How to Potty Train a Puppy

Having trouble house training a stubborn puppy? This five point how to on puppy potty training will help set you up for success.

Teaching your new puppy that the bathroom is outside for him can sometimes seem impossible. However, with some know-how and a little patience, you can train even the most stubborn members of your pack to take their business outdoors.

Observe Your Puppy:

Keep an eye on the little rascal. Does he act a certain way prior to going on the floor (excessive sniffing, circling, trying to get your attention)? Learn to recognize your puppy's signals and get him outside as soon as possible.

Praise, Don't Punish:

If you find a spot where your puppy did no good, DO NOT find him, scream at him, or rub his nose in it. Your puppy has long forgotten about his dirty deed, and will not associate the punishment with the act (he'll just think you're being mean or just plain crazy). Just clean up the mess (making sure to mask the sent with an odor neutralizer) and keep an eye on the spot. If he starts sniffing around there he's probably up to no good again. If you catch him "mid stream" get him outside ASAP and as he finishes his business, treat him like a rock star.

Proper Potty Pad Use:

The "potty pads" that you can purchase from most pet stores are great potty training tools if used properly. They are scented to encourage your puppy to go on top of them. If your little guy has a favorite potty spot throw one down, he's going to go there anyways, at least now it's on an absorbent pad. If you see your puppy sniffing around the pad, take him out. Place a pad by the door and your puppy will soon associate him sitting by the door as "I need to go out".

Crate Training:

Teach your puppy to sleep in a crate. He will whine and cry before he soils where he has to sleep. Just make sure to act quickly when he calls for you. Once again, make sure he gets plenty of praise when he does his business outside.

Resorting to an Umbilical Lead:

If your puppy likes to sneak off to his not-so-secret potty place, and you never catch him in the act, it may be necessary to become attached at the hip (literally). An Umbilical Lead is simply a leash with a hook on both ends. Attach one end to your puppy, and the other to your belt loop. Sure it's going to be a headache having a puppy tied to your belt, but you are sure to be there the next time he has to go. Don't fret, if you keep vigilant and praise your pooch often, it shouldn't take more than a week to get the point across.


  • Bowel movements are directly related to feeding times, if you feed your puppy on a schedule, he'll go on a schedule.
  • Do not allow your puppy to drink water right before you put him to bed, they have tiny bladders.
  • Remember you are the pack leader. If you let him know what you want, your puppy will be eager to please.