Doggy Training

Top tips for toilet training your puppy

Toilet training a puppy is an important part of their early development, and some new owners can find it challenging. But there is lots of things you can do to ensure both you and your pup are set up for success. Take time to create the right environment to develop good toileting habits. Minimise the opportunity to make mistakes and then patiently rehearse the good habits with your puppy, reinforcing those habits with praise.

Planning Ahead.

Before you get your puppy, plan ahead. Where will your puppy be trained to go to the toilet, are you happy for them to go on the grass or would you prefer to keep them on a paved area for instance. If you want them to keep off the grass then I would suggest that you put some temporary barriers up to prevent them from doing so. If your happy for them to go on the garden then it is advisable to fence a small area off for them to toilet on, this is so they are not wondering round and playing and forgetting what they have come out to do.

Signs that your puppy needs to go out.

  • Crying,
  • Sniffing around,
  • Becoming very fidgety,
  • Suddenly stops playing with you,
  • Returning to an area they have previously had an accident in the house,
  • Beginning to walk round in circles just before squatting.

Build a routine.

To start with you will need to build a routine around your puppy’s needs. Their metabolism will process their food at a certain rate, and they only have small bladders so will need to go out often, generally every hour or two to start with. It’s worth noting the time you feed your puppy and also noting how quickly they usually need to go to start with to help you get into a pattern. We often recommend to clients to keep a daily log of their puppy’s toileting habits. This will help with routine but also help you identify where and when accidents are happening.

How to toilet train your puppy.

Take your puppy to the area you have chosen and let them sniff round, just wonder around but give them space. Don’t leave your puppy outside to go on their own as you won’t know if they have been and probably won’t have, as they will be thinking about coming back into you and that’s when accidents happen, and you miss the opportunity to praise them for going. As soon as they start to go add your chosen word cue, wee wee, poo poo or whatever it might be. Avoid saying good girl, good boy when they are going otherwise you might find every time you call them good girl……

Once they have finished you can then praise them with a little fuss or a treat, try to avoid taking them straight back inside otherwise they may develop the habit on hanging on until the last minute as they want to be outside.

If after five minutes they haven’t gone to the toilet take them back inside but watch them like a hawk and take them back outside after another ten minutes have past.

You will need to take your puppy out as soon as they wake up from having a nap, after they have finished playing and not long after they have finished eating. You will also need to take them out at various other frequent intervals throughout the day. Supervise your puppy when in the house especially in the first few months, they are only a baby and accidents will happen as they are learning. Be patient it takes time, you can’t expect your puppy to be fully trained overnight. It may take several weeks or even months before your puppy is fully toilet trained.

What about at night?

Ensure that you don’t feed your puppy late at night and always give them plenty of time to go to the toilet before you go to bed. It is unlikely that your puppy will be able to go through the night to start with so if you hear them cry in the middle of the night it’s likely they need to go. You may need to have some later nights and earlier morning than normal when your puppy first arrives until they have learned to be able to hold on. You might want to stay on the sofa to begin with so that you can hear them, or other people set alarms through the night to ensure they are waking in time to take their puppy out. When you wake on a morning, take your puppy out straight away before you start your morning routine to avoid them being unable to hang on.

Accidents will happen.

It goes without saying that your puppy will have at least one accident while they are learning and when this does happen try to limit their access to areas where they have mistakenly toileted. Clean the area with a warm weak solution of bicarbonate soda as this will leave no scent unlike disinfectant so it won’t attract your puppy to the same spot to go again.

Don’t punish your puppy if they have an accident, this is counterproductive and it may frighten them and cause them to become scared of going in front of you. Likewise, don’t rub your puppy’s nose in it either! Don’t make a fuss just quickly and quietly clean it up and take your pup outside. If your quick you may catch your puppy in the act, if this happens you can swiftly pick them up and take them outside to their spot and encourage them to go.

Tips for best practise

  • Carry your puppy into the garden after waking so they can’t stop and squat before they reach the door,
  • Take your puppy out after sleeping, after playing, after eating and at regular intervals throughout the day,
  • Never punish your puppy when it has an accident,
  • Clean accidents up swiftly without a fuss,
  • Always praise when they go outside in the correct spot,


Avoid leaving doors open to the garden-this is trickier in the summer and spring, but we want to be able to train puppy to tell us when they need to go outside. Garden doors won’t be open endlessly in the autumn and winter months so it’s important to train your puppy to be able to effectively communicate when they do need to go outside.

If you find your puppy is losing interest as soon as they go outside-the world is an exciting place! Pop them on a lead so they stay close to you. Once they have been to the toilet you can take the lead off and they can explore.

Bear in mind that your puppy isn’t having accidents to upset you. Some breeds can be toilet trained quicker than others and some will find going out in the rain an unpleasant experience. But with lots of positive reinforcement you will both fid a routine that suits you both.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like further help you can download our toilet training time table here.