How to Toilet Train a Puppy!

When you get a new puppy, the most important thing to get out of the way is basic house training – which primarily includes toilet training.

Regardless of your puppies breed, they will inevitably have an accident in the early stages of training, and whilst it’s important to be firm and ensure they learn, you should also ensure that training isn’t rushed. 

Dogs will naturally avoid using the toilet around their living areas – such as their bed. This, however, does not mean that they will not accidentally mistake this as a toilet during their training, but once they learn, they won’t use your house as a toilet again in the future unless they are extremely desperate.

Good training begins with a good routine that your dog can pick up on quickly and understand rights from wrongs.

Starting off

It is very unlikely that your puppy will know what to straight off the bat, and it is important that you understand that they are not familiar with the new environment that is your home. For your puppy, everything is new, and they will need time to adapt. Giving them time and being patient will stop them from feeling forced and scared, and reduces the chance of panic – which can result in an accident.

Dog’s show different signs depending on what they need to do. If they start circling a lot, they need to poo. If they are pacing back and forth a lot and/or whining, they will need to use the toilet as well. Looking out for these signs and acting upon them will help avoid accidents, and make the training process a lot easier.

Basic training

Start off by picking an area for them to do their business, preferably outside, but this could also be any room of choice with a training pad as long as you are okay with cleaning up afterwards. If you see them indicating that they are about to start urinating, pick them up immediately and take them outside/to the pad as quick as possible, this will help them associate that this is where they will need to go if they need the toilet.

With training sheets, it is also advised that you take the sheets out so your dog knows exactly where to go based off the smell of the used sheets. Once your dog is familiar with the chosen place for a toilet break, you can stop using the sheets outside and your dog will know instinctively where to go.

While your dog is still young, their bladder is very small and they will struggle to hold it in like they would at an older age. In these circumstances, you should ensure that your dog goes to the toilet frequently, whether it’s after food, after waking up or after playing. The chances of an accident are greatly reduced so long as they get plenty of toilet breaks, which in turn helps train them as well.

Word association 

Having a command/cue associated with going to the toilet will be a big help for both you and your dog.

It’s not essential and most likely will not be used too often, but for moments when you need your dog to go to the toilet, such as before a car journey or before bedtime.

This is a command that needs to be taught while they are a puppy, and it as simply as saying your word of choice, such as “toilet” while they are urinating and before they start.

Repeat this and they will learn that the word is associated with going to the toilet.

Create a relaxed environment 

We are RelaxMyDog, we don’t really need to listen the cons of having hostile surroundings and an uncomfortable home for your puppy. Let’s get this out the way, our music isn’t going to stop your puppy from soiling your favourite carpet, only good training can prevent this.

Our music can, however, help your puppy feel relaxed again, if they have been told off for doing something naughty, or if they are generally stressed by something in the house. RelaxMyDog can, and has been used as a training tool by owners as a form of calming a dogs’ mind to ensure they don’t get scared by loud bangs and fireworks – which result in accidents.

Help create a relaxed environment completely free of charge with our Spotify music, available to stream or download. Click here for more information.

Show affection and give rewards

Like any trick you teach your dog, they do it in the hope of receiving a treat/food at the end of it. Giving your dog a treat after they have gone to the toilet in the correct place helps them understand that they are doing the right thing, and will continue to do this again in the future.

Affection is also a sign that they are doing the right thing and can be given in the form of a belly rub, a long pat or a play. Acting in a positive manner will help your puppy understand that they are in the right.


Time, patience and good training can and will result in an accident-free puppy who will know rights from wrongs and won’t make the house messy.

Is your dog well trained now? Do they have a favourite toilet spot? We would love to know! Get in touch with comments (and photos!) over on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
This post was made thanks to references and advice from: RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross and Purina. A big thank you to these organisations for all the incredible work they do!