Puppy Toilet Training

If you’re wondering how to succeed when house training a puppy, we’re here to help. Having gone through our fair share of it in the tails.com office, here are our top tips for potty training a puppy.

When does toilet training begin?

Hopefully your breeder will have already made a start on puppy toilet training. Your involvement begins as soon as you take your puppy home. It’s a great idea to ask how they’ve managed so far, and what method they’re using. Following their lead with what your pup is used to already is the first step to success.

How long will house training take?

It’s difficult to give an exact time frame for successful toilet training. You’ll see quicker results when you:

  • match what the breeder’s been doing
  • are consistent
  • are attentive to your puppy’s behaviour and needs
  • have time at home to manage them
  • get them outside on a regular basis

Most puppies can be house trained within 2-3 weeks so they never wee or poop indoors again.

So how do I get started?

The first thing to realise is that dog toilet training has a lot to do with the floor or ground surface. Most breeders start puppy training in an indoor pen with newspaper or absorbent puppy pads covering the floor.

Step 1: Confinement

It’s useful to have your pup in a pen or enclosure, for when you have to leave them unsupervised or simply can’t be sure you’ll be nearby when they make a move to toilet. Covering the floor of the entire enclosure (or room if you don’t have a pen) with newspaper or puppy pads will mean pup can only toilet on that surface.

Step 2: Reward & introduce a toilet command

Praise and reward your puppy each time they go on the paper or pads. You can add a distinctive command word to build positive associations with toileting in the right place. “Toilet” is good as it’s not likely to be confused with any other words. When you see your pup about to wee or poop, say the word and give plenty of praise or a treat afterwards.

Step 3: Reduce the toilet zone

After a couple of days, reduce the area of floor that is covered gradually by taking away a little at a time. Puppies don’t like splashing when they toilet so you should find they’ll naturally head for the absorbent surface they’re used to, seeking out the paper or pads each time.

Step 4: Migrate the toilet zone

Once they’re faithful to that surface, gradually move the toilet zone towards the door you want them to use when requesting a toilet break outdoors. You should aim to have your puppy visiting a small area of newspaper or puppy pads next to the door every time they need to toilet.

Step 5: Transfer toilet zone outdoors

After this it should be easier for you to know when they need to go, and with lots of positivity and praise lead them outdoors to go there. If you’ve got gravel or grass nearby outside that helps too as they’re absorbent too.

Observe for signs and bring pup outdoors each and every time you see they need to toilet. That’s the tricky and time consuming bit. Using the toileting command when they need to go is a great way to transition them from paper or pads indoors to going outdoors. Plenty of praise and repetition of this process will mean you’ve toilet trained your puppy in no time.

8 thoughts on “Puppy Toilet Training”

  1. Hi, ive just orded food for my pup. Do i just give her the kibble or mix with meat? How many times a day do i feed her with it?

    • Hi Lorraine,

      Instructions on portions and transferring from current food to tails.com food will be in your first delivery.
      If you have any questions please contact our customer support team hello@tails.com


  2. i have just bought a shichon puppy and as I’m disabled i was told i can by a dog indoor toilet to train him to use it if I’m ill and cant take him out or if the weather is really bad , i am also teaching him to walk nicely with my scooter as he is only 8 weeks old i know he has to stay off the ground until hes had his second injection. but what I’m asking is do the indoor toilet work if you keep putting him on it as it would be nice for me to have it all sorted and not have to ask my family for help all the time. i have just changed his food as the breeder forgot to give me

    • Hi Pauline,

      I hope you are well and are enjoying your puppy.

      If you follow our 5 steps, the toilet training should normally work. You can always ask your vet for specific advice if necessary.

      Kind regards,

  3. We have just started potty training my dog, I have ordered some things we need but need some advice from the more experienced if these charcoal puppy training toilet pads are good to start with?

    • Hi Lisa, congratulations on your new pup, we hope they’re settling in well. Puppy pads can help to avoid any mess indoors, but it’s best to encourage them to toilet outside as often as possible to avoid any accidents inside. Behaviourist Carolyn Menteith has some tips on or YouTube that may help here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXBadg-etbE 💙


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