Training Plan

The keys to successful potty training, as with so many other types of training, are consistency and patience. Our goal with this training plan is a simple one: teach the dog to urinate and defecate outdoors rather than indoors.

1. Establish a consistent bathroom schedule. For adult dogs, this will likely be three times per day: morning, midday-early evening, and before bed or a maximum length of 8-10 hours between bathroom breaks. For puppies, it will be much more frequently and will gradually increase with age: every two hours for 8-12 weeks of age, every three hours for 12-16 weeks of age, every four hours for 16-20 weeks of age, and so on.

2. Go to a consistent area to encourage urination in their ‘spot' and continue on your walk/playtime afterwards.

3. When your dog urinates or defecates outdoors, tell them "Yes," and praise them in a calm but upbeat voice. Offer a tasty treat immediately when they finish.

4. If your dog begins to eliminate inside when you are home, calmly say "Oops!" and immediately take them outdoors to their spot and praise/reward them for going there. DO NOT punish or frighten your dog for going indoors or you can end up with a dog who is afraid to go to the bathroom and may try to hide different places in the house from you to go. They do not naturally make the connection that it's eliminating indoors you are upset about and are highly likely to assume it's eliminating in general that gets them punished.

5. If your dog is having accidents while you are away from the house, consider using a crate as a management tool until you have the potty training thing mastered. Just be sure to properly crate train your dog and not to expect them to hold it in the crate longer than the times mentioned in number one.

Troubleshooting Guide

1. My dog is having accidents when I am home but is not going to the bathroom in view where I'm able to interrupt and take him/her outside.

Solution: Tether your dog to you with a long enough leash that he has freedom to relax and move around but short enough that you can use it to keep him in sight. You'll only need to do this until the indoor accidents stop.

2. My dog continues to pee several times throughout our walks after his initial elimination. Do I need to reward him each time?

Solution: Be sure to do the full calm praise and treat routine for your dog's first urination. This will likely be longer than the others which are more likely to be scent marking. After that first urination, you can still praise your dog for his/her other urinations but it is not necessary to provide a treat. DO provide a treat for every outdoor defecation during potty training.

3. I am taking my dog out consistently but he often doesn't go when I take him out and will go indoors afterwards.

Solution: First, make sure you are also feeding him/her on a consistent schedule and going outside to the bathroom AFTER (not before) feeding. Second, make sure you are allowing enough time and walking around to help get things moving. Third, be consistent with calmly interrupting indoor elimination, heading directly outside, and praising your dog for going there. It takes repetition to learn but he/she will get there!

4. What's the best way to clean up indoor accidents?

Solution: We recommend an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle or this method laid out by The Bark –>

Tips: Be aware that physical exertion, training sessions, special treats/snacks/puzzle toys, stress, and excitement can all bring on the need to go potty and take your dog outdoors accordingly. Try also to watch your dog for signs that they may need to potty. This might be walking to or standing near the door, pacing around the home, or trying to get your attention by standing nearby and looking at you (often urgently – some dogs do a pretty intense potty face!) or pawing at you.

Extended Learning: If you are working on house training, there's a good chance you've recently brought home a new dog (or puppy). Check out our guide on doing just that! –>

Questions: Email us at!