Guest Post: The Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training a Puppy

This blog was written by Alexandra Seagal, Editor of

One of the most challenging and frustrating parts of raising a puppy is potty training. But there are some key steps you should follow — and some that you should avoid — that will make the process quicker and easier for both you and your new addition.

Here are some definite do’s to get your puppy on the right path to potty training:

 Adopt a schedule — and stick to it.

Consistency and patience are necessities to potty training success, and a daily schedule for your puppy will work wonders for both of you. Feed your dog at the same time every day to establish a food-then-potty routine. Two regularly scheduled meals, one in the morning after a walk and one at dinnertime, will limit the number of times your puppy needs to potty.

Schedule plenty of smaller potty breaks throughout the day as well. Puppies need to go potty every 30 – 45 minutes, and eventually up to every two hours as they grow older. Putting together a schedule and sticking with it means fewer carpet cleanings and a happy pup who knows what to expect from you.

Be realistic and patient with your puppy.

Understand that your puppy is just a youngster, and it will take at least six months of consistent, patient work to get him potty trained. And even then, he may have an accident from time to time until he is fully grown.

Be patient with your puppy, keep his age in mind, and if an accident occurs ask yourself if there’s something you could have done better to help your puppy go outside instead of inside.

One month old alaskan malamute puppies with toilet paper

Give your pup a den of his own.

Crate training is one of the most successful ways to potty train a dog. Get your dog a crate that is large enough for him to turn around and lie down in. When you aren’t home, put him in his crate until he is potty trained. Your dog will come to view the crate as his very own secure place, a den like his ancestors had.

The crate will become your dog’s sleeping space, and he won’t want to eliminate in the place he sleeps, making crate training a win-win all around.

Praise your dog when he does his business outside.

Make sure you give your dog positive reinforcement when he goes potty outside. You’re letting him know that he has done what you’ve asked, and he will be more likely to do the same in the future because he knows it will please you.

You can even give your dog a treat as a reward after he has properly eliminated outside. Remember to do this immediately after your dog has gone potty so he knows why he is being rewarded.

Create a unique potty code word for your pup.

Find a key word or two to repeat to your puppy when you want him to go outside, such as “good potty,” “do your duty,” or “outside.” Don’t worry about the neighbors chuckling at your choice of words! It will all be worthwhile when your dog learns the code word and goes potty on cue.

Now that you know what to do to potty train your puppy, here are the mistakes you want to avoid at all costs:

Do not punish your dog for an accident.

Carpets can be cleaned or replaced. The importance of forming a trusting relationship with your puppy from the start cannot. If and when your puppy has an accident, do not hit him, swat at him with a newspaper, or shove his nose in his mistake. You will damage the trust factor with your dog from that point forward.

Instead of blaming your puppy, look at what you could have done to help prevent the situation. And next time, try harder. Your puppy will work harder, too.

A young chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy laying down against a white background with a guilty look on his face as he is being scolded for urinating on the floor

Don’t feed your dog a poor diet.

Don’t feed your puppy junk if you don’t want him frequently going to the bathroom. Low-quality, processed dog foods will wreak havoc on your puppy’s young digestive and intestinal systems. Feed your dog the best food you can because his diet will reflect his digestive quality.

Don’t push your puppy’s bladder capacity.

You know how uncomfortable it is when you wait too long to go to the bathroom. So why would you do that to your puppy? Puppies under seven months old can hold their bladders for the number of hours as is their age. Never make your puppy hold his bladder for seven or more hours, especially when crate training your dog.

Steer clear of paper and pad training.

Unless you live in a high-rise apartment, try to avoid using newspapers or potty pads to encourage your dog to go inside your home. Although these methods may work in the short run, they confuse your dog who may not understand where and when he should eliminate. Due to its success rate, crate training is the better method to use.

There’s no denying it’s difficult to potty train your puppy. However, with patience, consistency, love, you and your puppy will get through this rough patch in no time at all.








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