Potty Training Tips for Puppies – How to Stop Puppy Potty Accidents

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Potty Training Tips for Puppies

(Recently updated on 7-12-17)

Are you having problems training your new puppy? Want to find out how you can teach your puppy to NOT to go potty in the house?

If you’ve never had a puppy before maybe you didn’t realize owning a puppy is a big responsibility.

You’ll need to teach your puppy what you want it to do. Many people don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into when they become the proud owners of a new puppy.

Not only does this puppy need things such as food, water, exercise, attention, and veterinary care, it also needs to learn.
Puppies are new to the world and have not yet learned what they should or should not do.  They don’t know it’s wrong to go potty on the floor yet.You need to take the time to teach your puppy all of this.

7 Tips on How to Potty Train Your Puppy

Bring your puppy out:

  • Set a Routine
  • At least every 2 hours
  • After eating and drinking
  • As SOON as they wake up
  • When you see the signs that it has to go potty (*more on that below)
  • Crate train your puppy
  • Reward your puppy for doing his or her business outside

Keep Your Puppy on a Schedule

One of the first tips I can give you on this is to make sure you bring your puppy out on a regular basis. At least every two hours at first and whenever they seem to be looking for a place to go potty.

Did you know that your puppy will do the same things every time it needs to go potty?

Well, in my experience with our puppies they often start acting a certain way every time they need to GO!

What you need to do is find out what exactly it is they start to do each time they have the urge to go potty. Although all puppies and dogs are a bit different, I’ve found over the years that they often have similar behavior when it’s close to their potty time.

Your Puppy Will Give You a Sign!

  • Searching for a place to go – puppy sniffing around frantically? It’s time to go out!
  • Circling the area – some puppies and even older dogs often go around in a circle just before going potty
  • Whining or whimpering – puppy is trying to tell you something! Maybe time to go out?

If you see your pup going around with its nose to the floor, sniffing at everything as if it’s on an important mission, well, most likely it is…

It’s on a mission to find the perfect place to go potty!

And, if you see it going in rather tight circles, you better hurry! This means it found its perfect place and is about to either go pee or poop. Of course, some dogs and puppies won’t go in a circle like this and just squat and go once they find their potty spot.

They’re all a bit different, so the best thing to do is watch your puppy closely and find out what KEY behaviors it has when it needs to go potty.

Puppy Wakes Up, You Get Up & Out Pronto!

I have found that since puppies usually sleep quite frequently, the best thing that has worked for me is to bring the puppy out right away when he or she wakes up.  By doing this, I have been able to avoid quite a few accidents from happening.

Another good time to bring your pup out is after eating or drinking water.

How to avoid puppy potty accidents
Our dog, Jade, playing with puppy Samson

Yes, this seems like a lot of time spent watching your puppy like a hawk, doesn’t it?

But, it isn’t that bad…just be aware of where your puppy is in the home and see what it’s up to at the moment. I’d recommend closing any doors to other rooms to keep the puppy out of them. Usually all of the puppies we’ve had in the past pretty much stayed at our side day and night when we were at home.

And, they’re still at our side, lol. Even as older dogs now, they all have to be where we are when we’re at home.

As pups, if they scampered off to another room that we couldn’t see what they were up to we’d call them back or even go follow them…

Why, did we have to either call the puppy back or follow it, you ask?

Well, the reason for this is simply the same as you’d wonder what your young toddler is up to if it disappears into another room…

And, usually the reason they take off to another room is because they think they can get away with doing something if you can’t see them. Right?


If they try to sneak from your line of sight, it almost 98% of the time means one thing…

They’re up to NO Good!

So, go and see what your puppy is up to if it waddles off to another room, especially if it won’t come back as you call it or if it hasn’t yet learned how to come to you when it’s called.

Tired Pup?

Another bit of advice to help you is that once your puppy is getting sleepy or already sleeping is to put your puppy in a small enclosed area such as a crate, especially at night or whenever you can’t watch the puppy every minute.  This way the puppy will let you know when it’s awoke by whimpering or crying to get out.  Bring your puppy out right away once you hear it crying or whimpering.

At night, when our pups were still learning, we always kept them right there with us in our bedroom. We’d place their crate next to the side of the bed somewhere and this way we’d hear it in time to bring it outside every time it awoke.

Why Crate Training Will Help Your Pup Learn To Go Potty Outside

Tired Puppy needs to go to bed!
Our dog, Jade, as a pup. The best way to avoid having your puppy having potty accidents while you are sleeping is to keep your pup in a crate. This way you won’t have to worry about it getting into something or leaving you an unpleasant surprise to step in!

Dogs do NOT like to do their business in an area that they are “living” or sleeping in.  Puppies are the same way.

So far, I have not had any of our puppies that we have raised have any kind of accident in their “bed” or sleeping area like this.

Just remember, your puppy is a baby and when it cries it wants something!  Even if it is only 2 AM, get yourself up and bring the puppy out!

Be patient!

Sometimes it takes awhile for your little pup to figure out what it is supposed to do.

If you wait long enough, it’ll “remember” what it was that they woke you up for in the first place…gotta go potty!

Well, either they remember or they just can’t hold it anymore, but either way, it’s now outside where you want them to go potty.

Setting a Bed Time Routine

Setting a schedule or routine for the whole day doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. Just do what you normally do each day, but also think about your puppies needs along with it. Puppy needs to eat, sleep, play, and go potty.

If you’re going to bed, remember to bring the puppy out first. Don’t just crawl off to bed and stick the puppy in its crate. Chances are it’ll have to go potty before you can even fall asleep, especially if you just woke it up to go to bed, lol.

And, if you just woke it up…well, good luck on getting sleep for awhile! So, I’d recommend that you play with the puppy awhile to tire it out about a half hour or so before bed time. Puppies tire out pretty easy when they’re really young, usually about 20 minutes of play time and they’re out again!

When bringing it out before bed, just calmly wait for it to go potty, don’t get it all excited by playing or acting too excited.

Once we get to know what our puppy is likely to do at certain times, we can adapt a routine that will work for all involved. Dogs and puppies all have different levels of energy and abilities. Just like us!

Eventually it’ll learn how to hold it for a longer period of time, especially at night. Don’t worry…you won’t have to do this forever! Once your pup grows a bit older, it’ll sleep through the whole night. And, you will too once again!

Reward Your Puppy For A Job Well Done!

Once your puppy does it’s duty outside, make sure to reward it with praise.  They love being praised!  Once it goes potty, give it praise, saying “good boy, or good girl” and even a few pats and cuddles.

This reinforces good behavior and they remember this after a time.  Then, you and puppy can go back to bed!

He or she may whine a bit at first, but usually they quiet down after awhile.  At least hopefully.  But that’s for another day!


I hope this helps you out with your new puppy…. and don’t worry..they do learn.

Good behavior = good rewards.  Bad behavior = no rewards.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions you’d like to add? I’d love to hear what you think!
Have Questions? Please feel free to ask me, and I WILL get back to you!

🙂 – Sherry

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