Potty Training Ideas

Your puppy by 16 weeks of age should be able to go 4-6 hours overnight without the need for a potty breaks, as long as he/she is resting.  However, for the first  few weeks it is not a bad idea to go out at least once over night while your puppy settles into his new home.

Overnight Tip: Remove access to water 1 – 2 hours before planned bed time to help puppy be successful overnight.

Notes: Young puppies need to potty FREQUENTLY

  • After eating
    • After drinking
    • After waking up from a nap
    • In the middle of heavy playing sessions
    • Sometimes just randomly!
  • The key to knowing when your puppy needs to potty is supervision
    • If you are not watching your puppy like a hawk, you will not know when any of the above things have happened, and you may miss an opportunity to take him outside
  • Supervising Tips:
    • Use a Crate
      • Puppy can go inside a crate when you cannot monitor him closely
      • Make sure the crate is not too big so the puppy can soil one end and sleep comfortably at the other end
      • Make sure puppy has gone potty before going into the crate
      • Make sure puppy has a chew toy to keep him occupied in the crate
      • Leave puppies up to 5 months old in the crate no longer than 4 hours during the day
      • Puppies older than 6 months can go up to 6 hours during the day without a potty break
    • Use Baby Gates
      • Gates help to keep your puppy in the same room as you at all times so that you can easily keep an eye on him
      • If your puppy runs around a corner and you cannot see him, he probably is going to have an accident!
  • Signs to Watch For
    • Sudden focus on excessive sniffing
    • Walking in little circles
    • A sudden urgency and rushing to a particular location
    • Squatting
    • Standing by the door
    • Staring at you
    • Barking for no other apparent reason
  • What To Do When an Accident Happens
    • Sometimes can’t avoid accidents with young puppies, they will happen.
    • Yell “HEY” or “AH” when puppy starts to potty, pick him up and rush outside.  This will startle him and hopefully get him to stop. 
      • You do not want to be mad otherwise the puppy will learn to be scared to go potty in front of you, even if you are outside!
      • If he finishes outside, praise him!
      • If you did not catch him in the act, you cannot do anything but clean up and move on
    • Make sure you use a good enzymatic cleaner for accident clean up like Furry Freshness
    • Accidents usually happen because we miss a sign that the puppy needed to go outside
    • Puppies learn to ask to go outside through building habits, the more often we successfully get them to go outside, the more they will want to repeat this habit on their own.  This mean we have to have good supervision and a good routine established to increase the chances of success.
  • What To Do When Puppy Does Go Outside
    • The obvious thing, say “go potty” and PRAISE HIM!
      • Saying “go potty” every time he goes can teach him to go on command for you. This is extremely useful for traveling.
    • Don’t let puppy play outside before going potty, this is a common mistake.
    • Make puppy potty outside first, so you may need to use a leash to prevent him from playing around.  Sometimes you will need to stand around for 10 minutes until he finally goes.  Once he has gone, then take the leash off and allow him to roam about the yard and play as a reward, be excited with him, play with a toy, give him a treat.
  • How Long Until My Puppy is Potty Trained?
    • Every dog is an individual.  Some “get it” by the time they are about 7 months old, others not until they are 12 months old.
    • Full bladder and bowel control is not established until closer to 10 months of age.
    • Consistency, routine, and supervision is key! 
    • I never trust my dogs left in the house unsupervised until they are closer to 2 years of age anyways!  Not just for potty training purposes, but also to prevent habits of getting into the garbage or other trouble.
  • Questions?
    • Always feel free to contact me if you need help! I am happy to provide tips and suggestions based on your individual situation.
    • I highly recommend puppy training classes, they are not only fantastic for socialization, but you always learn something NEW, and it is comforting to be around other puppy owners they may be having the same challenges as you, and to see what might work for them, and possibly offer them advice for what has been working for you.