Puppy Potty Training in 3 Essential Easy Steps

Puppy Potty Training

New puppies are absolutely adorable. So adorable that potty training gets out of hand simply because you let your puppy do whatever he wants to do from the get go.

Make life easy for you and for your puppy with 3 easy steps to a perfectly potty trained puppy.

Without following these three simple steps puppy potty training can be nothing less than frustrating. It is a bit of an exercise in patience.

Remember you just brought a baby home and like a toddler it is going to require your attention much more so in the early puppy stage then a few months down the line when you take the time to follow these guidelines the first few weeks.





  1. Get a crib for you baby, known in the dog world as a crate.
  2. Do not leave your puppy unattended, just like a baby.
  3. Take your puppy out every 1-2 hours the first week. Every 2-3 hours the second week and every 3 hours the third week.

If your puppy should make a mistake it is of utmost importance you clean it up correctly! You don’t want to smell urine in your home even if a mistake happens. Your puppy will smell it for sure and recognize it as a place already established as an acceptable potty spot. Read below for more information.

Why a crate?

Notice in the list it is described as a baby crib. No one would consider you a terrible person and you wouldn’t consider yourself unfair for putting a baby in a crib to sleep or while you aren’t watching every single move. So why is it that people have an opinion that crating a puppy is a bad thing?

Get over that one and realize you can think of it and even call it a crib or the nursery in your mind and your puppy will be safe and happy about it.

Do Not Leave Your Puppy Unattended

When you cannot watch your puppy as though it is a new born baby, put him in the crib or crate, whichever you prefer to label it. It is as simple as that.

Puppies will wander off and have an accident without you knowing it. Since a puppy learns in pictures as well as led by his nose this proves to be quite frustrating to fix if the habit is established more than a couple of times.

Take Your Puppy Out Often

Ideally taking your puppy out every 1-2 hours will ensure mistakes are impossible. Your puppy may not have to go every time but if you create the picture often enough in the beginning your puppy will without a doubt learn where to go potty.

Crate your puppy to sleep overnight and plan on getting up at least once to take him out. As your puppy grows you’ll be able to let him sleep all night and stretch the day time hours out to 4-6. BE PATIENT and spend the first couple months to get this one right. It will pay off in a perfectly potty trained puppy and you’ll be well on your way to other stellar puppy training as well.

What if I can’t take my puppy out that often?

Many people have to leave their puppy longer than 1-2 hours at a time. If this is the case with you, take your puppy out as often as possible. The first thing you should do when coming home is take your puppy out. Once the pup has done the business play time outside of the crate is on! Just remember not to get distracted and let your puppy run off on his own EVER in the beginning.

Put your puppy in the crate every single time you can’t watch. Not only is it good potty training practice it’s good chew proof practice as well.

What if I feel like I have my puppy in the crate too much?

Simple answer. Make more time to spend with your puppy. One thing you can do is tie a leash to yourself with your puppy clipped to the end. This way there is no wandering off and you can spend time with your puppy other than play time.

Make sure to set an alarm on your watch or phone as a reminder to yourself. The reminder will set a precedent of where to go potty every single time.

What if my puppy makes a mistake?

Getting mad and rubbing your puppy’s nose in a mistake is a big no no. It does nothing to teach your puppy where to go to relieve himself. Puppies and dogs are very much in the moment. Anything you are reprimanding for after the fact only goes in the puppy’s mind as associated with whatever they were doing in the moment you got mad. That could have easily been playing with a chew toy or wagging a tail at you.

Simply take your puppy outside, tell him to go potty and if he does not, put him up in the crate. Take him out later and start the process over. And over. And over.

Most Important Step in Fixing a Potty Mistake

Clean it up properly!! Any old cleaner does not work. The myth of using vinegar doesn’t work for this one either. Pet urine contains enzymes that must be removed or the super duper smell system of puppies and dogs will find the spot again, figure it’s the designated bathroom and go again.


There are several enzyme cleaners out there. From experience there is one in my personal opinion that actually works!

Planet Urine  Get it!  It is a must for any potty training program.  As a bonus there is live coaching that comes along with it!

*I’m not one to recommend anything that doesn’t work and that I haven’t used myself. Over my years of training and working with potty training as an issue this is the one thing that has made the biggest difference. One mistake could establish a built in bathroom in your puppy’s mind!

  • Crate
  • Outside potty
  • Play or stay with you
  • Potty
  • Back in the crate
  • Repeat

Have patience. Breath. Play. Take your puppy outside and most important…..enjoy all the moments. Wag more. Play more.

Maui Dog Training and RetreatsJt Clough of Maui Dog Remedies is a professional dog trainer, pet industry business coach, health fanatic, and author   She is a 9 time Ironman finisher, with decades of training dogs and their people to better lifestyles, from behavior modification to fitness and health through natural remedies, mental stimulation and lifestyle choices.  She is an emotional healer through dogs.  Described as a seeker, Jt has an uncanny ability to teach adaptation to change and to take inspired action.  To stay connected to her work with dogs join her at ReVIBE | Dogs + Joy + Vibrance

Read her book 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs on Amazon Kindle.

One Response to Puppy Potty Training in 3 Essential Easy Steps
  1. Jessica
    June 12, 2012 | 3:01 am

    I LOVE this website because it teaches sooo much about training my puppy. I just thought that if you spray puppy urine with any old cleaner, it would clean it up right away. I never knew that the smell stays there. You learn something new everyday. Thank you for giving me this knowledge. Now, me and my puppy get along just fine. Who knows what I would of done if I never found this website. Thanks again! 🙂