How To Toilet Train Your Puppy

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is certainly an exciting and life-changing experience. The unconditional love, the many enthusiastic kisses and the adorable antics are all worth the possible chaos that can ensue in their wake. A common question we are often asked by new pet owners is how to toilet train a puppy. From how to train a puppy to toilet to puppy toilet training tips, we take you through the best ways to toilet train a puppy using simple, effective and positive techniques that work.

Whether you’ve got a gorgeous little fluffball or a cute but rapidly growing giant on your hands, the puppy toilet training process is the same for all breeds, genders and sizes. The secret ingredient to successfully toilet training a puppy, however? Consistency. If you want to instill good habits early on and ensure your puppy develops long-term positive behaviours when it comes to toilet training, consistency is key.


How Long Does It Take to Toilet Train a Puppy?

As soon as you bring your new puppy home at eight weeks or older, you should start the toilet training process. Typically it takes between four to six months for a puppy to be fully house-trained. However, some puppies may take a little longer, and accidents are bound to happen throughout for most dogs. Establishing a manageable routine early on for toilet training is essential, as your consistency and patience will directly reflect how well your puppy learns to toilet outside or in a designated area. After all, they won’t understand unless we teach them, so starting straight away will prove beneficial for all.


Steps on How to Toilet Train Your Puppy:

The best way to toilet train a puppy is by following these steps.

  1. Create a consistent feeding schedule. Dogs thrive on routine and schedule. Not only does it provide structure and confidence, but it also allows their metabolism to get used to a pattern. This pattern is then connected to their toilet habits. By feeding your puppy at the same time, you can manage their toilet breaks and help to establish a routine and regular toileting time.
  1. Regularly take them out to the toilet.
  • When you or your puppy first wake up in the morning, take them to the toilet.
  • Every thirty minutes to an hour, take them to the toilet.
  • As soon as your puppy eats or drinks, take them to the toilet.
  • After your puppy has woken up from a nap, take them to the toilet.
  • If your puppy is/has been playing, take them to the toilet.
  • If something excites them, such as guests, take them to the toilet.
  • If you’re going out and leaving your puppy alone, take them to the toilet.
  • Before your puppy goes to bed in the evening, take them to the toilet.
  1. Take them to the same spot each time. Understanding association is a great learning tool for your puppy. By taking them to toilet in the same place each time, they associate the area with going to the toilet. The stimulation of their scents will also prompt them to go.
  1. Stay with them. Support in numbers, right? Until your puppy is fully house-trained, we recommend staying with them for a number of reasons. Apart from the fact that you want to confirm they’ve actually been to the toilet, puppies can get nervous being left outside alone at such a young age. They could also not want to miss out on any exciting things you’re doing inside, get distracted or just follow you straight back indoors. If you’re feeling confident, you can even teach them a command/phrase for when they do their business.
  1. Reward good behaviour. The most effective way to teach a dog a new behaviour is through positive reinforcement. Rewarding your puppy each time they go to the toilet outside will give them a positive association to the action and teach them to repeat the behaviour. As soon as your puppy goes to the toilet, immediately reward this good behaviour – by way of praise, treat, toy, or anything else they find enjoyable. Remember, your tone of voice is essential to communicate positive reinforcement to your puppy.
  1. Learn their habits. While the overall process of toilet training puppies is standard, learning your own puppy’s individual habits and watching for signs will aid in how long it takes to toilet train them. For example, if you know your puppy likes to walk around in a circle before going to the toilet and you see them doing this in the house, take them outside straight away to avoid any accidents. If you’ve got a little dog, they may need to go out more often due to their smaller bladders and higher metabolisms. You might even notice your puppy making an attempt to go outside and then changing course – a habit of a typical distracted puppy that needs to go to the toilet but has chosen something more appealing to do instead. These little cues will help you to stay on top of toilet training and prevent any unwanted mishaps.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

How to Toilet Train a Puppy Inside:

While training your puppy to toilet outside is largely the norm, it is not always a practical option for some dog owners. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions to toilet training a puppy inside.

  1. Potty pads can be used as an alternative toileting option. Select a designated area to use as your dog’s bathroom and cover it with potty pads, training pads or newspaper.
  1. A litter tray is a popular choice to toilet train a puppy inside. It’s hygienic, efficient and easy to clean.
  1. Artificial turf is another trending solution for indoor toilet training puppies. There are even options to have real grass patches delivered and changed over each month.
  1. Bathroom bell. Yes, you can extend your puppy training skills to include a bathroom bell command. This gives you an additional way to communicate with your dog when they need to go to the toilet.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

Puppy Toilet Training Tips:

Toilet training your puppy should also be about relationship-building. You want to establish a loving bond with your pet, building confidence when house training. So, if you want to learn how to toilet train a puppy in seven days, following a consistent routine while making the experience enjoyable for your pup is crucial. If you make it a fun and rewarding task, your puppy will be more inclined to follow the rules – they’re just like us!


While you may see conflicting advice on how to toilet train a puppy, science has proven that positive reinforcement is the most effective form of training and is better for your dog’s overall well-being.


What should you not do when toilet training your puppy?

  • Punishing your puppy in any form. We know the process can be frustrating, but there is no benefit to creating an environment where your puppy will feel frightened and nervous. Punishment only teaches your puppy to become fearful of you, which can lead to the development of other behavioural issues. They also don’t associate this punishment with doing something wrong, so shouting, smacking or rubbing their face in their waste will not have the desired result you want. Instead, puppies get creative and find secret spots to go out of your eyesight.
  • Leaving your puppy to eliminate in their crate. A crate is a fantastic tool for training but should not be used as a toilet for your puppy. It can confuse them as to where they can go to the toilet and will slow down the training process.
  • Not following a schedule. We can’t stress how important a schedule is. It is our job as dog owners to follow a schedule and ensure we are doing everything we can to aid the puppy toilet training process. Not only are we teaching them something completely new, but they have also just gone through a significant change since moving into your home and need as much guidance as they can get.
  • Ignoring the signs. There is a purpose behind every behaviour, and if your puppy is acting a certain way, there is a reason for it. Recognising when your puppy needs to go to the toilet is going to help speed up the house training process and prevent any unwanted messes. Crying, whimpering, sitting at the door or by their lead, pacing, sniffing and fidgeting are all common signs your pup might need to go.
  • Stopping the training too soon. You may think your pup has mastered toilet training, and your job is done, but it’s essential that you keep up the routine until your puppy has gone at least two months without an accident. Your future self will thank you for persevering!


In Summary:

Bringing home your new puppy is undoubtedly one of life’s happiest moments, and while the process of toilet training a puppy can prove challenging, it’s also a rewarding experience that sets your puppy up for success.

Back to blog