How to toilet train a puppy | potty training and house training advice for dogs
Problems with toilet training are common.
Meet Bruno – a 15 week old Pugalier. He’s
a cross between a Pug and a Cavalier. Bruno
may be a beautiful playful puppy but mother
and daughter Lisa and Laura are struggling
to get him to poo and pee in the right place.
He’s really playful and he has his moments
where he’s just running round everywhere.
And then when he goes all tired he’s really
soft and just if you want him weeing and pooing
everywhere he’d be quite a little bit like
the perfect dog.
Yesterday when I got up everybody was still
in bed and Bruno had had a run of the house,
and there was just poo all up the house and
the room downstairs, and actually on my son’s
bed as well.
Bruno’s toileting has taken its toll on the
living room floor. Repeated scrubbing with
disinfectant has left patches on the carpet.
Behaviour Expert Jane Hanshaw has come along
to see if she can help solve the problem once
and for all.
Now then, trouble, are you having toilet training
problems are you? So has he got free ‘ tell
me about his lifestyle. Are you using those
puppy pads at all?
He uses them sometimes but not – hardly ever.
When were’ out he’s in the kitchen and he’s
got a puppy pad in there was well. And he
sometimes uses that. But not to poo on. He
don’t normally use it to poo on, he normally
just wees on that.
So where does he normally pee and poo then?
if he’s in the kitchen he’ll poo on the floor
But is that carpet in there?
No, it’s not carpet.
Otherwise he’ll just poo wherever he wants
to poo. Anywhere apart from walks.
We’ve tried to ‘ to watch him and pick him
up and put him onto his ‘ his training mats
and everything. But he tends to stop doing
what he was going to do and wait, won’t do
it on the training mat, and then he”ll wait
until you’ve sort of left him alone and then
he’ll go and do it somewhere else when you’re
-so it”s constant watching really.
He’s got free range of the house then?
He has . he has when we’re in.
But when we’re out he tends to go in the kitchen.
So that’s probably some of your problem. So
the key to toilet training is really, really
good observational skills. And if you’re going
to have him everywhere, then you need to be
Think of your puppy as a toddler, When he
has to go he has to go. You wouldn’t expect
a toddler to be potty trained in a couple
of days. And it’s the same with a puppy. Watch
out for any sniffing and circling behaviour
in the house. If you do see that, then get
him to your chosen toileting area outside
as quickly as possible.
Take him to that toilet area, after every
rest, after every meal, after every drink,
after every play session, and then probably
every hour as well. And you have to think
about that it’s your job to keep your eye
on your puppy.
Don’t use disinfectant to clean up the mess,
that leaves a remnant of scent and that means
that’s where I peed. Rather use a biological
washing powder and then wipe it over with
a solution of surgical spirit. So shall we
– can you show me where the garden is.
Yeah, I/ll take you down to the garden.
Right, thank you.
Toilet training is hard work. Become an expert
at watching your dog. Decide where you want
him to toilet. Usually the most logical area
is the garden.
So this is the behaviour we want. We’re looking
for sniffing, circles, nose down, bottom up,
starting to just bimble about and that’s the
sort of behaviour you want to be looking for
when he’s in the living room. So when you
see him starting to sniff, you see him starting
to circle, pick him up, bring him straight
out into his toilet area.
Never tell your puppy off for accidents. Otherwise
he might start to worry about toileting around
you and then you’re going to make the problem
much, much worse. Also please don’t run his
nose in it. That’s just cruel.
At this moment in time he doesn’t see this
as his toileting area, so you could pick the
area of the garden that you want him to toilet
in. So I would get that mat that’s got some
pee on, bring it out there and then we’ll
see if we can encourage, just with that scent,
to sort of say this is where you toilet. The
other thing you can think about doing at that,
is you can put a phrase to it. So my own phrase
is ”be quick’. So as he’s performing, I say
to my dog, ‘be quick,’ and then he realises
that that’s the – that’s a word to go with
that action. Then once he knows what that
‘be quick’ means, you can take him to a toilet
area and then you can get him to perform on
command or on cue. And if you want to be thinking
when he gets it wrong it’s really your thought,
okay. He’s a toddler, you’re teaching.
Once that phrase ”be quick’ becomes ingrained,
then take your dog out for a walk, give him
a chance to sniff and to perform and put that
””be quick’ to it. That”s the start of
getting your dog to toilet on command outside.
Within minutes Bruno performs.
Hey! Be quick. Be quick. Be quick. Good boy.
Be quick. Good boy. What a good puppy. What
a good puppy. So that’s exactly what I want
you to do. As he’s performing, you – you can
use your own word, it doesn’t matter. You
can use ‘carrots’, as long as you’re teaching
him what the word means, use that word and
With dedication, good routine and exercise,
toilet training is achievable and Bruno certainly
seems to be getting the hang of it.
Be quick. Good boy. Good boy. And running
makes them go to the toilet, running helps
them to poo.