What is the Best Way to Potty Train a Puppy? Step by Step Guide

Adopting a new puppy is one of the most exciting things! The little bundle of fur just makes your heart melt. However, most dog owners would agree that the potty training process is the most unpleasant part of getting a new puppy. Fortunately, with some research and patience, anyone can train a puppy to go potty outside.

Best Way to Potty Train a Puppy

The Importance of Potty Training

Potty training is crucial for any dog owner. Not only does it make your life easier, but it helps you build a better relationship with your pet. There’s also the cleanliness aspect to it; no one wants to live in a home that reeks of urine.

Moreover, potty training is the first “command” that you teach your dog. Once you master this, you’re likely to have an easier time teaching your dog tricks like sit, shake, and play dead.

What You’ll Need

New puppy parents should have a toolkit of cleaners, toys, treats, and other supplies. Today, we’ll focus only on what you need to potty train your pup.

Create a Schedule/Routine

You’ll want to set aside outdoor time and walks for your dog. Having regular times for her to go potty outdoors will help to solidify a schedule. When your dog can trust that she’ll go outside at specific times during the day, she’s going to be more likely to hold her bladder until then.

A feeding schedule can also work wonders for potty training a puppy. Try to organize your schedule so that feeding coincides with outdoor time.

Temporary Tools & Resources

Puppy pads can be a great stepping stone when potty training your pup. While these pads shouldn’t become a regular tool, they work to reinforce certain behaviors and can help with transitioning your dog to relieving themselves outdoors.

Moreover, enzymatic cleaners will come in handy when cleaning up your dog’s accidents, which will happen! The trick is to thoroughly clean the spot on the floor so that there’s no lingering odor. If you don’t use something like an enzymatic cleaner, then your pup may start to recognize that spot on the floor as their prime potty area.

The Right-Sized Crate

Most professional dog trainers agree that crate training can be highly effective if used the right way. Dogs naturally take to a den-like living space, and they’ll want to keep it clean. Just be sure that the crate is a proper size. Too small and your pup won’t be comfortable. Too big and he’ll use that extra space to make messes you’ll have to clean up later.

Attitude is Everything

When it comes to teaching a young puppy how to properly behave and relieve himself, you’ll get much further with positivity. Reinforce good behavior and stay consistent yet patient.

Puppy Potty Training: Step-by-Step Guide

According to the vast majority of experts, the fastest and most efficient way to potty train a puppy is to use the crate method. Depending on the breed and the health of your pup, you may want to supplement this method with puppy pads (“paper training.”) For instance, toy breeds are prone to leaving rips of urine around the house. Alternatively, your dog may have a health condition that makes potty training more difficult.

Take your time and stick with it. It’s just a matter of consistency and reinforcing those positive behaviors until they stick. It’s okay if it takes your puppy a bit longer than average. Follow these steps for the best results.

1. Come Up With a Potty Schedule

This step is particularly useful for very young puppies, as they’ll need to relieve themselves more often throughout the day. Here’s a general guideline for creating a potty schedule. This may seem excessive, but your puppy needs to learn that there is an approved potty place (outside), so the more you reinforce this, the faster the results.

  • First thing in the morning
  • After meals
  • After indoor playtime
  • After naps
  • After spending time in his crate
  • After drinking
  • Last thing in the evening

2. Observe

Just as human babies have their unique potty schedules, puppies also vary in how long they can hold it and how often they need to relieve themselves. For the first few days of the potty schedule, pay attention to how many times your pup goes potty. This can help you refine or tweak the schedule if necessary.

3. Use a Crate

Some pet owners feel bad about using a crate, but dogs are instinctual den animals. They’ll seek out such a place where you provide it or not. For best results, keep your puppy in her crate whenever she’s not eating, playing, or spending time outside.

When she feels the urge to relieve herself, she’ll paw at the crate or start whining. This is when you should immediately take her outside to let her go potty. Then, praise her for a job well done, whether that’s with verbal cues, a treat, or both.

4. Use Puppy Pads If Necessary, But Be Careful

You might have a puppy that just doesn’t seem to be able to hold his bladder. If this is the case, you may consider puppy pads. Also known as “paper training,” these pads serve as a backup for dogs with weak bladders or busy pet parents.

Try to use puppy pads sparingly because they can confuse your pup. You want them to associate potty time with outside, and an indoor pee pad permits them to relieve themselves indoors. If you do use these pads, keep them in an approved potty spot.

5. Use Repetition and Reinforcement

The rest is up to you staying consistent and praising your puppy for going potty outside. Some dogs pick it up within a couple of weeks while others take months to become fully house-broken. This is where a schedule proves incredibly useful; stick to that and you’ll see faster results.


It’s easy to get discouraged when your cute little puppy keeps leaving “surprises” for you around the house. Again, crates work wonders here, so don’t be afraid to use one. Moreover, positive reinforcement and lots of praise will send the right signals to your dog, which will speed the process up.

Dogs are incredible companions, and getting over the potty training hump will only strengthen your bond with each other and pave the way for a more enjoyable friendship.


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