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potty training



5 Keys to Potty Training:

  • Create a routine

  • Crate train them

  • Supervise them & limit their freedom

  • Praise them for going potty outside

  • Handle accidents properly

Create a Routine

  • A general rule of thumb is that puppies can hold their bladders for the same amount of hours as they are months old, ex: 3 month old = 3 hours. 5 months old = 5 hours.

  • Maintaining a set schedule of times throughout the day for potty breaks according to this formula will give your pup the best head start.

  • Keeping set meal times and food amounts will help you better predict your puppy’s potty needs.

  • When changing dog foods be sure to gradually mix the old and new foods together over a few weeks, adding more of the new food every time. Sudden changes in food will likely cause diarrhea.



Crate Training

  • Crate training is the easiest and fastest way to potty train your dog.

  • Dogs don’t like to eliminate where they sleep so keeping them in a small area is the best way to prevent accidents from happening.


  • If a crate is too large your dog may eliminate on one side and still be able to sleep comfortably on the other. Size is important. Crates should be only big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie back down in. You can always get your dog a big comfy crate once they are finished with potty training.

  • Crates should always be a safe happy place for your dog to be and never used as a punishment. Be sure to make crate time a positive experience for them by giving toys, treats, and lots of praise when they’re in there.

  • Although crates are a great potty training tool they do not need to be used throughout their lives if you do not wish.

  • See our section on Crate Training for more details.


Puppies Should Be Given a Potty Break After:

  • Waking up.

  • 10-15 minutes after having food or water.

  • After playing.

  • If you notice them sniffing or circling around.


Supervise Them & Limit Freedom


  • Just like babies, puppies need to be supervised to make sure they’re making the right choices. If they are left to their own devices they’re more likely to make bad choices.

  • Supervision in the beginning stages is especially important, you should keep your puppy within sight and be sure to watch for signs that they have to go.

  • Limit their access to the house. When leaving them or when you are not able to supervise they should always be confined in a crate, gated off area, or puppy-proofed room.


Praise Them for Going Potty Outside

  • Dogs like to go in places where they can smell poo and pee so pick a designated potty spot for them to go in. Bring them back to this potty every time so they develop a routine.

  • When they go potty say “GOOD” and give them lots of praise and treats!

  • Let them enjoy a little more time outside afterwards or a short walk so they don’t think that going potty means the fun ends and we go back inside. Otherwise they’ll take longer and longer to go potty every time.

  • If they do not go at first give them 5-10 minutes to do so. If they still don’t go, bring them back inside and give them another chance in 20-30 minutes.

  • When you bring them back in, crate or confine them until their next potty break. Letting them roam around your home freely after they’ve not gone potty outside is a recipe for an accident.



Handle Accidents Properly

  • If you catch them in the act make a loud sound to interrupt them like “UH-UH” or a loud clap and then immediately bring them outside to finish. If they finish going outside, praise and reward.

  • KEY NOTE: If you find an accident after the fact, do NOT punish them. Many people don’t know that dogs only have a one second learning period to understand if something they did was good or bad. Punishing them after the fact doesn’t teach them it was wrong because they won’t understand. This will only teach them to fear you and encourage them to hide their accidents from you.

  • Clean the accident with an enzymatic cleaner specially made to completely remove pet odor. Beware that ammonia-based cleaners will likely attract the dog back again.

  • Be sure to thoroughly clean with the enzymatic cleaner. If the dog can still smell where they went then they will likely go there again.

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