Constantly cleaning up pee and poop sucks. So it’s not surprising that potty training is usually the number one concern for most new puppy parents. But it’s also pretty much guaranteed not to be a permanent problem so try not to stress too much!
The #1 concept to understand is that preventing accidents is everything. Minute by minute, put your puppy in situations that minimize the chance of accidents. Minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, and after a few weeks your puppy will only be doing their business outside because of habit. If you’re consistent, potty training will happen quickly. If you’re not consistent, it will take longer. But they’ll get it. It might take longer with some smaller breeds (yorkies, I’m looking at you!)
If you’ve created and started consistently implementing your Puppy’s Schedule, then the majority of your puppy’s Potty Training needs should be covered within the Five Appointment Types.
Your puppy should only be eliminating during Potty Breaks, if outdoors during any other appointment, or if in a Self-Amusement appointment for longer than 30 minutes using pee pads.
Remember, they’re babies. Don’t get angry. You were once pissing everywhere too.
Here are answers to a few common “if this happens” questions. But I can only scratch the surface of the road bumps you might run into. Use common sense. Remember that prevention is everything. And they’ll get it eventually.
If your puppy is still having occasional accidents (once or twice a day or less), then keep a potty training log. A log will help you identify the patterns so you can adjust your puppy’s schedule to specifically address those accidents. Track the approximate time, whether pee or poop, what the puppy was doing immediately before the accident, and the last time they eliminated. Clear here to print my Potty Training Log template.
If your puppy doesn’t pee during a Potty Break, then put them in crate for Rest Time and try another Potty Break in 10 – 30 minutes. Try to resist just letting them off leash to run around and play because it will make it harder to predict patterns.
If your puppy doesn’t pee during a Potty Break and you can’t get them out again in under 30 minutes (eg. if leaving for work), then your best bet is to put in Self-Amusement with Pee Pads, unless you are very confident that they can handle a longer period of Rest Time without peeing.
If your puppy is peeing when in Rest Time for under 30 minutes in crate, then try 20 minutes. If the puppy is still peeing, then you might need a Private Lesson with an experience dog trainer.
If your puppy is tearing up the Pee Pads left in the x-pen, then try taping them down to the floor.
If your puppy stares cluelessly at the stuffed Twist n’ Treat or Classic Kong like “wtf”, then sit and show them how to use it during a Train/Playtime appointment – make the Twist n’ Treat opening very wide or put the tastiest food right at the top of the Kong opening.
If your puppy is crying/whining/barking when in Rest Time or during Self-Amusement, then make sure that you’ve stuffed the Twist n’ Treat or Classic Kong with food that your puppy really loves, and that you haven’t made the toy too difficult. Let the puppy dig into the toy a little before walking away.
If your puppy is having accidents during Training/Play Time or Self-Amusement (not on pee pads) within 30 minutes after a Potty Break, then shorten those appointments to 20 minutes and put in Rest Time for another 10 minutes, followed by a Potty Break. This assumes that he has not already been having accidents in the crate.
If you notice that your puppy hasn’t peed/pooped for a while when outside (eg. If you let them play for a while after their Potty Break or you do a Train/Play time period outside), then put on leash and take to potty area for a few minutes before taking them back inside.
If you happen to have a pet door, then set up your puppy’s Self-Amusement area so they have access to it.
If your puppy is in the x-pen during a Self-Amusement period for over 30 mins and uses the pee pads, then that is not an accident – they are doing what they are supposed to!