Free tips for toilet training your puppy

According to University of California's Davis College of Veterinary Medicine the frequency of elimination breaks should align with your puppy's age. The guidelines are: 6 to 14 weeks/eight to ten times daily, 14 to 20 weeks/six to eight times daily, 20 to 30 weeks/four to six times daily, and 30 weeks and older/three to four times daily. These timescales don’t necessarily alter with breed or size of the dog’s bladder because the volume of water they drink will also vary.



Top Tips


  • Only allow your puppy freedom in the house when you are there to supervise, so that you can pay attention to the signs that he needs to go, and so he can't wonder off to wee in another room

  • Take your puppy out into the garden every 1 to 2 hours initially. You can gradually start to increase this time each week.

  • Start a toileting diary. Keep note of daily routines such as feeding time, play time, training, as well as what time your puppy went to the toilet and whether it was inside or outside. After a week or so, you should see a pattern developing, which will help you to better predict when your puppy will need the toilet

  • Look for signs that your puppy needs a wee, such as sniffing the floor or circling. If you're training your puppy, he may become less responsive during your training session, which could indicate that he needs a wee or a drink


  • You must go with your puppy to the garden and it is recommended that you take him out on the lead to the same spot each time. If you let your puppy off the lead, he may forget why he is out there and then promptly come back inside and wee.

  • Walk round in small circles—the movement will encourage your puppy to go to the toilet

  • When your puppy goes to the toilet outside, say a cue such as ‘be quick’, give him lots of praise and a food reward, and then let him have free time to run around


  • Pay attention to surface preferences. Does your puppy prefer to wee on grass or concrete? Does he have access to this in your garden?

  • If your puppy doesn't toilet, then either pop him back into his pen area, or keep him on a lead and with you when you go indoors so that you can keep a close eye on him. Chances are he will wee within the next 5 minutes, so this allows you to whip him back outside.

  • If your puppy toilets in the house, DO NOT punish him. You must never ever punish a puppy for toileting indoors, otherwise you will quickly find that your puppy will associate toileting with bad things from you and will start toileting out of sight instead. A puppy who is afraid to toilet in front of you is a difficult puppy to toilet train!


  • If you cannot supervise your puppy, you must put him in a secure crate or play pen so that he cannot make mistakes

  • Do not use puppy pads or newspaper in the house—this only serves to teach your puppy that it is ok to toilet indoors

  • If your puppy is frightened by the outside world, he may not feel confident enough to toilet outside. In this case, you may need to use puppy pads or an indoor grass area until you have built up your puppy's confidence


  • Clean up any mess with your normal washing powder—this stops the area from smelling different from the rest of your house

  • Take your puppy out after eating, drinking, playing, training & waking up from naps . These are key times that your puppy will almost definitely need to go to the toilet

You can't rush science! Keep going with the tips above and your puppy will get it. Each puppy toilet trains at different rates:


If you're struggling to toilet train your puppy, our puppy residential stays are a great way to establish a routine for your puppy and teach him where to go to the toilet. We understand how hard it can be to establish this routine yourself if you have kids, other pets, or challenging work hours.


Written by Jenny Trigg, Adolescent Dogs Ltd

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