Toilet training your dog

Toilet training is an important part of dog ownership, and whether you're getting a puppy or an adult dog, you need to know how to house train them properly. Puppies need to learn basic control, and training is an important bonding experience for you both.

On this page, we'll take you through how to toilet train your puppy. If you're toilet training an adult dog that hasn't been trained properly before, the stages will be the same, but it may take longer.

How to toilet train your dog

When you begin toilet training, you need to give your dog plenty of opportunities to go. The main times are when they wake up, after every meal, before bed and after they've been left alone. These are signs that your dog will show when they need to go to the toilet:

  • Fidgeting
  • Sniffing around
  • Beginning to circle before squatting

When you recognise the signs that your dog is thinking about toileting:

  • Take them to the correct place so that you can reward them when they go. Try to take them to the same place each time.
  • Use a command they can associate with the correct behaviour, such as 'be quick', when they begin to toilet.
  • When they've finished, reward them immediately with lots of praise, a treat or play.
  • Walk your dog around or play for a bit before going back inside. This way, they don't learn that going to the toilet ends time outside, which could mean they hold on until the last minute before going.
  • If you notice your dog about to go in the wrong place, interrupt them, but in a way that doesn't punish them. Take them calmly towards the correct place and give them lots of praise when they toilet there. Don't shout, as your dog may learn that it's only safe to go when you're not around.

What to do if there's an accident

Never punish your dog if you find an accident after the event or as it's happening. Your dog may become scared and confused, as they won't associate the punishment with the accident.

Simply clean the area using a warm solution of biological washing powder and rinse with water. This should remove the smell and reduce the chance of your dog using this area again. Continue taking your dog outside and reward them with lots of praise when they go, and eventually, they'll ask to go outside to the toilet.

There are different reasons for toileting indoors, such as anxiety, so if you're concerned, ask your vet.

Toilet trained dogs who wee and poo when left alone

If your dog is going for a wee or poo indoors when separated from you, they could be finding it difficult to cope when left alone. This type of separation-related behaviour is very common, and we've put together some tips to help you work out what your dog is feeling when left alone and what to do about it.

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