Toilet training 101

“I’ve been standing outside for 10min and my puppy just didn’t do anything...”. Find out how to train your puppy to toilet outside.


1/12/20243 min read

black and white long coat small dog lying on brown bear plush toy
black and white long coat small dog lying on brown bear plush toy

Let's start with some reality check...

Puppies toilet the second they feel the need to and where they have to. It’s just the way it is. They don’t calculate timing and don’t overthink it (remember, they’re still learning to be dogs!). As “puppy supervisors”, it is our responsibility to consistently show them what places to toilet pay well until the habit is formed. Here’s the secret: if you stay consistent with your message, learning will be quick, but definitely not happen overnight.

Why is my puppy still toileting inside?

Here are the most common reasons:

1) They physically still can’t control a full bladder (just like human babies can’t!)

2) A puppy still hasn’t learned that the BEST place to do it is outdoors and there's no difference between indoors and outdoors

3) A puppy gets over excited or submissive when saying hi

The secret ingredient is....

...CONSISTENCY! Here's how you can stay consistent with your puppy's toilet training:

First of all, we need to master recognising the signs that mean your puppy might need a toilet.

Remember, a puppy most often will need a toilet:

1) First thing in the morning

2) 20-30 min after eating

3) 10-15min after drinking

4) Post nap

5) After playing for a while

6) After any excitement indoors (i.e. a play session)

7) Before bed

8) If they are displaying signs that I call a “pre-pee” signs like sniffing the ground

It will be down to you to learn about your puppy and when the above apply to them.

I always suggest keeping the log (yep, your life has come to this) to make it easier to see and learn these patterns.

I know the signs and patterns, how do I continue?

Again, if a puppy is wandering around the house, we want to make sure that we are supervising them so we can see the signs and quickly take them outside. Every puppy is different, however, you will start picking up these signs through careful observation. The most common ones are sniffing the ground, and circling around.

When we know it’s time for a toilet, we scoop our puppy up and go outside. The golden rule is to set them up for success and give them as many opportunities to toilet outdoors as possible. In the meantime, just a reminder, your puppy shouldn’t just wander around the house unsupervised or you’ll most likely miss those signs and accidents will happen!

Once we’re outside and your puppy does their business (BUT ONLY ONCE THEY’RE FINISHED!!!) give them good praise!

The lesson here from your pup’s perspective is:

Toileting inside = nothing

Toileting outside = THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD!

“I’ve been standing outside for 10min and my puppy just wouldn't do anything...”

Seriously, don’t torture yourself and the pup for that long! It's most likely that they just find everything that's happening around them outdoors (smells, sights, sounds) very exciting and overwhelming and just forget they needed to pee.

If you went outside and nothing happened but you know for sure that it’s time for a toilet, just take your puppy back to their crate or a supervised area (eyes on the puppy at all times, remember?) and try again 5-10 min later or if you see any “pre-pee” signs. Eventually, a puppy will pee outside – reward reward reward!

Final note: even if you do everything right, the chances are accidents will still happen. Don't stress it. Write it down and think why, what could you have missed? We're looking for less accidents, not them gone overnight!

If you are still struggling and would like some advice, let me know!