Puppy Potty Training Tips Archives

Your Puppy Needs to Potty More Often?

I’ve got a client who called me for pointers while potty training their puppy. Here’s how the scenario goes.

They had the puppy in the larger crate with their older dog. The puppy was having accidents in the crate, so they put the young dog in its own, smaller crate. The crate was just big enough for the pup to stand up and turn around. This was a good move.

They told me that they let the puppy out every couple of hours to go potty, but they were having trouble with the dog still having accidents when outside of the crate. She was doing fine when confined in her crate for the allotted time.

Here’s the deal. Yes, a puppy can, and should be able to hold it’s potty for a while. The basic rule is that for every month of age, the puppy can hold it’s potty for the number of months of age, plus 1. So, for example, a 2 month old puppy can hold it’s potty for 3 hours, a 3 month old should be able to go for 4 hours, and so on.

However, this is just a basic rule. The thing to remember is that EVERY animal is different. My clients told me that their puppy couldn’t even seem to hold it for 15 minutes!

Now, this puppy was younger than 10 weeks old. So this was another factor that affected their puppy potty training.

My advice was that if this was the case, then they need to take the pup out to go potty every 15 minutes until the animal proves that it can hold it longer. What’s the alternative? Well, you could let the puppy potty in the house and give up on your potty training.

The puppy wasn’t making any messes inside its small crate, just outside of the crate. They were following all of the basic rules for potty training with regards to crate training, feeding and watering, taking the puppy out to go potty after meals, when the puppy first wakes up from overnight sleep or naps, and going in the allotted time frame.

This puppy was really just a baby. Yes, but this could pertain to older puppies too. If the puppy seems to need to go potty every 15 minutes, then that is what you need to do. Simple as that, if your going to have your puppy out of the crate. Remember, she said that the puppy was doing fine in her little crate. It was just when the pup was out when she couldn’t seem to hold it.

You are responsible for your puppy, and you need to do whatever is necessary to properly potty train them. Let me know what you think!

Potty Pads or Paper for Puppy Potty Training

I have had clients ask me whether it’s better to use potty pads or newspaper for paper training their puppy. Really, the principle is the same, so there is no difference in that regard. You are training your puppy to go potty on a particular surface, whether that be pads or paper. There are a few differences that may help you make your decision.

Potty Pads

Potty pads are created to help your puppy go potty on them because they usually contain a scent which helps stimulate your pup to do their business. The top of the pads are soft synthetic material, and the bottom is nylon, which helps prevent leak-through.

You can put many of them together, and tape them to the floor. When they are used, you simply roll them up and toss them away. Then, just replace with fresh potty pads.

With potty pads, you need to buy them from the pet store.


Using newspaper for your paper training has the biggest benefit in that you can get newspapers for free. You can find used papers at train stations, bus stops, you can get day old newspapers from the library, and many other places. Or, if you already subscribe to the paper, then you are already paying for it and have it in your home.

Newspapers are not scented to stimulate your puppy’s senses to go potty, and they easily leak through. Just like with potty pads, you simply roll up the used paper and toss it.

So, the decision is up to you. Papers cost less, but potty pads help with leakage and are scented to stimulate your puppy to go potty. If you have any thoughts, just leave your comments.

Should I Crate My Puppy With Diarrhea?

This is a tough question. When your puppy has diarrhea, if you put him back into his dog crate, will he make a mess inside? This could be a very real possibility.

When your puppy has diarrhea, you need to be diligent in getting him out very often to relieve his bowels. The first thing you want to do is to care for your puppy with diarrhea. Once he has loose stools, you will need to treat him so he gets over it quickly.

When you have your treatment under way, you need to remember this. You may need to get your puppy out to go potty every hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or even sooner depending on how bad your puppy’s diarrhea condition is.

Your puppy is just learning his potty training. When he has diarrhea, you should think that all bets are off. It is your responsibility to get him out often. So, if you keep him out of the crate and loose in the house in between taking him out to go potty, then you need to watch his every move. When you see the slightest hint that he needs to have a bowel movement, get him out right then and there.

The same goes for putting your puppy in his dog crate in between potty. When he is feeling well and he goes in his crate after doing potty, you know he has several hours before he will have to go back out, depending on his age.

However, when he has diarrhea, he may need to go back out in just five minutes. Again, you will need to watch his every move. Once you see any hint that he needs to relieve himself, get him out right away or he may go in his crate.

If you have a plastic dog crate, it may be more difficult to watch his body language. If you are using a wire crate, it will be easier to watch him and see if he has to go potty again.

Whatever you decide, if you leave your puppy in or out of his crate when he has diarrhea, you MUST WATCH YOUR PUPPY CLOSELY and get your puppy out when he tells you he needs to go potty.

Paper Potty Training Issue: Puppy Plays with Paper

I had a client contact me with an issue they were having potty training their puppy using paper training. They chose this method because both puppy parents work during the day, and could not come home during the day to let their puppy go potty.

Their issue was that their puppy played with the paper he was supposed to be going potty on. Even worse, after the puppy went potty on the paper, he would play with it and pull it all over the place, and the pee, and poop, would end up on the floor, leaving them with a mess to clean up.

I have seen this before. Puppies love to play. That is just a fact. The trouble is, when you are paper training your puppy, when they play with the paper or potty pads, this makes a mess.

One thing you can do is to tape the paper down to the floor. You should be confining your puppy to an area with hard floors, whether it’s tile, hardwood, or concrete. When the puppy does not have any edges of the paper to pick up, this should help stop the problem.

If you are using potty pads, you can tape those down to the floor too.

Leaving Puppy Home Alone

When you first bring your new puppy home, you’ll probably want to spend every waking moment with him.¬†Everything he does is cute and even the not-so-cute things are quickly forgiven when you gaze into those soulful puppy eyes. But soon enough, reality sets in and you realize that you will have to leave your puppy at home alone.

Leaving Your Puppy in a Crate

If you’ve learned about crate training, leaving the puppy alone for a short time in the crate is easy enough. But what about when you need to leave for longer periods of time and don’t want to leave him confined in the crate? With some training and patience, it’s possible to do just that without coming back to a home that looks like a tornado ripped through it.

First of all, make sure you crate train your puppy. It’s something good not just for the human, but for the dog. With proper crate training, your puppy learns how to be calm and quiet in his own special “den,” viewing it as a good thing, not a punishment.

It’s never too early begin training your dog good behavior and obedience. Laying a good foundation of training, coupled with plenty of TLC is key to being able to leave your dog alone without having to worry about him destroying your home or suffering from separation anxiety.

With proper training, especially crate training, your dog learns to be alone without becoming distressed, learns to amuse himself with acceptable toys, and remains confident that you will return. When the time comes to leave the puppy alone in the house outside of the crate, you will still want to limit where the puppy
can roam.

When Your Leave Your Puppy Alone at Home

Ideally, you’ll want to block off one room or a section of a room. You can use baby gates or portable metal gates designed specifically for this purpose. Make sure you puppy-proof any area you leave him in. Don’t leave unsafe items on the floor, make sure electrical cords are out of reach, tucked away, or taped to the baseboard or wall.

I don’t suggest leaving the puppy alone outside of the crate until he is potty trained, but if you are going to paper train your puppy, you will want to lay down newspapers on the floor in case of accidents. He should have already eaten his meal and done all his potties before being left alone, and again, depending on his age and ability to control his potty, you may want to limit his water intake as well. You want to encourage him to be successful at being alone out of the crate.

If he is having difficulty with his potty training, continue with the crate training and do not leave him alone for long periods of time.
Make sure he is comfortable and has a nice bed to rest on, and some toys, especially chew toys. Many dog owners like the Kong toys because they are very durable and you can stuff them with treats so the dog has to work to get the reward.

If you can, try to spend some time before you leave, walking the puppy and playing with him. This will tire him out and he will likely spend a good chunk of time sleeping after you leave. You can also leave a radio or tv on to keep the puppy company.

Just as in crate training, you want your puppy to accept being in an area you designate as his without crying, whining, or barking. Don’t let him out of the area when he cries because it only reinforces his crying.
Instead, say firmly, “no” or “quiet” and walk away. Praise him when he is quietly accepting where he is and let him out only when he is quiet.

When you leave the house, don’t make a big production out of it. Spend a few minutes ignoring the dog before you leave . The same goes for when you return. It’s hard to resist a puppy that runs toward you with a joyful bark and a wagging tail, but you must! Ignore your puppy for a time after you come home and only let him out of his confined space when he his calm.

You might want to do several “dry runs” before you actually leave your dog alone. You can set it up exactly as if you’re leaving, then just get out of sight of the dog. You can increase the time you “leave” your dog so he gets accustomed to it.

Although it might be time-consuming and an inconvenience, you, or or your dogwalker, must come let the puppy outside for a potty break. Young dogs can’t hold off going to the bathroom all day. The rule is that a puppy can only hold his potty for the same number of hours as his age in months.

So a 3 month old puppy can hold it for 3 hours, a 4 month old for 4 hours, etc. At about 6 to 8 months your dog should be able to hold his potty for an entire night. During the day it is different though, and each dog is different. You need to be aware of your puppy’s potty habits.

After a while, your dog should get used to the routine of taking potty breaks in the morning before you leave, once during the afternoon, in the evening when you come home, and once again before bed. When your dog grows to be an adult, he should be able to hold off going to the bathroom for about 8 hours.

If you want to be successful at leaving your dog home alone out of his crate, make sure they are potty trained, puppy prooof the area, and don’t give them too much freedom too soon. As he grows older and can definitely go longer without potty breaks, you can increase the area you allow him to roam.

Eventually, you may be able to give him free reign of the home. Remember that like any training, you must be patient and go at a pace that your puppy can handle. Never move too quickly because of impatience. As your dog becomes an adult, all the training time you put in earlier will pay off.

He will be able to stay at home alone without anxiety, and you get to come back to a home just as you left it.

A lot of what I just talked about can be found in Quick and Easy Puppy Potty Training.

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