Puppy Toilet Training

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How to toilet train?


Lots of patience and lots of praise are the keys to successful toilet training. 


  • It’s important to give your puppy lots of opportunity to toilet outside. 
  • Take them out every hour initially and always after feeding, after being left alone, after sleeping, exercise or after periods of play or excitement (e.g. after visitors).
  • Take them out as soon as you get up in the morning.
  • Make a big fuss of them with lots of patting and praise.
  • Never punish or shout as this will make your puppy nervous and increase the risk of accidents.

Toilet Training Steps

There are signs in your dog’s behaviour that will enable you to predict when he will need to go to the toilet.  For example, they may become fidgety, often sniffing around and begin to circle before squatting. 

  • When you recognise that your dog is thinking about going to the toilet, there are a few steps to follow:
  • Always go with your dog into the garden or correct place so that you are there to reward the successful actions. This will tell him/her that this is the right place to ‘go’.
  • Always try to take your dog to the same place so he/she learns the route.
  • As your dog begins to toilet, use a toileting command that he/she can then associate with correct behaviour; for example, ‘be quick!’ However, patience is important if your dog is initially distracted.  and then come back a few minutes later.
  • Going to the toilet in the correct place should be rewarded immediately with lots of praise, a treat or play. Reward-based training in this way also helps build a good relationship between you and your dog and make him/her feel secure, which will be useful in future training.
  • Don't punish your dog for any accidents as they may become scared to toilet even in the correct place.  It can also lead dogs to eat their poo to avoid being punished.
  • Walk your dog around for a bit longer before going back inside or initiate some play.  This will ensure that he/she does not learn that relieving themselves ends time outside and that your dog does not hold on to the last minute in order to extend playtime.
  • If you see your dog going to the toilet in the wrong place you should interrupt him/her in a way that does not punish them. This is important as otherwise your dog may learn that it is only safe to go when you are not around, which will have a negative effect on housetraining. Take him/her to the correct place and give lots of praise when going to the toilet is performed there.
  • If you find an accident after the event, you should never punish your dog – this may cause your dog to become confused, as he/she will not associate the punishment with the earlier accident.
  • Carefully clean all areas your dog has previously soiled using a warm solution of biological washing powder, (for example, mixing one part biological washing powder to nine parts water before rinsing with water), which will remove all traces of the smell from your house. This will reduce the chance of your dog using this area again.
  • Toilet training should be fun and rewarding for you both! Continue to accompany him/her and reward your dog’s actions with lots of praise to reinforce his/her behaviour in a positive way. If training is continued in this way, your dog will eventually begin to ask to go outside to toilet

For more information please speak with one of our veterinary nurses.