How Do I Toilet Train My Puppy?
There is nothing better than bringing home your first puppy, it is all very exciting setting up their new doggy bed, playing tug of war and cuddling on the sofa. While there are many aspects to look forward to when you get a new dog, stepping in pee on the kitchen floor is not one of them.
Toilet training your puppy is one of the first things you should do as a new dog parent as it is a key part in setting up a routine for you and your puppy. All puppies learn at a different pace but it averages around a couple of months so make sure you are fully stocked with puppy training pads.
Signs Your Puppy Needs The Loo
Typically, dogs will want to urinate away from the home so they will try to hold it at first and there are several signs you can pick up on which means they need the loo.
- Sniffing the floor
- Being near the door that they normally go out
- Discomfort behaviour (whining, barking, not settling)
If you notice these signs, take your puppy out to where you would want them to go to the toilet and wait patiently until they have done their business and praise with a reward.
Build A Routine
Take them out first thing in the morning
Puppies will need to urinate as soon as they wake up so you should take them to their designated area straight away whether this is in the garden or the park. It is beneficial to let your puppy go to the toilet without a lead because it gives them the freedom to pee where they want. If you puppy needs to be on a lead because you haven’t got access to a garden, use an extendable lead.
It is a good idea to start using commands when they are toilet training because it helps them associate the word with going to the loo. Words like ‘be quick’, ‘toilet’ or ‘loo’ are great, simply words to use.
Take them out every 2-3 hours
Puppies have very small bladders so they will need to go out every few hours to relieve themselves. As they get older they will need less toilet breaks but within the first couple of months, you should take them out regularly. Puppies often urinate spontaneously, especially when they are excited so take them out when they have been active or playing.
Take them out after every meal
Eating food stimulates the digestive system and puppies will often need the loo between 15-30 minutes after eating so you should take them out between these times as well.
Take them out before and after you have been out
During the first stages of toilet training your puppy, it is best not to leave them alone in the house but if you do need to run some errands, the first thing you do when you leave and come back is to let your puppy out to urinate. It gives them the chance to use the toilet beforehand but if they don’t manage to go, you should leave out toilet training puppy pads in an area that is away from their bed.
Take them out before they go to bed
Ideally you would want them to go to the loo before bedtime but it is unrealistic to think that they won’t urinate in the night because puppies have very small bladders. Just make sure you leave training pads out away from their sleeping area and do not punish your dog in the morning, it will cause confusion and it will not be helpful at all.
Reward Your Puppy
One of the main things you should do when you are toilet training your puppy is to reward them after they have gone to the toilet where you wanted them too. This will teach them that going to the loo outside is a positive and good thing and will make them want to do it more in the future. Always give them lots of praise immediately after they have gone and reward them with a treat or play.
Not sure what treat you can give to your puppy? Check out our large list of puppy training treats that are great for reward-based training Three Bird Training Treats, Puppy Power with Colostrum, Liver Training Treats and our Chicken & Pork Sausages.
- You should try to avoid playing games outside before they have urinated because it will distract them from why they are out there in the first place.
- You should always stay with your puppy when they are toilet training because most puppies will not want to be on their own and will try to get back inside with you rather than going to the toilet.
- After they have done their business, it is a good idea to have a little play with them afterwards because it will avoid them thinking that going to the toilet ends outside time which will mean they will try to hold it until the very last minute.
If Your Puppy Has Had An Accident
DO NOT punish your puppy if they have gone to the toilet in the house because it will teach them that they just can’t urinate in front of you and it will become very hard to toilet train your puppy.
Puppies have very small bladders and they will urinate in the house at some point so just be prepared. Just clean up the mess and if you catch your puppy in the middle of urinating, gently pick up your pup and let them finish outside in the right place. If they manage to finish outside, give them a small praise.
Lastly, Keep It Up!
Toilet training your puppy can be hard work and time consuming but the end goal is very rewarding. Just make sure you keep up with the routine and phrase your pup after they have gone and hopefully they will pick it up in no time.
If you are unsure on what treats you can give your new pup as a reward, check out our previous blog that looked at our Top 5 Puppy Treats and When to Introduce Them and let us know what you think.