beagle puppy

Toilet training your dog should be a relatively simple and straightforward process as long as you start it early enough and stick to a strict routine. Puppies will naturally want to go to the toilet away from their bed or living area, so it is important to encourage this behaviour. The key to successfully and quickly toilet training your dog is to build a routine solely based around the puppy’s needs. If you are thinking ‘how do I toilet train my dog’, then we have devised this comprehensive guide to direct you through the process.

How Do I Toilet Train My Dog: Starting the Process

Puppies need to urinate immediately after waking up and usually around 15 minutes after eating. If you are aware of these facts, then knowing when your dog needs to be taken outside will be easier. Because of their poor bladder control, they will also need to urinate at least every hour but may also spontaneously urinate when they become overexcited. We suggest keeping a record of the times your puppy usually eats, sleeps, urinates and defecates. This will help you to understand and build a routine suited to them specifically.

sleeping tiny puppy

How do I know when my puppy needs the toilet?

There are several signs you can look out for so that you are aware of when your puppy needs the toilet. Although each dog is individual and may indicate their needs through different behaviour, these are typical signs portrayed by most dogs:

  • Sniffing around
  • Circling
  • Looking restless and fidgeting
  • Going back to the place they last toileted in

Implementing a routine

There are a few basic steps that should be followed to ensure the toilet training process is as smooth as possible for both you and the dog.

During the first few weeks of the training, make sure that the first thing you do when you get up and the last thing at night, is to take the puppy outside. It is a good idea to always go back to the same spot in the garden, so they become familiar with the routine. You will also need to do this frequently throughout the day. When they are out in the garden, avoid playing games as this will get them overexcited and distract them from the primary purpose of going outside. Do not go inside too soon and make sure to stay out until they have done their business. Once they have, you can immediately give them lots of praise. If the puppy is rewarded, they will think of the experience positively and are more likely to comply next time.

In between trips outside, make sure to keep close supervision on the puppy whilst in the house. Being aware of what your dog is up to during the first few months is vital to the toilet training process. If you can’t attentively monitor your dog for the majority of the time, then it is worth investing in a puppy crate or converting a utility room or bathroom into a den for them. As it is, your puppy requires at least 16 hours of rest a day so having a secluded space of their own is a good idea. Within their den, place either puppy training pads or newspaper on the floor separate from where they eat or sleep. This gives them a place to relieve themselves at night time and when you may not be around.

puppy with food bowl

What happens if my puppy has an accident?

You must be prepared to experience a few accidents throughout the process. However, if this does happen it is important not to punish your puppy for doing so. Punishing them for going to the toilet in the house will teach them to avoid toileting in front of you and will make the whole process a lot more difficult. It is simply best to ignore the behaviour, do not praise them as it will cause confusion and do not punish them. If you catch your puppy in the middle of going, calmly take them outside so they are aware of where they should be going to the toilet.

It is important to clean up any mess left in the house as soon as possible. However, it is important to avoid using bleach and other ammonia-based cleaning products as this is likely to cause the dog to urinate or defecate in the same area next time.

Common mistakes to avoid

There are a number of common mistakes that you can avoid making just by reading this guide. We have specifically included them so that your toilet training process runs as smoothly as possible.

It is important not to feed your dog at unregular times, over-feeding your new puppy or generally feeding them an unsuitable diet. Feeding a small puppy at the wrong times can cause them to defecate overnight. Feeding your dog salty foods will also cause them to drink more and consequently urinate more. This is an easily avoidable mistake if you make sure to stick to a healthy feeding routine.

Do not expect your puppy to notify you when they need to go outside. You will have to thoroughly observe their behaviour and understand the signs they indicate to know when they need to be let out. Do not rely on being told, even after a few weeks of training. You must also not expect the puppy to go through the night without any accidents. Be prepared for gifts in the morning. Remember to keep your expectations low, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Do not confuse praise phrases with cue words. If you say ‘good dog’ every time they go outside to the toilet, they will associate this phrase with relieving themselves. You can then no longer use their phrase when praising them for other things they do well.

Expecting your puppy to be toilet trained overnight. Keep your expectations realistic and prepare yourself for several months of toilet training. For the first few months, it is advised to go out into the garden every time your puppy needs to go to the toilet. This way they become familiar with the routine and you can reward them. As the puppy gets older, you can then start to increase the time between garden visits and relax your supervision over them. Nevertheless, some puppies will still need reminding so make sure they are given every opportunity to relieve themselves.

puppy with yellow leaf


The best advise we can give you is to be consistent with your routine and patient with your puppy. If you are persistent in your efforts, the hard work will eventually pay off and you can enjoy spending quality time with your puppy. If you are looking for American Bullys in Milton Keynes, then get in touch with us today and organise a visit to see the litter.

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