So, you have a new puppy! It’s time to teach your pup some simple rules about toilet training. Puppy toilet training is not difficult, however, it takes time, patience and consistency to gain the best results.

Here’s a few puppy toilet training do’s and don’ts to set your new pup up for success and become a well-mannered canine companion.

Puppy toilet training do’s

  • puppy toilet training do's and don'ts.

    Puppy toilet training – be patient, consistent and reward! reward! reward! Photo: Jairo Alzate/

    Choose a preferred area for your puppy to use for toileting. Be consistent so that he does not become confused.

  • Walk out with your puppy on a lead to the designated area for toileting. It’s preferable to take him out on a lead so that he cannot leave the designated area. If your pup is small and cannot walk down stairs, you may need to carry him initially.
  • If you live in an apartment, choose an area indoors that’s easily washable and away from your puppy’s sleeping and eating area, near an external door if possible. You’ll need a large piece of textured surface such as ‘pee pads’, newspaper, imitation grass or a square of fresh turf or even a box of dirt. It’s important to take him outdoors as often as possible and praise for toileting there also. Gradually wean him from toileting inside.
  • Initially use a playpen or room in your house or apartment to confine the pup (with the pee pads) when you have to leave your puppy. e.g, to go to work
  • When you take your pup outside for toileting, make yourself to be very boring. You could fold your arms and look away from the pup then wait until he has eliminated.
  • If your puppy needs a little encouragement to go to the toilet, you can move around in small circles as this tends to be part of a dog’s toileting ritual.
  • Once he has toileted (not while he is in the process!), praise him using a happy voice tone and reward him with a treat.
  • Stay with your puppy while he toilets – this way you can be ready to praise and reward with a treat – and you’ll know for sure that he has eliminated.
  • Allow him enough time to empty completely, or he may want to go again sooner than expected.
  • Observe your puppy closely to identify certain behaviours that indicate he wants to go. He may start sniffing the ground and circling.
  • Take him out every 1 – 2 hours at eight weeks of age to give him plenty of chances to succeed. As he gets older you can increase the time between toileting.
  • Take him out after – he wakes up, he eats or drinks and a period of play. It helps to schedule a regular short walk outside after feed-time so this becomes a habit for you and your pup.
  • Thoroughly clean any areas that have been soiled inappropriately with an enzymatic laundry detergent like BioZet, or a good soap based cleaner, then rinse with water and apply a commercial pet odour neutralizer like Urine Off.

Puppy toilet training don’ts

  • When you take your puppy on a lead out to the designated area, never use the lead to reprimand him
  • When accompanying your puppy outside, don’t get side-tracked by play! You need to stand still, make yourself to be boring and wait for him to go.
  • Don’t let your puppy go outside on his own until he is reliably eliminating in the designated area. Even when the weather is bad, go out with your puppy. Ensure you have a treat ready to reward him when he is finished.
  • Never punish your puppy if he toilets inside in the wrong spot. Hitting him or rubbing his nose in his waste is cruel! If you punish your puppy he will believe he is being punished for toileting – he will have no idea that it is where he is toileting that’s the problem.

Source: Delta Institute