Aah, puppy potty training – is there anything more fun?

The problem is, these fluffy-faced, button-nosed, gorgeous creatures, don’t come with an owner’s manual (unlike a new TV or washing machine)!

Puppies are statistically proven to be the cutest things on the planet, and I think the reasoning for this is, so owners persevere through potty training, and don’t just give them back after a day.

“Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like: afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.” – Caroline Knapp (Author of ‘Pack of Two’)

House training requires some pretty special powers of patience, consistency, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement.

Training your puppy is a challenging process that can seem a bit relentless while you are going through it. You have to stay on top of your puppy’s actions and either reward or stop him at once otherwise he has no idea why you are doing it.

A classic sign that your bundle of fur needs a potty break is the whining and circling that an anxious dog displays – act immediately!

Anything that can help things along for a tired and frustrated owner can be fantastic, which is why inventors have come to the rescue on a lot of aspects of this process.

All products in this article can be found on amazon, any links which are clicked and subsequently purchased may provide us (bowwowtech.co.uk) with a small commission. Any commissions earned are reinvested to enable us to produce more articles and provide educational material to visitors to our site.

What steps does puppy potty training involve?

There are two essential goals of house training or potty training for your puppy; get him to wee in the right place and poop in the right place.

It usually takes between 4-6 months but can take up to a year. Smaller puppies have smaller bladders and need to go more often, so they may take longer to train.

Puppies that have been rescued from traumatic circumstances may also take longer (and also require a lot more patience and consistency in many areas of care).

You can start training your puppy from about 12 weeks of age; earlier than this they cannot control their bladders enough to hold on. Keep your puppy contained to a smallish area, such as one room or a fenced-off part of your yard or house, or you could use a training crate.

What to do and when to do it

When your puppy goes where you want him to, give him a treat and/or lots of positive attention and reinforcement, so he knows he has done the right thing.

If your dog has an accident indoors, do not respond negatively afterward as he won’t understand why.

If you catch him in the act, clap loudly to surprise him and get him to stop, then take him outside immediately.

If he does have an accident inside, clean with an enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based one, because the smell will discourage him from going there again.

During this potty-training period, watch for signs that your puppy may need to go. This can include whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or scratching at the door.

What’s on the Market to Help Puppy Parents?

There are plenty of products available to help you train your puppy to pee and poo in the right place. You’ll see below a selection of useful items, and we explain what each is for and how to use them.

The Puppy Crate

A puppy crate is primarily your pup’s home, a den, a safe haven. Dogs rarely mess up their home and seem to know that this is not the place to pee and poop in.

In the wild, dogs rarely urinate or defecate in their den; so it’s unlikely that your pup will use its crate as a toilet either.

As soon as you see your puppy whining and circling, take it to its potty place. Timing it right will ensure that your pup associates its crate with its den and will keep it clean.

For the first few weeks of having your puppy, it’s best to pick it up and carry it to the ‘designated’ toilet place; walking will cause urination more quickly; carrying them helps them ‘hold it in’.

Puppy Crate

Make sure the puppy crate is the right size with room to grow – large enough for the pup to lie down, stand up, and turn around. Take into account bedding and toys.

Puppy Training Pads

Whilst a puppy crate soon teaches a pup not to toilet in their home, puppy training pads encourage them to toilet in a designated area.

They come in two types: Disposable and Reusable. Both have their merits and it’s up to you to decide which type to go for. My personal preference is to use the reusable pads, if only on an economical basis.

Start by placing the pad/pads close to their crate, pick your pup up gently, making sure you support their body and legs.

As your pup starts to associate the pad/s as their toilet area, you can move them further away from the crate, until they’re as far away as possible. This can take some time, but with patience and perseverance, your pup won’t be using its crate as a toilet and will associate pads as the place to go.

Toilet Training Trays

There are several different types of toilet training trays, which type you choose will depend on your own circumstances.

Toilet Training Bells

Again, just to confuse you (or amuse you), training bells are available using different methods; from the basic bell-type to the hi-tech wi-fi training bell. However, the idea behind these contraptions is to teach your pup to let you know when they need to go pee or poo outside.

Standard potty-training bell

The standard ‘manual’ potty-training bell is simply a bell (or multiple bells) that hangs on a ribbon or strap from the door handle of your back door. You train the pup to tap the bell/s when it needs to go potty. Make sure the bell is hung just below the pup’s snout, adjust it as the pup grows.

Hi-Tech Wi-Fi potty-training bell

The wi-fi version of a potty-training bell basically consists of two components, a push-button/pad (the activator) and a receiver. You train your pup to push the pad when wanting to go potty outside.

These are ideally suited to larger homes. The wi-fi receiver can be programmed with a variety of audible sounds as well as a volume controller.

Most wireless potty-training bells will arrive with two push pads, meaning that both the front and back doors are useable.

Pups will soon learn to push the pad with their nose (most seem reluctant to use their paws anyway). Play around with the device to find the sound your pup reacts to positively.

Remember, what one pup finds fun another may find startling. Adjust the volume control until it’s not blasting your ears off, nor so quiet that you can’t hear it.

Toilet Training Buttons

These buttons are basically a ‘service bell’ (commonly found in hotels etc. to call the attention of a receptionist).

Training your pup the ‘touch’ or ‘target’ command will help enormously in training them to use the training button to attract your attention to the fact that it’s potty time – outside.

One type of training button will emit a ‘ding’ sound whilst others might ‘buzz’.

The ‘ding’ buttons generally come in packs of two, with the ‘buzz’ buttons coming in packs of four (these teach the pup to use the right button for the right ‘need’ – Walk, Potty, Water etc.) Buzzing buttons are recordable so that you can record your own words that you use with your puppy.

Odour/Stain Cleaners

There are many odour/stain cleaners on the market; the ones you’re looking for must be an enzymatic cleaner:

This type of cleaner will remove the odour of your puppy’s pee, discouraging them from peeing in the same place again.

A puppy tends to return to the same place they’ve peed in before; with enzymatic cleaners, the odour of their pee/poo is removed. Ideal when your pup has peed on furniture, carpets etc.

Puppy Training Books

If you’re new to being a puppy parent, books are a mine of useful information and tips.

We list here four books that we recommend you read, all dedicated to helping you train your puppy:

Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps – Zoom Room Dog Training

Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy – Steve Mann

Puppy Training: How to Housebreak Your Puppy in Just 7 Days! – Ken Phillips

The Positive Puppy Training Blueprint – Sam Quinn

Following the links will take you to the relevant Amazon page. All books have the ‘Look Inside’ facility, so you can decide if the book is suitable for you and your puppy.

Final Thoughts

Prepare yourself and your home, find the products and materials you’re going to need, and you will find that your pup will be house/potty trained in a short period of time.

Remember: The time and attention that you invest in this stage of your puppy’s development will lead to a harmonious relationship with him/her for many years. Puppy Potty Training needn’t be a traumatic time, just be patient and consistent!

Related Articles:

How Much Water Should a Puppy Drink in a Day?

All products in this article can be found on amazon, any links which are clicked and subsequently purchased may provide us (bowwowtech.co.uk) with a small commission. Any commissions earned are reinvested to enable us to produce more articles and provide educational material to visitors to our site.

Bowwowtech.co.uk does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase. All content is therefore for informational purposes only.