Nov 06
dog with toilet rolls

How to toilet train your puppy

When toilet training a puppy, the most important thing is to have patience. Some pups will get it within a few days, some can take a number of months.

For all pups though, the principles are the same:

  1. Prevent accidents in the house by providing plenty of opportunities for your puppy to toilet outside. Watch your puppy like a hawk and as soon as they are indicating they need to toilet (i.e. sniffing, restless- you’ll get to know their cues) take them straight to the designated area. Make sure you are doing this at least hourly and always after eating, drinking or sleeping.
  2. Reward, reward, reward. Your pup is doing such a good job peeing or pooping where you want them to- so reward them with something yummy! And do it straight away rather than wait till they return to the house so they know what they are being rewarded for.
  3. Pair the toileting with a phrase like- wee wee! (mine’s a bit lame- feel free to come up with your own!) This may be handy for you later on.
  4. Have a routine- set feeding times and exercise times, and take note when your mate toilets.
  5. Ignore accidents. Even if you see them in the ‘act.’ Be sure to clean soiled areas with enzymatic cleaners and avoid ammonium or strongly smelling products (ammonia can smell like wee to animals and we want to eliminate the scent completely).

Remember that puppies, like kids cannot always prevent going to the toilet and accidents are a part of growing up.

Do the above and just be patient, as hard as it is!

Tip for rewards: need to be yummy, best to be healthy and only really small bits or pieces are required. Try bits of dried liver or dried chicken breast from a reputable company. Always have them on you.

For specific advice for your puppy, go to

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.