How To Potty Train A Puppy

Picking up your puppy is probably the most exciting part about puppy raising, but as soon as all the cuteness has warn off (actually some of the cuteness will wear off the first time he piddles in the house) one of the first things you will think about is How To Potty Train A Puppy.

When we first started raising guide dog puppies over five years ago we received a guide dog puppy manual on how to train a puppy. As guide dog puppy raisers we follow all the rules and puppy training guidelines outlined in our puppy manual and when it comes to potty training our puppy we simply turn to page XX in our manual and follow the instructions on how to potty train a puppy.

So today we’re going to discuss how we go about potty training puppies.

How To House Train A Puppy

Here are some of the basics we are given on how to potty train a puppy from our guide dog puppy training manual:

How To Potty Train Your Puppy

Reggie A Golden Retriever Guide Dog Puppy In Training

House training is obviously one of the first things you’ll want to teach your puppy.  If done properly, house training is not difficult.  The key is to be consistent.  Never allow the puppy to be unattended or out of your sight.  If you are unable to do this remember to use confinement as a means of prevention. Keep your puppy on a schedule.  Feed him at regular times and always give him a chance to relieve himself right after being fed.  Using a designated area in your yard, let your pup have plenty of time (fifteen minutes) to relieve itself.  Encourage the puppy to go by using words such as “Get Busy”.  (That is the command used at GDA).  When the puppy has done his business, praise him lavishly.  A good rule of thumb to follow is to give your puppy a chance to relieve himself at a minimum of these times:

  1. First thing in the morning.
  2. After each meal.
  3. After a nap.
  4. After playtime.
  5. Right before you and your pup retire for the night.
Remember your puppy should always relieve on leash.  It is important to train the puppies to relieve on leash in a variety of surfaces (grass, gravel, cement etc…)
As I mentioned these house training tips are from our guide dog puppy manual and don’t need to be followed to a “T” if you’re training your puppy as a family pet.  One thing I wish I would have known sooner is to train my puppies to relieve on different surfaces.  My rescue pup, Linus learned to pee and poop on the grass and was potty trained in less than two weeks.  However, when he was nine months old we took him camping and he would not go potty on the dirt.  There was no grass and we were worried that we’d have to drive into town (about an hour away) to find grass for him to pee on.  After holding his pee for about a day (24 hours) he finally relieved in the dirt and pee’d for about 2 minutes straight.
Derby learned potty training

Using these potty training tips Derby was quickly potty trained

The moral of the story?  It’s important to train your pup to pee on a variety of surfaces and all of our guide dog puppies have learned to pee and poop on cement, grass, gravel, rocks, wood chips, dirt, and any other place you might imagine.

How To Potty Train A Puppy

More Potty Training Tips One of the great things about being a guide dog puppy raiser is the incredible network of knowledgeable puppy raisers and guide dog trainers we have at our disposal. Some of the members in our Orange County group have been guide dog puppy raisers for 20+ years and have raised a dozen or more puppies. I guess we’re relative neophytes as Dublin is only our third puppy in training and this is only our fifth year as guide dog puppy raisers. As guide dog puppy raisers we are required to enroll our puppies in a minimum of one Puppy Kindergarten and one basic Dog Obedience Training class. One of the first questions we are asked at Puppy Kindergarten is how are you doing with potty training your puppy? Even our most experienced puppy raisers will still sometimes have questions on how to potty train a puppy. Here are some of the puppy training tips and hints I’ve learned over the years when working on potty training with my own puppies: How To Potty Train A Puppy

  1. Keep an eye on your puppy – We learned pretty fast that it’s important to keep a constant eye on your puppy. Use puppy gates (same as baby gates), tie downs, and leashes to make sure you can always see your puppy. If you see him start to sniff around, circle, whimper, or squat then quickly scoop him up and take him out to his designated potty place in the yard. Give him a ton of praise when he potty’s in his spot. It’s important to keep your puppy under constant supervision not only for potty training purposes, but to keep him out of trouble in general. We’ve found many a chewed up shoe, cell phone, remote control because we didn’t keep a close eye on our puppies. This can be both costly and dangerous for your puppy.
  2. Keep a puppy potty schedule- If you keep a puppy potty schedule you’ll notice your pup can be fairly predictable with his potty times. We just use a sheet of paper and write down every time our puppy potty’s (you’ll start to notice trends on your puppy’s potty schedule). Here are a few potty times that should automatically be on your schedule.
    • Your puppy will always need to go potty shortly before and after eating or drinking water. We feed our pups twice a day at specific times which helps control the times they go poop.
    • As soon as your puppy wakes up. Puppies almost always go potty right after waking up.
    • As Linus’s dog trainer used to say: “Play makes pee!” It seems as though every 10 minutes or so your puppy will pee when playing.
  3. Be Consistent – stay free from variation. Stay consistent so your puppy knows what you want him to do. Be consistent by taking him out the same door to the same potty spot. Be consistent with your puppy potty schedule. Be consistent with your puppy’s feeding schedule. Be consistent and make sure everyone in your household abides by the same puppy potty training rules. If you do not stay consistent then it will take longer to potty train your puppy.
  4. Be Persistent - continue firmly with your potty training your puppy in spite of any difficulty. At times it may seem like your puppy just does not get it, but don’t waver and be persistent. It took our Aussie mix, Linus less than 2 weeks before he was potty trained. It took about 6 months to fully trust Stetson with his potty training. Stay persistent!
  5. Be Patient – defined as the ability to suppress annoyance…puppies are adorable, but they will also test your patience. Try to remain calm and don’t get upset with your puppy. It takes time to potty train a puppy. Be patient and you will be rewarded
  6. Praise Your Puppy – The most important thing when we raise our guide dog puppies is to give them tons of praise every time they do something right. Don’t forget to give your puppy a ton of praise every time he goes potty in his designated potty area. This will help reinforce the behavior with your puppy.
  7. Crate Training Puppies – we crate train all of our guide dog puppies in training. Many people feel like crate training is like imprisoning your puppy. However, crate trained puppies enjoy the safety and security they feel when in their crate as they will find it much like their den had they lived in the wild. In fact, many of our puppies in training have grown so accustomed to their crates that they will often go to their crates and sleep any time they are tired. Crate training is great for potty training as it’s your puppy’s natural instinct not to potty where he sleeps. For more information on crate training check out our page on crate training puppies. For starters here are a few basics on crate training:
    • Place the crate in your bedroom where the puppy can still see and hear what is going on.
    • Put a blanket or towels in the crate for bedding. A pup will rarely soil the crate, however, if he does, try removing the bedding.
    • A crate should not be too big, but large enough for the puppy to stand, stretch and turn around.
    • When placing the puppy in the crate, use word “kennel” or “kennel up”.
    • If he should happen to fall asleep somewhere else, pick him up and place him inside and quietly shut the door.
    • Don’t use the crate for punishment.
    • Take your puppy outside to potty before putting him in the crate.
    • Take your puppy outside to potty as soon as you take him out of the crate.

Puppy In Training TVEpisode 2 reviewed several puppy training basics including a short clip on taking your puppy to his potty spot (approximate 2:15 in the clip below).

Check out our other Puppy In Training TV episodes.  If you’re interested in sponsoring an episode please let us know by sending us an email through our contact form.


We need to reiterate…Do not Rub Your Puppy’s Nose In His Accidents! Do not hit your puppy for an accident! Do not punish your puppy if you find an accident! Never punish your puppy after the fact. Your puppy will think you are punishing him for whatever is happening at the time of the correction. Your puppy will not make the connection that this is an area that he previously soiled and that is why you are punishing.

Puppy Clean Up

If your puppy pees or poops on the floor or carpet make sure you clean it up immediately (I’m sure I really didn’t have to say that). However, if your puppy smells the pee or poop on the floor then he will return to this spot to pee again. In order to remove all the stain and order we like to use an enzyme-based remover like Nature’s Miracle. Nature’s Miracle claims to permanently eliminate all stains and odors even urine odors other products fail to remove. We’ve used Nature’s Miracle with all of our puppies and have found it to be very effective.

One final note…always remember to bring some dog poop bags when you’re out on your walks.  One of our biggest pet peeves is the person who does not pickup after their puppy.  It’s bad for the environment and for some reason the bottom of my shoe seems to always find the dog poop that was left behind. I hope this little guide helps you with your puppy potty training basics.

If you have any questions about how to potty train your puppy then please feel free to leave us a comment in the comments section below. If you want to read more great puppy training tips then please subscribe to our blog at any one of  our channels(or if you’re slightly more daring all or our channels): Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS, Newsletter.


  1. Shawna says

    We just brough home our 8 week old retreiver/collie cross yesterday. She shared a crate with her siblings so is kind of used to that (it was kept open all the time I believe). They also used newspaper in the area near the door for the puppies to pee/poo on. They would also let them in the connecting kitchen and put paper down after they woke up from a nap. When we were there a week ago, our puppy (Ginger) jumped over the small board to get to the paper at the back door instead of using the ones in the kitchen. We leash her and carry her down the stairs to her potty spot which is some gravel/rocks beside the walkway that has/had newspaper that we brought from her home that had her or her siblings urine on it. She usually goes within 5 min. She had one accident but it was right at the back door. She did great after that.
    Early this morning (2:30 am) she whined so we went outside. She pooed but didn’t pee. When I put her back in her crate and went to bed she whined and cried. I left her for about 10-15 min and then took her outside again. Nothing. We repeated this process a couple of times (with a couple of short naps in between) until 6:30. During these potty outings she would whineand tug at the leash, trying to get to the grass or sit and wash herself or shiver. After 6:30, which was her longest quiet/nap stretch) I took her out again and still nothing. I fed her and about 2 min later she peed near the back door before I could get there. For the next hour we tried going outside for 5-10 min and then in the cratefor 5-10min which is what i read that you should do. During this timeshe whines and cries. I wait until she is quiet before taking her out and taking her potty. She finally pooed again and then walked over to the grass and peed. She peed again an hr later just after her nap and has gone few times since. Just before lunch, after playing, we tried agan, no luck, fed her lunch, tried again, nothing. She had a nap and then peed farther away from the door before we got to her. Since then she has not pooed or peed, even with repeated potty outings. She does the same as in the early morning (shivering/whining/tugging/or just lays down between or on our feet). Had another nap and we immediately took her out upon waking. Now she is curled up in the wet newspaper (it’s raining) and appears to be napping. Is there anything we are doing wrong? Is it punishment to crate them after they haven’t “gone potty”? Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Shawna,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! It sounds like you’re doing things right. In our experiences raising puppies it’s taken anywhere from a week or two to a couple months to potty train our pups. At 8 weeks old a lot of puppies don’t have full control of their bladders and sometimes seem to pee randomly. They also can’t hold it very long. At this time you probably need to be patient, persistent, and consistent with your puppy and her potty training.

      By the way, to answer your questions: It doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong. During crate training when our puppies do not pee we will sometimes put them back in their crate.

      Good luck with your training!

  2. Heidi says

    I have a now 13 week old husky Shepard collie that we just adopted 1 week ago. She was doing great in her crate and an still struggling with her potty training. We are up in Saskatchewan abd it’s been extremely cold temperatures lately and she’s gotten into the habit of doing pee and poop on the deck/outside porch. Now the last few days I’ve been going out with her every time to show her where to go. She seems to get it when I take her but I have a 1 year old son so I’m now able to go with her every time and if I don’t go with her she goes right to the deck again. Any suggestions? Also she was doing extremely well with her crate training and sleeping all night with put whining to pee. Now the last day or so she’s peed twice in her crate. Once in the am and I just noticed it again in her crate. I’m taking her out every 20 min and she’s going every time so I have no Idea why she is starting this??? Thanks !

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! If she’s still going on the deck you might want to try and thoroughly clean the deck with an enzymatic cleaner to get any scent of urine out. If she can smell the scent of urine she will want to pee on that spot. Again you will want to thoroughly clean her crate. If she’s having accidents in the middle of the night then make sure you relieve her just before bedtime. Also, you might want to remove any blankets or anything plush from the crate. One of our puppy’s has had accidents in the crate because she had a bladder infection which required a visit to the vet.

      Good luck with your training!

      • Erica says

        My dog is 9 months old and has been potty trained & crate trained for several months. However, she is peeing & pooping in the crate every day while we are at work. She is the crate for 6-7 hours, is this why or is it medical? Or could we be doing something else because she does not seem to mind “going where she sleeps,” and will sometimes even try to cover it up since she knows it’s wrong… Help!

        • says

          Hi Erica,

          You might want to bring in a professional dog trainer to assess your situation. In our experience 6-7 hours in the crate every day can be a problem. We’ve seen some puppies that have developed anxiety and will have accidents in the crate because of the anxiety. Another thing I’d like to bring up is every puppy/dog is different. Both of my dogs are potty trained. However, Stetson will occasionally have accidents in the house because he just can’t “hold it” sometimes. Linus on the other hand has not had an accident in the house since he was about 12 weeks old. In fact, we actually accidentally trained Linus to only potty on the grass. We discovered this when we took him camping. He did not poop or pee for over 24 hours because he refused to potty on the dirt. We nearly had to drive him back down the mountain to find a patch of grass for him. Luckily after about a day and a half he took the longest pee ever on the dirt! (think Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own).

          This could also be a medical issue. If you think this is the case then you should take your puppy to the vet.

          Hopefully that helps.

          Take care,

  3. Julia says

    We adopted a 10 week old puppy last week (when she was 9 weeks old) at a Petsmart adoption. She is crate trained, leash trained, and knows sit, stay, and down. The only problem is House training. She knows to potty when she’s outside, not to poop in the house, and that the bell means outside (since she always runs away when she hears it). We think it is because she hates cold. She always runs back to the steps, and shivers when we go outside. She also peed in her crate twice, even though we blocked off the back to make it smaller for her. We praise her when she goes out, but I think the cold overpowers the praise. How do we make her go outside?

    • says

      We live in southern California and it’s been uncharacteristically warm this year and we do not have to deal with the extreme cold. However, if this were my puppy I would consider trying to find a place outside where it might not be as cold. We used to live in a smaller condo so we had our pups potty on the patio using the Urban Potty: You might try something similar to keep your pups out of the cold. Also, anywhere your puppy has had an accident you will want to clean with an enzymatic cleaner to keep your pup from going back and being tempted to potty in the same spot. Good luck with your training!

  4. Megan Shea says

    Dear Colby,
    I really appreciate your website…thank you for all your great information. We have a 12 week old female chocolate lab, Lucy. We have been trying to be really consistent and if she is not in her crate she is in a small “pen” type area by the laundry room. We have gotten pretty good at anticipating when she needs to go and helping prevent accidents. We have made big strides in the last week or so. However, in the evening we are trying to let her spend time with us after the kids are in bed by letting sit in the family room while we watch tv. She is under direct supervision and I take her out to her potty spot before we let her in the room. She will usually relieve herself outside, but usually within about 15 minutes she gets so excited from having the freedom and running around that she will have a small accident. We are catching her and saying no and then taking her outside… but wondering if you have any other suggestions. Thanks so much and have a great week!

    • says

      Hi Megan,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! She’s still pretty young and probably doesn’t have great control of her bladder just yet. One thing you might try doing when you bring her inside is keeper calmer and under control instead of her run around getting excited. We keep a leash on our pups in doors up until they are fully potty trained that way we have better control of their activity and can keep them from getting overly excited.

      One trainer I used to work with always said “Play makes Pee!” and she recommended taking your puppy out every 5-10 minutes when she is playing.

      Good luck with your training!

    • says

      When we first brought home Linus it rained for 2 weeks straight. Needless to say we had similar problems getting him to go outside during those first couple weeks. Back then we carried him out to his potty spot then carried him back into the house.

  5. Julia says

    Sorry about the 2 almost the same comments. After I posted the first one, I checked for a reply a few days after. I didn’t see my comment, so I posted a new one. Then my old one showed up.

    • says

      No problem. I have comment set to moderate before posting because of all the spam comments that come through. Thanks for visiting the site!

  6. Sam says

    Hi there! We have a 5 and a half month old Morkie pup. She took to potty training really well at first – we would stick to her schedule and take her out after eating, and she also started to go to the door herself and indicate that she needed to “go”.
    However, now she’s stopped being interested in her food as much (she used to eat it all in a few minutes, now it takes over an hour). And she’s no longer “going” according to her schedule – in fact there’s no rhyme or reason to when she’s going. I’m wondering if you have any advice about what do to to get her back on schedule?
    Also, how is it that pups learn to “hold it” when they’re not let out right away? Our pup is really good at telling us she needs to go, but it happens so often- and if we don’t catch her signal, she goes on the spot! Is there anything we can do to teach her that if she doesn’t get let out immediately that she’s still supposed to hold it?
    Many thanks!

    • says

      Hi Sam,

      We’ve always crate trained our puppies and that is one way our pup’s are trained to “hold it”. If your puppy is having accidents at 5 1/2 months of age you might try rolling back on your house training. I would give her less freedom around the house and keep a constant eye on her 24/7 until she learns again that she’s not supposed to potty in the house. Good luck with your training!

      Take care,

  7. Julia says

    Koko now loves to play in the snow! Do you know how to bell train a dog? We are trying to bell train Koko but so far no luck. Also, do you give advice for other topics other than house training?

    • says

      Hi Julia,

      We don’t bell train our dogs, but I’m sure you can find a good tutorial online on how to train your puppy. We use this site to talk about all of the things (training, socialization, house manners) we do with our guide and service dog puppies to prepare them for their jobs as working dogs.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Julia says

    Whenever I play piano, Koko whines her head off. Some whines even turn into something like a howl. My mom and I don’t know why she does it, or how to stop it. Do you know why she does it?

  9. Sheryl says

    I have had my puppy since he was 5 weeks old. He is 14 weeks old now and very smart. He know “sit”, “lay down”, comes when called but I can’t get him potty trained. Since he was so young when I got him I used puppy pads to start with. He would go every time to the puppy pad. Every time I take him outside he pees right away and he poops pretty much on command. The problem is after I take him outside and he pees, he comes back in and will pee in the house. Sometimes he can make it an hour or two and sometimes he will pee 2-3 withing the hour. He also doesn’t stop to pee in the house, he just pees while he is running; so I have a trail of pee to clean. The most frustrating thing is I stayed with a family member for 3 days at their house and he only had 2 accidents. I came home and washed my hard wood floors good and every time he has an accident I clean it right away with a good floor cleaner with an enzyme in it….Help. Also I should say that he is crate trained and goes 9 hours at night while I work and 4-6 hours during the day while I sleep with no accidents.

    • says

      Your puppy is still pretty young so it’s not too surprising that he still hasn’t figured out potty training. A few things you might try:

      1. If he’s going potty in the house right after he goes outside (this is very common for young pups). My puppy used to do this. I learned to wait outside a little longer after he goes the first time. Young puppy’s don’t always have full control of their bladders and sometimes don’t get it all out on the first go around.
      2. At puppy class we always say play makes pee. When our puppies are awake and playing they seem to potty every 10 minutes. We keep a close eye on our pup’s when their awake and watch for signs that they have to potty like circling, sniffing, etc.
      3. When our puppies are not yet potty trained we keep them on leash and within sight 24/7. If we are not watching them then we crate them.

      Like I said your puppy is still young. Remain patient, consistent, and persistent with his training and he’ll get it.

  10. Alyssa says


    I have a rescue dog (she’s an adult) whose housetraining has been a slow going process – normally I don’t have issues housetraining as I have a service dog also who I trained with the support of a adi registered service dog training/placement organisation. This rescue is her companion at home as I started to find that my service dog was becoming a little bit too humanised and forgetting that she is in fact a dog and is sometimes aloud to do doggy things. – but to get back on topic, THIS RESCUE JUST WILL NOT GO TO THE TOILET ON ANY SURFACE OTHER THAN GRASS – I’m starting to use one strange surface at a time – and using the first pea in the morning as the training exercise and after meals as well – but she will not go unless she’s on grass… thankfully she does “go toilet” on cue as being a service dog handler this is how I’m used to training all my dogs – but it’s harder again given that this rescue is an adult – what suggestions can anyone give for encouraging doing her business *wherever* I ask her to? Nb: puppy pads don’t work as they too closely resemble the happy mat… I’ve tried that strategy.

    • says

      Hi Alyssa,

      I had this same problem with my first puppy. I unknowingly trained him to only do his business on the grass. It was great because he was house trained faster than any other dog I trained. However, when he was about a 9 months old we took him on a camping trip where there was no grass only dirt. He seriously did not pee or poop for over 24 hours he was so adamant on not going potty in the dirt. Fortunately, he gave in and did go on the dirt and it took him about 2 minutes to get it all out (think Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own).

      When we work with our puppies we do the exact same thing you are doing and work on getting them to potty on different surfaces by using times when we are sure they need to potty. One of the surfaces our pups usually don’t like to “get busy” on is cement/sidewalk. It takes some time and patience, but we shorten up our leash, stand in one place, issue our potty command “get busy” and wait for our pups to do their business. It can sometimes take a while and I know for an older dog it will be more difficult since they have much better control over their bladder.

      Another thing we do with our puppies is if they do not go potty in a 10 minute window then we’ll bring them back in the house, crate them for a short period of time, and then bring them back out to their potty spot for another chance to “get busy”. Usually the second time they will do their business.

      Hopefully that helps a little.

      Good luck with your training!

  11. Terri says

    I have a 5 month old chocolate lab who will go potty and poop out side when you take him out and tell him to go potty, but still will go potty in the house if you dont watch him every second. He also just walks and pees and doesnt stop, it appears that he doesnt fully empty his bladder all the time when he goes out side. If i try to reward him with a treat for going out side the next time i take him out to go he waits for the treat and doesnt go potty he just stands there looking for a treat. so i stopped treats and just use verbally rewards. He also was good at night in the crate and now sometimes has accidents even thou he goes potty before bed. He is in a crate for 8 to 9 hours a day while we work and every day now it is poop and pee mess when we come home in the crate to the point where we have to give him a bath and completly wash down the crate, it is getting very frustrating. The other day my husband came home at noon and left him out to go and at 4 pm came home to a mess in the crate anyhow. It is almost like he does it on purpose. He will be 6 months old in a 2 weeks and i feel we should be further along than this. any suggestions ?

    • says

      You might look into having a professional dog trainer come in to help you with your puppy’s training. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with a few of the things you’ve described. We watch our puppies every second of the day until they are potty trained. Every time our puppy has an accident in the house we have taken a step backward on his potty training therefore it’s important to make sure they do not have accident by watching them constantly.

      We’ve had similar issues with our pup’s not fully emptying his bladder. In this case we stay outside a few extra minutes to make sure our pup is fully relieved.

      Verbal rewards instead of treat rewards for outside potty is a great idea!

      Here’s a post on accidents in crate:

      If we have to crate our puppy for more than 4 hours in a day we get a friend, neighbor, or puppy sitter to watch our puppy for the day. 8-9 hours in the crate may be too long for your puppy and he may be experiencing anxiety.

      Hopefully all of that helps. Good luck with your training!

  12. Becky says

    We are preparing the house for a puppy, but planned to have the wire kennel/den downstairs, since that is where we spend most of our time (kitchen, living area, etc.) However, both bedrooms are upstairs, and it seems difficult to haul a wire crate upstairs nightly. Snould we use a smaller travel crate for bedtime upstairs while the puppy is young? If so, will the dog be comfortable sleeping downstairs in the larger kennel once it can go the night without potty breaks? Any recommendations are welcome!

    • says

      Hi Becky,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! We always keep our crate in the bedroom right next to our bed, but this is more because it’s a requirement from our guide dog school. A smaller travel crate upstairs would be fine as long as it’s big enough for your puppy. If the travel crate is made of mesh then there’s a chance your puppy will try chewing on the mesh if he’s bored. Over time all of our puppies have gotten used to their crate and it hasn’t been a problem crating them in other parts of the house.

      Good luck with your training!

  13. Kathleen says


    I love your website and all the great advice! I have a 15 week old mini goldendoodle, I got him at 8 weeks old. He usually goes to the bathroom outside, we have had a few accidents, mostly human error because I wasn’t watching closely enough and missed the signs. He is crate trained, the crate is in the kitchen and I have baby gates at both doorways. My kitchen is fairly large and cozy, so I typically spend most of my time in there (not because of the puppy), and when I walk out of the kitchen, he will wait at the gate for me to return. Recently, when I leave the kitchen, he pees in front of the gate, and because he waits for me there, he walks in it. It is not every time I leave, but at least once a day, even if he just went outside to potty. Any thoughts as to why he is doing this? Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Kathleen,

      If he’s doing this on a regular basis a few things you might try are:

      1. Thoroughly clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner. If he can smell the urine then there’s a much higher likelihood that he will want to potty there. A dog’s sense of smell is 1000’s o times better than humans so even if you clean it with regular cleaning product there’s a good chance he can still detect the urine.
      2. Make sure your puppy has totally relieved himself. Puppies at this age will often potty, but not get it all out. I sometimes stay outside with my puppy for a good 10 minutes even after they’ve relieved before coming back in the house.
      3. All of my dogs are potty trained and 2 out of 3 never have accidents. The third one has accidents because he has a weaker bladder and sometimes he just can’t hold it. When he does have an accident it’s right in front of the sliding door where I let him out to go potty. He’s obviously waiting for me to let him out. The same thing could be happening with your puppy.

      I hope that helps. Good luck with your training!

      Take care,

  14. Maria says

    I have a 12 week old miniature schnauzer. He is not housebroken. I take him outside for 15-20 minutes so he can go to the bathroom, but he never goes. I bring him in and out him on the pee pad, he again won’t go and 30 seconds later he pees on the floor. I take him out every hour , after eating or napping, after playing and after being in his crate. He hates his crate and cries and barks incessantly. So far I have only used the crate at night or when I’m out of the house. I’m home virtually all the time. What am I doing wrong?

    • says

      Hi Maria,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! First, make sure you thoroughly clean any area of the house that your puppy had an accident at with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. If your puppy can smell his accident there’s a good chance he’ll want to potty in the same spot.

      When our puppies are young and they don’t potty when we take them outside we bring them back to their crate for 5-10 minutes and then try again.

      It’s a good idea to practice crate training when your home with your puppy not just when you put him to bed and when you leave the house. I’m not sure if you saw our post on crate training, but just in case here’s the link:

      Hopefully that helps.

      Good luck with your training!

  15. Charu says

    I have a 15 week old Shinese puppy..mix of shihtzu and Pekingese. I got her a week ago and love her to death! I used the pee pads since that was what she was used to. However, I would like to train her to eliminate on the grass outside my backyard. So I got rid of the peepads inside the house and she started using the outside pee pads and concrete to go potty. How do I get her to go on the grass? Should I move the peepad closer to the grass or get rid of them entirely ? Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
    Thank you,

    • says

      Hi Charu,

      When we work on potty training we always have our puppy on leash and walk them out to their potty spot. You might try doing the same until your puppy understands that she is supposed to do her business on the grass rather than the concrete.

      Good luck with your training!

  16. Sally says

    We got my new Rottie pup 2 weeks ago at age 8 weeks. We started potty training and crate training immediately and although he had the almost expected accidents in the house, he would be completely dry in the crate in the am. All of a sudden for the last 2 or 3 days he has been peeing in the crate overnight. we had to remove his toys from the crate as they would get wet along with him and he needed bathed for the last 2 days. I’m wondering why this is happening. He was so good in the crate for the first 2 weeks. Should I open up the divider in the crate to give him more room and place a pee pad in the back of the crate so he doesn’t have to lay in it? I have always thought it was best to not give them too much room in the crate as that would encourage accidents in the crate. I’ve potty trained many pups in my life and thought I was doing the right thing. He has no problem going outside and seems to understand to a degree that going outside is the proper thing. I say to a degree as pups are like babies and will still have accidents until they are completely housebroke and old enough to hold it and understand that this is the only accepted behavior for going potty. Any suggestions would be helpful as I do not want him to be laying in his pee and having to have baths everyday. But especially don’t want him to have to lay there in it until someone wakes up to attend to him. Perhaps I should set an alarm at a certain time in the middle of the night to take him out. However, I personally am not here every night as I work night shift and the others in the house may not accomodate this. My schedule hasn’t changed since we got him so household schedule has been consistent.

    • says

      Hi Sally,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! If this were my puppy I would not increase the size of the crate and add pee pads. It’s tough to tell what’s going on without actually observing everything that is happening in your day with your puppy. We had a puppy that had unexpected accidents after she seemed to “get it” and it ended up being a bladder infection. We’ve also seen puppies have unexpected accidents in the crate when they spend too much time in their crate throughout the day. Also, make sure and thoroughly cleanup your crate after any accident with an enzymatic cleaner so your puppy can’t smell the accident.

      It’s tough to tell without actually being there, but if you’re still having issues you may want to bring in a professional dog trainer for an in-home training session.

      Good luck with your training!

  17. corinne says

    We are picking up our six week old puppy tomorrow and I start school in 3 weeks. He will have to be alone for about 7 hours 2-3 days a week. We are going to leave him in our bathroom. What is the best way to not screw up our training efforts? They are trained to go on newspapers. Should I continue that until he is old enough to stay outside? I am not sure the best course of action. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Corinne,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Unfortunately, leaving your puppy home alone for that long a period of time is not the best idea. You might consider having a friend, family member, neighbor, or puppy sitter stop by throughout the day to give your puppy some attention. If your puppy stays home alone that long many days in a row he may develop behavior problems.

      Good luck with your training!

  18. Claudia says

    I just recently got a 6 week old chihuahua and I’ve been pretty consitant with her. I’ve read that very young puppies have to be fed 4-5 times a day so I’ve made her a feeding schedule and my family and I follow that pretty well. When she’s not in her crate she’s picked up the fact that if she’s not let out she can go pee on the puppy training pad. She does have her accidents around the house but if we catch her soon enough we quickly put her on the pad. This is her potty spot in the house. But recently after she takes her naps in her crate or after waking up in the morning she pees in her crate, and only after that does she whine to be let out. It’s happened a few times already and I always try to keep a close eye on her but sometimes she gets away with it. Crate size is not the issue. I’ve bought a bigger crate so she’ll have it when she grows up but it came with a divider so I sectioned off a big enough spot for her size and she has one or two toys in with her. Also when she does pee in her crate she will not go back in haha. So how can I properly train her to not pee in her crate so I won’t have any future problems when she gets older?

    • Claudia says

      I also forgot to add that when I was doing some crate training research I found that after your puppy eats you should let her out immediately. If she does not pee or poo during that time she’s outside put her in her crate and wait 10-20 minutes and let her out again to teach her that in the crate you have to hold it in. When I do that she whines uncontrollably and I know I shouldn’t keep her in there if that happens. So how do I show her that being in there is not a bad thing? Also how to reinforce to hold it in while in the crate?

      • says

        Yes, we put our puppies back in the crate if they haven’t gone potty after eating exactly as you mentioned. However, you shouldn’t let your puppy out of the crate when she’s whining/crying this will just reinforce the bad behavior. You need to wait until she stops crying before you let her out of the crate.

    • says

      One thing you might try is setting your alarm to get your puppy out of the crate before she has an accident. Also, make sure you thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner after any accident. You also might consider removing any bedding from the crate.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

  19. Christianna says

    Hi….. I just bought a new puppy… She is a terrierpoodle and 2 months old….. How do I house train her to pee and poo fast because school is going to start soon and my whole family will be gone around 8 hours from home… Also I don’t have a crate but a closed up space with a bed…. She pees a lot and also poos around 3 times a day…. And almost always it’s around the house and it annoys my mother…. Pls help,…. My mom does not allow us to take her out because she will be cleaned again……..
    Thank you…

    • says

      Hi Christianna,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Everything you need to know should be in this article. Let me know if you have any specific questions.


  20. Vani says

    Hi, We just brought our 3mth old pup home. Since we stay in an apartment, we use the pee tray for his potty training. However, when we bring to the potty area, he thinks its time to play. what can I do

    • says

      Hi Vani,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! A lot of puppies like to play when they reach their potty area. We always take our pups to the potty area on leash, stand, and wait until they’ve done their business. If they are trying to play we typically don’t acknowledge them. If your pup is trying to play with his leash you might try using bitter apple spray on the leash.

      Good luck with your training!

  21. Amanda says

    Hi there,
    I have a 15week old puppy who has been trained to pee and poo on grass. Unfortunately he spend most of his time on the deck so I want to train him to use a pee pad but he refuses to go. He held himself for 6 hours yesterday before I had to take him to the grass because we were going to the vets. When I take him to the pee pad on leash in the morning he just stares at me and will eventually sit down. He has peed on the deck before I have managed to catch him. I have also tried using pheromones on the pee pad to encourage him to go. Any tips on how I can get him to go on the pee pad?

  22. Liz says

    I have a coonhound and bloodhound mix. When we brought our dog home in May he was eight weeks. We crate trained but didn’t realize our puppy had a massive bladder infection when we adopted him. Even though we took him out every two hours during the night he stilled had accidents in his crates. Just peeing in the crate. It took the vet a little over a month to get the bladder infection clear. We had to go to another vet because the first one told us it was a birth defect and get rid of the puppy. Once he was better we worked on taking him out every two hours. He is now 7 months old and we try to take him out twice during the night. He refuses to come out of the crate and will growl and try to bite us. We have never used the crate as punishment but he sleeps hard and pees in his sleep. I have to watch him like a hawk when he is napping by me in the house. When I see him dripping I immediately take him out, but he just flops on the ground and sleeps and pees on himself. We remove water at seven and put him in bed at 945 pm because that is the last time he will go potty. He is hound and his nose is to the ground all the time and he doesn’t whine it is hard to get him to tell us he has to go. He will sit by the back door during the day and I let him out. I just don’t know what to do about the night when he refuses to go potty.

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