10 Tips to Help Potty Train Your Dog, According to Experts

A primary concern when a pet dog joins your home is how to potty train him or her as soon as possible.

General rules to remember are how accidents are inevitable while dogs adjust to their new surroundings and to prioritise forming good habits early.

Every dog is different and while a young puppy can require four to six months to be fully house trained, older pets can need a year.

Newsweek provides all the advice you need to potty train your pet dog with ease.

Crate training

Potty training a new dog
Potty training a new dog is an obvious priority Akintevs/Getty Images

Confining a new dog to a caged crate is not as cruel as it looks, as canines are den animals.

Crates are an effective tool for housetraining, as dogs are particularly clean creatures who dislike dirty environments as much as their owners.

When the dog needs to heed an impending call of nature, they will signal this by whining and scratching.

Then, as quickly as possible, let the dog out to relive itself—don't delay as it is important not to give the impression it is allowed to lose control inside its crate—let alone in your home.

Paper training

This clever method trains a dog to eliminate itself on ever-smaller areas of paper or training pad.

This should be repeated until the owner can simply direct the dog to the specific spot where they wish them to relive themselves.

The best bet is to build a secure area where the puppy can be confined when left unsupervised.

However, Mary Burch, Director of the American Kennel Club's Family Dog program, believes the use of puppy pads and paper training can be problematic.

She said on the AKC site, this can be "tricky because you're reinforcing two different options for the puppy."

Ideally, dogs should learn to hold it indoors and only evacuate their bladder and bowels in specific areas outside.

Be consistent

tips to help potty train dogs
Always be aware of the importance of routine and consistency when potty training your dog ArtyAlison/Getty Images

Once owners have settled on a distinct strategy for potty training a dog, always be fully aware of the importance of routine and consistency.

Setting an achievable schedule and avoiding any deviation will help prevent problems and offer the best chance you and your pet will succeed with potty training.

Bearing this in mind, introduce the dog to the potty pad anytime they have not been to the toilet even for only an hour or so.

Also, take the dog to the potty pad whenever you believe they should need to go—but if they don't relieve themselves, immediately try again within minutes and repeat until they get to business in your yard.

Finally, feeding the dog at a regular time can work wonders for perfectly predicting when he or she should need to answer the call of nature.

Start a housetraining schedule

All dogs, and younger ones in particular, possess small bladders, meaning they should be granted plenty of time to answer the call of nature.

Canines can in general control their bladders for no longer than the number of hours corresponding to their age in months—up to no more than nine months.

As a result, it can make sense to keep a close eye on your new dog's toilet breaks with a detailed diary.

You should discover early on just how frequently a dog may have to go and the importance to arrange cover among the household to care for the pet clean up any mistakes.

Remember, the earlier a new dog understands there are approved place to go potty and how some areas are off-limits, the better.

Observing and supervising

Owners who keep a careful eye on their new charge should soon get a good feel for their dog's unique signals and rhythms.

Some animals may boast bigger bladders, while others may need to relieve themselves if overexcited.

A general rule is to be aware how canine potty habits can vary greatly even among similar breeds.

Start a routine

tips to help potty train dogs
Do not be surprised when the day's first task involves letting your dog out of the crate and outside nadisja/Getty Images

With dogs' bladders significantly smaller than your own, do not be surprised should the day's first task involve letting your puppy out of the crate and outside to take care of business.

Try whenever possible to use the same route to arrive at the identical spot where you wish your dog to wee

And keeping your pet on a leash outside during potty training allows owners to easily monitor events and react appropriately.

Remember, the last thing you should do before going to bed for the night is to take your puppy out for one final potty break before bedtime.

Leaving home and Last call

Planning is important when potty training your pet, especially when you have to leave home for a specified period.

And owners should use the month-plus-one rule; taking the puppy's age in months and add one, to arrive at the maximum number of hours the canine can comfortably hold it between trips to the toilet.

The feeding schedule

The youngest dogs have fragile digestive systems and are unable to manage much food at any time.

Experts suggest owners split a puppy's feeding schedule into three smaller meals and wherever possible serve the highest quality puppy food available that seems to agree with the pet.

Examining a dog's stool is a useful tool when deciding whether a tweak to your dog's diet is necessary. A dog regularly responsible for stools suspiciously large, loose and smelly can indicate a trip to the vet to discuss new food is in order.

Also bear in mind how overfeeding a greedy dog is all-too-easy and can result in a messy case of diarrhea.


Scolding a new dog early on for an accident indoors will achieve little.

Also be aware how archaic methods of punishment, such as forcing a dog's face in the direction of its mistake has long been discredited by experts.

However, praising a pup for following its potty training conversely works rather well.

tips to help potty train dogs
Scolding a new dog early on for an accident indoors will achieve littl Yana Tikhonova/Getty Images

Housetraining problems

While following this advice should find your pup perfectly potty trained in mere months, there are unfortunately no guarantees.

Mary Burch of the American Kennel Club reveals how persistent toilet-related accidents can be a telltale sign of an underlying physical issue.

She said on the AKC's site: "Well before the several month mark, a dog who has seemed impossible to housetrain should have a good veterinary workup."

And should a checkup by a vet discover no problems, experts recommend the next stage is to find a trainer or qualified animal behaviorist with experience with such issues.