Puppy Potty Training Advice: how long does it take for a dog to know where to “go”?

Potty training a dog may seem easy at first, but it definitely takes a lot of your nerves and energy to keep up with the puppy.

It seems like you have tried everything, but the next day once again the puppy has pooped or peed on your floor inside the house and you’re back to square one. You have given your puppy plenty of place and chances where he can do his business, but he still poops on the floor in your kitchen, or in the worst case on your rug in the living room.

Why is that?

You can make your puppy house training an easy process or a very long and difficult one.

It depends on the strategy and method you choose from the beginning.

So where to start? Keep reading.

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What to start with when potty training your dog?

Dogs are not born with the knowledge of where to go potty.

It’s our responsibility as owners to show our dogs where they can and cannot go to do their business.

You can housetrain your puppy fast when you’re consistent and a great supervisor to your dog. It all comes down to communication with your dog.

Our main goal is to teach our dog that the only place she can go and relive herself is outside.

And how can we do that?

One of the things you can start with is to feed your pup on a schedule.

How much you feed your dog depends on the breed, size, and weight. Nevertheless, you should feed your puppy with high-quality food that contains all the needed nutrition for his age.

  • Around 3-6 months old puppy should be fed 4 to 3 times a day;
  • 6 – 12 months old puppy can switch from eating 4 to 3 times a day to 2 times a day.

After having a clear feeding schedule throughout the day you can plan your next step for your housetraining mission.

Related posts:

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Having a puppy house-training schedule is the absolute key for your dog

When you have a clear vision of your puppy’s mealtimes during the day, you can start adding specific times when you can bring him out to potty.

Of course, the times can change and they will change when the puppy gets older, but you can easily change and adjust everything that needs to be changed.

  • 7:00  – there is no drinking your first coffee when you wake up. When you have a new puppy the first thing you do when you wake up is grabbing your puppy and run outside;
  • 7:15/30 – playtime, free time in a supervised area (kitchen, an area with baby gates);
  • 7:30 – breakfast;
  • 8:00 – out for potty;
  • 8:15 – play time;
  • 9:00 – crate time (maybe quick potty before crate);
  • 11:00 – out for potty;
  • 11:15 – play time;
  • 11:30 – lunch;
  • 12:00 – out for potty;
  • 12:15 – play time;
  • 12:30 – crate time;
  • 14:30 – potty time.

.. and so on.

Give your dog appropriate exercise based on his age.

You can make the time around your own daily schedule, but remember, a puppy won’t wait hours for you to get home from work. He will probably pee and poop in his allowed area.

If you have a 9-5 job where it is not possible for you to work from home, arrange to come home for lunch, let them outside to potty, and play with them for about half an hour.

If that’s not possible, you may consider getting help from your family, friends or a dog walking service to do that for you.

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How long can puppies “hold It” when left alone by themselves?

The approximate time where puppies can usually ‘hold it’ is their age in months and plus one.

  • 8 weeks old (2 months) – 3 hours;
  • 12 weeks old (3 months) – 4 hours;
  • 16 weeks old (4 months) – 5 hours;
  • 20 weeks old (5 months) – 6 hours;
  • 24 weeks old (6 months) – 7 hours;
  • 28 weeks old (7 months) – 8 hours;

But be prepared for the accidents. Any puppy can have their potty errors, so have an accident-safe place to leave your puppy, if you have to leave him for a longer time.

How often should you let your anxious puppy on a potty break?

It is recommended to let your puppy outside once in an hour.

Be sure to let him outside immediately when arriving home and waking up.

Every time when going outside be prepared to be there for 10-15 minutes. He won’t “go” every time when you take him outside, but it’s important that you give him an opportunity to do it frequently.

Remember to be boring whenever you’re out for a potty, let him sniff around and check the environment. When they do go for a potty that is where you come in with treats and excitement for a good job.

You can also reward him with a short play session after he did a good job.

In this way, he will actually want to go outside to do his business.

Here are 3 things that can help you potty train your dog

You have to teach your dog that your house is also their house in order for your puppy potty training to go smoothly. 

Meaning, dogs don’t like to do their business in the same place where they live and sleep. So understanding the difference between a house and outside can teach them to respect your house as their own living space.

But before they can understand that you need to give your puppy time to generalize with the place.

Start with having a puppy safe space that is no bigger than, for example, your kitchen.

How to do that:

  • Use baby gates – it’s a great way how to control your dog’s environment. Choose how big the starting environment will be, then build up space as he grows;
  • Use a leash – it is a big help when it comes to controlling your dog. It’s an easy way to quickly grab your dog to catch his attention, to pull him away from anything you don’t want him to be interested in, or you can just attach the leash to your pants so that you have the puppy with you all the time and this way he won’t disappear from your sight;
  • Use crate – it can always be a safe place for your dog. It’s relatively small for the puppy to hang out, but he is less likely to do his business in the crate and if he’s exhausted he’ll sleep (introduce the crate to your dog slowly, so he enjoys being in the crate).

No matter where you put your puppy or how you’re controlling his environment, be sure he has something to chew on and play with within his environment.

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How to crate train your puppy for a successful potty training?

Crate training can benefit you in many ways.

It’s a great way how to teach your dog how to relax, reduce anxiety and also proper potty training.

As I mentioned before, dogs don’t like to do their business in the same spot where they live and sleep. So they are more likely to “hold it” when they’re in the crate.

NOTE: dog crate is not a place where you can leave your dog for a whole day. And it’s surely is not a dog sitter.

At the beginning, you can use a crate for a short periods of time for the puppy to get used to the environment, relax and to stay safe.

Crate train your dog:

  • Let your puppy get used to the crate – don’t force him to go inside the crate at the beginning. Let him sniff around, play near it and just be with the crate in the room;
  • Create a positive association – Give the puppy treats for being near the crate, for sniffing, exploring it. Let him go inside the crate and give him a treat for that;
  • Let him feel safe – When closing the crate door for the first time don’t leave the puppy alone. Play with him through the crate. Give him treats through the crate (do this especially for the few first training sessions);
  • Crate size – at the beginning, the crate should be big enough for him to move around comfortably, but not too big that he can have a few steps in a row in it. After he has understood that that’s the place for him to hang out a lot, then you can make the crate bigger (this is important for puppy potty training). When he has gone several days without any accidents, the puppy can have an oversized crate if you want.

Is puppy pad a lifesaver or a mistake?

I wouldn’t recommend using a puppy pad for your dog to get used to.

Puppies usually get used to the surface they are peeing on. So if they get used to peeing on a cotton pee pad, then they are most likely to pee on your rug too.

In addition, when they go outside they can look for that soft cotton surface to pee on.

If it’s impractical to take your dog outside every hour, for example, you live in a high building or you have small children you can’t leave them alone without supervision, whatever the case, you can use a cotton pad alternative.

There are two different puppy pads, but they both have the natural aspect of outside.

Bark Potty is made from the same materials that are found at dog parks. The natural odors from the real bark are what makes dogs want to “go”.

We were amazed that one Bark Potty can replace up to sixty regular pee pads.

Check out our Bark Potty review:

And the other is DoggieLawn – a potty pad that consists from formulated hydroponic grass that doesn’t contain soil.

DoggieLawn is environment-friendly and natural. So the grass is top quality and your doggo will definitely love it.

You can also check out full review about DoggieLawn:

Things you shouldn’t do when housetraining your do

Don’t punish the puppy for having an accident in the house.

It’s ineffective and as I wrote in my blog 8 mistakes dog parents make when getting a puppy dog’s don’t remember what they did a few hours ago, so coming home and screaming at them for something they have no clue about is going to get you nowhere.

And when scaring him in this way he would probably learn to fear you and may hide from you when he has to “go”.

Accept the fact that it is your fault, because you haven’t been consistent enough or didn’t do your job right.