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How To Potty Train A Puppy

Complete Puppy Potty Training Guide: Tips and Tricks for Success
Published Wednesday, January 25, 2023 by Premier Pups Team

Training a puppy to go potty in the appropriate place is an important step in the process of raising a well-behaved dog. Not only does it help to keep your home clean and prevent accidents, but it also helps your puppy understand what is expected of them.

Potty training can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of patience and effort, it is achievable. In this blog post, we will go over the steps to successfully potty train your puppy and avoid common mistakes. 

Starting Potty Training at Home 

blue and tan Yorkshire terrier licking its lips

One of the first things to do when bringing home a new puppy is to teach them what areas are off-limits and where to go potty. Choosing an area in your home for your puppy to go potty will save you and your house from potty accidents.  

To successfully teach your puppy where to go when nature calls, the first thing you will want to do is to place a puppy pad or potty pad in an area where you want your puppy to do their business. This can be a balcony or terrace, or you can opt to place it in the bathroom. Once you have chosen the perfect spot for placing the puppy pad, it’s time to teach your puppy that this is where you want them to go when the need arises. To do this, it is recommended to place your puppy on the pad after every meal or after they drink water. By doing this, you can limit accidents and get your puppy to go potty only in that place.  

Doing this after every meal or drink will present the best results, especially with very young puppies who have not yet mastered the art of holding their tiny bladders. Once a week or two has passed, your puppy will naturally be inclined to visit that spot when they need to go potty. 

Here is a general guide on how to use puppy potty pads: 

  • Place the training pad in a designated area: Choose a spot in your home that is easy for you to access and monitor, such as a laundry room or mudroom. 
  • Introduce your puppy to the pad: Show your puppy the training pad and let them sniff around and get familiar with it. 
  • Lead your puppy to the pad when they need to go: When you notice your puppy showing signs that they need to go potty, such as whining, circling, or sniffing around, lead them to the training pad. 
  • Praise and reward your puppy: When your puppy goes potty on the training pad, be sure to praise them and give them a treat as positive reinforcement. 
  • Gradually move the pad closer to the door: Once your puppy is consistently using the training pad, start moving it closer to the door and eventually outside. 
  • Gradually decrease the size of the training pad: Once your puppy is consistently using the training pad, start decreasing its size until your puppy is going potty outside only. 
  • Supervise your puppy: At all times make sure you are supervising your puppy, especially when you first introduce them to the training pad. 
  • Be consistent: The key to success with puppy potty training pads is consistency. Be consistent in where you place the pads when you take your puppy to them, and in rewarding your puppy when they use them correctly. 

RELATED: Week One with A New Puppy: See What to Expect 

Preparing for Potty Training Outdoors 

squatting man holding a puppy's two front legs up

Once your puppy is old enough and fully vaccinated that it is safe for them to go outdoors, choose a designated potty area before you start potty training outdoors. You need to decide where your puppy will go potty. Choose an area that is easy for you to access and that is not too far from your home.  

You will also need some supplies to help with outdoor potty training. These might include a leash, treats, and a crate. A crate is a small, enclosed space that your puppy can sleep in. It can help with potty training because puppies usually do not want to go potty in the same space where they sleep. 

RELATED: How To Crate Train A Puppy 

Establishing a Potty Schedule 

man holding a tiny sleeping puppy

Puppies need to go potty often, especially when they are young. You should take your puppy outside every hour or two, especially after they eat or drink. It is important to be consistent with your potty-training routine. This means taking your puppy outside at the same times every day and using the same commands. A crate can be a helpful tool for potty training. When your puppy is in their crate, they will not have access to any part of your home. This can help to prevent accidents. 

A good strategy for nighttime potty training is to take your puppy out for a potty break before bedtime and first thing in the morning. It's also a good idea to limit their water intake in the evening and to keep them in a crate or a confined area close to you during the night so that you can hear them if they need to go potty. 

It's important to be patient and consistent and to give your puppy plenty of praise and positive reinforcement when they do go potty in the designated area during the night. Remember that puppies are still learning, and accidents will happen, so don't get discouraged. 

RELATED: Puppy Feeding 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Raising a Healthy Pup 

Teaching the "Go Potty" Command 

adult yorkie dog sitting on the grass looking up at a hand holding a treat

To introduce the "go potty" command, you will need to take them outside to their designated potty area. Use the command "go potty" as they are doing their business. Use treats as positive reinforcement once your puppy goes potty. Giving them a treat and lots of praise will help them understand that going potty outside is a good thing. 

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Dogs Lose Interest in Training & How to Fix it 

Managing Accidents 

tan and white corgi puppy on a white floor looking at the camera

Accidents are a normal part of potty training. If your puppy has an accident inside, do not get angry or punish them. Instead, gently take them outside to their designated potty area and try again.  

There are a few things you can do to help prevent accidents. One is to keep an eye on your puppy and take them outside frequently. You can also use a crate to keep your puppy contained when you are not able to watch them. You can also opt to keep potty pads around your home until your puppy has mastered going potty outside. 

RELATED: How To Stop A Puppy From Biting You 

How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy? 

white and tan puppy sitting on the grass

The amount of time it takes to potty train a puppy can vary greatly depending on several factors. Some puppies may be fully potty trained in just a few weeks, while others may take several months to fully grasp the concept. 

One of the most important factors to consider when determining how long it will take to potty train a puppy is the puppy's age.  

  • Younger puppies, who are between 8 and 12 weeks old, are more likely to take longer to potty train because they have not yet developed the physical and mental capabilities necessary to hold their bladders for long periods of time.  
  • Puppies who are between 3 and 6 months old, however, tend to have more control over their bladders and may be able to be potty trained in a shorter amount of time. 

Another important factor to consider is the puppy's breed. Certain breeds of dogs, such as the Poodle and the Mini Goldendoodle, are known for being quick learners and may be potty trained more easily. Other breeds, such as the Basset Hound and the Bulldog, may take longer to potty train because they have a more stubborn personality. 

The method you choose to use when potty training your puppy can also affect how long it will take. Using positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, may be more effective in a shorter amount of time than using punishment-based methods. Additionally, if you're consistent in your training and taking your puppy out to their designated potty area regularly and at the same time, it could take less time than if you're not consistent. 

The environment your puppy is in can also play a role in how long it takes to potty train them. If your puppy is in an environment with a lot of distractions, such as a busy city or a home with multiple pets, it may take longer for them to fully understand and respond to potty training commands. 

Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to potty train a puppy can vary greatly depending on the puppy's age, breed, training methods, and environment. It is important to remain patient and consistent during the potty-training process and to adjust your approach as needed.  

With a positive attitude, patience, and consistency, potty training your puppy will eventually be accomplished. 

RELATED: New Puppy Owner Guide 

Advanced Potty-Training Techniques 

a female Yorkshire terrier dog wearing a cute dog outfit standing in front of a dog bell

Once your puppy has mastered the basics of potty training, you may want to consider implementing advanced techniques to further reinforce the behavior. These techniques can help make the potty-training process more efficient and can give your puppy additional ways to signal when they need to go potty. 

Here are some advanced potty-training techniques that you can try: 

  • Using a bell to signal when it's time to go potty. Hang a bell near the door that leads to your puppy's designated potty area. Whenever you take your puppy outside, have them ring the bell before you go. This will help your puppy to associate the bell with the need to go potty. 
  • Using a potty pad. Potty pads, also known as puppy pads or pee pads, can be an effective tool for potty training. They are absorbent pads that can be placed on the floor for your puppy to go potty on. By placing them in specific areas of your home, you can help your puppy to understand that certain areas are designated for going potty. 
  • Potty training through the night. Some puppies may have trouble holding their bladder through the night. To help with this, you can try putting a potty pad in your puppy's crate or in an easily accessible area. 
  • Potty training for apartment living. For puppies living in apartments, using a designated area on your balcony or terrace to train your puppy to go potty can be helpful. 

RELATED: How to Train a Puppy 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

small brown dog standing on artificial grass

It is important not to punish your puppy for accidents. This will only confuse them and make them afraid to go potty in front of you. Instead, use positive reinforcement and be patient. Training consistency is key when it comes to potty training. Make sure to take your puppy outside at the same times every day and use the same commands. 

RELATED: 10 Common Dog Training Mistakes To Avoid 


Potty training your puppy takes time and patience, but it is an important step in raising a well-behaved dog. By following the steps outlined in this article and being consistent with your training, you can successfully potty train your puppy and enjoy the benefits of a well-trained dog. Remember to always use positive reinforcement and be patient during the training process.

Scroll down to see FAQs about puppy potty training!

Premier Pups Team

About The Author

The Premier Pups team is composed of lifelong dog enthusiasts and experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge on dog behavior, care, and training. Dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of dog care and training advancements, their articles provide readers with accurate, insightful, and valuable information. With extensive knowledge and an unwavering devotion to all things canine, the Premier Pups team enriches the community with a unique blend of expertise and creativity, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for dogs and the incredible bond they share with humans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is puppy potty training? Puppy potty training refers to the process of teaching a young puppy where and when it is appropriate to eliminate. This typically involves teaching the puppy to associate going to the bathroom with a specific location, such as a designated potty area in the yard or a training pad indoors. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key components of successful puppy potty training. It's important to understand that puppies have small bladders and may need to go potty more frequently than adult dogs, so frequent trips outside or to the designated potty area are necessary during the training process.

Does puppy potty training spray work? Puppy potty training sprays are products that emit a scent or pheromone that is supposed to attract puppies to a specific area to eliminate. These sprays can be used on training pads, in designated potty areas, or on specific spots where the owner wants the puppy to go potty. Some people believe that these sprays can be effective in helping to train a puppy to go potty in a specific area. However, it's important to keep in mind that every puppy is different and what works for one may not work for another.

When should puppy potty training start? Puppy potty training should start as soon as you bring your new puppy home. It's important to begin the training process early, as puppies are more likely to learn quickly and form positive associations with going to the bathroom in the designated potty area.

Should I potty train at night? Yes, it's important to include nighttime potty training as part of your overall puppy potty training plan. Your puppy's ability to hold their bladder and control their bowel movements will improve as they get older, but they will still need to go potty during the night, especially when they are young.

How to know if puppy potty training is working? To know if your puppy's potty training is progressing well, look for fewer accidents, consistent use of the designated potty area, understanding of potty cues, holding bladder and bowel movements for longer periods of time, and positive response to rewards and praise. Remember that potty training is a process, and it can take time for your puppy to fully understand and consistently use the designated potty area.

How to use puppy potty training pads? Using puppy potty training pads is a helpful tool when potty training your puppy. First, place the pad in a specific spot in your home where you can easily watch your puppy. Introduce your puppy to the pad by showing it to them and letting them smell it. When you notice your puppy showing signs that they need to go potty, such as whining, circling or sniffing around, take them to the training pad. Give your puppy a treat and praise them when they go potty on the pad. As they get used to using the pad, gradually move it closer to the door and then outside.

How long should puppy potty training take? The length of time it takes to potty train a puppy can vary depending on several factors, such as the puppy's age, breed, and individual personality. On average, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months for a puppy to be fully potty trained. However, some puppies may be fully trained in as little as 2 months, while others may take up to a year or longer.