Skip to Content

How to Potty Train a Puppy

Let’s say you just adopted a puppy. Good for you! You have taken the first step towards having a lifelong friend. Puppies are loving, loyal animals, and almost all breeds will instantly make a great addition to your family.

Puppies have a lot of energy, though, and it takes them some time to adapt to the rules of living in your home. One of the biggest challenges that every puppy will have to overcome is learning how to get potty trained.

What NOT to Do

The first thing you need to know about potty training your puppy is what not to do. In older times, one of the primary ideas about how to train your puppy involved punishing it. People thought that you had to take a rolled-up newspaper and smack your puppy every time it did its business somewhere you didn’t want it to.

This is not a very good method of training your puppy. First of all, dogs want to please you. They are pack animals, and they know that you’re the boss. They are eager to figure out what you want them to do and what you don’t want them to do. Since puppies are babies, they just need a little time to figure everything out.

If you punish your puppy every time it makes a mess on your floor, you are much more likely to confuse it and to make it fear you than you than you are to make a teammate that loves you and knows what it is supposed to do. So, start out by eliminating punishment from your routine completely.

Boundaries and Rewards

Now that you’re ready to begin, you should understand that puppies are going to have accidents. They might make a mess a few times while they are learning all the rules. One of the primary reasons for this is the simple fact that puppies don’t have complete control of their bladders yet.

For the first three months of your puppy’s life, he might accidentally make a mess in your house even after he has learned the rules. He’ll know that he wasn’t supposed to do this, it’s just that he doesn’t have the ability to completely control it yet.

The best way to take this into account is to set aside part of your home as an “Accident OK” zone. For example, find a section of your kitchen with linoleum or a room with a hardwood floor. Separate it off and keep your puppy’s bed and food and water bowls there. This way, when he has his inevitable accidents it won’t be on carpet or anything else that you’re worried about him destroying.

Train With Rewards

When you’re ready to being training your puppy in earnest, you want to simply bring him outside a lot to do his business in outside areas. Bring along some dog treats and wait till your puppy eliminates to give him one. Do not give him these specific treats at any other time.

Your puppy will start to associate the treats with doing his business outside. The key to making this system work is to go outside a lot. Your puppy will pick up the routine fairly quickly, and you’ll also both get to spend a lot of time together going on walks. Not only is this good for teaching your puppy to get potty trained, but it also helps you bond with your new dog! As one last added benefit, it will also help you get more exercise.

There are lots of good reasons to use the reward method of potty training your dog, but make sure that you have a lot of patience while you do!

Back to top