How to Property Potty Train Your Puppy

Are you in the process of adopting a puppy or dog, and need to prepare for potty training? This blog can help get you started. Below are some tips and tricks to ensure you’re on the right path to properly potty training your puppy.


Give your puppy a decent amount of freedom to get comfortable and feel safe going to the bathroom. Picking too small of an area might not be appealing to your dog, and just leads to frustration as you see them sniffing around to make sure this is a good spot. You can always reduce this area as they progress or mature. It can be a time-consuming process; some dogs prefer to roam and sniff for 10 to 15 minutes before picking a spot that suits them.


It’s easy enough to take your dog to a spot outside, but once you get there they might not realize what you’re doing. Therefore, it’s important to establish a cue for them to recognize that it’s time to go to the bathroom. Saying something like “go potty” or “potty time” right as they start to pee establishes this phrase as a cue to let them know that they should go to the bathroom in the future. When you start training, a different cue should be used for excrement until they can get used to knowing they should relieve themselves when either one is spoken.


Despite common belief, your puppy will not automatically know how to tell you when he or she has to go to the bathroom. More often than not, they will just go. Therefore, it’s smart to come up with a signal you can easily train your dog to let you know when they have to go. A bell is easy and commonly used. Teaching your dog to ring a bell at the door when they have to go to the bathroom is a fast way for them to let you know it’s time to let them out.


Depending on the breed of your dog, it might be easier for some puppies to naturally hold in more urine before releasing it. Puppies that require more frequent urination will make potty training them a bit more difficult. Often times, dogs that are naturally more active require more potty breaks. Some breeds that are usually easier to train include, but are not limited to: border collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Poodles, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Labrador Retrievers. Some breeds of dog that have been shown to be more difficult to train are: Dalmatians, Jack Russell Terriers, Maltese, Dachshunds, Pugs, and Pomeranians. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions!

In addition, if you acquired your dog from an environment in which there was no designated urination station and/or no real potty training tactics, you will be set back a bit on your own training.


Quality dog food can speed up the process of potty training your puppy. Many cheaper food options have fillers that actually can cause your dog to poop more often. Firm and healthy poop will make potty-training your puppy much easier. Ask your veterinarian what the best food option is for your specific breed, age, and size of dog.


Puppy pads can be very confusing for dogs. It’s difficult enough to get them to pee on a small area like that, it’s almost impossible to ensure they poop on the pad as well. If they aren’t changed right away after being used, your puppy will likely avoid it to ensure they don’t step in their own urine or excrement. It is also fairly easy to confuse puppy pads with other floor mats and soft surfaces in the house.


While it might seem easier, a dog door is not a replacement for proper potty training. You can let your dog out in the backyard on their own, but this does not guarantee they will go to the bathroom. Dogs are easily distracted and might not realize that they have a limited amount of time to get their business done when outside. In addition, being alone outdoors can be scary for puppies without their owners present. They might not go to the bathroom out of fear of being alone in the outside world.

Make sure to track your puppy’s movements and get them on a regular schedule. This can include crate-training your dog at night and letting them exercise in pens during the day. You need to be present to accurately monitor the progress of your puppy’s potty training. If you notice sniffing, whining, or circling, it might be time to take them out to relieve themselves. Reinforce good potty behavior with treats or toys! That way they know they’re doing something right and are likely to repeat the behavior in the future.