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HOW TO TOILET TRAIN

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COMPLETE GUIDE TO TOILET TRAINING

Download your free guide to toilet training your new puppy, complete
with helpful tips from our expert dog trainers.

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The Complete, No Fuss Guide to Toilet Training Your Puppy


Toilet training your new puppy doesn’t have to be a stressful, messy – or indeed lengthy – affair. To help you and your puppy transition through house training with minimal fuss, we’ve put together our complete, no-fuss guide to toilet training your puppy.


  • COMPLETE GUIDE TO toilet training your puppy

    Any kind of toilet training can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. When’s best to start toilet training your puppy? What equipment will you need? What if you don’t have a garden? The good news is, toilet training your new puppy doesn’t have to be a stressful, messy – or indeed lengthy – affair. To help you and your puppy transition through house training with minimal fuss, we’ve put together our complete, no-fuss guide to toilet training your puppy, with helpful tips from our expert dog trainers.

    Why is toilet training your puppy important?

    Just like a newborn baby, puppies have no control over when, or indeed where, they go to the toilet. And, just like babies, they need some guidance when it comes to learning this brand new skill – and your house rules (i.e. where it’s acceptable to go to the toilet in and around your home). Toilet training your puppy from a young age is important because

    1. It will allow you to trust your puppy to spend relaxing time inside the house with you and your family
    2. Your puppy will quickly learn where it’s OK – and not so OK – to go to the toilet
    3. Your puppy will be able to travel without soiling your car or their crate
    4. You will have the confidence to take your puppy with you when you visit other homes and shops
    5. Knowing that your puppy knows where to toilet correctly will alert you to potential health issues if they have an accident

    What is the best age to toilet train your puppy?

    What is the best age to toilet train your puppy

    According to dog training manager at Hanrob Dog Training Academy, Jenn Bennett, toilet training your new puppy should begin as soon as you bring your new puppy home. “The best time to toilet train your puppy is between the ages of eight and 17 weeks,” she says. “Most puppies are introduced into their new fur-ever home from eight weeks of age, so this coincides perfectly with the early stages of toilet training for your puppy.”

    According to Jen, puppies born into a litter will receive their very first toilet training lessons from their mother.

    “When they are born, the puppies’ mum will lick them to encourage the puppy to go to the toilet, and then clean it away for them. This keeps them nice and clean. As they get older, the puppy then copies its mum by going to the toilet outside of the den. Of course, some puppies are separated from their mums and little buddies, and in this case it may take longer to train your puppy.”

    How long will it take to toilet train a new puppy?

    The time it takes to train your puppy will vary and, according to Jenn, consistency is key.

    “If you follow the steps in this guide, are patient and are consistent in your commands, then you should be able to toilet train your puppy by the time they are between four and six months old,” she says. “It’s good to give yourself time, so that you don’t put extra pressure on yourself or your puppy,” she adds.

    Of course, sometimes things take longer. If your puppy was orphaned, for example, they will not have received the early guidance from their mother or litter pups, that facilitates toilet training, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to toilet train your puppy. 

    What will I need to buy to toilet train my new puppy?

    It pays to be prepared and you can buy everything you will need to toilet train your puppy even before you bring them into your home. Of course, the equipment you need depends on whether you will be training your puppy to go to the toilet outside in your garden or, if you live in an apartment or home with no garden, then you will be encouraging them to toilet in your indoor doggy toilet:

    Essential puppy toilet training equipment:

    1. Puppy Pad Holder
    2. Puppy Toilet Training Pads
    3. Poop Scoop
    4. Stain and Odour Cleaner
    5. Puppy training crate
    6. Pet Toilet (if puppy toilet training in a home with no garden)

    Toilet training your puppy in a home with a garden

    How to toilet train your puppy

    It’s important not to take your new puppy for walks until they have received their full set of vaccinations. In homes with gardens, therefore, the goal is to get your puppy to go to the toilet in a designated spot in your garden.

    “Before you start it’s important to ensure your garden is secure,” say Jenn. “Check your dog can’t escape from your yard and that no other dogs have entered the garden before you start toilet training your puppy in the garden.” 

    To toilet train your puppy in a home with a garden, Jenn says to follow these steps: 

    1. Feed your puppy at regular times and keep an eye on when they drink water. Small breeds of dogs have smaller bladders than large breeds, and will therefore need to empty their bladders more frequently. 
    2. Proactively take your puppy outside to the garden every half an hour to an hour, as well as immediately after playing or eating. 
    3. Take your puppy to the area you have assigned as the toilet spot, and say the words “Go Toilet” or “Toilet” to your puppy when you place them in the area. Be careful not to play with your puppy or give them any form of attention other than saying this command whilst they are in the designated toilet spot. 
    4. When they do go to the toilet, immediately praise your puppy, using a gentle tone. It’s appropriate to give them a treat for successfully going to the toilet in the correct place.
    5. Take your puppy back inside and ensure you clean the toilet area by removing any puppy poops!





    how to TOILET TRAIN YOUR PUPPY

    How to toilet train your puppy

    Toilet training your puppy in a home with no garden

    If you don’t have a patch of grass outside to use as your puppy’s toilet, you will need to invest in an indoor dog toilet in order to toilet train your puppy. If you have a balcony or courtyard, you can position the toilet here, otherwise they are designed to be used indoors.

    1. Feed your puppy at regular times and keep an eye on when they drink water. Small breeds of dogs have smaller bladders than large breeds, and will therefore need to empty their bladders more frequently. 
    2. Proactively take your puppy to their indoor dog toilet every half an hour to an hour, as well as immediately after playing or eating. 
    3. Place your dog onto the dog toilet, pointing at the toileting area and say the words “Go Toilet” or “Toilet” to your puppy when you place them on the toilet. Be careful not to play with your puppy or give them any form of attention other than saying this command whilst they are in the designated toilet spot. 
    4. When they do go to the toilet, immediately praise your puppy, using a gentle tone. It’s appropriate to give them a treat for successfully going to the toilet in the correct place.
    5. Take your puppy off the dog toilet. 
    6. Encourage your puppy if they show signs of sniffing the indoor dog toilet, but do not allow them to sleep on it or play with it. 

    How to deal with your puppy’s toilet training accidents

    Accidents can, and will happen, but there’s no need to be hard on yourself or your puppy! “It’s so important to deal with accidents in the right way, and don’t punish your puppy,” says Jenn. “If you punish your puppy, it will take your puppy much longer to successfully toilet train, and the whole event will be stressful for both you and the puppy.” 

    According to Jenn, puppies will see the following as punishment: 

    • Shouting at or scaring the puppy
    • Rubbing the puppy’s nose in their accident (a vastly outdated method of puppy toilet training)
    • Correcting their behaviour after the accident, rather than at the time of the accident

    "Reprimanding toileting accidents (whether they’re caught in the act or not) can create anxiety for the puppy," says Jenn. "The puppy may associate the reprimand with the act of toileting, thus creating the puppy to hide from you when toileting. This can result in more accidents that you’ll find later, as the puppy may now hide from you to toilet, and not want to toilet in front of you in fear of getting reprimanded again."

    Instead, Jenn recommends the following steps when dealing with your puppy’s accidents: 

    1. If you see your puppy have an accident, take them to the designated toilet spot – either outside in the garden or inside on a dog toilet – immediately. They may be part way through or complete, but it will still instil the message that this is the correct place to toilet.
    2. Clean up the accident immediately, ideally using an enzymatic cleaner to eradicate all odours and ensure your puppy doesn’t think it’s OK to toilet in this place in the future.

    Toilet training and leaving your puppy alone

    Using a crate when you have to leave your puppy alone

    You will have to leave your dog alone at some stage during their toilet training, but this is fine so long as you’re prepared.

    “If you’re leaving your puppy just for an hour, then you can leave them with a puppy pad, toys and bedding, either in a crate if you’re crate training them, or in a confined area of the home such as a laundry room,” says Jenn. “They will slowly learn to hold their bladder until you get back but you should expect accidents. If you’re going to be out of the house for longer than an hour, again you will need to leave them with a clean puppy pad or indoor pet toilet, as well as some water to keep them going until you get back.”

    Final tips for toilet training your puppy

    1. Don’t forget to continue training your puppy at night – you can set an alarm to take your puppy out to toilet up to three times per night until they’re old enough to hold it in until morning. 
    2. Uric acid crystals in dog urine can only be removed with an enzymatic cleaner so make sure you have a specially formulated cleaner to remove all traces of accidents in the early days. 
    3. Watch your pet for signals that they want to toilet – this may include sniffing, wandering off or walking in circles
    4. Puppy pads are great for times when you leave your pet alone or at night. However, providing two places to go to the toilet when you are toilet training your puppy can introduce confusion.

    You can download this guide and print as a handy guide to reference at home. Just click here to download your free printable guide to toilet training your puppy!

    If you have questions about toilet training you can also book a one-hour puppy lesson with one of our dog trainers, held on site at our Dog Training Academies, or enquire about a home dog training lesson. Call 1300 426 762 or click here to book online