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Puppy House Training | Pet Advice | North Road Vet

Puppy House Training

Positive reinforcement is important for all training.

It's about the reward

It is possible your puppy may already be house-trained before you collect it; if so, consider yourself lucky! However, the majority of pups will still require some training before they can be considered house-trained.

Teaching a puppy to eliminate in a certain spot is based on the concept of positive reinforcement; that is, rewarding the correct behaviour (in this case toileting at the right spot). Negative reinforcements, such as rubbing the pup's nose in soiled areas or telling it off, are not effective, and will only cause stress for your puppy.

Make sure to take your puppy out to the designated spot regularly (including overnight), especially after eating and drinking, and also just after waking. When your puppy goes to the toilet, give it some praise and a small treat. Also watch your pup carefully when inside for signs that it may need to go to the toilet, such as sniffing the ground or circling and squatting; take your puppy outside immediately when this happens.

Over time, with consistent rewarding, your puppy will associate the appropriate spot with toileting. If accidents happen, it is best to clean the area with enzyme cleaners that do not have a strong smell, and particularly avoid bleach/ammonia products, which for dogs can smell similar to urine and may confuse your puppy.

Take your puppy out after:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Sleeping
  • Playing

Signs that your puppy needs to go to the toliet:

  • Sniffing the ground
  • Running to the door
  • Walking in a circle

It's important to go outside with your puppy so that it cannot get distracted and toilet before it gets to the designated area

Immediately reward your puppy with praises and treats after toileting in the correct area


  • Start toilet training early. Puppies are best able to develop good toileting habits starting from approximately 8 weeks of age.
  • Take your puppy to the appropriate toileting area frequently
  • Take your puppy to the toileting area after sleep, play and eating
  • Toileting should occur before play
  • Choose a few specific toileting areas and stick to them
  • Keep your puppy on a short leash initially
  • Reward your puppy with praise immediately after toileting
  • Interrupt mistakes by saying "no" and then taking your puppy to the toilet area.
  • Do not punish your puppy if it toilets inappropriately. But take it immediately to the area where it should toilet
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