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Puppy Potty Training - Bad Dogs Wanted

Tinkle here, tinkle there, tinkle everywhere, but outside.

Puppy potty training can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 when consistency is the name of the game.


Is your cute new little fur ball tap dancing on your last nerve a little while trying to master "go potty outside"? Guess what? You and every new puppy parent struggles no matter the dog or the breed! You're in luck. Below is my easy-to-follow puppy training tips and downloadable "Puppy Potty Training Schedule" ready for you and the new bundle of fuzz to conquer.

Confinement is not punishment

Confinement in a crate or small area is used to teach your puppy’s bladder and bowels how to physically hold urine and feces. Puppies will typically not ‘go’ in a confined area. The more consistent the training, the faster your puppy will learn where to potty, and also how to hold her bladder and bowels. You will alternate confinement and free time until your puppy learns the appropriate time and place to go potty. Every time your puppy comes out of her crate, take her outside. 

The entire puppy potty training process can take 2-6 weeks

Please don’t become discouraged.  Follow these guidelines, and remember- they are only puppies once!


Puppy's food and feeding schedule can play a role

If you are having issues, adjust feeding schedules so your puppy is only fed three times a day (what goes in comes out, so having free access to food and water can hinder the process). Also, if your puppy seems to go ‘all the time’, consider having a urinalysis and fecal test done to rule out anything medical. It is VERY common for puppies to have UTIs and bacteria in their gut/intestines. A premium human-grade, meat-based food and a probiotic and pumpkin can help save the day, too!  Too many grains and fillers will cause your puppy to poop more.

No bells

I do not suggest potty training your puppy to a bell to let you know when she has to go outside. It is much more effective to teach your puppy to hold it until you take her out. This will set your puppy up for success in the future. What if, when she rings the bell and you’re not there?


Accidents happen

If your puppy has an accident, DO NOT scold him.  This could lead to many behavior problems.  If you catch him ‘in the act’, pick her up, and carry her outside to finish.  Reward her, and then put her in her crate.

If you work during the day

Try to plan and arrange to come home at lunch or have someone to take your puppy out every 2-3 hours. You can also set up a puppy play-pen, within an ex-pen, with some potty pads or a patch of grass.


Here is the suggested routine to quickly train your puppy to potty outside and avoid accidents in the house:


  • In the morning, carry the puppy outside, place her on the ground (with leash attached), and give a command like “Go Potty”. Allow 3-5 minutes for urination/defecation. No leaf chasing or grass sniffing! Gently repeat the command and soon as the puppy responds, treat and praise immediately.  Always bring a treat outside with you, and walk around you’re your puppy as movement can help get things going. Reward urinating/defecating immediately (within 1 second) after it happens. Praise and treat.

  • If the puppy doesn’t potty within 3-5 minutes, bring her inside and put her back in her crate for 20-30 minutes. Try again.

  • When your puppy goes potty outside, bring her in and give her 30 minutes of free time in a confined area. You should be with her during this time. The confinement area should be a small mudroom or doggie exercise pen.

  • Adhere strictly to the suggested schedule. Accidents mean too much freedom!


Puppy potty training phases to gradually reward with more free time

Phase 1
Puppy potties outside = ½ -hour free time then 1 ½-hours confinement. This routine will continue until your puppy goes potty outside consistently.  Then you can experiment with giving him more freedom and less confinement.


Phase 2
Puppy potties outside = 1-hour free-time then 2-hours confinement. When your puppy becomes reliable with this amount of time, increase ‘free-time’ again.


Phase 3
Puppy potties outside = 2-hour free-time then 2-hours confinement. Continue to increase free time as your puppy becomes more reliable with ‘holding it’.


Below is my Puppy Potty Training Schedule & Journal printable so you can keep track of your puppy’s schedule. It works really well and when I am potty training a puppy, I live by it!​

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