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American Pit Bull Terrier puppy on an absorbent diaper

How to Potty Train a Puppy

Potty training a puppy is among the first and most essential steps in ensuring a harmonious and stress-free relationship with your new furball. House soiling is a primary reason dogs are surrendered to shelters. Hence, mastering the art of housetraining is critical.

The Basics of Potty Training

Before diving into specific techniques, it’s worth noting that several tried-and-true methods can be employed: 

  • Crate Training
  • Paper Training
  • Indoor Potty Training
  • Regular Outdoor Walks 

Each method has its merits, but a few general tips apply across the board:

  • Monitor your dog’s diet 
  • Stick to a consistent schedule for walks, feeding, and play 
  • Ensure your dog gets regular exercise
  • Praise your puppy for going outdoors
  • Equip yourself with the right potty training supplies 

Crate Training

Dog crates may seem restrictive to first-time dog owners, but they can be a blessing for housetraining. Dogs are naturally den animals and see crates as their safe space. This inclination can be harnessed to deter them from soiling in their living area. 

Ensure the crate is spacious enough for the dog to move but not so large that they might use a corner for elimination. If the puppy starts whining or scratching inside the crate, it’s typically a sign they need to go out.

Puppy Pads and Paper Training

While ideal training would have puppies only eliminate outdoors, sometimes, life circumstances such as work schedules or extreme weather necessitate an indoor solution. Puppy pads or advanced indoor dog toilets can be helpful in these scenarios. 

Setting a Routine: Housetraining Schedule 

Young puppies have small bladders, meaning they’ll need to go out frequently. A rule of thumb is that puppies can generally hold their bladder for an hour each month of their age, up to 9-12 months. Monitor your puppy’s habits, and make sure to take them out: 

  • After waking up in the morning
  • Before bedtime
  • After play sessions
  • Post crate time
  • After naps
  • Following meals and drinks
  • After chewing toys 

Observing Your Puppy

Puppies are unique in their potty behavior. Keeping a close eye will help you discern when they need to go. Remember, they may have urges after activities or when they get excited.

Diet Control

Feeding your puppy high-quality food in three smaller meals throughout the day can help regulate their digestive system. Consider a dietary change if your puppy shows signs of digestive distress.

The Power of Praise

Rewarding and praising your puppy when they do their business in the correct spot is critical. Positive reinforcement will make the process smoother and more effective.

Dealing with Accidents

If your dog has an occasional accident, don’t punish them afterward. Instead, clean the area thoroughly to eliminate any lingering odors that might attract them back to the same spot. If you catch them in the act, gently interrupt and take them outside.

Housetraining Challenges

A vet checkup can rule out any health issues if your puppy struggles with housetraining. Persistent problems might necessitate consulting with a trainer or behaviorist experienced in housetraining challenges.

How Long Does Potty Training Take?

Potty training duration varies. Factors like the dog’s age, previous experiences, and consistency play a role. Some puppies might grasp the concept in days, while others might need months. Regardless, with patience and persistence, success is achievable.


While potty training might initially seem daunting, you and your puppy can navigate this challenge effectively with the proper methods, a consistent routine, and a dash of patience.

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