Congratulations on your new puppy. How exciting! Welcoming a puppy into your life and home is a wonderful experience and one you will look back on fondly.

Especially once they are toilet trained.

Toilet training can be a challenge for some puppies. People reach out to me frustrated when their puppies are toileting inside and just don’t seem to get the training.

There are two main pillars to successful toilet training. One, give your puppy every opportunity to toilet in the right place and two, don’t let your puppy toilet where they shouldn’t. With repetition and consistency, they then learn where they should go to the toilet and that then becomes the only place they go.

If you are just starting out with toilet training or are looking for some assistance to get it back on track, I recommend you start with these two pillars.

Now let the toilet training fun begin!!!

Pillar #1: Opportunity

Let’s first talk about proving appropriate toilet time opportunities. Until you have spent a few days with your puppy, regulated their play, sleep and mealtimes it will be difficult to know when your puppy needs to eliminate. Plus your puppy might not give you much notice that they need to go either.

This is why we put our puppy on a toilet schedule. Take your puppy to their designated toilet spot, whether this is outside or on a puppy pad or potty (artificial grass trays) at each of the following times:

  • First thing in the morning on waking,
  • Each time they wake from a nap,
  • After rigorous play,
  • Within 1 hour of every meal,
  • Before puppies bedtime,
  • Every 30-60 minutes when you are home,

You may even need to take your puppy out once or twice during the night if they are not able to access a toilet spot.

It’s important to note that your puppy will not toilet each time you take them to their designated toilet spot. At first anyway, as the schedule is about providing our puppies with the OPPORTUNITY to go toilet in the correct place.

When you take your puppy to their designated toilet spot spend no more than 5 minutes there before ending the activity. Try again later.

As your puppy grows and develops and begins to understand where the toilet spot is, the time between opportunities can be extended. You might even become so attuned to your puppy that you no longer need to follow the toilet schedule at all.

Pillar #2: Avoid mistakes!

The second component to successful toilet training is to eliminate any chance of them making a toileting mistake. We want to prevent the puppy from toileting in any area other than their designated toileting spot.

  • Puppy proof the home (more on this next week).
  • Supervise your puppy.
  • If unable to supervise, keep them in a controlled environment.
  • Provide an alternative toileting spot as needed i.e. a puppy pad in their sleeping area overnight or when unsupervised.
  • Make it easy for the puppy to get to their designated toileting spot.
  • Watch for typical puppy toileting cues like sniffing the ground and circling then act!

If your puppy does have an accident inside, clean it up with ammonia-free cleaner and review the situation. When was the last time your puppy went to their toileting spot? Have they just been playing, eating or napping? Work out what led up to the accident so you can avoid it next time.

Never punish your puppy for making a mistake and toileting in the wrong place. This can lead to your puppy thinking that they need to hide their eliminations from you and will make toilet training much more difficult and time-consuming.

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