• Bark Pack

Puppy Potty Training


Tips for potty training your new puppy

How long does it take to potty train a puppy? The result depends on how consistent you are and how long your puppy can hold it. (For example, small breed puppies typically have a harder time holding it than large breed puppies as they have smaller bladders.) Below are steps to help toilet train a puppy in seven days; you may find it takes a little longer with your puppy, and that’s OK! If you are like us, it may have been a few years since your last puppy. That is why we researched this process; below is our guideline to streamline the process.


EQUIPMENT SUGGESTED:

  • Dog Collar

  • 4 ft non-retractable leash

  • 15-20 ft non-retractable leash

  • Potty Pads

  • Tasty Training Treats

  • Carpet Cleaner for Pet Stains

  • Mop & Floor Cleaner

  • Lots of Love ❤ and Patience


POTTY TRAIN YOUR PUPPY:

Potty training is all about setting your puppy up for success. Proper management and supervision are crucial to successful house training. Until your puppy is fully toilet trained, make sure your puppy is always managed or supervised. 

  1. Tether your puppy. Tethering your pooch ensures they can’t go beyond your desired boundary. Tethering to a person makes it easier for the person to monitor the puppy’s behavior. You can use a Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash to tether the puppy to you comfortably.

  2. Keep the puppy confined to an area with potty pads to help prevent accidents. The potty pads are especially important if the puppy will have to wait a long time between potty breaks (i.e. while you are at work/school). You can do this by blocking off rooms with baby gates or setting up play pins like the Frisco Dog Exercise Pin.

  3. If you're going to crate train your puppy, make sure the puppy is comfortable in the crate. It should be just big enough for your puppy to turn around and lie down; but not much bigger. That way, the puppy can stretch out a little, but they can’t potty in the corner and then snooze comfortably in another corner. A young puppy should not be crated for more than a couple of hours, except overnight. If they’re crated for too long, they may start pottying in the crate out of desperation.

  4. Any pottying that happens outside is an opportunity for positive reinforcement. The more you reinforce appropriate potty behavior, the faster your puppy will be trained.

  5. Supervision means someone is actively watching the puppy. That means the person isn't on the computer, not on the phone, not cooking dinner and not watching television. The person supervising should be actively looking at and interacting with the puppy. That gives the person better odds of noticing when the puppy needs to potty or is starting to squat. If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is—which is why it’s so important to have a schedule to train a new puppy in place before bringing them home.


SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS

Puppies need constant supervision during the potty training process
  1. Take your puppy out at least once every 30 minutes on a short leash. Being on the leash helps your puppy learn to potty on leash. It also keeps the puppy from running around and getting distracted by all the interesting smells. 

  2. Give your puppy five minutes, watching the whole time to see if the puppy pees or poops. Stand quietly in one spot where it’s appropriate for your puppy to potty. By standing still, you keep the puppy in a small area; they'll get bored and focus on the task at hand. By staying quiet, you help your puppy stay focused on their business.

  3. Praise and offer a treat if the puppy pees or poops outside within five minutes. Wait until the puppy has finished. You don’t want to interrupt! As soon as you’re sure the puppy is done, offer praise and hand them a treat. NOTE: If your puppy does not pee or poop within five minutes, that’s OK. Take puppy to a confinement area for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, return to Step 1.

  4. After the puppy pees or poops, give the puppy off-leash fun time. This can take place indoors or outdoors. Giving your puppy off-leash fun time teaches the puppy that pottying leads to more fun. Most importantly, avoid the common mistake of confining the puppy right after they potty. If you bring the puppy back to their confinement area right after a successful mission, they learn that pottying ends the fun. Then they may start to wait longer and longer to potty, which is the opposite of what you want, right?

  5. Repeat these steps throughout the day. Give your puppy opportunities to potty in the designated area. Then use positive reinforcement (treats, play, praise) to encourage the behavior. The more times your puppy gets it right (and the fewer times your puppy has an accident), the faster your puppy will learn the routine.


EXPERT TIPS:

Create a house training chart or use a notepad to keep track when and where the puppy pees and poops, so you can learn their patterns.


In addition to regular 30-minute potty breaks, take your puppy out at these likely potty times:

  • after eating

  • after drinking

  • after 5-10 minutes of playtime or exercise

  • immediately after naptime


Get your puppy on a feeding schedule. In addition to pottying right after eating, many puppies potty again 20-60 minutes after mealtime. If you make note of when you feed your puppy and when your puppy potties; then you learn your puppy's patterns.

Creating a feeding schedule for your puppy aids the bathroom training process

With a feeding schedule, you give your puppy regular meals, at regular times, rather than leaving the food bowl out all day. Fixed meal times make it easier to set up a schedule. The right feeding schedule depends on age, size and schedule, so ask your veterinarian to help assign a feeding schedule for your puppy.


ACCIDENTS HAPPEN

If you see your puppy have an accident, calmly take the puppy outside. Then praise and offer a treat for going in the appropriate place. Fight the urge to yell or scold! Punishing your puppy will not help. This teaches them to pee and poop where you can’t see them. In other words, they won’t stop pottying in the house; they’ll just learn to hid it. This is because puppies often misinterpret punishment to mean they shouldn't potty in front of you. The nuance of the punishment will be totally lost on a puppy.


CLEAN ACCIDENTLY THROUGHLY

The odor from past accidents is like a restroom 🚻 sign for your puppy. Identify the spot and use a cleaner designed for pet stains. After you clean, get on your hands and knees and sniff the area to make sure the smell is gone. You may also want to sniff other areas, just in case—you’d be amazed how many missed pee spots I’ve found this way!


POTTY TRAINING ROLLERCOASTER

If your puppy is regressing with potty training, the first thing to do is review your house training chart. Have you started giving your puppy fewer potty breaks? Has the feeding schedule changed? Has anything else changed that might affect the puppy’s house training schedule?


Make sure to note when and where the accidents are happening. If you notice accidents are always happening in the same room, limit your puppy’s access to that room. If the accidents are always happening at the same time, make sure to add a potty break at that time.


If the puppy pees when you come home from work, your puppy may be peeing out of excitement—in which case, the puppy probably has no idea they're peeing! Some puppies lose control of their bladder when they are excited (just like some people leak a little urine when they laugh). To reduce the likelihood of these unconscious peeing incidents, avoid bending over or petting your puppy as you enter. You may even need to ignore the puppy for a minute or two after you get home. You can also try greeting your puppy outdoors or in an area that is easy to clean up. The good news is that most dogs will grow out of this problem.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if the excited peeing keeps happening, don’t let the puppy know you are annoyed! If you start punishing your puppy for these accidents, your puppy will be even more anxious, which will make it even harder for them to keep control of their bladder. Ignoring the pottying and keeping your behavior calm and low-key is the best solution.


Related: High Value Training Treats