This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and buy something that I recommend, I might receive a small commission.
When you bring a new puppy home, it likely won’t be potty trained.
That means there are bound to be accidents.
Expecting too much of a young dog is the most common cause of frustration for new puppy owners.
Preparing yourself for what is to come is your best defense.
Your puppy isn’t trying to be naughty or disobedient when peeing on the floor.
It simply hasn’t learned the correct place to use the bathroom yet.
To get you off to a good start with your puppy, have a look through this comprehensive puppy potty training guide.
What Does Potty Training a Puppy Mean?
You probably don’t want your dog to pee all over the floor for the rest of its life.
That’s where potty training comes in.
When we talk about potty training, we are referring to training with the goal of teaching your puppy where to use the bathroom.
Dogs don’t have accidents to spite their owners.
There are only a couple of reasons why a puppy continues to do its business where it’s not supposed to.
(One reason is a medical condition such as a UTI, another is marking territory.)
For a puppy, however, the most likely reason for accidents is that it hasn’t learned where to go just yet.
If this is the case, the responsibility to teach lies on you as an owner, rather than on the dog.
Once you shift your mindset and accept your own responsibility in teaching your puppy, you’ll find it easier to deal with frustration throughout the process.
Preparing for Potty Training
A lot of work goes into potty training a puppy. You can get started before even bringing your dog home!
Puppy-Prepping Your Home
One of the best ways to prepare for puppy potty training is to remove anything you don’t want your dog to pee on.
Using puppy management tools like playpens and crates is another way to protect your home from accidents while potty training your puppy.
You can also cover up your floors with disposable puppy pads for additional protection, which is a great idea for those who want to protect their floors.
Young puppies have little to no bladder control. So, whatever is on the floor when the puppy comes home runs the risk of being used as a dog toilet.
Products You Will Need to Get Started
Everyone has their own preferences when potty training a dog.
If you are someone who likes to be prepared, there are some things you should make sure to have at home before you get started.
Here is a shopping list with the essentials:
- Puppy Waste Bags
- Cleaning Solution (Dog Safe)
- Disposable Puppy Pads
- Paper Towels
- Poop Scooper
Depending on what you want to use during potty training, you can add or detract from this list. Not everyone wants to use puppy pads, and some may prefer alternative cleaning supplies.
Manage Your Expectations
The number one rule when setting out to potty train a young dog is to manage your own expectations, as unreasonably high expectations is the number one cause of disappointment and frustration with new puppy owners.
Very young puppies aren’t physically able to control their bladder and bowel movements just yet. It’s important to know that they are not having accidents on purpose.
Set your expectations low and focus on when the puppy gets it right rather than when the puppy gets it wrong.
The Importance of an Established Potty Training Routine
Now, let’s talk about how to actually potty train your puppy.
The goal is to make the puppy understand where it is okay to go to the bathroom and where it isn’t, but this can sometimes be a lengthy process.
The complete potty training process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months depending on the dog.
To set your puppy up for success, you should establish a predictable potty schedule.
Your goal should be to take your puppy outside as often as you can.
Especially after it sleeps, eats, and plays, as this is when puppies are the most likely to need to do their business.
Ideally, you should be taking your puppy out to relieve itself every 1-2 hours.
Where Do You Want Your Dog to Go?
You also need to assign a place to potty.
Where would you like your dog to go? The smartest thing to do is to choose one specific spot in your yard and always take the dog to that exact place.
The reason is that it’ll be able to smell previous potty breaks, which will hopefully serve as a reminder of what it is meant to do now that you’re out.
Restricting Access & Supervision
Should you restrict access? When your puppy is little, and if you want a little more control, you can always try to close off some rooms in the house by closing the doors or adding baby gates.
This way, you will know exactly where your puppy is at all times. Which will make it easier to keep track of potty incidents and when the puppy needs to be taken out.
Moreover, supervising your puppy at all times is key. If you can’t actively watch your puppy, they should be in their crate/playpen to prevent accidents throughout the house.
Watch for signs that your puppy might need to use the restroom.
Sniffing and walking in circles is usually a sign of needing to go number one or number two, and that’s when you need to be quick to carry your tiny fur friend outdoors.uppy
Making sure you are observant is essential when setting up a potty training routine, as you can’t blame a puppy if you weren’t there to see the signs.
Prepare for Nightly Potty Breaks
Before you do anything else, start counting on taking your puppy out at night for the first few weeks.
Most puppies can’t and won’t hold it throughout the night when they are young.
If you want to avoid accidents and continue to promote proper potty routines, it is recommended that you set your alarm.
Some dog owners get lucky with puppies that alert them when they need to go out at night. Most need a gentle reminder.
Try to remind yourself that these nightly potty breaks won’t last forever and that it is a sacrifice new puppy owners simply need to make.
Positive Reinforcement When Potty Training a Dog
Punishing your dog for having accidents is not the right approach, and it can even backfire!
For example, if you yell at your puppy when it pees on the floor, you could make it believe that peeing in front of you is wrong.
What is the result? A dog that might sneak off to do its business.
If you can’t catch your dog before an accident, potty training will become nearly impossible.
Instead of scolding your puppy for its wrong-doings, try to focus on when he gets it right.
Use verbal praise and treats whenever he does his business in the yard or wherever designated potty place you have chosen.
Simply ignore and clean up when there is an accident.
The key is to avoid comparing your puppy to other dogs.
Some puppies can be potty trained at 10 weeks old. Others could take weeks or months to get it right.
If you are using an established potty training routine and positive reinforcement and your dog still doesn’t seem to understand, then it is most likely just a question of being patient.
Allow your puppy to learn at its own pace. Don’t forget that consistency is vital when potty training a dog.