Potty Training 101

So, you’ve just brought home your new puppy. How exciting!  What could be more cute and cuddly?  And naturally you want to spend time playing with and getting to know  him.  But just then your phone rings and you get up to answer the call, leaving your puppy to play with his toys.  When you return to your puppy, much to your irritation, there is a puddle on the floor.  When did that happen? !?  It was only a short call, and you took your eyes off the puppy for just a minute or so!

And all it takes is a moment when your puppy is out of your sight for him to have an “accident”.   We consider it an accident, but in reality your puppy is just doing what comes naturally, namely when he has to “go” he “goes” regardless of where he is or what he is doing.  We would prefer our puppies to “go” outside, and to get them to do that we’ve got to train them.

Potty training is not difficult and some puppies catch on very quickly.  Perhaps the most important factor in successfully training your puppy to “go” outside is consistency and a structured schedule.

Tips for successful potty training:


  • Confine your puppy when you can’t give 100% of your attention to him.  I recommend a crate for a variety of reasons, but you could also use an xpen or
    potty training Arlington TX, Sarah Lowell Dog Training, Jack Russell puppy training

    Jack Russell puppy – potty accident

    other small, secure area.  The smaller the area of confinement, the better because most puppies won’t soil their sleeping area.  The more area he has the more likely he is to go in his area.

  • Feed your puppy on a set schedule, with two-three meals per day (depending on breed and age of puppy)
  • Take your puppy out frequently: after he’s had a play session and drank a lot of water, and especially after he wakes up from sleeping and after meals
  • Watch your puppy to ensure he potties outside.  If he doesn’t, bring him inside and put him in his confined area for 10 minutes or so, and then take him out again.  Repeat until your puppy potties.
  • Take a yummy treat with you when you take your puppy out to potty.   When he “goes” give him the treat right there and have a party to celebrate.  Your puppy will soon learn that good things happen when he potties outside.



  • Don’t punish your puppy for having an accident.  It wasn’t his fault but yours.  Either he was unsupervised (and remember, it takes only a moment) or you didn’t take him out frequently enough.  Make a note to yourself to do better in the future.
  • Don’t rub his nose in it or give your puppy a time out if he does have an accident.  You’ll likely discover the mess sometime after the accident happened.  If you punish your puppy for having an accident, your puppy won’t understand why you’re doing that because he’s probably already forgotten about pottying in the house. Also, your dog could become fearful of your hand, or of you approaching him, if you do this.
  • Don’t forget to reward your puppy OUTSIDE when he potties outside.

What have you found helpful in potty training your puppy?  Join the conversation on Facebook   Click here for information on other training programs.