Potty Training, Puppy Training

How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast: The Ultimate Guide

Learning how to potty train a puppy can be a challenge. But there is a way to train dogs with great success. This way accidents will be few and your new puppy will know what to do within only a few days of housetraining. Training dogs to stop using the floor to relieve themselves is important. Teaching your puppy good potty habits is the basis for a trusting and loving relationship between you and your new family member.

Ignoring potty training, on the other hand, is one of the major reasons that people return, sell or even put their dogs down. As you can see, it’s important to understand how to get it right. It’s not a walk in the park – actually, it’ll be a lot of walks in the park. And the idea is that accidents will happen. That’s just part of the game and you must be ready to deal with them, as well.

But when you and your puppy master this, it will make your life much easier. Your puppy will be happy and confident, which will give your relationship a great start. Here’s my ultimate potty training guide which will support your training program. It may even set you and your puppy up for potty training success fast.

How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast: The Fundamentals

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When you remember these basic instructions, it will enable you to set the right course from the get-go. This way, you’ll be sure always to stay on track on how to potty train your puppy, even when there are accidents and setbacks.

First of all, be picky when you choose your breeder. It starts with them and the habits they give your puppy when raising them. So check them out, visit the puppies at home with the breeder, ask for habits and observe their behavior.

Do they carry the puppy outside when it needs to go? Even when you visit them, the dog breeder should still pay the puppies a lot of attention.

Secondly, remember to keep a cool head – you’re the trusted adult here. Your puppy is a child in dog terms and you must be a consistent parent. Your policy should be to go outside with your puppy and not just when it suits you.

You also must go out with them when you’re tired or would much rather talk to your friends. Or even when you think it’s not your turn and you’re busy doing something else that seems more important. The idea is to catch them when they need to do their business and get them outside fast so they make the connection.

You also need to be patient. It is wrong to rush your dog when they’re outside. Give them all the time they need when you’re out walking. You must accept that how to train a puppy doesn’t happen in one day. Your pet is your responsibility, they’re depending on you.

Top Dogs: When They Finally Get It Right

Above all, praise your puppy in a soft voice whenever they get it right. It’s a big deal, so let them know how pleased you are. But keep your voice down. You don’t want to startle your dog or interrupt them in the act, as this can make them afraid of you. Don’t order them to go when you walk them outside and never tug on the collar. Offer positive reinforcement like praise and treats.

When they’re finished, you can celebrate all you want. This way your dog know what they did was fantastic – and also, you’ll have fun together. Although it is easy to say, yet a bit more difficult to do, keep a close eye on your puppy always. Even so, it’s important that they don’t run around your home on their own.

Tips for Watching Your Pup in a Big Home

So, if your home is too big for you to look out for your pup all the time, restrain them to a small area. Alternatively, you can give them a privacy break in their crate. Keep reading to learn more about this. Watch your puppy constantly, especially when they go outside to relieve themselves. Keep them on a leash and go outside with them. This has two major functions:

First, to encourage your dog to go by using the same phrase every time, like “go pee” or “go potty.” This may ultimately help you make your dog go on command when you go to their favorite spot. Second, in addition to going to the same place and using the same phrase, make sure to praise them during and after the act, as mentioned above.

No matter how perfect your puppy is, remember that all training is a process. Don’t get discouraged over accidents. The bad news is, these things will happen, but the good news it, it’s not yours or your dog’s fault. Instead look for what’s working and keep building on your wins.

If you need more help on how to train a puppy, keep reading. You can also search online for dog training books, products, and services on raising puppies. You can even look on Facebook for live, real-time tips on how other people house train their puppies. Be positive and focus on getting better over time.

Don’t Expect Miracles

Even when your dog is housebroken, don’t expect miracles, like the one below.

The clip above shows what unreasonable expectations look like. Remember to set your own expectations at the right level. Your puppy will still have accidents. It sounds bad, but it’s not. It might be because they’re so happy your home. Although your pup may obey commands like “sit” and “stay,” they still may pee a little in sheer excitement. And that’s understandable.

It might be because they’re so happy you’re home. Although your pup may obey commands like “sit” and “stay,” they still may pee a little in sheer excitement. And that’s understandable.

Or it might be because they’re behaving so fantastically, you forget they’re still just a puppy. If that’s the case, you might forget that they still haven’t got complete control. So you may forget the routines that make your puppy great.

Also, you must test your dog once in awhile. As they grow, the duration for how long your puppy will be able to hold it in will increase. Testing this can go well if you’re patient and careful. But if you’re not, remember accidents will happen. When your dog is a year or so, expect them to have few accidents, if any.

Setting Your Puppy’s Routine

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Your puppy is not old enough to manage self-control at first. This means that you need to be in control and set the right framework for your puppy’s potty training routine. You will find that having a basic schedule will make it much easier for you and your dog to succeed faster.

How to potty train a puppy successfully means taking them outside to eliminate during the following times:

  • First Thing in the Morning: Avoid getting your pup excited by greeting them with too much enthusiasm. Staying calm and speaking softly will help your puppy hold it in better.
  • After Every Nap: Whenever your dog wakes up from a nap. It is their first reaction to go to the bathroom whenever they wake up.
  • During and After Play: They get so excited, your dog may need to go, even if they don’t know it yet.
  • Five to 30 Minutes After Feeding Time: You’ll soon learn if it’s five or 30 minutes, but until you do, start with bringing your pup outside five minutes after eating and be patient. Just wait for it.

If none of the above happens, take your pup out every hour. This depends on the size of the dog, but this is a good guideline for the most common breeds. This will give them the opportunity to relieve themselves before it becomes an urgent matter.

How to Potty Train a Puppy: Consistency is the Key

Here are some additional tips on how to potty train a puppy:

  • Always go to the same area. The scent will make your dog want to go and this will create a strong habit – and we all love good habits.
  • Always go to the same surface. If your dog prefers to pee on grass, go for that, even when you’re away from home and the usual spot.
  • Make it the last thing you do before going to bed. Remember to be patient here as well, even though you just want to go to bed.
  • If they need to go in the middle of the night. Just keep it silent and quick. They might think it’s time to play after having relieved themselves, but you must show your dog it’s not. Do so by being silent and returning to bed immediately to show this is not the case.
  • Establish regular eating habits. Do this by controlling what your puppy eats and drinks. Remove their bowl of food when they are no longer interested, even if they have not eaten it all. This is important because you must take your dog out five to 30 minutes after they have eaten. If you let your dog graze and eat all the time, you won’t know when to bring them out. And don’t worry, they’ll eat again later in the day and won’t starve.
  • Remove their water bowl two hours before going to bed. This will help your puppy sleep longer at night without needing to go outside to pee. And, you’ll sleep longer and better, too. Most puppies can sleep for about seven hours without having to relieve themselves if you get the conditions right. That sounds good, right?

By following the simple steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to having a successful potty training method on your hands – and it works.

Identifying When Your Puppy Needs to Go

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Even though you get all the routines right, your puppy is a lovely living creature – not a machine. So they might want to relive themselves at other times, as well.

As a consequence, you must always watch out for the signs they need to go out. If your puppy looks restless, is barking or scratching at the door, there might be a reason to take them outside.

If your dog starts sniffing around and/or circling you have to hurry. Take them outside right away, because this is a sign, that they want to trample the grass down to have a poo. They do this to avoid having grass in the butt.

Remember, Accidents Will Happen

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Unless you’re Superman or Super Woman, or your dog is a unicorn, accidents will happen. This is just the way it is, but the important thing is how you deal with it. Here’s what you need to remember on how to potty train a puppy with love:

  • Be Patient: Don’t punish your puppy when they pee or poop inside.
  • Watch for Signs: If you don’t catch them in the act, just clean it up and keep a closer eye on your dog the next time. To be brutally honest: it’s your fault, not theirs. You didn’t recognize the signs.
  • Avoid Being Angry: You don’t want your puppy to be afraid of you or afraid to relieve themselves in your presence. That will happen if you punish your puppy for doing something it needs to do by nature. Punishing will potentially do a lot of damage to your dog’s mental health, so don’t go down that road.
  • Use Distraction: If you catch them in the act, you must interrupt them. Make a noise so you startle your pup, but avoid scaring them. Next, take them outside.
  • Praise Them: When you take them out, be patient and wait for your pup to finish what they started, and praise them for doing so in the right place.

Limit Where Your Puppy Can Go Freely Inside

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It is vital to the success of your puppy’s potty training that you keep an eye on them at all times. Limiting the area where you leave your puppy to run free can help. To do so, use a child’s safety gate or grid to create a smaller space. You can also do this in every room you are in yourself.

Give your puppy the opportunity to get to a door to show you when it needs to relieve itself. Remember to give your dog the chance make eye contact with you, even when you create a limited area. You want to encourage them to learn to let you know when they want you to take them out.

If you do not have a gate or grid, or if you prefer, you can tie your puppy to your waist or leg with a string. This will remind you that your puppy is “on your tail.” It also makes it quite clear you’re the responsible party. You must make sure to always keep an eye on your dog. It will also prevent your puppy from sneaking away to do whatever it feels like, which can be helpful in potty training.

Crate Training and Your Pup

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In reality, it’s almost impossible to keep an eye on your puppy at all times, even during the first critical days. You need to take a break once in a while and give your pup one, as well.

But you must not let your puppy roam alone in your house, and that’s why a crate is a good solution. If you introduce your puppy to its crate in the right way, they’ll see it as their den. All dogs instinctively will not want to soil their den, so here nature helps again.

So, what’s the big deal about crates? Size matters. It’s important to use a crate large enough for your puppy to stand, lie down and turn around without any problems. But, it must not be so big, your puppy can divide the crate in a sleeping area and a place to relieve itself.

Also, you must consider how long to leave your puppy in the crate. Never leave your puppy in a crate for longer than two hours. If your puppy is a small breed, then leave it in the crate for an even shorter time. Remember, a small dog has a small bladder.

As a rule, dogs can be left alone depending on their age. To calculate it, take their age in terms of months and add one to determine the hours. Never leave your dog in their crate for hours at a time without water, though. You will know how long your dog can tolerate their crate, but don’t push it, or they may never want to use it again.

Your puppy will love you for making its crate into a nice place. Leave their favorite toys in there and reward them with a treat or two. Provide lots of praise for going into the crate and staying there. This helps provide a safe place for your puppy that will be useful for many years, even long after your dog is potty trained.

It is crucial to never use the crate as a punishment. It’s important that your puppy sees the crate as their den, so they won’t want to soil it. It’s also important that they enjoy being in the crate in all situations. This way you can easily use the crate as a place to have a time out. You might think this as punishing, but if your dog views their crate as a safe shelter, it’s much different in your dog’s mind.

Dogs Smell Odors You Can’t

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A dog’s nose is about one million times stronger than ours. And this is a good to have in mind as they prefer to go to the same spots to relieve themselves. This will help your training – or spoil it. So to help you and your puppy choose a specific spot to relieve themselves, the scent will remind them to pee or poop right there.

This is also true if your puppy has had an accident inside. So, it’s important to clean up any accidents right away. Remember to use enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based cleaner to minimize odors.

Warning: Some cleansers can be lethal to dogs if they get a taste for it. Rodalon is an example, so do your homework to protect your pet.

Tips for Indoor Dogs or Leaving Your Puppy Alone for a Time

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Until your puppy is old enough to wait for you to come home before it relieves itself, you must set the right conditions for them. This way you can make it possible for your puppy to achieve success. But, if you are not home to keep an eye on your dog, what should you do? Here are some ideas to try :

  • Use a Kennel: If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to put your dog in a kennel, this is a wise solution. Remember, your puppy will see this area as a kind of crate. So, when you come home and take them out, you must give them the opportunity to relieve themselves outside, as weird as that might sound.
  • Find a Responsible Person: If you don’t have an outdoor kennel area, find a responsible person to check up on your puppy and take it for a walk to let them relieve themselves. Consider your neighbor or perhaps even a professional dog walker.
  • Set Up Designated Spaces: If neither of the above is an option, or if your dog is a designated indoor dog, you must give them the opportunity to relieve themselves inside. Keep your dog in an area with enough room for a sleeping space, a playing space and a separate place to relieve themselves. In the designated elimination area, use either several layers of newspaper or a sod box.
  • Try Potty Pads: Potty-pads enable you to teach your dog to relieve itself indoor on the potty pad in the same way you teach a dog to relieve themselves outside. Should you later choose to bring your dog outside to potty, you can teach them by gradually bringing the potty pads outside. Be aware that it takes more time and requires more patience to go from potty pads to using the great outdoors.
  • Limit Accidents: If you find an accident in the house, clean it up and place some of the soiled rags in the designated elimination area. The smell will help your puppy recognize this is the place to relieve itself.
  • Create an Elimination Area: If your dog is not a designated indoor dog, place the elimination area near the door to the outside. This is because you want your puppy to get out every time it needs to go, but should you fail, you want your dog to seek the door to give you a heads up.

Be aware that allowing your dog to relieve itself inside can prolong the learning process because it confuses the puppy. It will be wondering if it can go outside or inside – or both. If you want your dog to eventually relieve itself outside, don’t allow your puppy to relieve itself inside. Seek other possibilities. For more tips go to the AKC blog on this topic.

Puppy Potty Punchlines

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You may be reeling from all the information you’ve received on potty training, so here it is in a nutshell:

  • Be patient.
  • Be quick and consistent to get your puppy out from the first day.
  • Set up a good routine with your puppy.
  • Praise your puppy when they do what you want – let them know they’re a superstar.
  • Never punish your puppy for having accidents. They will happen, but you can use them as a teaching moment by staying calm.
  • Set your puppy up for success by keeping an eye on them always. Do this by restraining their area and using a crate to give both of you a break once in awhile
  • Accept that this, like all training, is a process. Look for what’s working and keep building on your wins and focus on getting better over time

Once your puppy is potty trained, you might want to work on training other behaviors. You may be interested in this post on canine chewing or this post on getting and maintaining your dog’s attention, which is the most fundamental aspect of all obedience training. It is also helpful to practice with your dog before you take them to socialization or training classes.

Have You Found Value in This Post?

If you answered yes, feel free to share this post with others. If you answered no, help improve this guide by sharing your best potty training trick. You can post questions in the Q&A section below, too.

How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast: Helpful FAQs

At what age is it optimal to do house training? It starts with the breeder. As soon as the puppies start eating solid food, their mom will stop cleaning their den and they’ll be ready to start learning. So, if you start between seven and eight weeks, your puppy will learn everything faster than in seven days – if you follow this guide. The older your puppy is before potty training starts, the longer it will take because your puppy will have to change their habits – and that takes a little longer.

How do I make a sod box? To make a sod box, place sod in a large plastic container. It could be a drawer from under a bed – anything that is waterproof and easy to clean.

Why choose crate training? Crate training uses a dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog’s den is his home. It is a place to sleep, to hide from danger and to raise a family. The crate becomes an ideal spot to snooze or take refuge. Puppies prefer their own den where they can go to relax and get away from other dogs or people. Make it a happy place, reward your dog for choosing the crate and it’ll love it.

What is the best time to crate train? Crate training begins as soon as you get your puppy home or when you can’t or won’t be able to keep an eye on them. At the beginning, reward your puppy for going inside, while not closing the door. After a while, close the door and praise the puppy inside for just a few minutes. If you do this regularly, your puppy will choose it on its own

How often do I have to go outside with my puppy? It depends on the size of the breed. With a young puppy from a small breed, start with every 15 minutes and watch your pup. If there are still accidents, you have to go more often. And if not, you can try to increase to 45 minutes and so on, but you won’t be able to avoid accidents altogether. You’ll learn from your puppy and you’ll grow together.

How often do I have to take my puppy out at night? Most puppies can wait in six to seven hours before they have to relieve themselves, but again, the breed matters. You need to take your puppy out as the last thing you do before bedtime. Unless it is extremely hot and humid, it is wise to remove the water bowl two hours before bedtime.

How can I tell if my puppy needs to go? The sure signs that it’s time, is when your puppy is restless and sniffing and/or circling around. If you see these signs, you have missed out on taking them out often enough. You need to go outside with your puppy every time they wake up from a nap, after they eat and when they are playing or just done playing.

How do I potty train my new dog when they are older? Make sure you know as much as possible about how your new dog has been trained before. This is important, as it is your way to know what to expect. For example, if they were trained on a potty pad, you can’t expect your new dog to suddenly start going out to pee. If you don’t know about their history, try crate training, but be patient. You are changing a habit, which can be hard but not impossible. It will just take more time, observation, rewards, praise and patience on your part.

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6 Comments


  1. victoria ingham

    November 27, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this great guide it certainly full of help for your puppy needs a great read I recomend it to anyone who as got a puppy its worth it

    Reply

    • Lene Kaufmann

      January 1, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Thank you very much – I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Reply

  2. Diane

    July 25, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Excellent training procedures. We have done exactly what you described with all our dogs and it’s worked out very well. I also like that you refer to the dogs point of view in your posts.

    Reply

    • Lene Kaufmann

      July 28, 2017 at 4:53 am

      I’m so glad you have found value in my training advice and thank you so much for sharing. In my experience, having your dogs point of view in mind in future training will make it more efficient and you’ll have a happy dog at your side – thank you for noticing, your dogs will continue loving you for this 🙂

      Reply

  3. Steve B.

    July 25, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I came across this article about 3 months ago right when I was looking around for a puppy to buy. I found the dog of my dreams (a golden doodle) and after 2 months of following your training tips, as well as some phone calls to a carpet cleaning company to remove some carpet stains, my puppy is finally consistently going potty outside. Thanks so much for your help!

    Reply

    • Lene Kaufmann

      July 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you so much and thank you for sharing – also the carpet cleaning tips 🙂 What a fantastic way to put it: the dog of your dreams. Having solved the potty problem, I’m sure you’ll continue to feel this way; this gives a perfect foundation for your future work together – well done!

      Reply

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About Lene Kaufmann

Lene Kaufmann

Hi, I’m Lene (and this is Atlas). One of my biggest passions in life is dogs and dog training, and after having trained multiple award winning hunting dogs as well as trained hundreds of new puppy owners in my own personal offline courses, I wanted to create a site where I could help readers by passing on what I have learned about training happy and healthy puppies. I believe that dogs can be the greatest source of happiness and fulfillment, and it all starts by building the right foundation with your young puppy.

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