Toilet Training

by Mairin Ni Chonghaile on February 01, 2024

Toilet training

Toilet training your puppy can be difficult and frustrating for both you and your puppy but, with the right advice and correct training methods, most puppies can be toilet trained within 2- 4 weeks.

Be consistent

Before you start, you might want to consider confining your puppy to one area of your house, like your kitchen, or you may want to consider crate training. 

It is important to be consistent if you want to quickly train your puppy. If you are not the sole owner, or if your puppy lives with lots of people, including children, hold a family meeting to discuss how you are going to tackle toilet training. If everyone in the house follows the same methods, your puppy will learn quickly. The more effort you put in, and the more consistent you are, the quicker your puppy will learn. There is no such thing as a stupid puppy but confusing training methods can make the process slow and frustrating.

Here are some tips that have worked for me:

  1. Bring your puppy outside every 1-2 hours,
  2. Once your puppy has gone to the toilet in the correct area you must reward him/her, immediately,  within 2 seconds or your puppy will not associate the reward with what he has just done.
  3. It is vital that you go outside with your puppy; if you watch from a distance, or stand by the door, you will not be able to reward your puppy straight away and he will not realise that the reward was for going to the toilet.
  4. Always give your puppy a positive reward; tasty treats work best.

Avoid confusion

Some people lay down paper or puppy pads,  but I find this prolongs the training process: in effect, you are allowing your puppy to do his business in your house when what you really want is for him to go outside. This behaviours sends mixed messages and risks confusing your puppy. Your puppy will struggle to understand that he is only allowed to go on the paper and may not comprehend why the paper is being moved closer to the door. The longer you allow your puppy to use your house as a bathroom, the more likely it is that this will become a habit. If you want to cover your floor to make it easier to clean up the mess use puppy pads as they are waterproof and will stop urine and faeces seeping into your floor.

Don’t sweat the setbacks

Accidents will happen and do not mean the training is not working. What is important is how you react to these accidents. Unless you catch your puppy in the middle of actually going to the toilet, there is absolutely no point in punishing him; he won’t know why he is being punished making the chatisement unnecessary. Your puppy will become fearful of going to the toilet, making the whole process longer and more frustrating. There could be other negative effects: your puppy might start to eat its own faeces or hide where he goes to the toilet. Catching your puppy in the act is actually very useful: resist the urge to shout or scream and simply bring your puppy outside, let him finish and make sure to reward him within 4 seconds. Job done.

Cleaning up

When accidents do happen inside, you will have to clean them up. Puppies’ urine has a distinctive smell and bleach and other household products will not be able to eliminate or mask it. This is why your puppy will go back to the scene of the crime even after you have scrubbed the floor. Urine off is one of the only products that will break down urine. See product link

This should be used every time your puppy goes to the toilet in your house. To make your life easier, you might want to limit your puppy’s access to parts of the house, especially rooms where there are carpets.

Be alert

Remember your puppy will nearly always have to go after play, sleep, and exercise. The classic signs of this need to go include walking around in circles searching out places he has gone before, restlessness, crying, leaving the room, and standing at the door. During the training period, it is common that you puppy may not go to toilet on walks or in your garden and my wait to go the toilet in your house. Be aware that if your puppy doesn't go to the toilet outdoors, that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't need to go, it might be just that he is waiting for a time when he is alone in the house. 

Dial down the drama

If you are bringing your puppy outside on a regular basis but he still waits until he comes back inside to go to the toilet, then he has not realised he is meant to go outside. This sometimes happens because he gets more attention after going inside. Your puppy might think that when you are scolding him or making a big deal about the mess inside, you are in fact rewarding him. The best thing to do is to say nothing, and give him no attention when cleaning up the mess.


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