How to Effectively Potty Train a Puppy

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The joy of becoming the owner of a new puppy can turn to frustration when attempting to potty train the pet. The time it takes to successfully housebreak the youngster varies between breeds and individual personalities. Some dogs are eager to please while others are more stubborn. However, with patience, consistency and understanding, the chore is eventually accomplished to the delight of the puppy's parent.

Getting Started

Not unlike human infants and young children, puppies initially do not have control of their bladder function. Owners must face the fact that accidents indoors will occur. This in no way negates the need to start training as soon as the puppy arrives in its new home. New pet parents can familiarize the pup with an acceptable location to take care of bodily functions by taking the dog outdoors using a collar and a leash. When taking the little one outside, use terminology that the animal will come to equate with the need to potty. Stand in one spot and allow the pet to sniff around. If they pee or poop, offer verbal praise and perhaps a treat.

Necessary Frequency

Young puppies require feeding up to four times a day and drink water as needed. Approximately 30 to 60 minutes after a meal, take the pup outside to relieve themselves. The puppy should also go outdoors immediately after waking from a nap, the first thing in the morning and at night before bedtime. As the animal grows, matures and has more control, they will not have to make outdoor trips as often.

Accidents Happen

While indoors, family members must keep a watchful eye on the young dogs if they hope to prevent accidents. When needing to potty, dogs typically stop what they are doing and begin sniffing out a location. If the pup starts acting suspicious, take them outdoors. New pups can also be crate trained. As a general rule, an animal will not mess in the area where they sleep. However, the dog cannot be left unattended for extended periods of time or they will have no choice but to relieve themselves in the crate.

In the beginning, some owners choose to use puppy training pads indoors as acceptable potty locations. The absorbent paper pads can then be placed outdoors to alert the pet that this is also an appropriate destination to toilet. When accidents do occur, unless the owner sees the event unfold, they should resist the urge to reprimand the pup. Thoroughly clean the area and take the evidence outdoors. Use baking soda, white vinegar or a commercially available product to effectively eliminate any residual odor. Deodorizing is especially necessary to remove the smell from the padding beneath carpeted areas. If catching the puppy in the act, offer a stern “no” and take it outside to finish the elimination process.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Effectively Potty Train a Puppy," in, January 26, 2016, (accessed August 11, 2022).