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Potty Training Your Dog or Puppy

Welcoming a new member of the family is always an exciting time.  Whether it’s a new puppy or an older rescue dog, the happiness they bring into the home is simply wonderful.  However, what’s not exactly wonderful is cleaning up accidents on your carpet. Luckily there is hope. With patience, persistence, and consistency canine potty training can help them learn their new role in the home.

Here are the best methods and tips we’ve found for puppy or adult dog potty training from the AKC’s director of Canine Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy Programs, Mary Burch, Ph.D.

Top Two Methods of Puppy Potty Training

Top Tips for Success

Make a schedule & monitor their behavior

A good schedule is imperative in potty training. Young puppies need to use the bathroom often because of their small size. That’s why it’s important to have them on a schedule and set up good habits. To start out with a young puppy you should have a schedule similar to this:

  • First thing in the morning
  • Before bed at night
  • After playing
  • After crating
  • When they wake up from a nap
  • Upon finishing a meal or drinking

It may sound like a lot and to be honest at first, it can be. That’s why the faster you get them into a routine of where and when to go potty, they quicker you’ll get your life back. Plus, make sure to hire a dog walker or if you can, bring your puppy with you if you’re going to be out of the house for a while. Watching your puppy carefully is also key. You’ll start to learn their signals and rhythms, things that will tip you off that they are in need of a bathroom break.

Control their Diet

Since puppies are still developing their digestive systems, it is recommended that you break the feedings into three small meals. Small meals and higher quality food keeps their bowel movements consistent and cleaner. Overfeeding or feeding them the wrong food for them could provoke diarrhea, something nobody ever wants, especially during training.


Positive reinforcement with praise

Lavish your puppy with praise when they do the deed correctly. This is far better than scolding them for having an accident. Don’t hold back, cheer and clap, give them treats and big cuddles. Contrastly, if they have an accident try not to make a huge deal about it and shame them. This could lead to adverse behavior such as hiding to potty or even eating it to clean up the mess.

And lastly, consistency is key when it comes to training your new dog to use the bathroom outside or in a specific area. Only following the routine sometimes will confuse your dog and cause more accidents; it basically sabotages all your efforts leaving both of your frustrated.  

Having a new family member can be a little bit of work at first, but it’s more than worth it! What are your experiences when you potty trained your dog? We’d love to hear some stories! And if you’re just starting out, make sure to contact us if you need help with potty breaks to keep them on track.