4 Tips for Successful Puppy Potty Training

Successful Puppy Potty Training

Housebreaking can be a hot topic for dog owners, especially if your dog isn’t cooperating. It’s important to understand the dog’s way of thinking to establish successful puppy potty training. It doesn’t matter if your dog is a puppy or an older dog, or maybe it’s an undisciplined rescue, shelter, or homeless mutt. Following this simple guide will help you and your dog have success.

4 Tips for Successful Puppy Potty Training

Dr. Karen Becker at Healthy Pet says:

Up to 25 percent of dogs relinquished to animal shelters by their owners end up there due to housebreaking problems. The same statistic applies to dogs seen by veterinarians — 25 percent of behavior-related visits to vets concern toileting.

It’s clear from these numbers that successful house training could save the lives of millions of dogs each year.

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It’s pretty sad to think that a dog is abandoned, abused or given away (and ultimately euthanized) for the simple reason that the human didn’t know the proper way to potty train.

Some humans expect the dog to “just know” that he’s supposed to go outside to do his duties.  But actually, your dog is doing exactly what nature intended — to relieve himself when he has to go!  He’s not stupid. He just doesn’t know your rules! Teach him.


With patience, persistence, positive reinforcement, and common sense.

Tip for Successful Puppy Potty Training

1.  Never leave your dog unattended if he is not housebroken.

This means you have to keep a watchful eye on the dog at all times so you can act fast if you see a visual clue that the dog needs to make doo-doo.

2.  Use a regular feeding schedule.

If you leave food out all day, your dog will eat all day, and your dog will also poop all day. Having predictable mealtimes, say one in the morning and one in the evening will give you more control over when the dog needs to go potty and your dog will soon learn the routine.

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3.   Use treats for positive reinforcement.

When your dog does relieve himself outside, let him know you’re pleased with him. He wants to please you. Make a big deal out of it. Praise him!  Give him those treats he loves so much! Give them to him right away, though, so your dog associates it with the task. Dogs understand treats better than anything. Be careful of the calories, however. Use small treats, and not too many. After your dog is potty trained, you can eliminate the treats if you wish.

4.  If mistakes are made, don’t punish your dog under any circumstances!

Don’t hit him, kick him, or yell at him. Don’t rub his nose in it. That will backfire, I can guarantee it, and will only make your dog develop a fear of you.  Your dog doesn’t understand what the problem is.  He had to go and he went! He needs to be taught what he’s supposed to do, and this takes consistent training.

Oh, and patience. It takes a huge amount of patience to train a dog properly.

You cannot punish or frighten a dog into appropriate behavior. Click To Tweet

To get more in-depth information on successful puppy potty training using these four principles, read Dr. Becker’s article at Healthy Pets.

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Do you have any dog-training tips you’d like to share?

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11 thoughts on “4 Tips for Successful Puppy Potty Training”

  1. Positive reinforcement is the only way to go with house training! Neither of my girls were dependably house trained when I adopted them, having been strays/shelter dogs, but they caught on SO quickly when I threw a big party every time they went outside. Accidents happened, but were ignored and swiftly cleaned up. In no time they knew where they were supposed to go. Thanks for joining the hop, Jeanne!

    • That’s funny, Lara. Throwing a big party every time they went outside. I’ll bet they just loved that crazy excitement over something they’d done (right). I’m glad they learned so quickly and didn’t cause you too much grief. Thank you for adopting them. 🙂

  2. So true, even to this day with adult dogs we have a schedule, there have been schedules from the beginning, not only does this help for not having accidents around the house, but also when we travel!!

  3. Great tips! My boyfriend worked with Jada before I got her and used the treat method and then when I got her I watched her like a hawk. She is perfectly potty trained now and only has an accident if no body listens to her cues.

  4. Why do people think popping a puppy on the nose (or worse) is effective puppy training? There’s no excuse for that ignorance in ths information age. 🙁

    We used to take the corgis out every two hours when they were little (well, except at night) in case they had to go. I do not miss those days, to tell you the truth! 🙂 But they learned, eventually!

    • I don’t miss puppy potty training either, Elizabeth. It can be just darned inconvenient for us humans sometimes, can’t it? I love your Corgi Beach Karaoke post. I showed it to my husband too. You went all out on that one. You have more patience (and imagination) than I do. I love your props. Everything perfect and in it’s place. Bravo. Phew! 🙂


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