• Can toilet by themselves until approx 3 weeks – mother licks to stimulate toileting – mother needs to be present
  • At 3 weeks up needs to be able to move away to toilet – toilet area should be clean
  • Pups brought up in dirty conditions learn not to be so fussy
  • Farmed puppies more difficult to toilet train
  • Set up before bringing puppy home – play pen
  • Cleaning products

Setting up for success

  • Pup needs to learn where to go to toilet
  • Learn when to go – routine
  • Surfaces/texture
  • Learn to hold bladder
  • Learn to ask to go to toilet
  • When
    • Wake up
    • After eating
    • After drinking
    • After interactions
    • New environments – one room to another – upstairs etc – imprinting scent
    • Take out hourly to begin with
  • How do you know if pup needs to go
    • Look for signs – circling, sniffing, slow walking head down, suddenly disappear, frantic and frustrated (know they need to go but don’t know how to get out)
    • Take to specific toileting stop, use cue
    • Reward – praise rather than treat
  • How long does it take
    • Small breeds have smaller bladders
    • Depends on breeding conditions and consistence
    • 6-9 months to be fully clean


  • Distract before they start to go indoors – nothing scary
  • Ignore if they’ve started, don’t punish, put them outside incase they need to finish
  • Enzymatic cleaner
  • Put pup away when clearing up
  • Don’t punish
  • Don’t ignore at night – might need to toilet
  • Feeding routine will dictate when they need to go to the toilet
  • Waking up with an upset tummy – double check with vets – diet, worms etc

Common Problems

  • Prefer to toilet on grass, need access to soft surface
  • Don’t leave door open expecting pup to go out
  • Don’t carry to the door,  they won’t know the way themselves
  • Puppies that always have access to outside don’t learn to hold their bladder as well
  • Supervise puppy
  • Toilet bells
    • Desensitise to noise
    • Encourage pup to interact with bell, door opens treat gets thrown outside
  • Regression – check for medical cause, has routine changed, has owner become more lacks – back to basics, adolescence – marking, female in season marking
  • Pup not going when he has opportunity but then toileting when back inside – too distracted, overwhelmed, left for too long outside – too distracted


  • Use play pen with toileting area
  • Baby gates
  • Puppy pads
  • Enzyme spray


  • Should always have access to clean, fresh water, or they’ll start to gulp water when available
  • Not dominant behaviour if they toilet in front of you
  • Not doing in revenge or spite when left alone, it’s anxiety
  • Don’t use crate for toilet training, don’t leave so long that they need to toilet