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Basic Rules When Toilet Training Your Puppy

French Bulldog reading the paper on the toilet

An integral & unforgiving part of raising your dog from a puppy is an effective, strict but non-stressful toilet training regime. In this guide, we’ll provide you with - of our favourite, and hopefully most effective, house training tips.


It’s important from the get go to come to terms with the fact that your puppy WILL have accidents. The following tips and suggestions will help reduce these accidents, but your puppy is the equivalent of a nappiless baby; it’s impossible to avoid.

Punishing your puppy for these mistakes is counter productive. If you do not witness the act, your puppy will not understand their admonishment. Punishment for accidents can even teach them to avoid going to the toilet in front of you entirely. Instead, if you find a mess, just clean it up without fuss. If you catch your puppy in the act, calmly lift them to the garden or outdoor area you want them to use and praise them once they’ve done their business.

Training Pads

Puppy with puppy training pad

In our experience, where use of puppy training pads can be avoided, it should be. When your puppy is very young they’ll need a place to go during the night as their bladder won’t last until the morning and this is a perfectly reasonable occasion to use a pad.

If used in lieu of regular trips outside though, your puppy can become overly reliant on pads and not fully engage with being trained to go outside. On top of this, they can confuse surfaces like rugs and doormats with the pads. As such, pads should never be used to replace regular trips outside while training your puppy.

Develop a Routine

At the moment you wake up, right before bed and (if possible) around every 30 minutes in between, your puppy needs to be taken to the garden/toilet area. Taking their overnight pad is an excellent way to train them to use the outside, as the smell will encourage them to use the outdoor area.

If possible, allow your puppy to move around the outdoor area freely, as sniffing and exercise are two main triggers for dogs to do their business. Avoid exciting play in the outdoor area before your puppy has done their business, as this can interfere with their training and, if play comes after, it acts as a form of praise for going outside.

Puppy house training

How Long Does It Take?

This routine needs to be maintained for several months, some puppies can take even longer and require additional training. A constant stream of praise will help your puppy to learn that it’s toilet is outside. It’s good to continue making garden trips with your puppy for the first few months of its life in order to praise it after each trip, cementing their training further.

Praise and persistence are key here. Your puppy will soon associate the outside with bathroom use. Look out for restlessness, circling and sniffing around the exit door, they are the typical signs your dog needs the bathroom!

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