How to Potty Train A Puppy: The Ultimate Guide

Potty training is an art; mastering it is essential for every puppy owner to establish a harmonious relationship and environment at home. No matter if you’re about to bring a new puppy home anytime soon or you just welcomed the bundle of fur in your home a few days ago, you’ll need to learn “How to potty train a puppy?”

Potty training can be a source of frustration and confusion since you’ll have to face multiple indoor accidents before you build a consistent routine. Hence, it can overwhelm you.

But don’t worry. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of puppy potty training. We’ll cover everything related to the potty training period, such as how long it will take, its techniques, and tips that will help you take on the potty training challenge head-on.

3 Best Ways to Potty Train a Puppy

3 best tried and tested ways have helped many puppy owners house train their canine companion. You can tailor your approach to whatever method you choose to suit your puppy better. And, soon, you’ll be on your way to a house-trained puppy.

Let’s explore all of them one by one.

1.    Crate Training

The most widely recognized and effective method of potty training puppies is crate training. It not only helps with preventing accidents but also provides a sense of security to your pup.

Benefits of Crate Training:

Security: As mentioned earlier, crates are the ultimate choice for puppy owners to provide their pups security. Dogs are den animals, and crates are their cozy den, like nothing else, as crates become your pup’s personal sanctuary where they can relax, retreat, and sleep when they need time alone.

Effective Supervision: Crates are great management tools. You can use them as a tool for supervising your dog. It allows you to monitor your pup’s behavior and prevent them from building any destructive behavior.

Aid in Establishing a Routine: Crate training is highly effective in keeping your pup around a routine. You can set up a schedule for them for their feeding time, playtime, sleep time, and, needless to say, bathroom breaks. When you have established a routine, it will give you a clear idea of when your puppy needs “to go.” Eventually, you’ll use these hints for potty training your pup.

Step-by-Step Crate Training Process:

  1. Choose a RIGHT Crate: By the RIGHT crate, we mean a crate with enough space for your puppy to play, turn around, lie, and stand up comfortably. Also, look for a sturdy and well-ventilated option.
  1. Gradually Introduce Your Pup to Crate: The crate should be a place for your puppy that excites him. You can make it more appealing and inviting by adding soft bedding, toys, and treats for your puppy and letting them explore everything at their own pace.

Start with keeping your pet for a lesser time in the crate, and slowly and gradually, you can increase their crate time.

Remember, you should never use crating for punishment purposes.

  1. Use Positive Reinforcement: Nothing works better than positive reinforcement while training your dog. You can pet, reward, and praise your dog voluntarily when they enter the crate. And rewarding doesn’t only have to be confined to playtime or giving them their favorite toy. Giving them some of their favorite treats is also a thing that you can consider.
  1. Introduce Bathroom Breaks: Since the main purpose of crating here is to help your dog get potty trained, you must introduce potty breaks at some regular intervals. So that your pup knows when to expect to go to the area designated as a loo for them and get done with their business.

2. Paper or Puppy Pad Training:

Paper training is a versatile kind of potty training method that involves designating a proper spot covered with paper or puppy pads to use for their eliminating needs. This technique is really useful for pup owners who live in apartments or areas where access to outdoor spaces is limited.

Benefits of Paper Training:

Convenience: If you are an individual living in an area where you don’t have easy access to outdoor space, paper training is the most convenient option for you. It allows your dog to learn proper routines and build a habit of eliminating at a particular place.

Gradual Transition: Now in another case, let’s suppose you are a dog owner who can easily access outdoor space but wants to make your pup habitual of an eliminating routine. Then, paper training works as an intermediate step. You can gradually transition your pup’s potty spot to an outdoor area by slowly reducing the paper size and locating it near the place you want to designate for your pup’s elimination needs.

Flexibility: As we said earlier, paper training is a versatile method and can be suitable for pet parents belonging to any lifestyle. It ensures that your pup has a “proper” spot that they can use to relieve themselves and works better even if you are not around at the time they need to go.

Step-by-Step Paper Training Process:

  1. Choose an Area: Select the spot where you’d like to set up everything you need to paper train your puppy to do their business. Some appropriate options can be the bathroom, laundry, or any easy-to-access area that has a hard, washable floor.
  1. Cover the Area with Paper and Puppy Pads: Add layers to the designated spot. Make sure you make overlapping layers to get extra coverage and absorbency.
  1. Introduce Your Pup to the Area and Make A Routine:  Encourage your puppy to explore the area where you have set up paper layers. Try to associate the papers with elimination and set up a routine for them to come and relieve. Say, immediately after mealtime, after a nap, and after playtime. 
  1. Encourage Elimination on Paper: Anytime you observe any signs that your pup needs to go to relieve themselves, use some verbal cues, like, “go potty,” and gently guide them towards their potty place.
  1. Transition: If you were using paper training as the habit-building element, you may consider gradual transitioning to take them towards outdoor elimination.

3. Indoor Potty Training

Indoor potty training is similar to the method we have discussed above. It also serves as an intermediary part of housetraining a pup. The only difference here is different potty training supplies are used instead of paper or puppy pads. This method might make good use of Fake grass potty trainers or self-cleaning potty pads for dogs.

Benefits of Indoor Potty Training:

Convenience and Accessibility: Indoor potty training is a convenient solution for households that don’t have enough outdoor space or pet owners living in places with extreme conditions. This method makes sure your pet has access to a ready-to-go place where they can pee and poop.

Hygiene and Cleanliness: When you use supplies like artificial grass or self-cleaning pads, managing your pup’s waste becomes way easier. This eventually helps promote a clean and odor-free environment.

Consistent Training Opportunity: When indulged in indoor potty training, you get the chance to keep the training consistent. Poor weather conditions or any time of the day when going outside isn’t possible shouldn’t get in the way of training.

Indoor Potty Training with Fake Grass Potty Trainer:

  1. Select a Suitable Fake Grass Potty Trainer: For choosing the best fake grass potty trainer, you only need to look for two things: 1) It has to be size appropriate. 2) It should have a tray/base to collect urine or poo.
  1. Introduce Your Pup to the Potty Trainer: Let your pup explore the fake grass. Again, positive reinforcement and association with potty needs will help your pup develop a connection with the product.
  1. Make a Routine: The next step is to set up a routine for potty breaks and bring them to the trainer when elimination is expected. Consistency is the key to success here, remember! Guide them to the potty trainer whenever you feel they have the urge.

Indoor Potty Training with Self-Cleaning Puppy Potty Pads:

  1. Choose a Self-Cleaning Puppy Potty Pads System: Go for a self-cleaning puppy pad system that has effective absorbing quality, is user-friendly, and is easy to maintain.
  1. Familiarize Your Puppy to the Potty Pad Area: Once done with the selection part, introduce your puppy to the area they need to use anytime they have to pee or poo. As with other potty training methods, establishing a routine will also help here.
  1. Praise and Reward: Positive reinforcement will encourage your puppy to use the designated area with every potty training method you choose. So the game goes for this self-cleaning potty pad training method.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using any of these potty training supplies. And don’t forget to disinfect the training products occasionally. This will help maintain your pet’s hygiene and prevent bad odors.

Potty Training and Puppy’s Age: Does This Make Any Difference?

Well, that’s one of the hottest questions that might come to mind. And the answer is, ‘Yes.’ With pets, the rule of habit-building or training is the same: “The earlier, the better.”

House Training is effective at every age of the dog. But the best time for it is to start early. We can compare potty training in puppies of different age gaps (as in, 8-week-old and 12-week-old) to see what impact it makes on their habits as far as the method is concerned. It would not change.

Potty Training an 8-Week-Old PuppyPotty Training a 12-Week-Old Puppy
Puppies of this age are basically very young to get housetrained. At this point, the purpose of your training is to prevent your pup from accidents and not expect them to go out on their own anytime they need.   But rest assured. The pup will become more reliable with the passage of time.  
At 12 weeks of age, your puppy is a little older, but their routine is still eating, playing, eliminating, and sleeping. Nothing new.   Again, at this age, too, you can’t expect your puppy to be totally housebroken in a little time. They’ll need a lot of drills, will make mistakes, and accidents will happen before they start to develop a routine.

Potty Training 8 Week Old Puppy

Puppy training schedule 8-10 weeks
Puppy Training Schedule 8-10 Weeks

How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

Potty training is an important milestone in the life of both – the puppy and the owner. Since it’s a commitment, too, and needs a lot of time, dedication, and patience to declare victory, most puppy owners want to know how much time it will take to housebreak their pup or how long they should housetrain a puppy. 

Well, that depends on many factors, including your puppy’s breed, age, consistency of training, learning behavior, and your own dedication, as well.

However, it takes almost four to six months to housetrain a puppy fully.

You must understand that potty training is a gradual process. Hence, you need to look at all the factors mentioned above while estimating the duration of your puppy’s training. Only then you’ll be able to set some realistic expectations.

Every puppy is unique. Some might catch on to training quicker than others. While some might take some time to adapt to the techniques or methods, you are using to house train them. So, be patient and consistent, and you’ll have success soon.

When to Start Potty Training Puppies?

Most puppies of 12 to 16 weeks of age are considered ready to start potty training. Since then, they have developed good bladder control and cognitive capabilities, which make understanding and routine building easier for them.

Still, giving an exact age for potty training puppies is not possible as this might differ from one breed to another. And dogs of different ages also behave differently during the training.

However, even if you start the potty training at a recommended age, accidents can still happen, and your dog will make mistakes.

Potty Training Woes of Puppy Owners You Can Learn Lessons From

Potty training is not a smooth journey. You’ll have to meet many challenges during the training period. And here are some house training problems experienced by some puppy owners and their potential solutions so that if you come across any of these, you know the best way to handle the situation.

Potty Training Woe #1: Making Mess All Over the House

That’s the major problem most toy breed dog owners face. And the solution is to go for the indoor potty training method. Although the toy breeds will take a little more time, attention, and effort to get the hang of training, you’ll make it happen. So, don’t lose heart and keep going.

Potty Training Woe #2: Piddling in the Crate

If the pup has been confined in a crate for so long. They’ll develop this habit of eliminating in the crate. But, you can take control of the situation by assessing how long your dog can hold their bladder and then start with the training by keeping their bladder-control time in mind.

Potty Training Woe #3: Soiling the Same Spot Over and Over Again

So, your pet had an accident that you totally didn’t mind. But nowthey have been peeing or pooping over the accident spot repeatedly.

This indicates that you didn’t clean the accident spot really well. The odor of their previous potty accident is inviting the pup and giving them cues that this is their place to eliminate. Ant pet stain enzymatic cleaner can help you in this regard.

Potty Training Woe #4: The Pup Was Fully Housetrained, But It Piddled All Over Again.

That’s a sign that you decided too early that your pet is fully housebroken. The accident signals that they still needed more time to develop their habits. And you probably didn’t follow their potty schedule.

No matter how pro your pup has become, you should stay consistent with a routine to avoid such mishappenings.

5 Practical Potty Training Tips That Will Help Puppy Owners During Training

Here are some tips that you can use to make your potty training process easier.

  1. Choose an Outdoor Potty Spot. This will prevent your apartment from smelling like dog poo. Take your pup there every two hours, and don’t forget to put on a leash.
  2. Don’t Be Too Quick While Rewarding Them After They Eliminate: Make sure they are done with their business before you give them the praise or treats. Since puppies get easily distracted.
  3. Make a Regular Feeding Schedule for Your Puppy: If you feed your pup consistently, it ensures that they eliminate at a consistent time too.
  4. Punishing Your Puppy for An Accident is a Big No! If your pup accidentally messes up and pees/poops in the home. Take them immediately to their bathroom area and get busy with the cleaning. Rubbing their nose in the poo or punishing them will not do any good instead of scaring your puppy.
  5. Clean the Soiled Area Well. Puppies keep eliminating at a place that smells like their urine or poop. So, making the area odor-free is important to prevent more accidents.

Final Words:

Congratulations on taking the initiative to potty train your puppy!

We hope this ultimate guide has provided you with a comprehensive roadmap to navigate the sometimes challenging but ultimately rewarding potty training journey.

Throughout this guide, we’ve emphasized the importance of establishing a routine, creating a designated potty area, using positive reinforcement, and effectively addressing accidents. By implementing these strategies and adapting them to suit your puppy’s unique needs, you’ll pave the way for a successful potty training experience.

The journey toward a fully potty-trained puppy is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrate each milestone along the way and maintain your commitment even when progress seems slow. By investing time and effort into potty training, you’re nurturing a strong bond and laying the foundation for a well-behaved and happy canine companion.

With your dedication and the guidance provided in this guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate the challenges of potty training and set your puppy up for success. Embrace the process, cherish the moments of progress, and enjoy the lifelong benefits of a well-trained, housebroken, and loving furry friend by your side.

Happy training!

Potty Training FAQs:

An 8-12 week puppy can hold their bladder for up to two hours. The rule of thumb is typically an 1 hour for for each month old your puppy is. Therefore, if your puppy is 8 months or older they should be able to hold there pee while sleeping through the night.

Four to five times a day is an average number. But that mainly depends on the age of the puppy too.

Some of the hardest dog breeds to potty train are: Dachshund, Dalmatian, Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Jack Russel Terrier, and Afghan Hound.

A few of the easiest dogs to potty train include Border Collies, German Shepherds, Lab Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and Maltese.

Female dogs tend to be easier regarding potty training. But that is not always true. In particular cases, they can be more demanding in terms of attention and time while getting housebroken.

June 20, 2023

Sade Amor

Sade Amor is the Marketing Director of Frenchie FAQ. She is a huge dog lover and owner of a French Bulldog herself. Sade has many years of writing experience and first hand experience raising & training French Bulldogs!

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