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Toilet Training Tips

8 Apr, 2020

This guide has been written for young dogs, but is also ideal for those owners who may of adopted a rescue dog that may have been in kennels a long time or those adopting street dogs from overseas.


Toilet training is about routine and habit. Your puppy has a small bladder and cannot hold on for long periods therefore you will need to create a regular routine throughout the day and night to achieve success in a relatively short time.

Your puppy will need to go out to the garden as follows

  • As soon as they wake in the morning

  • After eating a meal

  • After having a drink of water

  • During a play, or exercise

  • Before you leave the house

  • When you return home

  • Last thing at night before bedtime

  • And anytime in between these times

Upon awakening, pick your puppy up and take it outside, close the door so puppy can’t run back inside, wait quietly and just watch. Your puppy should eliminate and you should give your puppy some praise and a tasty treat.

As soon as your puppy eats its first meal of the day, puppy will need to empty their bowels, go straight outside and close the door after you, watch and wait. As soon as puppy poops, praise puppy and then remove the fouling immediately.

Repeat this after puppy has a drink, or wakes from a nap.

Always give your puppy the opportunity to go out before you go out of the house and immediately upon returning home.

During any period of activity, like playing or running about, stop and take your puppy outside, wait for puppy to squat and wee and then praise puppy and reward with a treat.

At night you may need to get up and take your puppy out a few times till puppy can hold their bladder for longer, try to do these toilet breaks with little fuss, no playing, just pick puppy up, go out, wait for elimination and then go straight back to settle down for the night again.

Using puppy pads or newspaper can hinder the training as it gives the puppy the wrong message, as your puppy thinks its ok to toilet inside. If you must leave a puppy alone, use a puppy pen and a puppy pad in one area only. Having multiple pads down around the home is a recipe for disaster.

Never reprimand your puppy for having accidents inside the house, as this can lead to the puppy hiding to do it’s pooping or weeing so you can’t see it being done and therefore causing more delay in the training.

If your puppy has an accident, just ignore it and quietly and calmly clean it up. There are some products available to help neutralise the smell and are available from good pet stores. Alternatively use a mild solution of biological washing powder. Do not use products that contain ammonia as this will encourage the puppy to keep going to that spot to toilet .

Quite often you will see your puppy moving round and sniffing the floor, this is a clear sign your puppy is going to want to go, pick puppy up and go outside.

Many dog owners get a puppy during the summer months and think it’s a good idea to leave the back door open for the puppy to have access to the garden to toilet, it is actually not a good idea because your puppy will never learn to ask to go out when the winter weather arrives and the door is closed. It is much better to keep showing your puppy to the back door and going out with them to create a good habit

Always allow your puppy access to water, never think that removing water will help in speeding up the toilet training, it won’t! Removing water can cause medical issues and create problems associated with the absence; your puppy may start to drink large amounts of water if it knows it is going to be taken from them.

Be consistent and you should achieve success fairly quickly.


Louise Burton IMDT
Hilton Dogs Training Academy

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