top of page

Top 10 Tips for Successful Puppy Potty Training

Getting a new puppy is so exciting!!! Except when you are struggling with potty training. Here is a list of the top 10 Tips for Successfully Potty Training your new Puppy!

Create a Potty Schedule!

Set a schedule for times that you plan to take your puppy out to potty. Take into consideration that the younger your puppy is the more often they will need to go outside. Young puppies will likely need to go out to potty about every hour throughout the day, and 2-3 times throughout the night.

As your puppy gets older and starts to understand the routine, you'll be able to add more time gradually between each potty break! Becareful not to add too much time too quickly, or your puppy may begin to have accidents.

Keep Track of Food and Water Intake

Pay attention to when the last time your puppy has had a large amount of food or water because they will likely need to potty sooner than they normally would. Plan to take your puppy out about 20-30 minutes after a big meal or after drinking lots of water.

Have an Appropriately Sized Crate or Kennel

Use a crate or kennel that is just big enough for your puppy to comfortably stand up, turn around, and lay down without a lot of extra room. Most dogs do not want to stand or lay in their own mess if they have an accident, but if a kennel is large enough they may be able to have an accident on one side of the kennel and then be able to get away from it to moving to the other side of the kennel.

If the kennel is small enough, your puppy may realize that if they make a mess, they won't be able to avoid it. This will partly discourage them from relieving themselves inside of the kennel. Most large size wire kennels include a divider that is used to make the kennel smaller until your puppy grows to their full size.

No food or water too close to bed time! Usually we recommend no food or water within 3 hours of going to bed for the night!

Use your Leash!

When you take your puppy to go out to go potty, use your leash to keep your puppy from getting distracted until they go potty. Our puppies are always learning and exploring the world around them and even the sights and sounds of the backyard can distract them from the fact that they have a full bladder.

Use your 5-6 foot leash to take your puppy from the kennel out to the potty area each time you go outside.

Choose a Designated Potty Location

When you are first starting your potty training journey, select the area in which you want you puppy to do their business. Once your puppy has successfully eliminated in a specific area, they will begin to understand that this is a place where going potty is not only allowed, but also rewarded! Additionally, when your puppy smells the urine from their previous potty times, it will also help encourage them to potty again.

An additional benefit is you can teach your puppy to go potty in an area that is out of the way or towards the back of your yard.

Don't Wander

Your puppy has we lovingly refer to as "Puppy-Brain" which simply means that they may get easily distracted. This is totally normal, just like any child might get distracted. The outside world with all of the smells, plants, and critters can be especially distracting to our puppies, and they really do love to explore.

However, all of these distractions may make it difficult for your puppy to focus on the task of going potty while you are outside. You can help minimize distractions by staying in one area that is fairly empty, like a flat clear area of grass. The leash will prevent your puppy from exploring beyond their reach, and you should essentially just stand in the middle of the space and hold the leash like a post.

Your puppy will probably explore everything within that small area within 4-5 minutes and then remember "Oh yeah! I need to pee!" After your puppy successfully potties outside, then you can take them for a walk and explore the world.

Don't Forget To Reward Your Dog!!!

We want to make sure our puppy knows that we really liked that they went potty outside. The easiest way to do that is with your puppy's food or their favorite treats! As soon as your puppy is done going potty (not during) you should immediately use your positive reward marker and give your puppy a treat!! (If you don't know what a positive reward marker is, check out our blog post of marker training).

Dealing with Accidents

Despite our best efforts, accidents do happen. How we handle a potty accident after it has already happened can still help communicate to our puppy what we want and how to improve for the future.

Until your puppy is confidently potty trained, we recommend that they are in the kennel when unsupervised. So most accidents, if they occur, will happen in the kennel. Its important that our dogs learn through patterns. So if your puppy has an accident in the kennel, you should not let them out to roam free while you clean up the mess. You puppy could inadvertently learn that having accidents earn them freedom. If you are able to use a second kennel, to keep you puppy contained while you clean the first one, this is ideal!

Another option is to keep your puppy on a leash with you while your clean the kennel. This way your puppy doesn't get to enjoy the freedom of roaming the house or yard while you clean the kennel.

The last option is to clean the kennel while your puppy is still inside the kennel. This option can really emphasize that your puppy does get to get out of the kennel just because they had an accident. And additionally, they will have to stay in the kennel while you clean the kennel, wipe up the mess, and clean their paws if needed, all while inside the kennel.

Note, if you decide to clean the kennel while your puppy is still inside, you should not use any harsh chemicals that could be harmful to your pup.

Consistency is Key!

Just like everything else we do in dog training, consistency is the key to effective training! If you follow of these tips and stick to a proper schedule, and use the crate and leash as training tools, your puppy with potty trained in no time!

We know that no one is perfect, and just like our puppies, we also make mistakes sometimes, but don't let that set you back, and get back on a good potty routine with your puppy!

Don't Use Potty Pads!

If you want your puppy to potty outside only and not in the house, then you should never use potty pads inside of your home. Your puppy is learning where and when you want them to go potty. Potty pads often contain a scent or odor that encourage your puppy to potty even when they may not have urgency. Your puppy may inadvertently learn that going potty inside the home is okay, and you may be stuck using potty pads for a very long time.

Follow us for more helpful tips!

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Class

What is the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Class? AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is an exciting program designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start. AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is an excellent first in-person tra


bottom of page