How to Potty Train a Puppy

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Consistency is the Golden Rule for House Training a Puppy.

House training your puppy takes time, patience, consistency, time, positive reinforcement… Oh- and did we say time?! Before you consider getting a puppy it’s important to understand the commitment necessary for puppy training. If this article seems daunting, you may want to consider adopting an adult dog. There are plenty of dogs out there that need a loving home, and it’s amazing how fast an older dog can adapt and become a loving family member.  

What to Expect When Potty Training a Puppy

Experts say that it typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully housetrained. Smaller breeds tend to take longer since they have smaller bladders and require more frequent trips outside. By being proactive, preparing for inevitable set-backs, and by offering lots of encouragement it WILL happen!

When to Start Potty Training Your Puppy

It’s important to start good habits as soon as you bring your puppy home. Puppies have tiny bladders, so expect to bring puppy out to pee after waking up, eating, playing, etc. Basically the more you can bring your puppy outside and have him relieve himself out there (instead of on puppy pads) the more you are encouraging good habits. Most puppies won’t start learning to hold their bladder until between 12 – 16 weeks.  

Using a Crate to House Train a Puppypuppy crate training

Crate training a puppy has several benefits; it reduces travel and transporting anxiety, it becomes ‘their space’ in your home, it can be used to teach the rules of the house, and it is invaluable for potty training. Most puppies won’t defecate in the space that they sleep so using a crate and letting your puppy out frequently for potty time, (as well as feeding, cuddles and playtime) will help teach him to hold his bladder.

Make sure your crate is large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around, but not big enough for him to use a corner as a bathroom. Because of their small bladder it’s important not to leave the puppy in the crate for longer than 2 hours during the day.  

Puppy Training Tips

  • Establish a schedule (see sample schedule below).
  • Young puppies will need to eat 2-3 times a day (older dogs can be fed 1-2 times per day). Always take away his food between feedings and do not let him graze during the day. Your puppy will need to defecate 5 – 20 minutes after each meal.
  • Take your puppy out to pee every 30 minutes and take him to the same spot to do his business each time. Puppies like to have a safe place to do their business and their own scent will help to establish this. It will also help the puppy to understand that there is a place to do his business and that place is not in the house! Side benefit, as your dog gets older it’s always nice to know you won’t find unpleasant surprises in random areas of your yard!
  • Stay with your pup when taking him outside.
  • Give lots of praise when he does his business. We don’t recommend treats because some dogs will learn to ask to go outside simply to get a treat. Dogs live for praise so this will be more than sufficient to reward and encourage proper potty habits.
  • Use a bell! Hang a bell from your outside door knob. Ring the bell just before you open the door and say, “let’s go pee”. Your dog will learn to go to the door and tap the bell to let you know he needs to relieve himself. Older dogs will eventually learn to simply sit by the door or tap the door to let you know. It’s important to help your puppy identify the outside door with relieving himself.
  • Give the command! When your puppy pees say “Go pee” and when he finishes tell him “good pee”. You can do the same when he poops. This comes in handy once he is older, when he will literally go on command!

What Not to Do When Training Your Puppy

Don’t punish. When you find a mess avoid yelling, scolding, or rubbing the puppy’s nose in it. Puppies are unable to connect your angry emotion to their action. Punishing your puppy for having an accident just teaches him to fear you. Instead quietly clean up the mess and provide lots of praise when he does his duty outside. It’s important to thoroughly clean the area. A dog’s nose is much more powerful than our own and his scent will encourage him to go in that spot again. Enzymatic cleaners will help eliminate odor. You can also spritz the area with NaturPet Outdoor Spray which contains odor eliminating ingredients and provides a nice scent.


Dogs are creatures of habit, so the sooner they understand where their business should be done, the sooner they’ll stop going elsewhere. They also love to please so be patient and provide lots of praise! Puppy Training is a lot of work but establishing good habits right from the start will avoid long term problems. 

Puppy potty training schedule



Trina Links
Trina Links
Trina Links is the General Manager of NaturPet Inc., maker of Dr. Maggie and NaturPet natural pet health products. Trina is passionate about both human and animal health and about using nature's remedies to treat common ailments and conditions.

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