Potty Training your New Puppy

Why is this important?

Proper potty training helps to establish a trusting bond between you and your new best friend.  Poor potty training can lead to behavioural problems such as pooping or peeing indoors, and a poor connection between you and your puppy.

What will I need?

When potty training a new puppy here’s what you’ll need:

  • A leash, about 6 feet long
  • A create large enough for the puppy to stand, lay down, and turn around it (if you are crate training)
  • Puppy training pads or news paper
  • Baby gate(s) or collapsible play fence
  • Enzymatic cleaner for accidents (ammonia based cleaners will encourage your dog to urinate inside)
  • Paper towel
  • Poop bags
  • Treats for rewards

What to expect

According to the ASPCA most puppies can be reliably potty trained by the time they are 4-6 months old.  However, some puppies may experience accidents until they are 8 months to 1 year old.  Don’t expect overnight success if your puppy is relatively young and/or has had any house training yet.

Don’t expect your puppy to have mastered bladder control.  According to several sources a puppy can only be expected to “hold it” for 1 hour for each month of age.  You may have to make arrangements for your puppy if you expect to be out of the house a lot.

Potty Area and Training Steps

To start designate a potty area.  Like a baby your puppy will be excited and want to explore your home.  You’ll need to keep a close eye on her so she doesn’t potty all over your house.  If you can’t watch her constantly attach Spot to you using her leash.  If that doesn’t work for you confine your puppy to her own area when you can’t watch her.

Confinement sounds harsh but this is how puppies learn their den instinct.  Using baby gates or a collapsible play fence designate an area of your home that is only for your puppy.  At first, line the area with paper or puppy training pads for easy waste cleanup.  Also, put your pup’s bed, food, water, and toys in there.  As time goes you will notice that Spot only relieves herself in a specific area of her space; begin removing the paper/pads as required.

If you live in a place with easy access to the outdoors and you want Spot to eliminate outside follow these steps:

  • When your puppy wakes up, after a meal, after a drink of water, after play time, or right before bed attach Spot to her leash and take her outside (always make sure your puppy is on a leash while training, even in your own yard)
  • Always take her to the same place in the yard where you want her to do her business
  • Say “go potty” in a calm voice – do not get too excited you want Spot to associate potty time with good feelings
  • Allow her to sniff and move around while you calmly wait for her to eliminate – do not distract her with toys
  • Once Spot has finished eliminating clean up with a poop bag if necessary
  • Reward Spot will a lot of calm praise or a treat
  • Bring Spot back inside

You may want to use a method called “house training taxi service”.  For more information on this check out:


Your puppy will eliminate constantly while it’s young.  Putting Rover on a consistent feeding schedule will help you anticipate when he will need to do his business.

Feed your puppy according to your vet’s recommendation and stick to that schedule.  Once feeding is done watch your puppy for signs that he has to potty.  This may include circling, squatting, scratching at the door, sniffing around, or restless behaviour.  If you suspect your pup has to go pick him up and take him to the designated potty area.

Having a feeding schedule teaches your pup when to expect potty time.  Scheduling also helps you become familiarized with Rover’s potty timeline.

Calm consistency is key to success.


Accidents are going to happen.  It’s important not to get angry or punish your puppy.  Instead you’ll want to correct the behaviour; dogs learn by immediate correction of behaviour.

If you catch Rover mid-pee follow these steps suggested by the ASPCA and the Humane Society:

  • Get Rover’s attention by clapping – he should be startled enough to stop peeing or pooping
  • Pick him up and take him to his potty area
  • Allow him to finish his business
  • Praise him for finishing in his potty area
  • Clean the soiled area with an appropriate cleanser such as an enzymatic cleanser


Dogs learn better through positive reinforcement.  Make sure to reward your puppy with treats or praise.


For more information about how to use a crate while potty training check out these articles:

For more information on potty training for your puppy check out the following sources that informed with blog:

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