Toilet training your puppy can be challenging, even when you follow the two pillars to successful toilet training. But don’t worry, I have listed my top puppy toilet training tips below covering 5 main areas.

Also, not sure what the two pillars are? Click here to read the full details.

How do you stop the puppy from peeing on the rug? What do you do if your puppy is too distracted to go? How do you teach your puppy to let you know when they need to go?

Not to worry, I’ve got more tips and tricks up my sleeve to share with you to cover these issues.

Puppy proofing
Let’s start by puppy-proofing your home. Taking some simple precautions to protect your belongings will help to eliminate or reduce the damage of toileting mistakes. Limit your puppies access to areas when you are unable to supervise or where you definitely don’t want them to toilet or make a mistake.

  • Block off carpeted areas where possible.
  • Restrict access to only a small part of your home to start (increase access once toilet trained).
  • Have your puppies sleeping and play area be on tiles or flooring that is easy to clean up (i.e. tiled area or patio).
  • When you are going out or are unable to directly supervise your puppy, keep them in a small and secure location like a laundry, patio or playpen to limit where they can toilet.
  • Remove rugs and mats from areas your puppy will have access to as these are tempting places for your puppy to go.
  • Provide easy to access puppy toileting areas i.e. be close to the exit points or put down puppy pads.
  • Use puppy pads or grass toileting mat for inside areas as a place your puppy can go if they are not able to access outside.

These restrictions won’t last forever, just until your puppy is toilet trained. Restricting access or putting away your rugs may seem like a lot of work but it is much more effective than constantly cleaning up after your puppy.

Make it rewarding!

Behaviour that gets rewarded gets repeated. And the more often the behaviour is rewarded the more ingrained it becomes.

Whenever your puppy eliminates in the designated toilet spot, reward them! My favourite reward to use for toileting is a combination of verbal praise and physical affection like pats and a head scratch.

Puppies are generally eager to please so shower them with praise and affection when they correctly complete the toilet routine.

Put a command to it

It will be useful when your puppy is older to have a toilet command. That way, if you need your dog to toilet before you head out to work or before bedtime you can let them know with the command.

We use the word “toilet” as our command word but I’ve heard others like “go potty” or “wee-wees time” etc. Use whatever word you feel most comfortable with.

To set this up, start saying your chosen toilet command when you see your puppy completing the toilet activity. Wait until the puppy is nearly finished though so you don’t disrupt the flow so to speak.


Sometimes when you take your puppy to their toileting spot, they may not immediately want to go toilet. That’s fine when they are on a regular toilet schedule as you can just try again later.

If you know it has been some time since your puppy previously went or if it is about to be bedtime you may need to encourage your puppy to go.

Puppies are easily distracted and sometimes they need a little help to focus and get the job done. When at the toileting spot, ignore your puppy until they go toilet then add the cue and reward.

By ignoring them we are not distracting them from the toileting activity. Using a lead can help make sure your puppy doesn’t move away to explore or chew the garden.


Here is where we teach the puppy how to access their toileting area. For this example, we will use a door as the exit point to the backyard as the designated toilet spot. If you are planning to use a dog door you will need to teach your puppy to use that door separately.

Call your puppy over to the exit point or if you are carrying them, put them down in front of the exit. Make a sound so your puppy looks up at you, say “yes” then open the door.

Puppies are pretty short, even large breed ones, so they often don’t realise it’s us that opens the door for them. When they approach the door sometimes it opens and sometimes not.

Here we are giving our puppies a way to communicate to us when they need to get outside to the toilet if their way is closed. They go to the exit point then look for us.

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to receive weekly dog training and behaviour techniques, tips and tricks!