10 Tips To Potty Train a Puppy


Much as I hate to admit it, since Boo Boo was our first dog, we made a lot of mistakes with him, and I will write a whole separate blog about that another time. But one thing we actually did very successfully was potty training.

This method is maybe not ideal for everyone, but for us it really worked well, and it allowed us to get the job done relatively quickly and with very few accidents.

Here are a few tips that worked for us … hopefully they will help you on your potty training journey!

1.Regular potty breaks

  • This is the most painful part, because I do mean regular.

  • When we first went to the vet we asked him, based on our puppy’s age, how long could he comfortably and easily hold his urine.

  • The rule of thumb is that they can hold pee one hour for every month of age. Which means when we brought Boo Boo home when he was 3 months old he could hold it for 3 hours.

  • This meant that even overnight I set my alarm and took him out to pee every 3 hours. Yes, this did suck, but it doesn’t take that long before the time is extended. Every two weeks I extended the time between potty breaks by ½ hour.

2.Don’t give them chances to have accidents

  • Take puppies out to see at regular intervals throughout the day. That rule for how long they can hold it really only applies at first to when they are home alone or overnight.

  • During the day, give them regular and consistent opportunities to poop or pee

  • These include:

    • As soon as they get up in the morning

    • After they eat

    • After you have a play or training session

    • When they wake up from a nap

    • As soon as you get home if you have left them alone

    • Right before bed

3. Don’t leave them alone!!

  • Every time they are on their own is an opportunity for them to have an accident, so keep them close to you, or in a confined space to minimize accidents

  • So what this means is keep them on leash near you in the house; or keep them in a crate or in a small room so they can’t wander around the house and decide to pee on your shoes or behind the couch

4. Leash Vs. Crate Containment

  • We went the leash and crate option, because even in a small room there is still ample opportunity for them to pee or poop in a corner, and every time that happens it takes longer for them to unlearn the behavior.

5. The Crate

  • When they are in the crate, if you have chosen a crate for the size the dog will be when full-grown, use a divider to make the crate smaller.

  • The space should be large enough for your puppy to stand comfortably, turn around, stretch out fully when lying down, but not much larger than that. If there is a lot of room in the crate, they will go to a far corner to poop or pee, and again that will take longer to unlearn.

6. The Leash

  • Take your puppy outside on leash to poop and pee, pick a couple of places that you use regularly. An ideal thing is to pick a place where other dogs poop and pee as well, since the smell will encourage your pup to go.

  • Sometimes you may have to pace around a bit with your pup before they will go.

  • It can help to use a word or phrase every time while encouraging them to go, like “do your businesss” or “time to go” or even “pee pee” whatever you want to say.

7. Relax  

  • As hard as it is sometimes to be patient when you’re running late or are tired, this is really important.

  • If your pup picks up your impatient energy they will get stressed-out and not want to go. They have to be comfortable and relaxed to poop and pee, so take a few deep breaths and take your time.

8. Praise  

  • This cannot be said enough. Your puppy wants to please you, and the best way to get her to repeat the desired behavior (pooping and peeing outside) is to let her know how proud you are of her every time she does it. So that means every time your pup poops and pees outside, use your best puppy or baby voice and say “good boy/girl” and give treats when they are finished.

9. Consistency

  • Remember every time, if you aren’t consistent your pup won’t learn

10. Accidents happen, have patience

  • We followed these guidelines pretty much to the letter and we only had 2 pee accidents in the house, and both of those were 100% our fault.

  • One of these, we were playing in the house with Boo Boo and all of a sudden he stopped, looked up at Steve and started peeing on the floor!

  • Immediately we both said his name sharply but not angrily, which startled him a little and stopped the pee stream. Immediately we excitedly said “outside” and started running toward the backyard.

  • This was so fun for our pup he ran right after us to the backyard and then we encouraged him by saying “pee pee” and after a minute he finished his pee outside which we celebrated like it was New Year’s Eve, but Boo Boo got the message. Peeing outside is a great idea!!!