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Dog advice: a guide to house training your puppy

Help your puppy learn the right and wrong way to go to the toilet

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When it's time to go

Going to the toilet is one of the most natural things in the world, but you will need to spend some time helping your puppy understand when and where it’s OK. It’s one of the first things you should teach your puppy, and it’s worth picking up some hints and tips before you bring your pet home. That way you’ll be ready to get started as soon as your puppy needs to go.

Build a routine

Regular times of day for going to the toilet are important if you are going to get your puppy into a manageable routine. Choose an outside area for your puppy to use as a toilet – hard areas are often better as they are easier to clean – and build the routine around your puppy’s natural needs. Then take your pet outside every two to three hours and at other key times – first thing in the morning, last thing at night, 15 minutes after eating, and after excitement.

Take your time

You can’t rush toilet training, as it takes time to merge your young puppy’s natural needs with the more regular rhythms you hope to bring to its routine. When your puppy needs the toilet, it will show the same behaviour – usually sniffing the floor or walking in circles. Put it on a lead and take it to the toilet spot, and always reward it after it has been. Don’t go in again immediately – stay outside and play for a few minutes.

Dealing with accidents

Toilet training is a matter of trial and error at first, and you should expect a few accidents. If your puppy does go to the toilet in the house, or anywhere where it shouldn’t, you should never punish it. Clean up the mess using a non-ammonia based cleaner, trying to eliminate the smell if you can. If the odour hangs around, it might encourage your pet to go there again.

Check out our puppy advice page for more articles.