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Potty Training Your Dog The Right Way

Updated on May 30, 2016

Much like the human body, the bladder is the last organ that develops in the body of a canine. It is therefore quite normal for your puppy to not hold back stool early in his life. Akin to how we train our own toddlers, the potty training process is done gradually during the first few months of the animal. Here's a guide on how you should be interacting and behaving with your dog during his potty training sessions.

The early stages

A dog that is still with its mother and siblings normally learns to avoid defiling where he sleeps. But most of the puppies can not hold back long, and may litter all around the house. Young dogs can not remember or recall things - they would still have a short term memory, and that gets refreshed every two hours, sometimes even more frequently.

As it is not always possible to let our dogs to roam free, especially since they have not yet been vaccinated, owners often opt for the system of a pee-pad. It is a kind of disposable mat that is embedded with pheromones that motivate the puppy to relieve itself in that specific location. This is a good solution as you don’t have to pick up puddles of urine or feces from all corners of your house - having you ample amount of time and worry.

Intermediate Stages

Once your puppy has past the age of 3 months, it is common for him to get used to defecating in one place, and it is sometimes difficult to change this habit, at least initially. But with patience and perseverance, you will succeed. It is suggested that you start encouraging your dog to defecate outside as quickly as possible - ideally after the separation from the mother has taken place, at around about 12 weeks of age.

Best Practices

Here are some valuable potty training tips:

  • Don’t reward your puppy during the time it poops on the pee-pad; Remember, you eventually need him to poop outside, this is a temporary measure to keep your place clean. So you don’t want the puppy to end up thinking that this is the ideal spot.
  • Take him out very frequently; at least after session of meals, nap and games, and even more often if possible. This is so that your puppy starts feeling comfortable with the outside world.
  • Always lead your puppy to a specific spot; such as a tree, or a small piece of land, then wait until he poops around before continuing the walk home. This is to indirectly let your puppy know that this specific spot is where he should be defecating.
  • Let your dog sleep in a crate during the nights and long periods of isolation; (when you are at work, for example), dog trainers suggest placing your dog in a comfortable cage. In addition to avoiding the destruction of it, it helps accustom the puppy to hold back its bladder for longer hours, since it is in a new environment, where it’s not accustomed to pooping.
  • Abundantly reward your puppy; with treats, hugs and enthusiastic words whenever he ends up following your orders. You can also use a clicker.
  • Feed your puppy in a fixed routine; His body and will adapt to the timings and you’ll soon notice that he’ll start pooping at a particular time of the day as well.

If you reward your puppy properly, he will quickly understand that you’re happy whenever he poops outside. As he grows older, he will only seek to please you every day of his life. There might be some exceptional cases where your puppy might end up pooping inside due to negligence or accidents - but that’s tolerable.

You will also be able to tell when he’s about to relieve himself after a few weeks of careful observation. There are a few commonly noted body moves that a puppy will do before it poops - most of them sniff, turn, whine and scratch the door among other things.

Are you dealing with a latecomer?

Dogs that have been neglected, abused or separated too early from their mothers, might have more difficulty assimilating all this extensive training. In almost all such cases, dogs end up extremely confused. But with love and perseverance, you can pretty much achieve any level of cooperation from them. Sometimes it might be a beneficial idea to hire a professional trainer who will give you real world tips. If your dog reluctantly continues to defecate at your home, this may be a sign of a physical or a psychological disorder. In such cases, it is advisable that you speak with your veterinarian.

What should you be not doing?

You would come across loads of advice and experts solutions that somehow claim to magically convince your dog to be more hygienic when it comes to pooping. Some even claim to train the dog to poop outside within a day. Generally most of these advices involve you dealing with your puppy in harmful ways, which you shouldn’t do at all costs. Here are a list of things you shouldn’t be doing during potty training:

Yelling, hitting, or scolding the puppy when it refuses to poop outside. Of course, the poor thing did not mean to do that. As an understanding and responsible owner, you must be ready to forgive at all costs. There’s no way you’ll teach your puppy to do something by being rude.

Never ever physically drag your puppy to places he doesn't want to go. Some even go to the extent of forcing their puppies to smell their poop - just to make it clear that they shouldn’t be defecating inside

Do not clean your dog’s poop with bleach. The smell encourages the dog to start pooping again in the same place. There are other efficient cleaners specially designed for this purpose available in the market.


Many have tried, many have grown frustrated, but a true dog lover never gives up on his best pal. Besides, the potty training process isn't all that cumbersome at all. If done the right way, this could actually become a fun filled experience which will eventually strengthen the bond between you and your dog. The whole potty training process usually lasts only 2-3 months - good luck!


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