Our Dogs World 101

How To Toilet Train My Puppy – Every Owners Dream!

I think we all agree puppies are so cute!! But are also a lot of work. Along with ongoing general training, then the socializing all puppies must-have during the early stages, the regular healthy and nutritional feeds, there are also many questions on how to toilet train my puppy.

Having worked with and owned several dogs from puppyhood I am going to give you a head start when it comes to toilet training your puppy, and here are some tips and tricks I have used for years when it comes to knowing how to toilet train your puppy.

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Cute Puppies

Do not Rush Them

You must remember that you have just taken them away from a remarkably familiar environment where they had their siblings, mum & dad, and all the security they needed for the past 8 weeks, and now they are in a home with none of this.

Everything they knew before, is now new within this environment and your puppy will need to get used to you and the family as well as his new location.

Just imagine all the new and unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. Then put yourself in his little shoes if that was you.

I am the first to say that toilet training your puppy should start from the moment you get them home, but as I like to say “Remember Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day” it will take time and oh so much patience!


Puppies Will Usually Give You a Sign

There are several signs your new puppy will give you when they need to go to the toilet and while each puppy will be different, I have highlighted a few common ones to watch out for below:

  • Sniffing Around – As they get older this will be a common thing for dogs as they are simply seeing what has been around the area. In a puppy, this often means they are looking for somewhere to go to the toilet.
  • Beginning To Circle a Certain Area – If you have owned older dogs before you would have seen that they will usually do a few circles in the area that they are going to pee. It is no different in your puppy’s behavior, this will normally mean that he is about to pee all over your new rug.
  • A Whine or Whimpering – This is also a great indicator that they need to go to the toilet.
  • Sudden Movement – If your puppy has been happily chewing away at their favorite new toy and suddenly get up this could mean that they are about to go.

So if you keep a constant lookout for these tell-tale signs during the toilet training stage I can guarantee you will have fewer more accidents on your newly cleaned floors!

What To Do If I Notice the Signs

Puppies, like dogs, thrive on a routine so before the toilet training even begins you need to decide on an area outside where they can do their business.

The first signs you see of puppies wanting to go to the toilet, take them directly to this area. At the early stages, I would carry them to this area as calling them (You have done no recall training at this early stage) will be a wasted effort and they will pee where they are.

What this will start to teach them is that the spot you take them to is the spot they will need to pee at. Remember I said dogs and puppies thrive on routine and this is what you are now starting to instill.

If you work, it is also important to start taking your puppy out according to certain times. Sometimes I would recommend it as soon as you wake up after they have had their food, just before you leave for work, and again as soon as you get home.

In the early days, even with the times I have mentioned above puppies cannot hold their bladders for very long so when you get home to a few accidents on the floor, don’t be discouraged. This will all change as they get older.

Puppies Understand Associations

I mentioned before, that before you get your puppy home you will find a spot outside that you will want your puppy to associate with going to the toilet.

Some things your pup may associate with toilet time are.

  • The smell of pee or poop.
  • Going to the same location every time.
  • As they grow a little older, commands will be something your dog will associate with.

So, in the beginning, try to take your puppy out at least every hour if time permits of course. Put the lead on your pup and take them out to the spot they are now associating with toilet time. When you get there do not expect your puppy to instantly open the waterworks, they are not robots.

As tempting as it may be with your new bundle of fluff, do not play with them. I say this because they have associated this spot as their toilet, if you start playing with them this will confuse them, they will be thinking is this a pee spot or somewhere we can play!

If the puppy does go to the toilet when you take them out, and it is in the place they have associated with toilet time, REWARD them with either a treat or heap the praise on them. You want them to know that when they go to the toilet here, good things happen!

Once this is done take them away from this area and have a little play with them.

Going On Command

Just imagine being able to tell your puppy when they need to go to the toilet!

You will not be able to do this straight away, however, with a routine, this will be possible as your puppy grows.

With all my dogs and the puppies I have trained, I have always used the command “Toilet”. Now you can use any command you want for your puppy to associate with going to the toilet but use this command every time you take your pup out to the toilet. Eventually, they will associate this word with its time to open the waterworks sewerage pipe lol.

Once they have the word association with toilet (Or whatever word you choose) you can use this just before it’s time to go to bed, or if you have decided it’s time to take the 2-hour car ride to see the in-laws.

Now imagine being able to get your dog to pee on command. Well, it will all start from puppyhood!

Puppies Are Puppies – Accidents Happen

Just like babies (Only they have nappies) accidents will happen, after all, they are puppies and at this early stage have little control over their bladder.

The one thing you cannot do is get angry at them just because you didn’t notice the signs, they were desperately trying to show you beforehand (Oh yes they were, you just didn’t see it).

Like babies, your puppy did not go to pee on your favorite rug on purpose, puppies, as I said don’t have control over their bladder like an older dog, does – This is why we are toilet TRAINING them, to try and hold their pee and let them know where they should go.

You should never shout at your puppy for going in the wrong place, this will only make them scared to go in front of you, so even when you take them to the place they have associated with the toilet, they will be scared to go for the fear of being shouted at. Simply clean up the mess with no fuss, anger, or shouting.

Another favorite saying of mine is “Accidents Happen” well prepare yourselves for a few of these as your new puppy learns.

Look I Did Pee in The Right Spot

Positive praise and reward are so important when training your dogs and this applies to toilet training as well.

Puppies and dogs associate doing good things with fun, praise, and rewards, and just like us who doesn’t love that?

Every dog or puppy responds to certain rewards, below are just a few examples.

  • Talking to them in an upbeat positive way.
  • Their favorite treats.
  • A good old-fashioned cuddle.
  • Some playtime with their favorite toy or chew.

Why Is My Puppy Not Getting This Toilet Training Thing?

A few things can affect toilet training and how quickly your new addition picks this up.

If you work longer than a few hours and you want your dog to be an inside dog, being stuck inside for long periods of time can lengthen the time it takes for your puppy to get the whole toilet training thing.

Your pup has just come into an environment that is so new to them, they could still be nervous and scared which can affect the quickness in the way they learn. Be Always kind, calm, and loving toward your new puppy and in time they will get it.

If nothing you are doing is working, and you have put into place everything I have outlined in this article, it may be worth a visit to your vet as there could be some medical issues that are affecting your puppy’s ability to hold on.

Did We Cover Everything You Needed To Know?

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this article on How to Toilet Train My Puppy and if you have any more questions on this or would like to leave your own personal training tips or advice please feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond to them as soon as possible.

May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair!


Founder of our Dogs World 101



22 thoughts on “How To Toilet Train My Puppy – Every Owners Dream!”

  1. Unfortunately, my dog passed away three years ago, so he is no longer with us anymore. But when he was a puppy ad i was training him, It was a lucky situatio as we lived in a carava. So when i could see he needed the toilet, i could open the door and push him out. He quickly got used to it and began hinting to get out. No problems at all.

    1. Sorry to hear about your dog there mate.

      Pushing him out of the caravan would have made the whole toilet training thing a whole lot easier LOL!


  2. It has been taking a while… But I hear you loud and clear on them needing to get an actual routine down because I feel like after training for a while… the dog will *finally* start to be toilet trained. Then obviously positive reinforcement combined with that, I feel like we are close!

    Thanks for sharing this, I was wanting to find other resources on toilet training puppies and this is exactly the type of confirmation post I was looking for! 👍

    1. Hi Colton,

      Yes patience is definitely the key with toilet training, that and a routine which sounds like you have in place.

      How old is your puppy?


  3. HI Mark. Thank you for another interesting article. I couldn’t agree more that proper toilet behavior is most important part of young puppy training. We don’t want to clean house few times a day, and its also more healthy for dog to go outside. Your article gives lot of great advices and recommendations and Im looking forward to test it in practice.

  4. I love the way that you describe how to train a puppy, it is something that you definitely need patience for and you must know how to treat your puppy indeed and raise it to become a well-balanced grown-up dog. It is both a joy, for you, but for the dog as well, so that they feel protected and safe in the ‘pack’ 😉 Thanks for the advice and by the way, I love the photo of you and your dog, so funny!

    1. Hi Lizzy,

      Glad you liked the advise and the photo of me and Saffron, glad we could give you a laugh LOL!



  5. Thanks for that very comprehensive guide to toilet training your puppy.  I wish I had read it when I had my last puppy, as there are a few things there that I hadn’t thought of.

    I wish I had known to take my puppy to a particular place in the garden.  We had just let him out to go wherever he wanted.

    Our puppy was very good at holding and as soon as we would return home he would go racing for the garden.  We did laugh as on a few occasions when he couldn’t hold on and he went and did it on the bathroom floor.  We thought that was very clever and funny.

    1. Hi Geoff,

      Thats a very smart puppy you have there, knowing exactly what the bathroom is used for haha,

      I am glad you found the article comprehensive.


  6. Good day Mark. Yes, I agree with you a hundred percent that puppies are cute. I am very fascinated to have read about head start when it comes to toilet training my puppy, the tips and tricks you have used for years when it comes to knowing how to toilet train a puppy. This is educative and very interesting. Awesome!

  7. When I first read the title of the article, I mistakenly thought this was an article about training a puppy to actually use the toilet. I was thinking, “How in the world did the manage to do that?”. But after reading I realized that it was just an ordinary article on house breaking/training them. Isn’t it funny how much the meaning of such a simple concept can change due to semantics? 

    But yes, definitely agree on the whole routine thing. Big reason my household just isn’t the right fit for any dog or puppy. They Love their routines, and with mine and my fiance’s crazy schedules we are hardly home to establish such a routine. So much to his disappointment, we do not own any dogs; we own two cats instead. 

    Something I don’t think you mentioned and it’s quite possible I had read over it was crate training. This is what my Dad and Stepmom have done for two of the dogs they have owned and it worked out well for them. Is this something you would recommend as well or do you think it should be avoided?

    1. Hey Rachel,

      Hahah now wouldn’t that make me a great trainer lol.

      Crate training is a great method and something I will definitely be covering in another article, because if done correctly is an awesome training method, however if done incorrectly can have long lasting negative effects on your dog.

      Glad to see your parents did it the right way.



  8. Having a puppy is not an easy dog. My dad has a pappy and he needed a lot of training when he came home and he still has some work to do. 
    But with your blog this issue might be easier. Thank you for sharing this important article, toilet is one of the most important parts of animal training. 


  9. Hello Mark, and Saffron!

    I can assure you my house is filled with dog hair and this means there is love! I am a huge fan of dogs! We have three at home and at times when sitting for others may have up to six in the house at once. It is always fun at grandpaws!

    I am actually looking for some advice with one of the small dogs we watch, Rudy. He is a mutt really but you can tell he has Jack Russel and maybe Datscheund in him. Pretty little, very wirey, and lovable when he wants to be. 

    He is not a puppy and has been potty trained so this is sort of off-topic but I came across this article in my searching and couldn’t stop reading. I feel like you are one who can give sound advice from the heart and experience.

    The issue is every time someone reaches down to give the little guy some attention, he cannot hold his bladder. As I said, he is potty trained he knows to go outside, all that is good but even if he is outside with us and you reach down to pet him he pees like he is so scared he can’t hold it. I have known this dog since he was a pup and know he has never been mistreated or hit so it doesn’t make sense that he acts this way.  

    Just a reach, do you have any recommendations?

    Give Saffron a scratch under the chin for me, just watch out for drool! 



    1. Hi Chad,

      I hope you don’t mind but I had a quick look at your website and was super impressed, I could tell straight away what a real fan of dogs you are, so really great to meet another dog lover.

      Regarding your little mate Rudy.

      I have worked with a few dogs overtime that have come from similar backgrounds as to what I think Rudy has and were doing the same kind of thing. The first thing I would have the owners do was ensure that the dog had no underlying bladder issues, usually done through a trip to the vet.

      I always recommended that if no bladder issues were found that my clients not accept medication from the vet, as this is what they will usually offer, and while this is a last resort treatment I prefer to remove this behavior through positive reinforcement training.

      I can see through your site that you obviously love dogs and your research shows you also know what ticks their behavior.

      With Rudy it is either a submissive action (Them seeing the patter as the dominant one) or an excitable action and for both of these behavior’s it will take a little training to remove this reaction.

      Once I have gotten the dog I will quickly work out which of the two we are dealing with and if it is a submissive reaction there are a few things I put in place. More regular socialization out and about with people and other dogs at the park, whenever you go to give Rudy a pat always bend down to his level and try do this from the side and not face on, also try to avoid any direct eye contact with him. As you would know this to Rudy and any other dog for that matter is a dominant behavior and that will put poor old Rudes back into his submissive state again. And always give Rudy a pat in a very calm manner.

      If Rudy seems to be peeing out of excitement, which you will know through his body language then what I do is make the pat very calm. Never reach out to Rudy for a pat, let him come to you and make sure Rudy’s owner does the same and they also get other friends to do the same. Again if Rudy comes to you for that pat, and he will because as we know dogs do love that attention make sure it is all done with little excitement.

      Both forms can be eliminated Chad, it may just take a little time.

      I really hope this helps Rudy and would love to know if it does.

      All the best to you, Cora and Cooper.

      Mark, Saffron & Narla.

      1. Hello Mark, Saffron, & Narla

        This is good information and I thank you for taking the time to respond! It is great to find another fellow blogger who has the same affinity toward all the coolest dogs on the planet!

        You are welcome to visit my site anytime you like, I have also bookmarked yours and will be returning. Seems we might find opportunities to help each other out at times.

        I was hooked as soon as I saw the picture, you two are a pair for sure! If you would like to share a picture of Saffron & Narla visit the Gallery page on my site and upload one. I will be excited to put them in there!

        With Rudy, He seems to be going into the submissive mode, he even does it when the wife tries to pet him. We have tried to be super cautious with him but I think it will take some time as you said.

        It is hilarious you called him Rudes, that is what I call him when he is visiting. He is my daughter’s pup and they just added a new member to the family. Maybe no longer being an only child will help too.

        Good to meet you, Mark. Thanks for the direction and explanation. Keep loving those pups!


        1. Hey Chad, Cora & Coops,

          I will head straight over and share the picture of me and Saffron, it would be a real privilege to be part of your site Chad.

          I hope you don’t mind, but once I work it out I am hoping to add that same feature to our site as in the galley, it really is an awesome idea!

          Will be great to work alongside another dog lover Chad.


  10. Hi there, I have had several dogs that I got as puppies over the years, and have never known about these telltale signs to look out for when a puppy needs to make a wee. Yes, sure I’ve seen the behaviour in my older dogs, but never thought of looking for it in a puppy. I will certainly be using these tips when I get another puppy, so thank you for sharing. 

    1. Hi Line,

      Looking forward to hearing the stories and progress when you do get that puppy.

      Glad you enjoyed the article.


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