Potty Training Primer

Here are a few of the most important rules for teaching your puppy good potty training habits!

Do’s:

1.  Feed your puppy on a schedule, picking up uneaten food after 10 minutes. 

2.  Feed a high quality puppy formula. Quality puppy foods are more digestible than some other foods which means fewer messes for you! 

3.  Establish a “potty place” where you always take your puppy for his potty breaks. Previous scents will remind him of what he’s supposed to do. 

4.  Take potty breaks immediately after waking from naps, after eating, and after playing.
Encourage your puppy with a command such as “Go Potty!” 

5.  Reward your puppy with a treat, petting and verbal praise as soon as he relieves himself outdoors. 

6.  Watch your puppy for his potty signals—circling, sniffing, pacing, raised tail, etc. 

7.  Completely clean-up any messes by blotting up and cleansing with an enzymatic pet mess cleaner. The enzymes completely remove odors that may attract your puppy. 

8.  Consider crate training your puppy. Crates provide a safe den which your puppy instinctively wants to keep clean.

Don’ts:

1.  Physically punish a puppy for house-soiling—no spanking, rubbing his nose in the mess, or yelling. Accidents happen! 

 2.  Confine your puppy to a crate for more than a few hours at a time. Young puppies must relieve themselves frequently. 

3.  Confuse your puppy by going to different potty locations or through different doors. 

4.  Leave food out for your puppy to graze. Not only will this lead to poor eating habits, but it will also prevent establishing a regular potty schedule. 

5.  Leave your puppy in any part of the house unsupervised—keep him with you on a leash, behind a baby gate, or safely confined in a dog crate. 

6.  Put your puppy in the backyard unsupervised and assume he went potty. He will probably play and miss you terribly, but will not understand what you expect him to do outdoors. 

7.  Expect potty perfection overnight! Puppy’s achieve bowel and bladder control at different rates. Some puppies may be a year old or more before they are reliably housetrained.


Potty training can be a challenge for both puppies and owners alike! Consult your veterinarian if you feel there may be a physical problem interfering with your housetraining efforts. For further tips and information on your puppy’s potty training or other training and behavior needs, please contact ShadowMe Dog Training. We’re here to help!