In this easy to follow guide, I’m going to tell you How to Toilet Train Your Puppy in Just A Few Weeks.

When we first decided to welcome a new puppy into our lives, one of the things that worried me most was toilet training!

It may sound daft, but Poppy is thirteen. Her puppy days were a long time ago. I remember she was always pretty good when it came to doing her business outside. But, how exactly we trained her, I couldn’t recall.

I read up online, hoping the find the definitive guide, but to no avail.

Gertie is now 16 weeks old and I’d be lying if I said she never has the odd accident, but most of the time she’s pretty reliable. In fact, the only accidents she’s had have been down to human error!

So, how did I train her? I thought I’d share my hints and tips…and a few cute puppy photos along the way [any excuse!!]  

I’ve also included some links to some of my favourite brands and products, which you’ll find under the images.

I am not professing to be an expert. I’m sure there are other tried and tested ways to toilet train a puppy, but this method has worked for me. In just a few days we had an almost fully trained pup.

Start as you mean to go on!

Starting as you mean to go on is vital when it comes to toilet training your puppy. If the scent of their urine gets into your carpet or flooring, it will be much harder to train them. Dogs are creatures of habit. If they can smell their urine, they are more likely to get used to relieving themselves indoors.

I personally wouldn’t use puppy pads. I know this may be unavoidable if you’re out at work, but when you’re at home, I wouldn’t advise them. Puppy pads send mixed signals and encourage your puppy to toilet inside.

Toilet training your puppy will take time and patience. But the more time you invest at the beginning, the quicker you will have a fully trained puppy.

Puppy with Dog Keyring by Misheleneous
Mini Gertie Keyring from MishelenEous

Frequency is key when it come to toilet training your puppy

From the moment we first brought Gertie home I took her outside to the back garden every 30 minutes (during waking hours obviously!) It may sound excessive, but puppies have very small bladders! 

Keen for her to know the garden was where she needed to go to the toilet, I would constantly say ‘wee-wees’ in an encouraging and enthusiastic tone until she went. When she did, I praised her – a lot! In fact a little round of applause and a cheer – it provided much amusement with our neighbours! She soon got the hang of what I expected from her and would come bounding over for a cuddle when I applauded her. 

I won’t lie, it was always instant! There were times when I would stand outside for 10 minutes, sometimes more, in the freezing cold! [We got Gertie in February – I can see why they recommend getting a puppy in the Spring or Summer!] However, persistence paid off, and she soon got the hang of what was expected of her. 

We’ve had Gertie just over 8 weeks and now all I have to say is ‘wee-wees’ and she goes on command! It’s all about putting in the effort early!

Puppy in Reg&Bob Collar
Collar from Reg&Bob

What if your puppy has an accident indoors?

Don’t worry, it will happen, no matter how careful or diligent you are! Don’t make a fuss at all. In fact, don’t say anything. Just calmly clear it up and spray with a deodorising spray so it leaves no scent behind. 

Your puppy will soon get the hang of it and remember the praise they receive when they do their business in the correct place!

Blanket from Designed For Dogs

What if they don’t go exactly where you want them to?

Poppy is thirteen and she’s always preferred to go to the toilet on grass. In fact unless she’s desperate, she won’t go on any other surface! Gertie however didn’t really seem to mind, and to begin with would go anywhere – including our newly laid, pristine patio! 

After a while though, she soon started to go on the grass or in the flower beds. So my advice would be, if your puppy isn’t toileting exactly where you’d choose, don’t worry too much. Providing it’s outdoors, you’re onto a winner!

Petsfit Puppy Carrier * (*denotes an affiliate link, meaning that if you click through and buy, I receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay)

Should I reward my puppy with treats?

Personally I would say this isn’t necessary. I certainly haven’t done this with Gertie. I didn’t want to get her into the habit of expecting treats all the time. [She’s spoilt enough as it is!]

Think about what’s practical, you don’t always have treats on you. Ideally you want your puppy to know right from wrong just by the tone of your voice. 

Snuggle Sack from Slumbering Hound

After a while you’ll know when they need to go!

It may sound crazy, but after a very short time you will know your puppy’s toileting habits!

Of course, I no longer take Gertie outside every 30 minutes, but it’s still pretty regular. Maybe every couple of hours when she’s awake, after she’s woken up and before we go on a car journey.

You’ll also soon get to know what times of the day they tend to go for a number two! I know that Gertie usually goes 4 times a day. If there’s ever a time I haven’t witnessed, or can’t find the evidence, it probably means I haven’t been on the ball and there’s a present waiting for me somewhere in the house!! 

Go with your instinct

If you put them out and their ‘normal’ time and they don’t go immediately, persevere! The likelihood is, they do need to go, but may have got distracted by something else. Don’t go back inside until they’ve done their business. Trust me, patience pays off!

What if my puppy needs to go to the toilet in the night?

Apart from the very first week, Gertie hasn’t once needed to go to the toilet in the night. She sleeps in a crate (in our bedroom) and every morning she wakes us up (rather like a little alarm clock), with a massive yawn!

As soon as she’s awake, I take her straight downstairs, and put her outside on the lawn.

Puppies, like adult dogs, don’t like to mess in their beds. Put them out for a little comfort break before bed, avoid giving them anything to drink, and they should make it through the night.

Remember, it’s all about routine – the sooner things become a habit, the better. 

Puppy with Beer BottleSigns to watch out for!

There are little signs that you need to watch out for. It’s useful to be aware of them so you can act quickly! 

  • Circling is one and can often indicate a number two is immanent! Move your puppy outside as quickly as possible and praise them when they go!
  • Loitering by the door! If your puppy has got the hang of toileting outside, they may linger near the door. If they do let them out, better safe than sorry! 
  • Running around like a loon – the loopy five minutes as I call it! In my experience this is often followed by a number two, so something to watch out for!
Bandana from FourPaws Outerwear

I hope you find my guide to toilet training your puppy helpful. I’d love to know if it works for you. Why not leave us a comment and let us know….

Woofs and Wags

Kate, Pops and Gertie


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