Updated: Feb 26
I'm a dog lover, a dog sports enthusiast and a dog trainer based in Surrey, UK. Also, I started this blog as I love sharing relevant, practical puppy and dog training tips. I am the founder of Dogitivity Positive Puppy and Dog Training, Surrey, UK.
How to toilet train your puppy in 10 days
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to toilet train your puppy, this Ten-day protocol is for you.
I am guessing that for you, as for most new puppy owners, toilet training (or potty training) is on top of your list of skills to teach your new puppy. Keep in mind that when you start the process of toilet training, your puppy initially views your house as one huge toilet area with one exception.
Already as an 8-week-old, our puppy prefers to keep his sleeping, eating, and living space clean and free from urine and poo, the exception which is key to the puppy toilet training.
I promise you that the next 10 days will be challenging work, but your initial investment in the process will teach your companion the toilet habits in no time that will last a lifetime.
Puppy toilet training is not difficult, but it requires lots of attention on your puppy, a dedicated effort, and that you follow the instructions in The Toilet Train your puppy in 10 days Protocol.
Table of Contents
Management and Supervision
Forget Puppy pads - this is what you need to toilet train your puppy.
When you cannot supervise your puppy, leaving your puppy in a puppy-proofed space is essential. A puppy pen and a puppy crate are ideal for establishing your puppy's indoor toilet routines and puppy home alone training but let's save that one for another blog post.
We would cover the floor in the puppy pen with puppy pads in conventional puppy training, which I consider a detour for effective toilet training. Your puppy will not learn to differentiate between your expensive rugs and the puppy pads, more so most puppies love to shred puppy pads, and you might risk coming back to shredded puppy pads and small accidents all over the floor.
Why not fast track your puppies toilet training by using outdoor substrates, turf, pebbles, soil, or slabs in a litter tray. Initially, you can make the toilet area more attractive by rubbing a bit of your puppy's pee on the grass when your puppy takes his new toilet in use praise and reward with a healthy puppy treat.
Clean up any accidents thoroughly.
If you like further recommendations for your puppy, you might like my puppy shopping guide.
What can I do when my puppy goes to the toilet in the wrong place?
My best advice for you is to take a deep breath and be neutral, clean up without making a fuss. Remeber, punishment has no place in dog training and yelling, scolding or putting your puppy's nose in the urine will most likely not have the effect you are hoping for.
What most likely happens is that your puppy now instead will start hiding when relieving himself.
Prevention with frequent toilet breaks and many rewards when the right toilet spot is in use is the most effective way of successful completing puppy toilet training.
Introducing a successful puppy toilet training schedule
You have now learned how to handle your puppy between toilet breaks; now, let's set you up for success by teaching your puppy the right habits in the right places.
The 30-minute puppy toilet rule
Take your puppy out on a leash at least once every 30 minutes; by keeping your puppy on a leash, you can teach your puppy exactly where outside you like him to pee. At the same time, you make it less difficult and time-consuming as you prevent your puppy from becoming distracted by all the exciting things around him. After a nap, the safest way to make it outside without accidents is to carry your puppy to your chosen spot.
Initially, it is challenging to work with a little 8-week-old puppy, but I promise you that your investment in housetraining your companion from the very beginning will pay off for the rest of your dog's life. An 8-week-old puppy needs toilet breaks every 30 minutes, but for every month, you can add another half an hour between the toilet breaks.
Chose an easily recognizable cue, "wee-wee" is my favourite. Say your cue, stand still at the toilet spot, try to stay quiet and not engage with your puppy; it will help your puppy focus on the toilet business rather than interacting with you.
Wait quietly for 5 minutes; if nothing happens, return inside while keeping your puppy in the enclosed puppy safe area. Wait 10-15minutes before trying again.
Praise and reward your puppy generously when using your chosen outdoor toilet. Don't start praising until you are sure that your puppy has completed the toilet visit; if not, you risk that he will finish once inside.
End all successful puppy toilet breaks with off-leash games; spend some time outside before bringing the puppy inside again. A common mistake is to take your puppy directly back into the confined space away from all the fun and what the puppy learns is that toilet breaks end all the fun. We risk that the puppy may wait longer and longer to do his toilet, which is precisely the opposite of what we are working towards.
Always carry or walk directly from the puppy safe space to the outside toilet area. Letting a young puppy walk or sniff around often results in accidents between the crate and the back door!
Repeat these steps throughout the day. It is not impossible, and accidents will happen; take a deep breath, clean up and continue to follow the puppy toilet training schedule consistently, and you will successfully teach your puppy the right toilet behaviours in a short time.
In addition to the 30-minute toilet rule, provide your puppy with a toilet break after the following events:
First thing in the morning.
Last thing at night.
No longer than 10 minutes after eating.
No longer than 10 minutes after drinking.
After 15 minutes of intense play.
Immediately after waking up from a nap.
Do you remember how I initially mentioned the exception?: " How even an 8-week-old puppy prefers to keep their sleeping, eating, and living space clean and free from urine and poo". Please don't allow your puppy to move around your house or apartment freely; it is simply too much space, and as your puppy doesn't relate to all the space, he will very likely consider the rooms you use the least as one big toilet area. Start by introducing one room depending on your lifestyle choose the rooms where you spend the most time: kitchen, living room etc.
When your puppy stops having indoor accidents in one room, you can start adding another. Remember to clean up accidents with an enzymatic spray, no fuss, clean up the mess.
Puppy toilet training at night
Where is your puppy sleeping at night? If your puppy is sleeping in a puppy set up with a puppy pen, crate and puppy toilet, then I have great news for you; no toilet trips to the garden or backyard in the middle of the night. You want to ensure that your little new puppy feels comfortable in the puppy pen, and spending the first nights on the floor beside the little new is a perfect way to help your puppy feel comfortable.
Be boring, very boring when you take your puppy for the last late-night toilet break. Take your puppy straight to the toilet area, reward him for going to the toilet and bring him straight back in. Midnight is not the time for puppy play fun time.