it is no good to punish them since they did what they naturally tend to do. If you punish them after the accident occurred, they will do it again in places that won’t be easily found. 

You need to punish them when they are in the process of taking the bathroom break. If they are about to pee or poop inside your house, you need to let them immediately with a loud sound or a clap of your hands that you disprove of their actions. 

After letting them know that this action inside the house is not permitted, you need to immediately take them outside or to the pee pad so that they can take their bathroom break. If they did it in the right spot, don’t forget to complement their actions with praise. 

When Is the Best Time to Potty Train a Dog? 

You might have already anticipated this answer, but earlier the better. Since they are capable of adapting to change, you need to ingrain this habit at a young age. If you are dealing with a full-grown dog, you need to start from scratch and deal with them with a lot of love and patience

Do Breeds Matter When It Comes to Potty Training?

When it comes to this question, I think there might be a lot of arguments that come from both sides, but I don’t think it really matters in potty training. In any type of intelligence training, breeds do matter to some degree, but potty training is a repetitive process. 

Regardless of your dog’s breed, potty training works if you do it the right way, and if you are not willing to spend much time with your dog during the process, it probably will not work since it takes dedication from the owners as well. 

How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Dog?

Potty training will typically take 2 ~ 3 months, and it might take less or a little bit more. If your puppy makes an accident even after the potty training, you need to keep a close eye on your dog to reinforce the training process. 

Your dog isn’t perfect, so don’t expect them to be. But if they do make a mistake, be willing to spend time with them to correct their mistake, or their bathroom breaks will just continue to get worse and worse. 

Hope this helps, and be sure to visit our homepage often for updated information!

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