Toilet training puppies


First of all, congratulations! It is such an exciting time welcoming a new puppy into your family. However it can also be a challenging time when you are faced with so much differing knowledge and opinions on how best to raise a new puppy – especially if this is the first time you have owned a baby puppy. One of the biggest challenges for many owners is getting on top of toilet training.

Bolton, one of our toilet training success stories.

So what are the most important things to consider when trying to toilet train your puppy?

  1. Management: If you aren’t able to watch your puppy, make sure they are confined to an area where they have access to an appropriate toileting spot. There are many types on the market, the best are the synthetic or real grass potty systems if you’re looking at wanting your pup to toilet on grass outside. Pee pads are very similar to carpeting and rugs which can create confusion for puppies and can lead to toileting accidents on these in your home. Containing them to an accident proof zone will also prevent them hiding toileting accidents in hard to find areas around your home. Restricting your pup to specific areas can be done through using a play pen or baby gates or you can even have your puppy on lead with you so that you can always be supervising and looking for signs they need to toilet. Overnight you can look at having your puppy in a crate. Crate training is great for preventing toilet accidents as your pup won’t want to mess on their bedding. This way they will alert you when they need to go which can then carry through to when you’re giving your pup more freedom later on.

  2. Set them up for success: When you are watching your puppy, look for any indicators that mean they are about to toilet. This might look like stopping and frantically sniffing around to find a spot to toilet. Key times they will want to go to the toilet is when they have just woken up from a sleep, have finished a meal or a big drink, have just stopped playing or engaging with a toy, and let’s face it, puppies toilet a lot! Your puppy will likely need to toilet every 30-60 minutes so keep an eye on the clock AND your puppy!

  3. Training:

    • Decide where you want them to go: To teach your puppy where you do want them to toilet, take them there. Put them on a lead and walk them out to where you want them to go so that they can learn to navigate the route to take to go to where you want them to toilet. Pay well for toileting in the spot you want them to go with high value treats. If you don’t want to have them on the lead, try to prevent them running around and playing too much when they’re out for a toilet. Keep calm and relaxed, and just walk around saying your toilet cue.

    • Teach them a ‘toilet’ cue: Teaching your puppy ‘toilet’ or ‘do wees’ is very handy as you can invite them to toilet before long car trips or going into somewhere you don’t want them to toilet (the pet store, vet clinic etc). If your dog knows a cue that means you’re inviting them to toilet, it helps to communicate very effectively with your puppy that this is their opportunity to go to the bathroom!

  4. Never punish any toileting accidents: If we tell off our puppies for having an accident inside, all they will learn is that we get angry when they toilet, so they will stop doing it in front of us. This will only mean we can’t teach them where we do want them to toilet if they are too frightened to do it in front of us.

  5. Timing is crucial: Our puppies do not have spite or know that we are angry if they toileted inside hours ago. Dogs have a memory for consequences of specific behaviours of between 1-3 seconds only. If we find an accident even 20 seconds later, taking them to it and pointing to it will make no sense to them. The only connection they will be making is that we are angry but they will make no connection whatsoever of the act we are angry about. If they have an accident, and we find it after it has happened, as frustrating as it is – it is our fault. If we catch them in the act, quickly pick them up and take them to where we want them to go.

  6. Cleaning it up: Any accidents in the home must be barricaded off from our puppies, and not allowed access to it. We also need to make sure we give it a good clean with a product such as Urine Off to break down the scent and prevent our puppy returning to that spot in the future to continue toileting there.

If you are looking for a comprehensive puppy school program in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, contact us now to book in. If you’re located in other areas, we always recommend searching on the Pet Professional Guild Australia website to locate another force free training school in your local area