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tips for toilet training dogs


Observation, patience and positive reinforcement are the key to toilet training your puppy or dog.


Remember, the younger the dog, the more frequently toilet breaks will be required. Puppies may need to urinate as frequently as every two hours. Don’t expect a young puppy to be able to hold-on for an entire night.


Puppies generally will want to toliet whenever they wake, after playtime and after eating or drinking. At these times, take the puppy to the place where you want them to toilet and give a cosistent command, then praise and reward the puppy when they have toileted appropriately. It’s not difficult to teach your puppy to toilet at any spot of your choosing whenever you give the command – this can be very handy!


Stick to a routine: dogs are very regular when it comes to going to the toilet.


Toilet breaks or walks first thing in the morning, after meals and before bed at night are essential. Your dog will learn faster if these breaks occur at the same time each day (including weekends, holidays and when you want to sleep in).


Designate a toilet area: this is an area where it is okay for your dog to go to the toilet. It may be outside, a courtyard or atrium, or on artificial grass or a pet loo. Dogs should be taken to this spot when they need to go to the toilet: first thing in the morning, after meals and last thing at night. Praise your dog for toileting in this spot.


Confine your dog: after toileting your dog, and before you go to sleep, confine your puppy or dog to a crate. Dogs are unlikely to mess up their sleeping area so will wait until they can access their normal toileting area – but be sure you get up early so your dog isn’t waiting too long.


Pre-empt your dog: if you notice a sudden change in behaviour, or obvious toileting behaviour (sniffing, circling, squatting or leg-lifting), move your dog to the designated toilet area and praise him or her for using it.


Clean up accidents quickly: if your dog does have an accident inside, that spot may be seen as an acceptable place to toilet in the future. To minimise the risk of this, clean up all urine and faeces as quickly as possible. Wash the area with an enzymatic washing powder and lots of warm water. Products such as “Urine-Off” help remove the smell of urine which may be left behind by products that just disguise the smell (as far as humans are concerned).


Don’t punish your dog in the event of an accident: it’s likely to confuse him or her, which can backfire – the dog learns that toileting in front of the owner is the unacceptable behaviour and can lead to “secret” or “sneaky” toileting.


If your dog does toilet regularly in the wrong spot, place absorbent puppy pads or artificial grass in thatspot. Once your dog is toileting on these, gradually move them to the site where you’d prefer your dog to toilet.