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Puppy Toilet Training 101

Donna Connelly, Award winning Dog Behaviorist and Trainer, will in this article learn you all you need to know about puppy toilet training. In no time, we will be able to solve your puppy's toilet training issues and get your puppy trained!

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Donna Connelly - Dog Behaviorist and trainer

So you’ve just brought your gorgeous new puppy home. Here’s the deal. They will pee on the floor, they will poop on the floor. It’s normal, don’t get frustrated, let's solve your toilet training issues and let’s get your puppy trained.

There are a few things to consider – where do you want your puppy to go to the toilet? If you’re in a flat, do you have access to a garden or balcony? If you have a house, does your puppy have direct access to the garden? Can your puppy go out in the garden? This maybe dependant on vaccinations and whether you have foxes in your garden, which can carry diseases and parasites which can be transmitted to your puppy. 

Toilet training 101

    Find their designated toilet spot

    Firstly, decide where you want your puppy to go and take them out to that spot regularly. Young puppies need to pee a lot and for the first few weeks, it’s likely you’ll feel you’ll be taking your puppy out all the time. Hard areas like patios may be easier to clean but if you train them to go on a certain substrate, they may not want to pee on grass. Likewise, if you have fake grass and you encourage them to pee on that, this can soak up strong urine odour and start smelling, especially during the summer months so invest in a good cleanser and regular hosing down routine.

    You’ll need to watch your puppy when they are free roaming the flat/house. They may start to sniff a certain area or may start circling – as soon as they do this, take them to their designated spot and wait. Don’t interact with them as they may just get distracted.

    Think about your puppy's schedule

    Think about your puppy’s schedule and how teeny their bladder is… you may need to stay up late – around 10.30/11pm or later and you may have to get up earlier – 5.30/6am. This isn’t forever, just until you’ve got into a good routine.

    Puppies will need to pee 10-15 minutes after eating and pretty much as soon as they have woken up after a nap. You may have to factor this into your schedule to prevent accidents

    What about crates and playpens

    Crates and playpens can help with toilet training but being consistent and taking your puppy out is essential. If your puppy doesn’t like being confined in a crate or playpen, don’t worry, make sure they have a nice comfy bed to sleep in and take them out regularly, you will have to be extra vigilant however if you don’t use a confinement area.

    Some puppies like to pee on doormats and rugs so you may want to remove these for the first few weeks to prevent accidents.

    When you do finally get to take your puppy out to the park, some puppies don’t feel confident enough to pee or poop out in the park so even though you’ve taken your puppy out, you may need to put your puppy in the garden for a pee when you get back form your walk.

    Here’s our quickfire Do’s and Don’ts


    • Take your puppy out after any kind of activity – eating, sleeping, training, playing and even when they’ve been for a walk

    • Be proactive and take your puppy out regularly to go the toilet - take your puppy out at least every hour to start with

    • Take your puppy to a specific area to toilet – you may need to pop your puppy in a pen area to prevent them running around the garden to play… puppies are easily distracted

    • Praise your puppy when they do pee or poo outside, verbal praise is enough, don’t worry about fumbling around for treats, by the time you’ve got the treat out, they’ve probably done a few other things….

    • Take your puppy out whenever they go to the back door or to where you want them to go

    • Take your puppy out before you go to bed, you may need to do a walk around the block or take them out on lead to make sure they go to the toilet and are empty before going to bed

    • If you choose to use puppy pads, have them in the same place and dispose of them once they have been used.

    • If your puppy goes on the floor or carpet, wash the area with a solution of biological washing powder with warm water – there are lots of sprays on the market – these mostly mask the smell and some don’t get rid of the enzymes in the urine - our washing powder solution does both.   


    • Don’t think that just because the back door is open that your puppy will take themselves outside to pee and poo

    • Never punish your puppy for going in the house, it’s your fault for not watching them. 

    • Don’t just shut your puppy outside thinking that eventually they’ll go… they may do but they also may associate going outside with play rather than going to the loo first

    • Never withhold water, puppies need access to clean, fresh water 24/7

    • Don’t engage with your puppy too much when you want them to pee or poo

    With consistency and patience, its possible to toilet train your puppy within a few weeks but don’t get frustrated if they have the odd accident. It’s also worth bearing in mind that once they start teething around 16 weeks, they may start to pee in the house because they’re teething and because they have pain in their mouths, they focus on that and forget to tell you they need to pee…

    Good luck, and remember you can always reach out for any further support or guidance! 

    Donna Connelly Dog Behaviorist and trainer


    Donna Connelly is the founder and Instructor at Barking Mad Dog Training and has been working with dogs professionally for 30 year.

    Donna is a member of both the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers. Which ensures her methods are ethical, evidence based and practical.

    Fun fact

    Getting her first family dog, Shep at the age of 12, Donna now shares her life with her partner and daughter along with 4 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Miss Scarlett (6), Grace (3), Valerie (2) and Darcy (1). Not missing out her German Spitz, Tinkerbelle (13) and the newest additions Kali (8 months) and Harry (9 months) both Jack Russells.


    Donna specialises in helping new puppies and their owners. Along with helping and supporting multi dog households live in harmony and helping rehabilitated dogs with issues such as aggression and settling in the new home.

    Donna shares her knowledge here with us, and we just love learning new things every month!