Potty Training for Pooches

Ready to house-train your puppy or adult dog? Our tips can help!

Schedule regular potty breaks

With a treat or two in your pocket, take your dog outside on leash once an hour. Stay outside until your dog goes potty. This could take 5-10 minutes, so give yourself time. When he goes, praise him and give him a treat.

Supervise or confine

An unattended dog will have accidents and won’t understand why it’s a problem. Give him the tools he needs, and he will be a partner in the training.

  • If you can’t supervise your dog’s movement, such as when you are sleeping or doing chores, get a crate to confine your dog while house training. 
  • A hands-free leash like those used by runners is a great option to help manage your dog’s movement. 
  • When you leave the home, crate him in a kennel.

Young puppies can only be crated for short periods of time. Use your puppy’s age in months to determine the number of hours he can be crated. If your puppy must be left alone for longer than he can hold it, create a dog-safe environment like a small bathroom, kitchen, gated-off area of a room, or an ex-pen (a small, freestanding pen) containing the dog’s crate (with door removed), water, toys, and potty area. The potty area can consist of newspaper, pee pads, or even a square of sod in a cat litter box.

Note: Even though his messes will be contained to one area in this instance, your dog is still being allowed to use the bathroom inside, so teaching him to use the bathroom outside may take longer.

Interrupt, don’t punish

Punishing mistakes—including yelling “No!”—will only teach him to use the bathroom inside when you’re not present. He won’t know that it’s wrong to eliminate inside, only that it’s dangerous.

If you catch your dog having an accident inside, interrupt him and take him outside right away. You can gently clap your hands and say “Outside!” The goal here is to distract him from using the bathroom without scaring him.

If you find the mess after the fact, simply clean it up and make a point to confine him when unattended.

Thoroughly clean the mess

Clean up any messes using an enzyme-based cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. This will help avoid recurring accidents because the dog won’t smell it anymore.