9 Tips for Potty Training A Dog

In all your years of dog ownership, no task will be more daunting than potty training your pooch. Depending on your dog's personality and level of stubbornness, this task could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Follow these tips for potty training a dog to make the process as simple and effective as possible.

Remember, the key to any type of dog training is consistency and patience. You can follow these tips to the letter, but if you're not consistent with your training and patient with your dog it's not going to stick.

House training a puppy won't happen overnight. For the most stubborn pups, it may take months of  training before they are 100% potty trained. Whether you have a young puppy or an older dog that hasn't been properly trained in the past, you can teach Fido to do his business outside if your training is consistent and you follow these tips for potty training a dog.

9 Tips for Potty Training A Dog

tips for potty training your dogHousebreaking a puppy can be frustrating and may seem hopeless when all your efforts are failing. If your dog isn’t picking up the training or has developed a hard-to-fix bad habit, don’t give up just yet – there are a few additional things you can do.

1. Limit his freedom in the house

Use a playpen or pet gate to keep your dog to a confined area in your home. If he has free reign, he may create his own potty area in your home. This would also make it difficult for you to notice when your dog is going to the bathroom in the house if he sneaks away.

It’s imperative that you catch him in the act and bring him outdoors if you catch him going in the house. If you don’t notice the act for a while, your dog will have no idea that what he did was wrong.

2. Pick a bathroom spot

Always take your puppy (on a leash) to the designated “potty spot”. While your puppy is relieving themselves, use a specific word or phrase that you can eventually use before they go to remind them what to do. Take them out for a longer walk or some playtime only after they have eliminated.

3. Keep your potty training pooch on a leash

This will allow you to direct him to the potty spot, keep him focused on going to the bathroom before sniffing, roaming or playing, and allow you to be right there when he’s finished so you can reward him immediately.

4. Reward your puppy every time he eliminates outdoors

Praise or give treats—but remember to do so immediately after he's finished, not after he comes back inside. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog for going outdoors is the only way to teach him what's expected of him.

Before rewarding your pup, be sure he's completely finished. Puppies are easily distracted and if you praise him too soon, he may forget to finish until he's back in the house.

ALSO: 10 Reasons You're Unsuccessful at Potty Training Your Puppy

dog had an accident on the floor

5. Put your puppy on a regular schedule

Your dog needs to be on a regular feeding and bathroom schedule. What goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule.

Depending on their age, puppies may need to be fed two or three times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that they'll eliminate at consistent times as well, making house training easier for both of you.

6. Pick up his water dish

If your dog is having trouble holding his urine overnight or while you’re out of the house, pick up his water dish. Pick up the dish one hour before bedtime or the time you need to leave. Take him out right before bedtime or just before you need to leave.

7. Look for signals

All dogs are different, so closely observe your pet to figure out which behaviors he exhibits when he needs to “go”. He may whine, pace, make circles, wander off to a hidden area or go to the door to indicate he needs to go to the bathroom.

8. Clean accidents immediately

Dogs use their noses as indicators of where to go potty and when they smell residual urine odors, they naturally think that is the place to go. If other animals have had accidents in your home and the smell isn’t completely gone, your dog may be trying to cover their scent with his own.

It's best to use an enzymatic cleaner to remove pet stains and the odors associated with them. If you'd like my recommendation, I've reviewed my go-to urine stain remover in this video.

9. Stay consistent

As I've already said, consistency is KEY to successful training. It warrants another mention and is definitely one of the best tips for potty training a dog – no matter what kind of training it may be. Even the most stubborn dog will be successful with potty training if your training and reward systems are consistent.

READ NEXT: How To Housetrain An Adult Dog 101 – A Step-by-Step Video Guide

Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.