You might have thought that the only potty training you would ever have to go through would be with your children, but puppies need to be potty trained just as much as any child does. When faced with this task many owners will be asking; how long does it take to potty train a puppy? Potty training a puppy should in essence be a relatively simple process, but it will involve a lot of time and effort on your part. It is definitely not something that they will pick up overnight. Even though we have taken dogs into our homes as our domestic pets and our friends, they are essentially wild animals and wild animals do their business when and where they need to. Teaching a puppy where to go the toilet and how to communicate with you when they need to go, is against their natural biological instincts so it is only to be expected that potty training a puppy is going to take a considerable amount of time.

How long does it take to potty train a puppy when done the right way?

When the correct approach and steps are taken, potty training your puppy should be a simple and easy process for you both, and your puppy can be reliably potty trained by 4 to 6 months of age.

  1. The first thing you need to do it make a change to your usual routine. You need to make sure that you are focused on your puppy’s needs rather than yours. Luckily when they are very young their needs are pretty predictable. They will always need to urinate immediately after waking up, so try to make sure you are always on hand to take them to the garden when they wake, in order to prevent any messy accidents occurring.


  1. Like humans, puppies urination and defecation needs will directly follow their eating habits. With most puppies they will need to urinate around 15 minutes after they eat and they will need to defecate around an hour after they eat. It’s important that you keep an eye on when you are feeding them and make sure you feed them at a time that is convenient for you to be on hand shortly after to enable them to do their business outside rather than on the living room floor. It might help you to keep track by setting a timer after you have fed them, and even to possibly keep a diary of their toilet habits so you can get them into a routine that suits you.


  1. Even with watching their sleeping and eating routine and accounting for this, it is highly likely that your puppy will still need to go to the toilet at least once every couple of hours. Don’t forget they are only little and they have very poor bladder control. They also tend to need the toilet if they get very excited, so keep an eye on them when playing and make sure you are ready to do a quick sprint to the garden.


  1. As soon as possible you need to get your puppy used to associating certain words with going to the toilet, and directing your dog with basic commands. The earlier you begin doing this the better. Every time they go to the toilet repeat cue words such as ‘wee wee’ in order to get them accustomed to it. Once they get used to the words and what they mean you can prompt them later on.


  1. Never leave your puppy by itself while it is going to the toilet. If your puppy is alone then it will increase the chance that they get into bad habits, and they may also feel like they are not getting enough attention from you. Any basic training class will tell you how important positive reinforcement is when training your puppy. This is why it is so vital for you to go with your puppy when they need to go the toilet, it is highly important that you make regular use of your cue words and also that you consistently praise them for good behaviour.

How long does it take to potty train a puppy when done the wrong way?

Not every owner gets the hang of potty training their puppy right away, and when the process is interrupted and inconsistent it can take up to 12 months before a puppy is fully potty trained. However, thankfully most of the reasons why potty training can become so difficult are easily identified and corrected.

  1. Many dog owners, especially first time owners may find it difficult to get to grips with the nutritional needs of their new furry friends. Because of this, a lot of the time puppies are being fed an unsuitable diet with too big a variety of foods, for example feeding a dog salty foods will make them need to drink more and in turn will increase the amount they need to urinate. As well as being fed to often is a big problem. As we’ve already covered, dogs are slaves to their digestive system, the more you feed them the more often they are going to need to go to the toilet.


  1. Dogs have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and this is especially true when they are puppies and their eyesight hasn’t yet reached its full potential. In order to prevent your puppy from having accidents in the house, you should avoid using ammonia based cleaning products. The smell of ammonia is extremely similar to the smell of urine, your puppy will easily pick up on this and it could make them need the toilet at inappropriate times.


  1. Positive reinforcement and praise will always exert a better response from a dog than negative reinforcement and punishment. It is an understandable response to be angry when your puppy has just urinated all over your new carpet, but it is imperative that you avoid using strong and harsh language or punishing them in any way. Puppies are impressionable just like children, if they become scared of you then because you punish them if they have an accident in the house then this may dissuade them from urinating in front of you at all, even outside which will dramatically affect the potty training process and also the relationship between you and your dog.


  1. You don’t expect a baby to tell you when they need to go to the toilet so you shouldn’t expect the same of a puppy. Bringing in prompt words early on will speed up the process but it will still take time for them to respond to this effectively. The best course of action is to take action. Instead of waiting for them to let you know if they need to go to the toilet, just take them outside at regular intervals. At first you may be doing this too often but you will soon get used to their needs and their routine, if you pay attention to them and take note of their behaviour then it should become simple for you to predict when they will need to go to the toilet. The earlier you are able to this, the quicker the potty training process will be.


  1. You need to make sure your puppy knows who the boss is and what behaviours belong where. It may be tempting in the summertime to leave your back door open and let your puppy come and go as it pleases, but this will only hinder the potty training process. When they are young they need to see the garden as a toilet area and not a playground. Also if they are used to being able to come and go as they please in the summer, when it gets to winter and they are faced with a closed door they may actually become quite distressed, and will probably end up having an accident because they haven’t learnt the correct cues to inform you that they need the toilet.

So, how long does it take to potty train a puppy? The answer completely depends on how you approach the task. By using the training dos and don’ts in this article you should be able to make the process as easy and as quick as possible, if you are prepared to put in the effort and the planning then you can be sure that you will see good results. The most important thing to remember conditioning or training your dog is that their actions and behaviours will be directly related to how you treat them and how you respond to them. If you treat them kindly and you are firm and consistent with your lessons then you should be able to enjoy watching your puppy grow into a well behaved and loving dog that will become an irreplaceable member of your family.