Toilet training your puppy is one of the first things you’ll need to do as a new dog owner. There’s a lot of training advice out there so it can be hard to know where to start. However, the most important thing is to establish a routine as quickly as possible and the rest will soon follow.

That being said, every puppy is unique. Not only will they need to go to the toilet at different times and different amounts throughout the day, but they will also learn at different paces too. However, in most cases it will take at least 4 – 6 months until your puppy is fully toilet trained.

Thankfully, we’ve put together our top puppy toilet training tips and advice to help you throughout this process, as well as a free puppy toilet training schedule that will help you see what an average day of training might look like.

Our Top Puppy Toilet Training Tips

Like we said, every puppy will learn at a different pace and have slightly different needs. However, there are some basic principles that everyone should follow when toilet training their pup.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Establish a routine as quickly as possible. Like all puppy training, consistency is key and taking your puppy to the toilet at the same time every day will help them to learn when to go
  2. Take your puppy to the toilet first thing in the morning and after eating/ drinking
  3. Take them to the toilet at least every 2 – 3 hours
  4. Assign a toilet area so that they learn where to go
  5. Pick up on your puppy’s cues for when they need to go to the toilet
  6. If they go to the toilet correctly, reward them with gentle praise and a treat

And here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Don’t punish your puppy for accidents e.g. pointing and shouting or rubbing their nose in it. This will only confuse them and delay progress, as they are only doing what is natural. Instead, simply clean the mess up when they’re not looking
  2. Don’t use bleach to clean up any mess, they could potentially mistake this smell as a place that they should go to again. Biological washing powder is useful to clean carpets (but a test a small area first for colour fastness)
  3. Don’t carry your puppy outside, let them walk to establish confidence and independence
  4. Don’t play with them when you’re outside to do the toilet, as this will distract them

When to Use Puppy Toilet Training Pads

Many people like to use puppy toilet training pads when they first bring their new dog home. They are often essential for the first few weeks because your puppy may not have effective immunity from their vaccinations to go outside .However, these pads can sometimes confuse your puppy and delay the overall goal of toilet training – to get your puppy to go to the toilet outside.

There may be some other occasions where you need to use a training pad, such as if you don’t have a garden or if you live in a flat and can’t get to a garden quickly. If this is the case, try to keep the pad as close to the door as possible so that your puppy learns to associate it with going out.

Also remember that until a week after your puppy has had its second vaccination he or she should not have access to public places such as the pavement. So you will need to use the puppy pads (or a private garden if you have one) until that time.

Puppy Toilet Training at Night

Your puppy will still need to be let outside (or to their training pad) at night for the first few weeks. The number of times your puppy needs to be let out at night will depend on their size and breed. If you’re unsure on what to do for your pup, contact your vet for advice. 

Crate training can help to reduce the number of times your pet has to go to the toilet at night, as their mother will have taught them not to soil where they sleep whilst they were part of her litter.

Puppy Toilet Training Schedule

As mentioned at the start of this article, establishing a routine or schedule is the single most effective thing you can do when it comes to training your new pup.

We’ve put together a puppy toilet training schedule which you can download here for free! Of course, everybody’s routine is different, but our schedule will help you to see where toilet training fits into the day, alongside their other activities such as eating, walking, sleeping and playing. Take a look today and your puppy will be toilet trained in no time.

Photo credit: Berkay Gumustekin