How to Toilet Train A Puppy

How to Toilet Train A Puppy


You’ve got a new puppy and you’re wondering how you can toilet train and train them in the quickest time possible?

Well you’re in luck! You’ve come to the right place.

Set your puppy up for successful toilet training

Before you start training your puppy there are a few things you need to know to make sure you and your puppy are on the same page!

Your Puppy is NOT aware that they shouldn’t toilet in your home

Your puppy has NO IDEA that they should not toilet in your home. And it’s going to take some time for them to understand so lower your expectations. You could have it cracked in four weeks or it might take four months to really nail it. But if you follow these steps and are vigilant you can expect it to happen a lot quicker

Your Puppy DOESN’T know how to tell you they need to go to the toilet

That step may come a lot later down the line.

Crates are your and your Puppy’s friend!

If you cannot give your puppy your 100% undivided attention then you need to have a small space such as a crate or ex-pen or puppy-proofed, small room. 

During the early stages of your puppy’s house training and before they appear to have a grasp of the concept, it can be (and is) very helpful to limit their access to larger areas of space, especially without direct supervision. This is where having a crate, ex-pen, or small confined space that is puppy proofed can help to make sure your puppy doesn’t have accidents.  If your puppy cannot avoid the mess, they are less likely to create it in the first place! Crates and other safety setups are perfect for this management strategy.

Your puppy will need to be rewarded with treats/food and/or fuss when they go.

In order to help your puppy understand that what they did was correct we need to re-enforce them. Unless you can speak puppy or they can speak human, it’s generally how training works! You can choose treats, food, or fuss or both. But remember that fuss is very stimulating and if for example it’s the middle of the night, we want to keep your puppy as calm as possible!

At no time do we advocate telling puppies off if they go to the toilet inside. 

They just don’t understand. And often the ‘guilt’ we ‘think’ we see is just a puppy being scared that their owner is shouting at them. Believe us when we say that telling your puppy off it only going to set your toilet training back further and further.

Night time is quiet time

If your puppy stirs in the night and wont settle back down then take them to the toilet, keep the lights down, don’t talk to them or make any fuss. Put them down where they usually toilet and as soon as they are done pop them back to bed. We don’t want them to think that middle of the night is party time!

Remember these points as they are the foundations of toilet training and ones to remember when you are struggling and/or frustrated!

Step 1 – How do I know my puppy needs to toilet?

The first step is to recognise when your puppy might need to toilet before they do! So that you can catch them in the act. The more you can catch and reward them toileting in the right place, the more they will cotton on to the fact that that is where the need to go. 

Of course these will vary from puppy to puppy but you can use them as a good guide.

Good times to check if they need to go are:

  • Half an hour after eating
  • About 15 minutes after playing
  • About 15-60 minutes after have a large drink
  • Right after a sleep (even if it’s a short nap and especially after a long one!)
  • After a training session
  • When your puppy is sniffing the ground/corners/side of the room and appears distracted
  • Some puppies may go towards the door where they toilet to try and find somewhere to go

Step 2 – Take your puppy to their toileting place

It’s great to get your puppy used to toileting on all surfaces but it’s also a good idea to keep the toilet space very small to start, or keep them on a lead, so that they don’t get distracted with leaves blowing in the wind or the tasty plants! 

Step 3 – Give them a verbal cue to tell your puppy to toilet

Giving your puppy a verbal cue will really help to encourage them to toilet more quickly when you need. You can say ‘hurry up’, ‘wee wee’ or whatever you like! Start saying just after they have toileted and they’ll start to get the idea of what the word means.

Step 4 – Reward and/or fuss your puppy

It’s up to you how you reward your puppy for going to the toilet outside. You can reward with their daily food or you can fuss them. If you have a very excitable puppy then fussing may not help with learning as they’ll be so excited! So something calm works best like a calm reward with food or a calm stroke.

Why does my puppy go to the toilet immediately after coming inside?

Puppies are baby animals and have no idea that they are doing  anything wrong. What may have happened? 

Your puppy may have been mid-potty and got distracted by something in the environment (or even you!). As a result, they didn’t finish and still had to go when they came inside.  Puppies are easily distracted and may (okay, more likely will) lose focus because the world is an exciting, enticing place. A leaf could have flown by, a squirrel may have leapt up onto a fence, a smelly and interesting aroma may have wafted their way, or a blade of grass may have stirred in the wind, enticing the puppy from the task at hand. 

Remember to be forgiving and to take a deep breath when an accident happens. Dogs are very in the now creatures and punishment can only cause the behaviour to escalate. Simply put your puppy away to clean up (so they don’t try to play with the cleaning materials), use an enzyme based cleaner to clean away the residual odour and dissuade from that area’s use again, and say, “I am not alone. Other puppy owners have survived this and so will I!” 

You’ve got this! Before you know it your puppy will have mastered the house training process and you’ll forget just how time consuming having a puppy can be. 

Want to download all of our free puppy resources? Head to  

We also have a course dedicated to raising a puppy! Absolute Puppy