CONGRATULATIONS ON THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR NEW PUPPY.  WHAT AN EXCITING TIME! As exciting as this time is, it can come with a lot of hard work.  One of the many things we have to train our puppy to do is to go to the toilet in the right place. Toilet training can be tricky but here is some key advice on how to toilet train a puppy. 

pug puppy toilet training


First things first, accidents will happen! If you catch your puppy in the act do not reprimand them as telling them off does not help their learning.  When they have an accident you want to take your puppy outside immediately to the space they will be encouraged to toilet.

Give your puppy ample opportunities to use the toileting space by taking them outside after a sleep, after a meal, after a burst of play, after a big drink of water, and of course, before bedtime. On average they should be given a “toilet break” every 4 hrs, so add any extra breaks into your day as needed. 

terrier puppy toilet training

Toilet Training Signs

There are certain signs to watch for when your puppy needs to go to the toilet. If they are pacing around sniffing areas of your home, circling certain areas, or whining, this may indicate they need to go outside.  If you think you are seeing these behaviours, try to get them to designated toileting space.

Puppies & Toilet Training Pads

We recommend avoiding the use of “training pads”.  The only value of these is to help you clean up if they need to be indoors for an extended timeframe and we can expect they will need to toilet. If you are training your puppy to use a pad inside, they are receiving mixed messages and inconsistent toilet training cues. 

Puppy toileting on grass

Positive Reinforcement!

Reward them once they have toileted successfully in the designated area. Puppies can get distracted very easily so if your puppy has indicated they need to toilet but do nothing outside, walk them back inside and then turn and take them directly back out and reward them once they have gone to the toilet.  This can avoid the oh so common occurrence of accidents directly after an attempted toilet break.

beagle puppy sleeping

Toilet Training a Puppy Overnight

What about overnight? If it is feasible, we recommend having your puppy in earshot while you toilet train, so you could wake to them being restless in the night so you can get up and offer them an outside toilet break.  We know this is not something every family wants to do, but we believe it is the fastest way to teach them how to communicate their needs, learn where to toilet, and even encourages them to learn more toileting control.