Toilet training your puppy can be easy and stress free. To begin, set up the following:
- A puppy-proof outdoor yard with space for toileting, play and sleep where you can leave your puppy unsupervised for a short while.
- A leash – for when your puppy is inside with you or being toileted outside.
- A puppy-proof indoor pen or crate where you are able to leave your puppy unsupervised for short periods.
All dogs will instinctively keep their eating and sleeping places clean if possible. Using a crate can be a great way to nurture this instinct, as they will not want to toilet inside their crate. If you decide not to crate train your puppy, use a puppy-proof pen.
Puppies need to go to the toilet every 1-2 hours. They’re more likely to go after a meal, walk or play time, so you have to be ready at all times.
Top puppy toilet training tips
Toilet training your puppy sets them up for life. When they’re trained you won’t need to stand around waiting for your dog to go, you’ll simply say a command and voila!
- Set a timer for every hour.
- When the timer rings, leash your puppy and take them to their toileting spot.
- Don’t play with your puppy.
- Wait for your puppy to go to the toilet.
- If your puppy doesn’t go in five minutes, head back inside and continue as normal, watching out for toileting behaviour.
- Every five= minutes go back to the toileting spot and wait.
When your puppy goes to the toilet, repeat a simple command and give a reward.
- Put your puppy back in their crate or puppy pen and set the timer again.
- Repeat until your puppy relieves itself on command.
- If your puppy toilets in the wrong place, put them in the right spot.
- Don’t punish your puppy as this can lead to behaviour problems.
Signs your puppy needs to toilet
The better you are at reading your puppy’s signals, the easier toilet training will be. It is likely that your puppy will need to relieve itself if they:
- Have just woken up.
- Were just let out of their crate or puppy pen.
- Just ate or drank.
- Suddenly decide to change their activity.
- Are more excited and agitated than usual.
- Have started sniffing the floor away from their play area.
- Are pacing or whining.
Never punish your puppy if they have an accident. They won’t understand, and you’re likely to create unwanted behavioural problems.
If your puppy has an accident indoors, clean it up with a commercial enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to neutralise odours. If your puppy can smell their waste, they’re likely to think that’s where they should toilet in future.
- If your puppy was doing well with training and suddenly starts having accidents, there could be an underlying health problem so take them to the vet.
- Diet and routine changes can lead to tummy upsets so make any changes gradually.
- Environmental changes can disrupt training so always be as consistent as possible.
When training is complete
When your puppy has toileted in the designated spot for four weeks, you can consider their initial training complete. You’ll probably need to keep reinforcing correct behaviours, but soon it will become second nature.
Always be patient with your puppy and remember you’re both doing your best. Forgive mistakes and work together for successful puppy toilet training, setting you up for life as best buddies.