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Tips For Potty Training Your Dog

Your new pup has arrived home and you quickly find out, you need tips for potty training your dog!

Accidents can be disheartening. You leave your pooch alone for just a minute, only to return to an accident. Your dog doesn’t want to have accidents just as much as you don’t want to be cleaning them up. Pet Sitters International has shared some great tips for potty training that will have your dog ready to “go” in no time.


Crating your dog when you can’t watch them is usually the best way to potty train. However, confinement to a small space such as a bathroom or kitchen using baby gates is also an option. Since dogs will typically not eliminate in areas where they sleep, confining them to a small area can quickly help with potty training. You’ll want to make sure your dog is kept confined 100% of the time when you are not directly supervising them. If you need to run out of the room and can’t take your dog with you, confine them. Need a quick run to the bathroom? Confine them. Anytime they are out of your direct line of sight or if you aren’t directly watching them, the crate is the best place for them.

Once your pup is house trained, crating may no longer be necessary but during potty training, it’s your best friend. Consider it like a nanny that’s there to help you when you have other things you need to do.


Keeping the same pattern every day will be incredibly important for your dog. They will quickly learn that they are going to go outside to relieve themselves after certain things occur. While your dog should always have access to water, it’s recommended to have a consistent schedule for feeding and walks. Never leave food down all day for a pup in potty training. Instead, feed them when you can be available to take them outside once they have finished. Make sure to give them approximately 15 minutes to finish their meal. You’ll want to pick up their food bowl when they’re done. 15 minutes after your dog eats or drinks, they should be taken outside to the same area where they have been previously eliminating.

Allow your dog time to sniff and eliminate in the appropriate area. If they don’t eliminate, bring them back inside without the reward of a walk, and try again in 15 minutes. This also teaches them that the walk, which is a reward, happens only after they have eliminated. Once they eliminate, give lots of praise! Now would be the time to give small training treats or take that reward walk.


Knowing when your pup needs to eliminate can help you schedule when to head outside. Take your dog outside when they first get up in the morning, wake up from a nap, or finish a play session. You’ll want to take your dog out again after they drink or eat, after chewing on a bone or toy, or if they haven’t been out for a few hours. Always take them to the same elimination area so their scent is prevalent. They will want to mark the same area which can promote elimination. If you happen to catch your dog eliminating in an inappropriate spot, clap your hands loudly to distract them, and take them immediately outside to the elimination area. When your dog finishes eliminating, give lots of praise and preferably a reward.


Rewarding your dog during potty training is incredibly important. Not only will it build a strong bond between you and your pup but it’s a great way to communicate clearly to them that they are doing what you want them to do. Be excited immediately after your dog eliminates outside as this lets them know they’ve done it right!

Use very small training treats for extra reinforcement when your dog eliminates. Very small pieces of cheese or deli meats are considered high value treats and work great. Just be mindful in keeping them extremely small so your pup won’t need another trip outside after their initial trip!

Never hit or yell at your dog for eliminating in the wrong place and never rub their nose in their accident. These types of punishment are harmful to both your pet and to what you’re trying to accomplish. You don’t want your pet fearful of eliminating in front of you. Positive reinforcement is the key.


While potty training your dog, always take them outside on leash to eliminate. This will help you control where your pet walks and can ensure they are directed to the appropriate elimination area without distraction. Once they eliminate you can either take your reward walk or let them off leash for play in a fenced in area. If you want your dog to have more time out of their confined area while in the house but don’t want to confine yourself to the same spot, consider leashing them while indoors. This will require them to come with you when you move from room to room, allowing you to keep an eye on them regardless of where you are. Plus, this teaches your pup to follow you as pack leader. This can help with other areas of behavioral training.


As professional pet sitters, we are very used to cleaning up accidents. We all carry a wonderful product, called Nature’s Miracle. You’ll want to make sure you always clean up accidents with Nature’s Miracle or a product specifically designed to breaking down urine enzymes. This ensures your dog won’t detect previous odors that promote elimination in the wrong spots. Using household cleaners, isn’t enough. Just because you can no longer smell the odor, doesn’t mean your dog can’t!


Potty training your dog can actually be a lovely bonding experience between you and your pet. Keep in mind that if an accident happens, it’s because you messed up, not your dog. Perhaps you got busy and lost track of time. Sometimes a phone call can run over and then you realize, whoops, I forgot to let the dog out after his meal. Perhaps you’re giving your dog too much leeway too soon. Your dog is never having an accident because they are mad at you or they want to ruin your new rug. They don’t pee on your couch to be spiteful. They simply needed to pee. Practice sticking to your routine and using the tips for potty training provided here. You’ll have your dog potty trained in no time. Use patience, love, and reward to help the process go even more quickly.

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