Puppy Toilet Training

As a pet owner, washing a dog is a duty that you may need to perform to ensure that your dog is kept healthy and clean. To make sure that you are meeting your pet’s needs, questions like ‘how often should you wash your dog?’, or ‘what is the best dog bath?’, may come to mind. To help you successfully wash dogs and complete the dog grooming tasks your pet needs, we have provided some information in this guide to washing a dog.

Labrador puppy playing in toilet paper.

When to Start Toilet Training a Puppy

You can start puppy toilet training as soon as you bring your puppy home, however, it is important not to push or rush your puppy as they adjust to their new environment. Your new puppy will need time to feel comfortable in your home and every puppy progresses at their own pace. There is no one size fits all solution to house training your puppy so you will need patience and persistence to help your new pup learn positive behaviours around puppy toilet training.

Puppy Training Pads

Pet training pads, sometimes described as puppy pads or ‘pee pads’, offer a temporary solution while you are puppy toilet training. These pads give your puppy the option of relieving themselves in a spot approved by you.

Puppy Toilet Training Schedule

To help young pups as they learn puppy toilet training skills, you can create a puppy toilet schedule. This schedule can involve establishing habits including taking your puppy out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, upon waking from a nap and after eating or drinking.

Puppy Feeding Schedule

Establishing a puppy food schedule can help with learning important puppy toilet training skills. Rather than offering large meals to puppies, it is recommended that you offer several smaller meals as part of a regular eating schedule. Following consistent puppy feeding times will help you pre-empt their toileting needs and can also be a useful way to track their digestive health. Keep in mind that these small and more frequent meals are a great opportunity to add regular enrichment to your puppy’s life. Coming up with creative ways to deliver these meals will help to ensure that your puppy is mentally stimulated.

Dog Cues for Toilet Training

Creating associations are a key part of helping form puppy toilet training habits. You can even start pairing a verbal cue with your puppy toileting. Using cues such as ‘go toilet’ will help your puppy associate these words or sounds with going to the toilet. Every time that you take your puppy to relieve themselves, use the same verbal cue so that they develop an association with it and understand that this is the time to go to the toilet.

Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement is the most effective and successful way of toilet training puppies. Quickly, your pup will realise that going to the toilet in the assigned spot is met with a reward. This positive reinforcement could present itself in the form of whatever your puppy finds most rewarding. Individual puppies may have different preferences. For food motivated puppies, tasty puppy treats work well. Other puppies may be motivated by tactile interaction and play, in which case the reward could be to play with and pet your puppy (e.g. tummy rubs).

How Long Does It Take to Toilet Train a Puppy?

You may be wondering, ‘how long does it take to toilet train a puppy?’ Unfortunately, given every pup is different, there is no simple answer to this question. Many factors influence the puppy toilet training process, including age, the strategies used and how consistent the training is. Depending on your individual pup, toilet training can take anywhere from days to months to complete. If you remain a calm and patient presence in their life and provide the quality care they need, your puppy should be able to learn the skills necessary to master toilet training. If you are having ongoing issues with toilet training despite a positive and consistent approach, it is best to speak to your vet to rule out underlying medical issues. A qualified trainer can also assist you with implementing a training plan tailored to your needs. To search for qualified and accredited dog trainers, click here.




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