Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

How to Potty Train a Puppy - Simple Ways to Housebreak your Puppy

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12 min read

How to potty train a puppy

On This Page

  • Why Potty Training is Important for Your Puppy?
  • Simple Steps to Potty Train a Puppy
  • How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment?
  • Indoor Potty Training - How to Potty Train a Puppy Indoors?
  • Potty Training in Winters - How to Potty Train a Puppy in the Winter?
  • Potty Bell for Puppies - How to Potty Train a Puppy with a Bell?
  • Night-Time Housebreaking - How to Potty Train a Puppy at Night?
  • How to Potty Train a Puppy to Go Outside?
  • How to Potty Train a Puppy Without a Crate?
  • How to Potty Train a Puppy When You Work?

‘My puppy keeps relieving himself on our carpet, what should I do?’

It is a common concern of new dog owners as they do not know how to teach their puppy to relieve himself out of the house and at the designated spot. Potty training is an essential part of dog training and it is probably the one that takes most of the time. Like babies, puppies also do not know how to control themselves.

Therefore, be gentle and do not be harsh with him. Being harsh or overly strict will not help and all that would happen is your puppy will be left clueless and he will repeat the same actions again. The better way of making sure that your puppy does not soil your furniture and bedding is to potty train him properly.

Potty training is a set of steps that you must follow if you want to get your message across your little pooch. It is more than giving commands and you will have to be consistent, gentle, and patient since the whole process is time-consuming and you could not teach your puppy overnight.

This blog helps you learn how you can potty train your puppy in different situations.

Why Potty Training is Important for Your Puppy?

The most important and key reason to potty train your puppy is that you do not want your house to smell like dog poop all the time. It is important for both of your hygiene that you keep the house clean. If you want to house train your puppy in a crate then it is important that he relieves himself outside it.

What Age Should a Puppy be Bathroom Trained?

According to experts, potty training should begin between the age of 12 weeks and 16 weeks. By this time, the puppies are able to control their bladders and bowels and could wait till they find a place to relieve themselves.

Keep a close eye on them and be consistent. Encourage him when he listens to and follows the commands and give him a small treat as encouragement. The process could take anywhere between 6 months to a year. Therefore, stay consistent, and gentle.

What is a Proper Puppy Training Schedule?

The schedule depends on the age and size of your puppy. Yonder puppies will need more bathroom visits than grown-up ones. Similarly, small dog breed puppies have faster metabolisms and will need frequent visits to relieve themselves.

Below is a potty training schedule for puppies.

Age of the PuppyTime between the Potty Breaks
2 months3 hours
3 months4 hours
4 months5 hours
5 months6 hours
6+ months6 - 8 hours

You can make the changes in the schedule as per your puppy’s needs but, generally, this is the schedule that you should follow.

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

Usually, between 4 to 6 months. Some puppies could even take as much time as up to a year to be fully trained. A number of factors are considered when calculating the time needed to fully train a puppy.

Novice and new dog owners will take longer to train their puppies than experienced and professional owners. Besides, every puppy is different and where one puppy could get the idea in 2 weeks, another one could take months to understand the same thing.

Simple Steps to Potty Train a Puppy

Many people do not know how to groom a dog and potty train it. Here are some simple steps to potty train your puppy at home.

  1. Make a schedule of taking out your puppy and stick to it.
  2. Allow your puppy to find a place outside and mark it as his bathroom spot. When moving to a new house, limit his access to different spots and places so that he does not mark those places.
  3. Give crate training and use it to encourage positive behavior in your dog. Do not use it as a punishment.
  4. Reward your puppy every time he eliminates at the designated spot and encourage him.
  5. Know the signs when your puppy needs to eliminate himself and take him outdoors immediately.
  6. Take him out 20 minutes after the meal, water, and playtime.
  7. Take him to the same spot every time you take him out for potty.
  8. Praise and encourage him on following the commands and give him a treat.
  9. Allow him to take his time to recognize the bathroom spot and do not rush.
  10. Teach him a command and point down at the area. This may take some time but your puppy will understand it after a few tries.
  11. After 2 hours, repeat the process again.
  12. Be consistent, patient, and persistent when training your puppy, and do not forget to use loads of encouragement.

Potty training could be a lengthy process. These steps will help you train your puppy successfully. To give him his own personal place, you can either buy a readymade house or build a DIY dog house and keep it in the yard, or indoor.

How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment?

Potty training could be a real challenge if you do not have an outside space. Try these techniques and steps to potty train your puppy in an apartment.

  • Make a regular schedule and follow it.
  • Restrict his access to a small and easy to clean area.
  • Look out for some common signs like circling, pacing, sniffing, squatting, and looking at the leash or door.
  • Interrupt the puppy if you catch him in the middle of the deed and take him out immediately.
  • Use a crate when training the puppy as dogs do not eliminate in the places where they live.
  • Designate a pee area and do not allow your puppy to use any other spot.
  • Have a backup plan and carry pee pads and a dog litter box with you until your puppy is trained and you are away from the house.
  • Do not allow him to go to the designated area all by himself, at least until he is fully trained. Instead, carry him to the place.

Training a puppy when living in an apartment could be hard but patience and consistency go a long way.

Indoor Potty Training - How to Potty Train a Puppy Indoors?

‘How to potty train a puppy on pads?’

Below are the simple steps to train your dog to eliminate himself indoors and on the potty pads.

  • Restrict and limit his access to a certain part of the house only. Use baby gates for it.
  • In case of accidents, do not punish him and be patient with him.
  • Set an ‘alone room’ for your puppy and cover the floor with pee pads. Remove the pads one at a time but repeat the process if he pees or eliminates outside the pad.
  • Set a feeding schedule and give meals on the same day daily and stay consistent with the schedule. Measure the food and put the food bowl out for 15 minutes each time. With time, he will learn the mealtime.
  • Use a dog litter box to keep near the puppy’s crate.
  • Use indoor puppy potty training tools like potty pads, potty porch, and potty trays.
  • Take him to the designated place immediately in case he tries to eliminate himself at another place.
  • Encourage and praise with puppy treats.

Using pee pads and dog litter boxes is a great way of potty training your puppy indoors and in your apartment. You can also get a good quality dog crate and carrier for your puppy to build a den for him.

Potty Training in Winters - How to Potty Train a Puppy in the Winter?

Potty training could be hard during winters as puppies usually do not like going out. Follow the tips below to make the process easy.

  • Cloth up your puppy before taking him out in the cold. Some dogs may not need all the clothing but puppies do need them.
  • Clear the ground by shoveling the snow away so that he could detect the smell where he had marked the place.
  • Stay with your puppy outside all the time and treat him with praises and a doggie treat afterward.
  • Use positive reinforcement and do not try to rush things.
  • Tech him a cue word like ‘go potty’ or ‘be quick’ to signal him. Do not use the cue unnecessarily.
  • Create an indoor potty space for the winters. Get potty pads or a dog litter box to allow your puppy to do his business in peace.

Due to harsh weather, it is difficult to go out all the time. The better option is to make an indoor potty space till the weather gets better.

Potty Bell for Puppies - How to Potty Train a Puppy with a Bell?

Teaching your dog to ring the bell every time he wants to go out to eliminate himself is a fun way to potty train him. You can get any kind of bell from the market and install it on the door.

Below are the steps to teach him to ring the bell.

  • Introduce the bell to your puppy and encourage him to touch it with his nose. Reward him and put the bell away when not practicing.
  • Show him the bell and once he rings it, give him a treat. Teach him to ring it every time you show it to him and encourage him with treats.
  • Install the bell to the door and point at it, signaling your puppy to ring it. On ringing the bell, allow him to go out and give him a treat for encouragement.
  • Every time he needs to go out for potty, point at the bell and teach him to ring it every time he needs to go out for potty.
  • Leave the bell on the door and take her outside every time he rings the bell. Do not allow him to play outside when gone out for potty. This will prevent him from ringing the bell every time he wants to go out for play.

All of these steps and tips will help you teach your puppy to ring the bell every time he needs to go out for potty.

Night-Time Housebreaking - How to Potty Train a Puppy at Night?

When the puppies are too young, they need frequent potty and pee breaks. Below are some tips to keep your house pee and poop-free during the night.

  • Stop all the eating and drinking a few hours before sleeping.
  • Play a small game of fetch or take him out for a brief walk to spend all the pent-up energy and get him ready for sleep.
  • Take him to his bathroom, or designated spot, before bundling him up into his bed, and do not play with him during the night.
  • For the first two or three months, you will need to wake up in the middle of the night to take your puppy out for potty. Puppies have less control over their bowels and bladders and they need a pee break in the middle of the night.
  • Keeping the crate in a place where you can hear your puppy in case he needs anything in the middle of the night is a good idea.

Follow these tips to make sure that your puppy’s crate remains clean and your house is free from any unlikely odors and bad smells. The crate should be big enough to allow him to turn around and lie down easily.

How to Potty Train a Puppy to Go Outside?

Teaching your puppy to go potty on cue can save you from a lot of hassle. It will help you save time and it will keep your puppy from distraction also.

Below are some ways to train your puppy to go potty on cue.

  • Take your puppy to the designated potty area.
  • Once there, say the cue that you have chosen but in a natural tone. Don’t repeat it and stay calm the entire time. Overexcitement or repeating the cue will confuse the puppy and he will not be able to understand it.
  • Once he is done with his bathroom, give him a treat as an encouragement. You can also use phrases, encouragement, and post potty play sessions as a reward.
  • After the puppy has understood and established the relationship between the cue and the act of potty, you can use it even before he exhibits the signs of his need to do his business.

Training your dog to go potty on cue works better for many dog owners. Follow these steps to train your puppy.

How to Potty Train a Puppy Without a Crate?

Here are some tips to train your dog without a crate.

  • Establish a routine and stick to it. Dogs love routine and they will be happy to follow one.
  • If you have a yard then train your dog to mark a spot and go potty there whenever needed.
  • Get pee pads and train your dog to use them when indoors.
  • Put an artificial grass lawn on one side of the room and signal your dog to use it as a bathroom.
  • Identify the tell-tale signs when your puppy needs to go to the bathroom and take him to the designated spot.
  • Do not be harsh and use positive reinforcement to encourage him.
  • Do not rub his nose ‘IN IT’ at any cost. Not only this is inhumane but it would scare your puppy and he will still not understand.
  • Understand that despite the training, accidents could happen and you should stay patient and calm when this happens. Do not punish your puppy.

Use these tips to train your puppy and keep him out of the crate as much as you want.

How to Potty Train a Puppy When You Work?

Having a full-time job and need to potty train your dog? Follow the below tips.

  • Set a schedule and wake up your puppy at that time. Take him to his bathroom spot.
  • Play with him and tire him before you head out for work. Doing this will make sure that your puppy is tired and would doze off to sleep after some time. Play some indoor dog games or take him out for a quick walk.
  • Hire a pet sitter or ask your neighbor to check on the puppy and give him food in a Kong toy. This way he will take more time to eat and will be tired by the time he is done.
  • Check on him in your office break, if possible, otherwise install a good quality camera to keep an eye on your little friend.
  • Do not make a big deal of going to work and avoid massive GOODBYES before you head to work.
  • Use different doors to leave for work so that your puppy could not figure out when you leave for and come back from work.
  • Crate train your puppy so that he stays safe when you are away.

These are some tips to train your puppy when you do not have much time.

All of these methods work really well for all dog breeds including the German Shepherd puppies, Shih Tzu puppies, Siberian Husky puppies, and more. Potty training is important for your puppy and you should start it at an appropriate time. And these tips could be used for older dogs also.

Besides potty training, you should also learn how to train your dog to stay in the yard to avoid any unlikely escape accidents.

Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and esteemed author at RealESALetter.com. With a profound passion for animals, Harper combines extensive knowledge and personal experience to provide insightful and informative content. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he strives to empower pet owners with the tools and understanding they need to nurture and care for their furry friends effectively. Harper’s writings reflect his commitment to enhancing the lives of pets and their owners, making him a trusted voice in the pet community.

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