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10 Steps To Toilet Train A Dog In 7 Days (How-To Guide)

How To Toilet Train A Puppy In 7 Days

They say, “With a cute pooch comes great responsibility.”

Having a little puppy at home’s all fun and joy…

Until they decide to make your house their toilet.

Now, if you’re a first-time parent, don’t worry.

I gathered simple tips on how to potty train a dog at home.

Keep reading to find out:

  • The right age to house train a puppy.
  • 5 must-know common potty training mistakes.
  • 10 easy steps to toilet train your dog within 7 days.
  • 13 things to keep in mind while potty training your dog.
  • 7 ultimate tips you can try if things don’t go as planned.
  • And a lot more…

What is toilet training?

Toilet training is teaching your dog to pee and poop in the right place. This also helps them learn to control their bladder and bowels well. Which then reduces accidents at home.

7 reasons why toilet training is important

You should train your puppy how and where to do their business to:

  • Teach them good potty habits.
  • Make them pee/poop on command.
  • Improve your bond and communication.
  • Prevent accidents inside and outside the house.
  • Learn about their body language and toilet patterns.
  • Maintain hygiene and cleanliness (of your dog and your place).
  • Help them hold their bladder and bowels when outside the toilet spot.

Now, before you start, here are some rookie mistakes you should know.

So you can avoid doing them during your actual lessons.

5 common potty training mistakes

#1: Declaring victory too soon

Declaring Victory Too Soon

While training, it feels good seeing your puppy obey you.

Especially if they had already peed and pooped in their toilet spot a few times. 

And they often listen to what you say.

But if it has only been 2 or 3 days of potty training…

Don’t be too relaxed yet.

Even if your puppy has been obedient so far…

Never give them a free run of the house while you’re gone. As you’ll likely come home with a big mess.

Which prompts you to start over again.

This is a common mistake of fur parents during toilet training.

So I’m reminding you to stick with your rules and schedule.

Keep potty training your puppy for at least 7 days. Then afterward, slowly give them a bigger space inside to roam around.

Note: Most dogs get fully housebroken after 4-6 months. So, continue with training even after a week. As dogs learn through repetition.

#2: Having off-leash toilet trips

Having Off-Leash Toilet Trips

Although you have a fenced yard or a behaved puppy…

Always put them on a leash during toilet trips.

This allows you to control them better while training.

For example, you can guide them to their right spot. Or quickly stop them from roaming around. And make them focus on their goal – which is to go potty.

Dogs get distracted easily. So it won’t help if you let them run around freely.

#3: Training big breeds on potty pads/litter boxes

Training Big Breeds On Potty Pads

This method’s not for all dogs.

Yes, it’s convenient as you don’t have to bring your pooch outside every time.

But if you have a medium to large-sized breed puppy…

Teaching them to use a pee pad or litter box will be useless. And it’ll also lengthen potty training.

Now, why’s that?

Soon, your tiny puppy will be a big adult Fido.

So those thin pads and small litter boxes won’t be enough to take all their waste.

Also, once you teach a dog to go potty on a particular surface…

They may refuse to go on or use a different one. Take grass, for example

And this will make future toilet training hard for you.

#4: Using punishments

Using Punishments

Puppies won’t learn to go potty in a specific place overnight.

Thus, toilet training will take up most of your time. And it can even empty your bag of patience.

Especially if you only see accidents and not results.

I know this would be tiring and stressful for you.

But even if this is the situation…

Stay calm and avoid punishing your puppy. Whether verbally or physically.

If you punish them, you won’t have a potty-trained Fido.

In the end, you’ll only have a pooch who’s afraid to make a mess in front of you.

I’ll talk about this later on. So stay tuned. 🙂

#5: Wrong timing

Wrong Timing

Dogs learn by association.

So you have to be extra careful of timing. Or else your puppy won’t make the right connections.

For instance, you must take your dog to their toilet spot as soon as they assume a squatting position. As it means they’re about to take a dump.

And then wait for them to do their business.

But if you do this after the mess has already been made…

Your puppy won’t associate pooping with going outside.

Also, to reinforce good behavior…

You must reward your dog.

However, if you do it a few seconds late…

Your puppy may associate the reward with a different action. Say sniffing or scratching the ground.

As these are the things dogs usually do after peeing or pooping.

When should you start toilet training your puppy?

You can start toilet training your puppy as early as 8 weeks old. But at this age, they need constant supervision from you as they can’t hold their bladder and bowels well yet.

“At what age can dogs control their pee and poop?”

PetMD says puppies usually get better at holding their bladder at around 4-6 months old. And the same also applies to their bowels.

So Fidos below this age could only control their pee and poop for a short period.

And here’s the general rule of thumb:

Add 1 to your puppy’s age in months. Then you’ll get an estimate of their bladder and bowel capacity in hours.

For example:

  • 1-month-old: 1-2 hours.
  • 2-month-old: 2-3 hours.
  • 3-month-old: 3-4 hours.

Learn more: How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop? 10 Quick Facts

What you need to potty train your puppy

  • Leash.
  • Collar/harness.
  • Rewards (e.g., treats, toys).
  • Cleaning tools (e.g., rubber gloves, surface cleaners, paper towels, dog poop scooper).

But aside from material things…

You also need a lot of these in your training bag:

  • Time.
  • Patience.
  • Attention.
  • Consistency.

Now, if you’re ready and equipped with the right tools…

Let’s dive right into the meaty part.

10 steps to toilet train your puppy in 7 days

#1: Pick an ideal toilet spot

Pick An Ideal Toilet Spot

First, you’ll need an area to bring your puppy when nature calls.

Ideally, the spot should be outside – in your yard. 

And to successfully train them, the place must be:

  • Accessible.
  • Far from high-traffic areas.
  • Big enough for your puppy’s size.
  • Away from noise and distractions.
  • A different area where other animals pee/poop.

However, since dogs have preferences too…

Your puppy may also select their own spot

So recall if they peed or pooped many times in a specific part of your yard.

If your pooch has done it before, they might like that area.

Therefore, if it fits the conditions above…

You can make it their toilet spot.

Then while training, see if your puppy likes their new restroom.

“Help! My dog doesn’t want to do their business outside.”

In some cases, a puppy might not want to go to the toilet due to fear.

Some common reasons why they’re scared all of a sudden are:

  • External noises.
  • Other animals around.
  • Presence of strangers.

Thus, avoid choosing a spot near a busy street. Or an ongoing construction.

But if you recently adopted your fur baby…

It might also be due to a lack of trust in you and their new home.

Or, they had poor potty training before. 

For the former reason, never force your puppy to interact with you. 

Instead, earn their trust by doing the following:

  • Respecting their space.
  • Providing them with their needs.
  • Being consistent with their routine.

Now, this might take a while. 

But with patience, your puppy will soon gain confidence and come to you on their own.

In addition to this…

Vets say puppies also undergo a fear period.’

Typically, it occurs at 8 weeks old. 

At this age, puppies are more prone to developing fears than usual.

Thus, you must socialize them well to prevent behavioral issues in the future.

Say exposing them to different people and animals at an early age. So they won’t grow up with a lack of social skills and fear of strangers.

Now, if it’s the latter…

It’ll take a lot of time and effort to fix poor potty habits.

In fact, you may need to go back to square 1. 

But don’t fret. To start anew, just follow these 10 simple steps. And then read the tips I’ll share later on. 🙂

“What to do if an outdoor toilet spot isn’t possible?”

If you can’t take your puppy outside, you may consider using a:

Put either of these on your balcony. And then make it your Fido’s potty area.

But take note of the following:

  • Some dogs tend to dig or eat their poop.
  • This is only recommended for toy breeds.
  • Most male Fidos lift their leg while peeing so they may spray urine on your walls.

And that’s why you rarely see dogs using litter boxes.

Again, this would be impractical if your small puppy soon grows into a big furry adult. As their body and waste won’t fit into the pad or box.

Also, if you’re training your pooch to go potty outside eventually…

Having pee pads or a litter box in your house will confuse them.

So this method’s only recommended for certain situations, such as:

  • Having harsh cold weather outside.
  • Being busy with work most of the day.
  • Living in an apartment without easy access to the outdoors.

#2: Create a potty schedule

Create A Potty Schedule

Every training must start with a plan.

Also, dogs do well with a routine as it gives structure to their lives.

So to housebreak your puppy within a week…

The next thing to do is create a potty schedule for them.

What to do?

As I said earlier, young puppies can’t hold their pee and poop well.

Therefore, they need frequent toilet breaks.

“How does having a routine help?”

If your pooch does the same thing at the same time every day…

Their mind and body will get used to it.

Also, they’ll learn that aside from having a specific period to eat and play…

There’s a time for potty too.

Plus, this can also help them feel safe and trust you more.

Therefore, consider your Fido’s toilet habits.

Make a potty schedule. And then write them down.

“So when should I take out my puppy?”

After waking up in the morning

This should be the 1st thing on their potty schedule.

While sleeping, your Fido’s digesting their last meal. 

So they’ve been holding their pee and poop all night.

Therefore, as soon as your puppy wakes up…

Walk and take them to their toilet spot.

It’s normal for dogs to go potty before eating breakfast. 

This is also the same case for most humans. As one survey shows that 61% of people do a number 2 as soon as they get up in the morning.

Note: But before doing so, ensure your Fido’s fully vaccinated. They may get diseases outside. Like the deadly ‘parvovirus’ that causes bloody diarrhea. As well as ‘canine distemper.’

The latter’s a serious condition that attacks a dog’s:

  • Brain.
  • Lungs.
  • Stomach.

And this is why vets usually give puppies their 1st set of shots as soon as 6-8 weeks old. 

As their fragile body needs immediate protection from illnesses.

Every 1-2 hours

Next, take your puppy to their spot every hour while they’re awake.

This helps prevent accidents inside your home.

Then as they age, slowly increase the gap between the breaks. Say make it 2 hours or more.

Note: For smaller dogs, you can start at an interval of 30 minutes instead.

After meals

Like you, your pooch may also get nature calls after eating or drinking.

So once your Fido’s done with meals, wait for 10-20 minutes. 

And then bring them to the toilet at once.

Warning: Walking your dog can help them do their business faster. But never do this right after eating to avoid gas and pain in the tummy.

If your puppy’s still small, carry them to their spot instead. And wait for at least 1-2 hours before allowing them to play or exercise.

After naps and playtime

Once your puppy wakes up from a short nap…

They may also have the urge to pee or poop.

Also, did you know that exercising helps in digestion?

Vets say that walking, for instance, is effective in this.

So your pooch will need a toilet break after or between physical activities.

Before bedtime

Lastly, if you start your puppy’s day with a trip to the toilet…

You’ll also end it in the same way.

So after your dog eats dinner:

  1. Wait for at least 10-20 minutes.
  2. Bring them to their restroom spot.

If 1-2 hours have passed after the meal:

  1. Take your puppy out for a 10-minute stroll.
  2. Lead them to the toilet again.

Night walks won’t only urge dogs to do their business before bedtime.

It’ll also burn excess energy, which calms restless and hyper Fidos at night.

Thus, this can help them sleep better too.

Note: Remember to bring a flashlight with you. Also, get a reflective harness for your puppy to keep them safe in the dark.

Now, while making the schedule, don’t forget that it should fit your lifestyle too. 

Also, potty activity varies per dog. 

So to ensure that the routine suits your Fido’s toilet habits…

Make a potty pattern chart

While training, monitor your puppy’s daily toilet activities.

Write down important patterns, such as:

  • The usual length it takes them to potty.
  • Time they usually wake up to do their business.
  • Whether they pee or poop 1st thing in the morning.
  • If they wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.
  • The number of times they had an accident inside the house.

Doing this will help you understand your puppy’s potty patterns. And adjust their schedule accordingly to prevent accidents.

Now that you know your Fido’s habits and dogs’ in general…

You can create a toilet routine for them.

Here’s a reference if you’re wondering what it’ll look like:

Example of a potty schedule for a 5-month-old puppy
5:00 amWalking your puppy; taking them to their toilet spot.
6:30 amBreakfast (1st meal)
7:00 amTaking them to their toilet spot.
11:00 am2nd meal
11:20 amTaking them to their toilet spot.
12:00 pmWalking your puppy
2:00 pm3rd meal
2:20 pmTaking them to their toilet spot.
3:30 pmPlaytime
4:30 pmTaking them to their toilet spot.
6:00 pmDinner (Last meal)
6:20 pmTaking them to their toilet spot.
7:30 pmWalking or playing with your puppy.
9:00 pmBedtime
*Bring out your puppy once every 1-2 hours until they’re housetrained.

Note: While you’re at it, check the condition of your dog’s waste. See if their pee or poop has an unusual:

Don’t hesitate to ask your vet if you notice these changes. 

#3: Choose a potty cue

Choose A Potty Cue

Believe it or not. Our furry friends can also do their business on command.

They’ve been living with humans for around 30,000 years. 

So they learned how to understand our language. And they do it by observing our speech and actions, a study says.

Thus, with constant training…

Your puppy can link a word to potty as well.

What to do?

Pick a cue word for going to the toilet.

Some of the commonly-used terms are the following:

  • “Potty.”
  • “Toilet.”
  • “Empty.”
  • “Go potty.”
  • “Hurry up.”
  • “Bathroom.”

But you can be creative as well. And say “Do your job” or “Get busy.”

Also, to avoid confusion, you may give different names for pee and poop too.

For example:

  • “Poo poos.”
  • “Wee wees.”
  • “Go pee/poop.”

However, if you take your Fido outside…

They’re more likely to pee right away than to eliminate.

Thus, connecting the action to the cue for poop will be challenging.

Most dogs will never do number 2 unless you walk them for at least 10 minutes.

So, have a short stroll first. And then find the right time to say the cue.

Other things to consider:
  • The shorter, the better.
  • Ensure they’re only 2-3 syllables long. 
  • For better results, you may assign a word your puppy doesn’t normally hear daily. Say “Be quick” or “Get busy.”

“What are the benefits of having a potty cue?”

Having a command for toilet breaks will speed things up.

This is helpful if you’re traveling and you need to make your puppy do their thing quickly.

As well as if you have a Fido who gets easily distracted outside.

Or, if you’re taking your pooch out on a freezing night. But they can’t seem to go potty right away.

Fun fact: Research found that an average dog can learn about 100 words. But some Border Collies may even go beyond it. As one pooch named Chasermastered 1,022 object names.

#4: Introduce your puppy to their ‘toilet’

Introduce Your Puppy To Their Toilet

Now that you have a potty spot, cue, and schedule to follow…

The next step’s to familiarize your puppy with their restroom.

What to do?

  1. Put your puppy on a leash. (Do this whether their toilet’s inside or outside).
  2. Always take them to the spot 1st thing in the morning.
  3. Let them sniff the area.
  4. Repeat this after every meal and before bedtime.

And then…

#5 : Restrict your puppy’s space

Restrict Your Puppy's Space

Your Fido will pee and poop everywhere because they’re free to roam around.

They have a big space they can use.

Plus, you haven’t properly set the rules yet.

So they might think anywhere’s fine.

Thus, to help prevent them from having accidents at home…

Give your dog a small space in the meantime.

What to do?

You can limit their area by:

  • Putting them in a crate.
  • Installing baby gates or a dog pen.

The logic here’s that most of our furry pals don’t like to soil the areas where they sleep or eat.

Although some Fidos may do it if they got used to it or have no choice.

Say if they’re confined all day. Or they’re crammed in a crate for years.

So, to keep your puppy dry inside the crate or pen…

Make the area as comfy as possible.

Place soft bedding inside. Put their toys, food, and water.

Then if your puppy shows potty signs, take them to the toilet asap.

This gives them a hint that they must go potty outside their place. And it’s only a zone for rest and fun.

How to train a puppy to use the crate?

Step #1: Pick one that suits their size

It must have enough space for your dog to do these things comfortably:

  • Lying down.
  • Standing up.
  • Turning around.

Also, their bed and bowls should still fit in there.

However, it shouldn’t be too big that your puppy can use a spot as a toilet.

Note: If you see a bigger crate with a divider, go with it. In the meantime, you can adjust it to a smaller size. But you’d still be able to use it as your puppy grows up.

Step #2: Lure them inside

Before crate training your dog…

Remember that you shouldn’t use it as a punishment.

So avoid crating your puppy when they do something naughty. Or right after scolding them.

This makes them hate the crate. Which will only make potty training harder for you.

Instead, keep every experience positive for your pooch.

  1. Lure them in the crate with their favorite treats or toys.
  2. Wait patiently.
  3. Praise your dog if they go inside it.
  4. Offer them more pieces of treats while they’re in the crate.
  5. Play with them shortly.

This gives them the idea that crate means fun. And there’s nothing to be scared of.

If you want to know how to do this in person, watch the short clip below:

Note: Go a step backward if you’re going too fast. And if your puppy seems uncomfortable around the crate.

Now, you may also wonder…

“What do I do if my puppy does their business inside the crate?”

It might be because your dog stays so long inside.

Yes, crating will help prevent accidents inside the house. And it’ll also make potty training go smoothly.

But this won’t work if you always leave your Fido inside for a long time.

“How long should a dog stay in the crate?”

For most puppies, the maximum limit’s 5 hours.

But if your pooch’s below 6 months old, crate time must only be 3-4 hours at most.

On the other hand…

Adult Fidos can stay as long as 6-8 hours.

However, this being said, this shouldn’t be their daily setup. As dogs get lonely and bored too.

Note: Crating’s useful if you need to leave your puppy alone at home for a while. Or when you have to do a quick errand. And couldn’t keep an eye on them to prevent accidents.

#6: Carry out the potty routine

Carry Out The Potty Routine

Once your puppy’s restricted and familiar with their toilet spot…

Take them to the area whenever nature calls. 

Also, grab a bag of treats. (I’ll discuss this in step #8.)

Now, you don’t have to be a fortune-teller to guess when it happens.

Simply look at their potty schedule. And give your Fido a toilet break after:

  • Naps.
  • Playtime.
  • Every meal.
  • Doing a physical activity.
  • Waking up in the morning.

Also, you must give your puppy toilet breaks every 1-2 hours as well.

So, although it may look easy…

Potty training will take up most of your time.

And if you’re busy, skipping (even once) won’t be an option. As it can get you back to step 1.

So, if you’re working or running an errand…

Figure out a way to complete your pooch’s routine.

For instance, you may take your fur baby with you to work. 

You can also ask a friend nearby to walk your pooch. Or, get a trusted dog walker to do the job while you’re away.

Next, after studying their potty patterns…

You can adjust their schedule to fit their toilet habits.

But besides this…

#7: Spot the ‘I-need-to-go-potty’ signs

Spot The "I Need To Go Potty" Signs

To prevent further accidents at home while training…

You must take your puppy to the toilet as fast as possible.

However, they can’t tell you directly when they need to go.

But luckily, it shows in their body language. So pay close attention to their gestures.

“What do dogs do before they pee/poop?”

  • Barking.
  • Circling.
  • Squatting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Sniffing around.
  • Looking at their rear end.
  • Scratching the door/dog gate/crate.

If you notice some of these signs:

  1. Let your puppy out if they’re confined in a crate or pen. 
  2. Put them on a leash.
  3. Carry them to the toilet spot.
  4. Wait for them to pee or poop.

Once your Fido goes potty…

#8: Say the magic word

Say The Magic Word

While you’re puppy’s doing their business in the right spot…

Tell them the cue word once.

Avoid saying it many times in a row not to lose its power.

Also, stick with the word you chose.

Even if your dog doesn’t get the command at first…

Never blurt out different terms at once. As your furry pal will only get confused.

Remember, timing’s crucial in potty training.

For your pooch to link the cue word to pee or poop…

You must catch them in action.

Then tell your puppy the command while they’re doing it – not before or after.

Also, say the cue in a sweet and upbeat manner. As if you’re talking to a little child.

This might be a well-known fact already.

But dogs prefer ‘baby talk.’ Or ‘dog-directed speech,’ as some experts call it.

Most people tend to speak in a higher pitch in front of a cute doggo. 

Partly, this must have something to do with joy and excitement.

However, if you may have noticed…

Your puppy listens to you well once you speak in a cheerful tone.

This is compared to talking to them in a low, neutral voice. And a study proves this.

Based on it, Fidos went more to the people who used baby talk than those who didn’t.

And this only shows how dogs find them friendlier and more trustworthy.

So while training, say the cue word in a bright voice to get their attention.

Then right after this…

#9: Shower your puppy with rewards

Shower Your Puppy With Rewards

As soon as you say the potty command…

Offer your Fido a small piece of treat asap. (This should be something your puppy likes.)

And then give them verbal praises too, such as:

  • “Nice work”
  •  “Good dog,”
  • “Good boy/girl.”

In this step, food isn’t the only important thing.

You must also act excited in front of your puppy. As if peeing or pooping’s one of the greatest deeds in the world.

So while training, prepare your Academy-Award-winning act as well.

Now, after rewarding your pooch…

Never go back inside the house or in their playpen right away

At the moment, your puppy feels good due to the treats and praise.

And you don’t want to ruin this positive experience by ending it abruptly.

So, allot at least 5-10 minutes of playtime.

You can give your Fido their favorite toys. Or, start a game of fetch.

Then return inside the house or their pen once the time’s up.

Note: Playing after using the toilet spot can help reinforce the behavior you want. As your dog will anticipate doing their business in the area again. Simply because it’s linked to fun and yummy snacks.

#10: Repeat and stay consistent

Lastly, do steps #5 to #8 every day like a ritual.

Stick to your puppy’s schedule once you adjust it correctly to their habits.

And reward them whenever go potty in their toilet.

Then soon, they’ll learn it’s the only place they can go when nature calls. Not on the carpet, on your bed, or elsewhere in your house.

At the start, housetraining will take up most of your time.

As you must watch your puppy carefully. And take them to the toilet diligently.

But if you carry on for at least 7 days…

You’ll see improvements.

So hang in there. Your efforts will pay off in the end with one housebroken Fido.

Note: Consistency’s the key to any training. Skipping once can get you back to square one. As it’ll give mixed signals and confuse your pooch. 

Things to keep in mind while potty training your dog

#1: Stick to 1

They say, “the more, the merrier.”

But not in this case.

If your puppy doesn’t go to your chosen place, no matter how you lure them to it…

Never add more toilet areas.

Giving more options to your pooch will only confuse them. Plus, it’ll slow down training too.

However, if necessary, you may replace the spot with a better one.

Scan the zone for triggers. And double-check if it meets the following conditions:

  • Accessible.
  • Far from high-traffic areas.
  • Big enough for your puppy’s size.
  • Away from noise and distractions.
  • A different area where other animals pee/poop.

#2: Have short potty trips

I know I said earlier that you must be patient when training your puppy.

But if more than 10 minutes have passed and your Fido doesn’t get a nature call…

  1. Bring them back inside the house or to their original spot.
  2. Watch your puppy afterward.
  3. Wait for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Take them to their toilet spot again.
  5. Repeat until they do their business in your chosen place.

“Why is it bad to wait longer than 10 minutes?”

The goal here’s to make your puppy connect the dots. And timing’s crucial in this.

Your Fido needs to learn that whenever they go to the toilet spot…

They have to go potty right away. Or do it within only a few minutes.

Therefore, staying there for so long will only confuse your puppy.

#3: Mistakes are part of learning

Since your fur baby’s still learning how to use their toilet…

Expect them to have a few accidents inside the house.

This is normal. And every housebroken puppy has done this before they succeed.

But of course, you shouldn’t let your fur baby do it all over again.

What to do?

  1. Avoid yelling and doing any big reactions.
  2. Bring your puppy to their toilet area asap.
  3. Give rewards if they finish their business there.
  4. Clean soiled areas thoroughly. (I’ll discuss this shortly).

Trust me. Dogs love attention – whether it’s negative or positive.

So by acting shocked, your puppy might think you’re excited.

And it may encourage them to pee or poop in the wrong spot again.

On the other hand, punishing your Fido will only make them afraid of you.

You’ll know more about this in the next tip.

#4: Think and act positive

I said earlier that accidents still happen during training. 

And that it’s best not to punish your puppy.

So now you may think,

“What should I do then?”

During the process, always remember to:

  • Reward good behaviors.
  • Ignore unaccepted ones.

Experts call this method ‘positive reinforcement.’

It’s reward-based and doesn’t involve punishments.

To motivate your fur baby to use their toilet spot…

You must link a pleasant experience or object to it.

For example:

  • Praise.
  • Toys/games.
  • Cuddles/rubs.
  • Favorite treats.

By doing so, you’ll encourage your Fido to repeat the behavior. As they know they’ll get something good from it.

Science even proves this method effective.

Based on a study, rewarded dogs perform better than punished Fidos.

The latter often had tense bodies. Plus, they showed many stress signals, too, like:

  • Pacing.
  • Yawning.
  • Whining.
  • Pinned ears.
  • Repeated behaviors (e.g., licking, scratching).

The stress affects their learning. As well as their mood during training.

In addition to this…

Research says punishments cause behavior problems in Fidos.

One of those is aggression.

Experts saw this in 25% of dogs after their parents did the following actions:

So, rubbing your Fido’s poop on their nose or beating them won’t do any good.

On the contrary, positive reinforcement has these benefits:

  • Makes learning fun.
  • Long-term effectivity.
  • Helps improve bonds.
  • Won’t cause fear or pain.

What to do?

Reward your puppy right after they go potty in the right spot.

Do this asap to help them make the right connection.

Say, peeing in that area of the yard means yummy treats. Or, taking a dump there’s equal to cuddles.

Now, dogs like praise and belly rub from their humans as rewards.

But usually, snacks work best for our furry friends. As most of them only care about food.

However, it’s easy to go overboard with treats while training.

And vets say these shouldn’t exceed 10% of your furry friend’s daily diet.

So, here are some reminders when using food rewards:

  • Avoid sugary commercial treats.
  • Prepare only small pieces of snacks.
  • Gradually reduce the amount of food you give as you go on.

Note: At the start, offer your puppy a treat for 4 out of 5 good behaviors. Then slowly, make it 3 out of 5, and so on. Do this until your dog follows you not for snacks, but to please you or get praise.

  • Pick low-calorie fruits or vegetables. (Take out the seeds and slice them first.)

Note: Let me remind you that this needs a lot of time and patience. Some people use punishments because it seems quick and effective.

Yes, a dog may stop what they’re doing right away when you hit them. 

However, they didn’t understand why you did it. So they may do it again or become scared They’re only scared of getting beaten again.

Continue reading: 13 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Punish Your Dog

#5: Stand quietly by their side

Your puppy may need some peace to do the job.

So as they attempt to go potty, stay still beside them.

Watch your pooch as they sniff around. Then avoid making noises to keep them focused on the goal – to empty themself.

Once they’re done, you can now praise them. Act like it’s a big deal to reinforce the behavior further.

Note: Don’t worry. I’m sure your dog won’t mind you watching them. Experts say they feel no shame.

However, if they seem uncomfy, avoid eye contact.

Scan the area for possible stressors (e.g., strangers or other animals). And then avoid it or remove your puppy from the area.

#6: Keep your cool

I know training might sometimes get frustrating.

But remember, dogs can sense stress and human emotions.

In fact, researchers found they’re 93.75% accurate most of the time.

And they do it by detecting chemical changes in our:

  • Sweat.
  • Breath.

Amazing, right?

However, your stress can also rub off on your dog.

Then it could affect their focus during training. And slow down their progress.

So if you want to housetrain your puppy within 7 days…

Stay calm even if your Fido’s testing your patience. And speak in a soft, loving tone.

Have a problem relaxing?

Try these simple tips: 

  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Close your eyes and count to 10.
  • Drop your shoulders to ease tension.

#7: Shift their attention

I said earlier that punishments are a no-no.

So if your puppy’s about to go potty inside your house…

Make sounds to get their attention instead of yelling at them.

Now, here are some ideas you can do:

  • Blow a whistle.
  • Call their name.
  • Clap your hands.
  • Hit a pot with a spoon.
  • Shake a can filled with pennies/marbles.

Once they stop, hurry and bring your puppy to their toilet spot.

Then again, reward them if they do their unfinished business there.

#8: Pay attention to their diet

What goes in your puppy’s tummy also affects their potty habits.

For instance, if they’re allergic to soy or dairy…

They might have bad gas and watery poop.

Thus, these will cause them to eliminate frequently. And have accidents everywhere.

On the other hand, vets say dogs may also pee a lot due to:

  • Low-protein diet.
  • High-sodium food.

But they can also drink more water than usual.

Now, this could be normal if:

  • They’re excited.
  • The weather’s hot.
  • They just finished exercising.

However, it’ll be concerning if not. 

It could be a sign of diabetes or urinary tract infection, a.k.a. UTI. The latter’s a painful condition caused by bacteria.

What to do?

Even if you’re training your puppy or not…

Their diet should be:

  • High-quality.
  • Complete with nutrition.
  • Suitable for their life stage.

#9: Feed your puppy regularly

For the potty training to go smoothly…

It’ll help if your pooch also goes to the toilet at similar times.

This aids with consistency. Also, it can prevent accidents at home.

Plus, your Fido will worry less as they know what to expect every day.

To do this, you should also keep a regular feeding routine. And this goes along with their potty schedule.

“How many times should I feed my puppy?”

It’ll depend on their age.

Typically, here’s what experts recommend:

  • <3 months old: 4 times/day.
  • 3-6 months old: 3 times/day.
  • >6 months old: 2 times/day.

Spread your Fido’s meals equally throughout the day.

But ensure the gap between feedings doesn’t go beyond 5-6 hours.

Week-old puppies and those below 3 months need small frequent meals.

However, you’ll have to feed them less as they grow older.

Plus, they’ll require an adult formula to match their age’s needs.

Consult your dog’s diet with your vet to ensure they get complete nutrition.

Note: Overfeeding causes potty problems too. So read the dog food label carefully for the amount. Or follow your vet’s advice as well.

You might also like: Feeding Schedule For 5-Week Old Puppy: When & What To Feed

#10: Get them moving

Exercise won’t only keep your puppy fit.

It’ll also get their digestion moving. Which helps them eliminate fast.

That’s why vets say it can also help ease constipation in dogs.

But besides these…

Walking your furry friend has more benefits for both of you.

Exercising together will:

  • Help prevent obesity.
  • Maintain healthy joints.
  • Prevent bladder infections.

#11: Speed up nature calls

Apart from walking and having a cue word…

You can prompt your puppy to go potty using other methods.

Now, peeing’s usually easier for most furry pals than pooping.

So if you’re having trouble with number 2, here are a few things you may try:

Option #1: Give a back massage

  1. Put your dog in a sitting or squatting position.
  2. Place both hands (palms down) on their upper neck. Avoid putting them directly over their spine.
  3. Apply light pressure on the area.
  4. Run your hands from their neck down to their spine.
  5. Repeat this about 15 times.

Read next: 5 Easy Ways To Massage A Dog To Poop (How-To Guide)

Option #2: Water spray

This is a quick solution for most dogs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with cool water (not freezing cold).
  2. Raise your puppy’s tail.
  3. Spray some water on their anus.
  4. Repeat until necessary.

Option #3: Wet wipes technique

  1. Get a damp cloth or wet wipe.
  2. Gently rub it on your puppy’s anus.

Experts say mother dogs do this to their babies to urge them to poop.

But instead of using a wet cloth, they lick their puppies instead.

And this usually happens around 2 weeks old.

Option #4: Ice cube method

If your puppy’s a picky pooper, this trick might help them.

The cold temperature may cause them to contract their anus. Which could help release their waste fast.

  1. Wear rubber gloves.
  2. Keep your dog standing.
  3. Lift your Fido’s tail.
  4. Put an ice cube around their anus.
  5. Do this for 30 seconds.

Option #5: ‘Stick trick’

I found this method while watching videos and looking at dog show forums.

It’s effective in making Fidos poop.

But if done wrongly, it may hurt your puppy.

  1. Grab the softest matchsticks you can find. Or cut cotton swabs in half. (The latter’s often a safer option.)
  2. Wet the wooden tip or cotton end. (Not the sulfur one or tip without cotton).
  3. Raise your dog’s tail to show their bum.
  4. Slowly insert the part you moistened in step #2 into your puppy’s anus.
  5. Stop halfway. Never put the whole thing inside.
  6. Hold it for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove the stick slowly.
  8. Wait for them to poop.

Warning: Stop at once if your puppy looks uncomfortable with these methods. Also, use them only when urgent. Say if you need to return to the house quickly or you’re traveling.

Remember, dogs must learn how to go potty naturally. 

But if you use these tricks often, your Fido may learn to depend on them. And it might be hard for them to pee or poop without them.

#12: Avoid dramas at night

Okay. Let me be clear here.

I’m not telling you to avoid watching your favorite Korean drama or Netflix series.

You’re free to do so to your heart’s content.

But I mean not to make a fuss when your puppy wakes up at night. And asks you to bring them to their toilet.

At the start of training, expect this scenario to happen a lot.

This is normal in dogs. Especially if your puppy’s too young. As they can’t hold their bladder and bowels well.

What to do?

If your fur baby suddenly whines and wakes up at night:

  1. Watch and let them settle down for at least 5 minutes.
  2. If they’re still restless, take them to their restroom.
  3. Look out for ‘I-need-to-potty’ signs too. (E.g., sniffing the ground, standing by the door). 

Now, as you bring your puppy to the toilet spot…

Take note of the following:

  1. Give your dog 10-15 minutes to pee/poop.
  2. Reward them if they do.
  3. Return inside or to your bedroom immediately.
  4. Avoid playing with them at night after going to the restroom.

During the day, it’s best to reward your Fido with a short playtime.

But doing this at bedtime may keep you and your puppy up all night.

Also, they may learn to wake you up every evening if they’re bored.

So, short night toilet trips won’t only keep your puppy’s potty routine…

It’ll also ensure both of your sleep. 🙂

Note: A dog may wake up every night due to diarrhea or food allergy. You’ll know if they eat less than usual or fart a lot at this time of day.

But if they only have accidents at night, consider these other possible causes:

  • Stress.
  • Peaceful environment.
  • Lack of access to their toilet.
  • Scent marking (spreading of odor through pee/poop).
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control due to old age or illness. 

#13: Prevention’s the key

Lastly, to potty train your puppy within 7 days…

You must set them up for success.

This means you shouldn’t give them any chance to pee or poop inside the house. Or anywhere outside their toilet area.

What to do?

To prevent frequent accidents during potty training:

  • Watch your puppy like a hawk.
  • Learn how to read their body language.
  • Always keep them on a leash during toilet trips.
  • Get a friend or trusted dog walker to take your Fido out while you’re away.
  • Restrict their area in the meantime. (E.g., install baby gates, keep them from carpeted areas)

Once you’re done with training…

Only then you can gradually give your puppy more freedom.

Say, slowly giving them a bigger area to roam inside the house.

Now, sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

When this happens, here are some tips you can try…

“I followed the 10 steps, but it didn’t work… what should I do now?”

#1: Make their toilet smell familiar

Have you heard of anal sacs?

These are 2 grape-sized pouches inside a dog’s anus.

When they poop, the sacs release fluid. Which then leaves a scent that Fidos use to know who’s who.

That’s why dogs sniff each other’s poop and bum. 

Meanwhile, their pee has ‘pheromones.’

These are chemicals that send invisible signals to other Fidos. 

Now, why am I saying this?

Dogs decide where to poop or take a leak if they sniff a history in the area.

If they did their business in that spot before, they might think…

“A-ha! I can smell my scent here. This must be my toilet.”

So even if you wiped your puppy’s pee or poop on the floor…

There would still be traces left. And that’s why they’ll keep coming back to the same place.

Now, use this to your advantage.

What to do?

If your puppy pees/poops somewhere, clean the mess right away. And then:

  1. Wash the spot thoroughly to get rid of any traces. (I’ll share some tips shortly.)
  2. Wear gloves.
  3. Collect the paper towels you used.
  4. Put or rub them in their toilet spot to leave your puppy’s scent.
  5. Bring your dog to the area.
  6. Let them smell around.
  7. Wait for them to go potty.
  8. Reward them once done.

#2: Try potty training sprays

If the 1st tip doesn’t work or you have hygiene concerns…

You can look for a potty training spray instead.

It’s like a pee or poop magnet. And it’s all thanks to its ‘pheromones.’

These are invisible chemicals that only dogs can smell.

They send messages. Which then helps attract Fidos to do their business in the sprayed areas.

But let me remind you.

Some feedback says this spray works after a week or more.

Also, there’s no 100% guarantee that this will be effective on every pooch.

However, there’s no harm in trying.

#3: Apply pee-deterring odors

If you need to stop your puppy from peeing everywhere…

There’s a solution to it too. 

Some scents like citrus or coffee deter dogs. And they work the opposite of potty training sprays.

But if you want this to be more effective…

You can do this trick along with the next tip below.

Further reading: 7 Most Effective Scents That Deter Dogs From Peeing

#4: Use ‘enzyme cleaners’

Now, if your puppy goes potty in many places other than their toilet…

There could be some traces left in those areas.

Remember what I said earlier?

Dogs can smell if they peed or pooped in a specific place.

And if they did, they’ll likely do it again in that same spot.

It may look and smell stain-free for you.

But your puppy has a great nose that can pick up things your human nose can’t.

So to prevent this from happening again…

Wash the areas they see as toilets with an ‘enzyme cleaner.’

“What is it?”

Compared to ordinary cleaners…

This washes deeper than the surface.

It’s because it uses ‘enzymes’ or proteins that break down particles.

This makes it effective in clearing stains on surfaces. Say pee, poop, vomit, and even blood.

As well as in removing odors. So say goodbye to lingering smells.

Thus, if you clean using this…

Your fur baby won’t even know they did their business on those spots before. As they’ll smell as good as new.

Plus, you can now start potty training them again. And teach them to do their business in their dedicated toilet area.

“Are enzyme cleaners safe for dogs?”

As per vets, these are non-toxic to pets. 

So you don’t have to worry about using this inside your house. Especially around your dog and other fur babies. 

Best-selling enzyme cleaners

How to use this?

The instructions may vary per product. So read the packaging carefully.

But usually, it goes like this:

  1. Get a clean paper or cloth towel.
  2. Shake the bottle.
  3. Pour a small amount of solution into the soiled areas.
  4. Leave it for 1 hour.
  5. Blot the spots with a towel if it’s a new stain.
  6. For deep cleaning, cover the areas with a cloth and put a heavy object on them.
  7. Vacuum the spots to clear excess dirt.

If it stains your carpet, stop using it. Find a better product that suits your fabric or surface.

Warning: Avoid using ammonia cleaners. These don’t help in removing stubborn odors. Plus, they’re highly toxic to you and your pooch.

Check out also: 9 Tips To Keep The House Clean When Your Dog Is In Heat

#5: Get a grass pad

If your puppy still doesn’t like going to their spot in the yard…

How are they around grass?

Can they walk over it with no problem?

If not, your fur baby may not be used to it.

“What do you mean?”

Dogs have ‘surface preference.’

It’s when they develop a liking for a particular surface.

Which then affects their decisions about where to go potty.

Vets say puppies learn this at 9-24 weeks old.

So at this age, you must expose your fur baby to different places. Or else toilet training will take a lot of effort and time.

Now, to help you understand this better, here’s an example.

Let’s say your dog has only been in wired crates most of their life.

If this is the case, they’ll be unfamiliar with grass. As well as other surfaces like concrete floors.

As a result, they may not walk on the grass.

Moreover, do their business in the yard.

Besides this, it can also happen if your puppy had potty pad training.

But don’t fret. With patience and the right tool, you can slowly correct this behavior.

What to do?

First, get an artificial grass pee pad for dogs.

It must be:

  • Non-slip.
  • Reusable.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Big enough for your dog’s size.
  • Made of non-toxic, durable plastic.
  • Equipped with a drain and tray to avoid spills.

Once done, follow the easy tips below:

Step #1: Familiarize your puppy
  1. Place the grass pad on your balcony. 
  2. Lure your puppy by putting their favorite treats on the pad.
  3. Let them sniff the area for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Praise your puppy if they touch or go on it.
  5. Repeat this at least 5-10 times a day.
Step #2: Link the pad to potty

If your Fido doesn’t go near it…

Rub soiled towels or put some of their poop on the pad.

But ensure you’re wearing rubber gloves while doing this.

You can also apply a potty training spray on it.

Now, your pooch won’t likely go on the pad right away.

So after each session:

  1. Clean it. But not thoroughly, to leave traces of their odor.
  2. Bring them to the spot the next day.
  3. Repeat this daily. Until they’re confident enough to put their paws on the grass pad.
  4. Shower your puppy with rewards as soon as they go potty on it.

Then if your dog’s getting good at doing their business on the pad..

Step #3: Take it outside

Slowly move the grass pad towards the yard.

Put it a few inches away from the balcony or the corner. Do these baby steps until you reach outdoors.

Place their grass pad outside. Preferably near your chosen toilet area.

Then move it nearer as your puppy gets used to the surface.

Repeat until you remove the pad.

If done properly, your puppy won’t notice they’re peeing or pooping directly on actual grass.

Then carry on with your potty training using the 9 tips above.

#6: Level up your prizes

You know that your puppy likes treats a lot.

But during training, they don’t seem interested in the snacks you offer.

If this is your problem, try upgrading your rewards.

Instead of typical dog treats…

You may give them the following:

  • Tiny bits of cheese.
  • Shredded, plain, boiled chicken.
  • Frozen Kong toys smeared with peanut butter.

The list goes on.

But between us, you know your pooch best.

So figure out the food they love the most. And then use it as a reward.

However, avoid giving the treat to your puppy outside training to keep its high-value status.

Then soon enough, your puppy will be excited about potty lessons. As it’s the only time they’ll get extra yummy snacks.

However, be mindful of the amount you give to your Fido.

Prepare the snacks in tiny pieces. And never offer your pooch more than required.

Treats must not exceed 10% of their daily energy intake.

Note: You can also do this at the last phase of toilet training. Do this to switch things up. And to keep your puppy focused until the end.

#7: Ensure everyone’s on the same page

Do you have other people at home?

And do they also take care of your puppy while you’re away?

If so, and you didn’t inform them about your dog’s potty training…

This could be one of the factors why it could have been more successful.

Remember, being consistent’s important in training.

If your partner or family does the opposite of what you do…

Your puppy will be confused.

So to prevent this…

Tell other people at home that you’re toilet training your dog.

Inform them about your Fido’s:

  • Toilet habits.
  • Potty schedule.

As well as the do’s and don’ts in training.

Create a summary of the things you learned here.

Then post it where everyone can see it. Say on the fridge.

#BONUS: Seek an expert’s help

Lastly, if you tried everything and your puppy still goes potty everywhere…

There could be a medical condition behind it.

So write down any other signs you notice on your dog.

Then bring your Fido to the vet clinic at once.

I already mentioned a few possible ailments earlier, like:

  • Diabetes.
  • Incontinence.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).

But this could also be a sign of:

  • Arthritis.
  • Kidney diseases.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Cushing’s disease (having a high-stress hormone level).

However, if your puppy’s physically healthy …

The cause might be psychological. Or inside their mind.

In this case, you may inspect the toilet area for any stressors.

Remove them if you can. Or you could just pick a quieter spot for your puppy.

But if it persists…

You may consult your vet. Or, ask them to refer you to a certified dog behaviorist.

“How do mind conditions affect a dog’s potty habits?”

When highly anxious, a puppy may do their business anywhere. Or they might not go to the toilet at all.

Also, if a dog has separation anxiety

They’ll panic if their parents aren’t around.

So they tend to destroy things. And soil every part of the house.

Thus, watch for these signs of anxiety in dogs:

  • Rapid resting heart rate.
  • Changes in sleeping habits.
  • Repeated behaviors (e.g., licking, biting themself).

Note: Helping your puppy get rid of their anxiety can take a while. But like other training, it’s not impossible. As long as you have the following:

  • Patience.
  • Consistency.
  • Guidance from an expert.

So, trust the process. You got this! 🙂