Phew. Easy potty training for a puppy. Is there such a thing?

It can be an enormous task, one that seasoned dog-owners often seem to forget from their own early days.

But it’s actually surprising how many adult dogs still struggle with the issue. To make your life easier now and in the future – and your puppy’s life, too – there are some key principles to stick with that can make potty training a puppy easier.

I’ll emphasize an approach to easy potty training that will (hopefully) keep you from going crazy and troubleshoot some common issues.

Consistency

This is the golden word in potty training.

Like any other behavior, try to focus on the positive. What do you want your dog to do? In this case, the answer should be obvious: use the loo outdoors.

To do this, you’ll need to give your pup the opportunity to tinkle regularly and consistently outside. I recommend starting with every hour. This drastically limits the likelihood that she’ll need to go indoors between sessions. It will also give the opportunity to praise her often and profusely when she goes in the right place.

There’s no way around the other half of this equation. You will also need to supervise. Vigilantly.

Watch your dog for signs that she needs to go, like circling or squatting, and relocate her outside. There’s no need for punishment; if you quickly redirect her outside, you’ll be able to praise not yell.

Puppy on a leash sitting outside on rocks near a bush.

Persistence

Puppy training can be a drag, because it takes 24-hour attention. Unlike teaching your dog to fetch, you can’t focus on the issue for an hour in the morning and then ignore it the rest of the day.

You have got to be persistent. Mistakes will happen, but keep going. I promise it will be worth it!

Speaking of mistakes, you may be thinking of “accidents” the wrong way. When your puppy pees in the wrong place, it’s not very helpful (or fun) to scold her. Instead, let the incident inform you moving forward. 

Maybe you forgot to take her out after she ate or missed her start to squat. Next time, don’t make the same mistake yourself, and neither will she!

Common Problems

Let’s look at some common hiccups along the way.

Peeing on the Carpet

So, you’ve been working at it for a while. Your puppy seems to be making progress, but still pees on the carpet, even after she’s been let out.

Unfortunately, there’s likely a simple answer: your puppy is simply not potty trained yet.

In her mind, it makes total sense. Carpet is soft and absorbent. It’s also away from her “home,” in the house, be that a doggy bed or a crate. To her, it’s like she’s peeing in the best place possible!

So, it’s back to the drawing board. Outside, every hour. Treats, rinse, and repeat.

Dog sitting on carpet

Peeing at the Neighbor’s

Sometimes, it can really seem like the job is done. Until, that is, the worst happens. You take your pup over to a friend’s or neighbor’s, and they pee all over the place.

Fear not, this is simply another case of incomplete potty training.

Remember, you’re simply training your dog where to pee. To her, moving to the neighbor’s house seems like a completely reasonable place to pee. It’s even farther away from where she sleeps! You have to understand this and return to the basics.

The umbilical method can work very well in cases like this. By tethering yourself to your dog with a leash indoors, you commit to monitoring and understanding her behavior. When you see the telltale signs, you’ll be able to quickly move outside. With consistent reward, your dog will soon learn that peeing in the neighbor’s grass is the way to go.

As a side note, remember that dogs have super senses of smell. They can pick up any leftover urine from doggies past, and this is an indication that it’s an appropriate place to pee. Deep cleaning the house to remove remnant odor can be a good precaution.

Taking the time to follow these steps will help make easy potty training for a puppy a reality!

For more potty training tips check out our related training blogs here.

Author

Kayla Fratt is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from Colorado. She has spent most of her adult life training troublesome dogs in shelters, private settings, and online. She owns Journey Dog Training, an online pet behavior help service that focuses on helping people around the world with their pets. Kayla loves working with tricky dogs almost as much as she loves hiking, running, and skiing with her Border Collie, Barley. You can learn more about Kayla and explore her training programs at JourneyDogTraining.com or by following Journey Dog Training on YouTube and Facebook.

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