How To Potty Train A Puppy

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how to potty train a puppy

How to potty train a puppy is the top concern of many new puppy owners.

The secrets to puppy potty training success are:

  • Keep small puppies off carpets and restrict them to washable floors
  • Take them to their toilet area very frequently to begin with
  • Wait with them there until they have done a wee
  • Supervise them closely when they haven’t peed for a while
  • Praise and reward their successes
  • Don’t punish accidents – just clear them up quickly and thoroughly
  • Have patience!

But of course there is also a lot more we can say about how to properly potty train a puppy.

Other Tips

For example, there are important ways you can tailor your strategy for potty training outdoors, indoors, or potty training puppies older than 8 weeks old.

Deciding how you’re going to tackle potty training in advance is the key to potty training quickly, with as few accidents as possible and minimal frustration.

After all, nothing can sour the honeymoon period with your new puppy like repeatedly mopping pee and poop off your floors.

How to potty train a puppy

Once you have brought your new puppy home you’ll want to get him potty trained as fast as possible!

This page is the ultimate ‘How to’ guide to that process.

how to potty train a puppy

We’ll look at when to start, how to potty train a puppy to go outside or go on pads, and how to cope with setbacks.

And we’ll set out important principles and techniques in easy to follow steps.

This is one of our biggest training guides, so do use the menu below to find help on specific areas if you like.

Or read along with us from the beginning, starting here!

Getting started – How do I potty train my 8 week old puppy?

Whether you call it potty training, house training or house breaking, you can make a start with teaching your puppy the right place to pee and poo from the moment you bring them home.

In fact, it is important that you do this and that you make an effort to avoid ‘accidents’ even in those very early days.

If you can avoid accidents as much as possible from the start, you will make faster progress – this means the more effort you put in at the beginning, the better things will be.

This is because puppies naturally like to pee where they have peed before. And so it is better not to build up any kind of history of peeing in your home if you can avoid it.

But whatever age you start your puppy potty training journey, you’ll find yourself navigating three key stages.

And in this respect, how to house training an 8 week old puppy is exactly the same as how to potty train a 6 month old puppy.

The three stages of house training

  1. Learning where to potty – establishing a toilet area
  2. Starting to hold on – learning self control
  3. Independent toileting

We’ll be looking at each stage in turn.

The same stages apply whether you’re toilet training in an apartment or a yard.

But the way you approach them differs slightly.

Which is why it’s important to decide which one you’re doing early on.

Puppy potty training methods

There are two different methods of house training.

One is better suited to puppy parents who are able to be at home for their puppies all the time.

And the other one is adapted for puppy parents that have to go out during the day.

To help you choose the right one for you, we’ll explain exactly what’s involved in each.

Method 1: How to potty train a puppy to go outside

Method 1 is a great system for anyone that can take time to be with their new puppy all day for the first few weeks.

The system is based on teaching your puppy to toilet outside from the start, as this makes the process faster and simpler.

It is set out in three clear stages

  1. Establish the toilet area (8-9 weeks)
  2. Learning self control (10-12 weeks)
  3. Extending the clean zone (3-6 months)

Let’s take each one in turn.

Stage 1 – Establish the toilet area

This stage is all about teaching your puppy the right place to wee and poo.

While at the same time, preventing him from emptying himself in any of the wrong places.

During this phase, restrict your puppy to a small area of your home and one that has washable floors.

Your first job is to get your puppy to his outdoor toilet area many times each day,
especially on the following occasions:

  • on waking
  • after eating
  • after playing
  • any time his bladder is full.

Supervise Your Puppy

Your second job is to supervise or contain your puppy when his bladder is filling up.

You can do this by crating him for a few minutes, or by cuddling him in your arms.

I recommend the cuddle option for the first few days, that way you can introduce the crate gradually once he has settled into his new home.

Recognising when your puppy’s bladder is filling up

The most reliable way to predict this at first is to go by the clock.

Either spend your first day together in the yard getting a feel for how frequently they pee.

Or if that isn’t possible, start on the assumption they need to wee every 30 minutes, and adjust that up – or down! – depending on your puppy’s progress.

If your puppy pees every 30 minutes, then it’s a pretty good bet that his bladder is filling up if his last wee was more than twenty minutes ago.

A complete and simple guide to potty training your puppy - from the Labrador Site

As you can see, there is some guesswork involved in house training a puppy, but not too much.

And you will soon get to know your puppy’s natural rhythms.

The secrets of successful outdoor toilet trips

Not wanting to pee outside is a common toilet training puppy problem and one we look at in more detail in this article.

Keeping your puppy company is the key.

You need to go outside with your puppy and wait there with him until he has done a wee.

This may take longer than you would like, and you probably have better things to do than stand in your yard while your puppy chases butterflies or plays with your shoe laces.

But stay outside you must, until he has done that wee.

Coming Indoors Early

If you must come indoors before your puppy has relieved himself, you need to supervise him very closely.

Hold him in your arms – or put him in a small crate for a few minutes – before going back out to try again.

Don’t worry, you won’t still be doing this in four years time. It is a new puppy problem, and it will pass.

And if you teach your puppy to pee on command, it will pass even quicker!

Rewarding success

If you put plenty of effort in, and take your puppy out a great deal in those first few days, he will quickly learn that the place you have allocated to him for potty purposes is the place to pee.

And he’ll happily empty himself when he is taken there.

You can praise him and give him a little treat for doing so.

Have your treat on hand (keep them next to your poop bags so you remember to grab both on the way out), and deliver it right after your puppy has completed their business.

Rewarding his successes and ignoring his accidents is the quickest way of successfully communicating what you want, and quickly potty training your puppy.

Stage 2 – Learning self control

During stage 2 your puppy begins to develop some self control.

This means he can wait a few minutes before emptying himself when his bladder starts to feel full.

And you’ll find that you don’t need to supervise him so closely in the first twenty minutes or so after his last wee.

But your job is still to make sure your puppy reaches his toilet area frequently enough that he doesn’t run out of capacity to hold it in.

Keep an eye on your puppy for the tell tale signs that he needs to use the toilet:

  • whimpering, whining or barking
  • restless
  • sniffing about, especially sniffing in circles!

Using Your Crate

If your puppy is now used to his crate, you can start using it stretch out the gaps between toilet trips.

Because provided you don’t make him wait too long, your puppy won’t wee in his own bed.

Accidents during stage 2

At some point during stage 2, many puppies will be able to last an hour or so between wees.

This is when puppy parents often relax their vigilance, and their puppies start having accidents in the house again.

If this happens to you, don’t panic.

Simply go back to shorter gaps between trips to the yard for a few days.

Then start to space out those trips again, but more gradually this time.

Remember that a puppy who lasts an hour between one wee and the next won’t necessarily manage another hour before the third.

Stage 3 – Extending the clean zone

This is where all your hard work starts to really pay off.

Once your puppy is confidently and consistently toileting outdoors, and you can further stretch out the gaps between toilet breaks, and start to introduce your puppy to the rest of your home.

Take it slowly, and if accidents occur, to go back to shorter gaps between trips outdoors for a few days.

Bear in mind that your puppy may be used to peeing in the yard and not in the kitchen by now, but they might not automatically understand which rule applies to the lounge.

Method 2: How to potty train a puppy indoors

This section has a lot in common with how to potty train a puppy when you work.

Puppy parents who can’t consistently be around to take their puppy out frequently in the first few weeks need to give their puppy a suitable place to pee indoors when they’re not around.

how to potty train a puppy

You can still take them out whenever you’re at home, but while you’re out they’ll use sheets of newspaper or pee pads indoors.

Likewise if you live in an apartment without a yard, you’ll need to potty train indoors until your puppy’s vaccination schedule is complete.

So follow method 2 if you need to know how to potty train a puppy in an apartment as well.

And that means using pads.

How to potty train a puppy on pads

The simplest way to do this is to restrict the puppy to a smallish room with washable floors

Cover the floor with puppy pads to begin with, with their bed in one corner.

If you don’t have a small room with a washable floor, you’ll need to put up a sturdy puppy play pen to contain him.

How do you train a puppy to pee on a pad?

With this arrangement in place, as long as your puppy leaves his bed to pee (which his mom will have encouraged him to do), he will pee onto the pads.

Puppies instinctively pee where they’ve peed before. So over the next few days, reduce the area of the floor that is covered with puppy pads by half.

You should find he begins to make an effort to pee and poop on the part of the floor that is covered – but it needs to be a sizeable part to get this good habit established.

How to potty train a puppy fast using pads – reducing the toilet area

By the end of the first week, you can begin to reduce the part of the floor that is covered with puppy pads right down to a small area, preferably near the back door.

By the time that the puppy is capable of waiting until someone comes to let him out – you’ll be able to move the pads outside.

It is usually best to do this when you have some time booked off work – or during a long weekend when the weather is fine.

You’ll know that your puppy is capable of waiting when he is clean and dry most times he is left, even with the puppy pads there.

How to crate potty train a puppy

Using a crate whilst you potty train isn’t a third method for house training a puppy.

But if you choose to crate train your puppy LINK alongside potty training him, the crate can be a useful aid for potty training too.

Once your puppy thinks of the crate as their bed, they will be reluctant to soil in it.

If you’re potty training outdoors using our first method, you can use the crate briefly after unproductive toilet trips during stage one, and to very gradually to extend the time between toilet trips in stage two.

Indoors, a crate can be a useful way to mark out a sleeping area vs a toileting area inside your puppy’s pen.

You Still Need To Watch Your Puppy

Always watch puppies closely in their crate during potty training, and whisk them out to the right spot at the first sign they might need to relieve themselves.

It’s important to remember that using a crate won’t give your puppy more control over their toileting than their body will allow.

So even though they don’t want to, they will soil their bed if their body can’t hold on any longer.

You can find out a lot more about crate training and the role it plays in rapid house training on this page.

Potty training a puppy when you work

It’s one thing to use puppy pads and the indoor potty training method because you need to do the school run or buy groceries.

It’s another to rely on them while you leave your puppy for extended periods to go to work.

As well opportunities to use the toilet, Labrador puppies need company and socialisation while they are small.

You really can’t leave a puppy alone all day, every day. He needs to be cared for by someone, even if that someone isn’t you.

So, if you are going to go back to work you need to arrange someone to look after him, or to come in at intervals throughout the day to play with him and take him out.

Here are some articles which will be of interest if you are thinking of getting a puppy and work full time:

How to potty train a puppy at night

Puppies vary in how long they can last at night without a wee.

Many pups are nine or ten weeks old before they can last from midnight to, say, 6am or 7am without a wee.

Some pups are even older, and a few pups can last six or seven hours from around eight weeks old.

What you need to accept is that this is not something you can control.

The puppy has the bladder he has, and you cannot influence that.

What you can do is make it easy for him to be clean, by taking him to his toilet area during the night and very early in the morning, if that is what he needs.

Puppy potty training at night – night waking and nocturnal bathroom breaks

To be on the safe side with an 8 week old puppy, have them sleep in a crate or deep sided box near your bed. Or set up a camp bed for yourself close to the room they’re sleeping in.

When he stirs in the night, carry him outside to his toilet area. Don’t make a fuss of him, be very boring.

Just wait for him to do a wee, tell him what a clever boy he is, and pop him back into bed.

He may protest a little in the hopes of some more interesting company, but should soon settle back down to sleep.

Getting more sleep

Within a few days, you’ll have a reliable idea of how far through the night he can get before he needs to pee.

Now if you’d like to move him to a new bedroom, or return to your usual one, you can set an alarm for just before he’ll need to go, and take him out.

Over the coming days, you can gradually move that alarm closer and closer to morning.

At around ten weeks old many puppies will be able to last for seven hours overnight. Some pups will need another two or three weeks to get to this point, which is fine.

Many young dogs will not be able to last more than seven hours until they are six months or so.

But when will you be able to say that the whole puppy potty training process is complete?

How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

Puppy potty training is complete when he reliably does all of his toileting outside, and can hold on with a full bladder between toilet trips.

If you can take your Labrador puppy outside to use the toilet from day one, you’ll find that you can predict his toileting rhythms and avoid accidents within a few short weeks.

But a dog is not really fully house trained until he can comfortably wait several hours between wees, understands that the place to pee is always outside, and will try his best not to pee in the house if you’re late home.

Potty training a puppy in 7 days – is it possible?

Potty training isn’t most pet parents’ favorite job. So it’s no surprise that people are attracted to titles like “how to quickly potty train a puppy” and “how to potty train your puppy easily”

But is potty training a puppy in 7 days really achievable?

Many people think that they have finished house breaking a puppy because their three month old puppy hasn’t had an accident for a few days, if at all.

The conscious control stage

This kind of success is great, but it is more a case of good management than a puppy who has learned precocious bladder control.

So while you can certainly learn to avoid accidents and manage your puppy’s toileting behavior in a week or two, he isn’t truly potty trained at this point.

And it pays to be patient before allowing him unrestricted access to all areas of your home without regular supervised toilet breaks.

How to stop your puppy peeing or pooping in the house

Of course mistakes will occasionally happen. Your puppy’s bladder is small and his memory is short.

But repeated mistakes can set you back considerably, because puppies can smell the tiniest trace of urine and they think it is important to pee where they have peed before.

In this way one or two accidents can start a downward spiral, so take action right away.

There are two important ways to stop your potty training puppy having further accidents:

  1. Take him out more often
  2. Clean up more thoroughly

Take him out more often

It is annoying if your friend’s puppy house training is going better than yours.

If their puppy can last an hour between wees, and your puppy can’t.

But your puppy is what he is. And when you are learning how to potty train, you need to consider the dog in front of you, rather than the national average.

After all, there is no single right answer to “how long should it take to potty train a puppy?”

So if he has an accident 25 minutes after peeing in your yard, he needs to go out again after 20 minutes next time.

Clear up accidents thoroughly

Once a puppy has had an accident in the home you need to remove all trace of it.

You can buy special cleaners for this purpose which destroy the proteins in puppy wee.

This will stop him recognizing the scent of somewhere he’s peed before.

Don’t use cleaners containing bleach, because puppies frequently mistake the ammonia smell of bleach for traces of past wees.

Why you should not punish your puppy for potty training accidents

In the ‘old days’ people had very different views on how to house train a puppy.

Accidents were considered to be the dog’s fault, and puppies were often punished for accidents in the house.

The puppy was shown the pee or poop and smacked or had his nose rubbed in what he had done.

This was not only a horrible thing to do to a puppy, it was also completely ineffective.

Puppies were not house trained any quicker than they are with kind modern methods today.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Punishment will slow down your potty training progress

In fact punishment can slow down puppy toilet training as it –

  • Encourages puppies to ‘hide’ when they wee, so that they won’t get into trouble.
  • Makes the puppy afraid to pee in front of you.

This means you will have to wait even longer when you take your puppy outside to his allocated ‘bathroom’ area.

But by using praise and positive reinforcement, you can achieve exactly the opposite of that – a puppy which pees quickly and on command!

Teach your puppy to pee on command

Each time your puppy empties himself in your chosen spot, use a special phrase to mark the occasion.

For example “hurry up!” or “be quick!” said in a jolly and upbeat way.

After a few weeks you will find that when you say this phrase, your puppy starts to feel the urge to empty himself.

This is because the phrase has become associated in his mind with the act of going to the toilet.

In a couple of months or so, many puppies learn to wee on command through this simple technique.

Needless to say, don’t use a phrase that you also use around the home to cajole the kids on busy mornings!

Solutions to common puppy potty training problems

If potty training isn’t going as you hoped, and peeing on command seems like an impossible dream, don’t despair.

You are not alone. Little setbacks and hiccups in the potty training process are common to many new puppy owners.

I have written an in-depth article that covers all the common puppy training problems that puppy parents experience.

Do check it out if you run into problems, you may find it helpful to read it when you have finished this one.

Join the Forum!

Do also join the forum where we have lots of other puppy parents and many experienced Labrador owners who provide help and support to you and others with new pups.

You don’t have to do this alone, and we’d love to meet you.

This article was extensively revised and updated in 2019.

References

 

182 COMMENTS

  1. hi pippa,
    We have an 8-month old lab from Turkey..Our house training experience has been a good one since the day we got him.your articles have been really helpful for me to get a picture of the process..My question is about extending the time between visits outside…We are taking our dog out 5 times a day leaving around 4 hours between each visit…Are we taking it too slow for an 8 month old lab?I know it is hard to determine a definite schedule for every individual dog, yet i just wanted to check it with you…Am I on the right track or Can my dog last far longer than that? Some people say that i should add 1 hour to his age(which makes 9 hours) and i don’t think this is realistic…thank you for this wonderful web site, which has helped me a lot on crucial matters concerning my lab…

  2. Please help! I have just found my 9 week old puppy eating her own toilet!! Why is thus happening and how do I stop this behaviour?

  3. Didn’t do our homework re alarm clock etc (last dog had papers and many deposits) our Pup is going until 5am but is then desperate for loo and thinks it’s time to come alive. I fear we are jumping when he wails but understand he will desperately need the loo. Is it a step backwards to set alarm to let him relieve himself? To see if he will en sleep on for a bit (11 weeks)

  4. I bought a chocolate male lab puppy in april and brought him home at only 6 weeks bad I know they should be at lest 8 weeks but for whatever reason breeder had them going early and mine was the last to leave. He went to the vet last month and at that time was in great health and he was peeing on his pee pads at that time. fast forward 2 days later and needed up having our daughter 14 weeks premature only days after his vet visit, fast foreward to now and he has been peeing off his pee pads now for 2 days when he is down stairs and his wee is strong smelling and is dark yellow. could he be peeing off the pads due to a health issue or is it because of all that has happended in the last 3-4 weeks?

  5. HI Pippa, We adopted two lab mix puppies (littermates) from a shelter. One is black and one is yellow. We thought they were about 8 weeks old when we got them, then last week the vet says they’re about 3 weeks younger then they thought. That puts them at about 13 weeks now, which means we got these two when they were 4 weeks old. They’re doing surprisingly well at conducting their business outside, but do have accidents. Is there anything I should do different with two than you advise for one puppy?

  6. Hi.will it be easier.to potty train a pup if i take him with me everyday for work & just take him to pee regularly outside the office? Once at home will d puppy give me a hint to pee outside then as he is used to pee outside?id really appreciate if u can reply to my email add
    Thanks so much.

  7. I have a 12 week old ack lab handsome pup. He keeps peeing in the house . How to get him to stop and even tell me he has to go . I take him out very frequently.

    • Hi Jessica, Please can you let me know which part of the article you need explaining further, and I will try and provide additional information if possible? Lucy

  8. Hi pippa
    I have a 12 wk old black lab and have to say I spend most of my time outside as he goes so frequent. My puppie seems to pee just as I’m walking him to bk door this tends to be when he has held it in and I’m taking him out in the middle of night. What can I do to make sure he isn’t doing it as I’m taking him out?

  9. Hi, I have a 16week old black lab.
    We leave him in the house while I’m at work, his crate is in the utility room that has a baby gate. The crate is left open for him to move around.(I think our mistake was giving in to him whining when the crate was shut!) We left pads out for him to pee and poo. 4 hours is the longest he can hold, so he still can’t hold it through the night. Feeling very stressed about this as we thought he was getting better by only doing one pee and one poo a night! He does go and sit by the door or goes back and fourth around the house if he needs to go out in the day when we’re home. He knows he’s doing wrong by the way he acts when we get up in the morning or home from work! Don’t know what’s the next step now?? Any tips anyone. We normally tell him off and send him outside as a punishment! X

    • Hi Dona, it isn’t a good idea to punish your puppy, he doesn’t know he is doing wrong only that you are displeased with him in the mornings. Four hours is a very long time for a puppy to wait to go to the toilet during the day and plenty of 16 week old pups can’t manage that. To avoid poops while you are at work, you need to get someone to come and let him out every two or three hours until he is more mature. To avoid the early morning poops you need to get up before he needs to go, so set your alarm and get up early. Once you have broken the habit of night time pooping you can gradually start to get up a bit later. Many four month old pups can only go seven hours or so at night. So if you go to bed at eleven for example, set your alarm for 5 or 5:30 and let him out. If he is clean, then the next night you can set your alarm ten minutes or so later.

      The alternative to all that, is to accept that he is going to pee and poop on his pads for a while longer. Because he is still very much a baby.

      Have a look at the stages in the article above and go back to a stage where you can succeed, then work your way forwards again.

  10. Pippa, your website has been extremely helpful to me. We have a 7 week old chocolate boy. There are puppy pads set up all over the kitchen for him to pee on. We say “NO” when he pees on the floor and try to set him on the pads before he is finished. When he does go on the pads we say “GOOD BOY” and usually follow that with a treat and a belly rub. When he pees on the floor instead of the pads I have set up what we call a “punishment pen” for him. I’ll set him in there and he’ll whine for a little while and he gets to come back out when he is quiet for a little while. I know they say do not punish for accidents but this seems to be working really well for the first 3 days. Can you think of any set backs this might cause? Or a reason I should stop with his punishment pen?

  11. I have a six month old chocolate lab that I rescued from the humane society. She is the sweetest thing! However, she keeps going poop in the house. I will take her out and wait for 30 min, during which time she does pee, but once we are in the house and someone walks away she will poop. I have cleaned the area multiple times. I am trying to watch for her signals that she needs to go, but nothing. I will take her out every two to three hours to the same spot and give her treats right after when she goes. I think she may have been abused because they only sounds I ever hear her make are when she is yawning. I am not sure what I am doing wrong…

  12. Hi

    I have a 5.5 month Lab puppy. We got him when he was roughly 3.5 months. We left him home alone two weeks ago for about 4 hours; since then I find that he has forgotten about peeing and pooing outside when alone or overnight. We have a garden and he has access to that throughout the day but at night we do close the doors from a safety point of view. Earlier on, he used to control himself until the morning but now we find that he is peeing and pooing everywhere overnight

    Please help!

    • You’ll need to go back to a point where he was succeeding and progress forwards more carefully. It’s a question of building good habits. You may need to treat him like a new puppy again for a few weeks to get back on track

  13. my dog is 2month old and she is doing poop at my drawing room whenever she want to do toilet or poop she used to go to my drawing room.
    and im to tensed what should I do for this
    please someone help me.

  14. Hi Pippa,
    I have a beautiful chocolate lab (who I love very much!) and she is just coming up 17 weeks old. She is house trained during the day and has free access to the garden during the day. She has her last feed at 4-5pm and last drink 7-8pm and bed between 10-11pm but I leave her crate open and put paper down at the back door. She will still have a poo and pee overnight on her paper but would like to begin training to be clean overnight. Is she still a little young to expect her to be clean or would introducing a locked crate at night be the best option. She is happy to be in her crate with a closed door as this is the method I use if I am out of the house although this is usually an hour or so at most. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and your website is so informative it is my go to place for tips!
    Many thanks

    • Hi Becky,if the crate is small enough, shutting it last thing at night will probably help her wait that little bit longer. I would get up very early for the first few nights to get the habit of waiting going well. Good luck

  15. Hi Pippa,

    I have read your site and bought your happy puppy handbook and have found them very helpful. We picked up our 8 week old puppy two days ago and so far she has been doing fairly well. She hasn’t messed in her crate at night and has settled well into it. We have been following your advice to take her out every 30 minutes and left her for up to 10 mins. However, she often does not go to the toilet. We have brought her in and closely supervised her for 10 mins then tried again, repeating the process up to 3/4 times with very limited success. She has sometimes weed straight after being brought in. When we were in the garden with her all day she seemed to go between 1-2.5 hours between wees. I wondered whether we should be extending the gaps between toilet trips so that she is motivated to go rather than having lots of failed attempts?

    Also, since we have been supervising her so closely in the kitchen or garden since we got her to avoid any accidents, she gets upset quickly when we leave her, even just to go to the loo. Do you have advice for the best balance between ensuring we prevent accidents but also having some space between us so she does not always expect us to be around?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jen

  16. Hi Pippa,

    We just picked up our 8 week old lab two days ago. I have read your articles on here and bought your book. Our pup is doing ok with toilet training, she hasn’t messed in her crate and has gone outside most of the time. However, when we try taking her out at regular 30 min intervals she won’t go. As you suggested we closely supervise her indoors for 10 mins then try again, we have done this up to 3/4 times and she still won’t go then will often go in the house almost immediately. When we have her supervised in the garden for long periods of time she has tended to go 1-2.5 hours between wees. Should I be increasing the intervals to suit what she does or stick to the suggested 30mins?

    Also, we are closely supervising her in the kitchen (where her crate is) to avoid in house accidents. However, as we have been so close to her since she’s been home she does not cope with being left alone when for a few minutes. I wonder how we deal with this so she doesn’t have an accident but doesn’t get stressed.

    Thanks in advance

  17. I have a slightly different problem. We adopted our lab (6 months old) from the humane society. She and her brother were there for quite sometime. Being in the pound, she has never been housebroken and allowed to poop wherever. Now we have had her for about a week with some progress but she seems to pee a lot. How often should we continue to take her out doors so she will do her stuff out there and not in the house. Some days are rough.

    • Housetraining an older dog can take a while, so you’ll need to be patient, but the best approach is to treat the dog just like a small puppy. So find a baseline that you know she can cope with, whether it is every half hour, or every two hours, and take her out that often, waiting with her to make sure she is ’empty’. Repeat throughout the day and only increase the gaps between bathroom breaks when she has been successful for a week or so on the previous gaps. I recently housetrained a dog that had been in kennels for seven years. She was pretty good after a couple of months, but it took around six months for the accidents to stop altogether. As your dog is younger, it hopefully won’t take so long. 🙂

  18. I have a 9 month old Lab. He is fully house trained, that is he does does all his poos and wees outside in our garden. He is very clever and easy to train, but I now have a problem. His pees are getting bigger and slowly and surely ruining the lawn. I would like him to wee in the soil, flower beds. I would appreciate any tips on getting to move to this new spot in the garden to do his business. He is very clever, so I’m sure with the right advice I would be able to get him to do this and retain the perfect lawn we used to have. Thank you!

  19. Hey! I had bought an new Lab male puppy.. He is about 35 days.. He chew all things that he see.. And chews my leg and toe.. He chew all things.. And important that I feed him drools and Curd Nd Buttermilk and rice.. I give drools with Curd and Buttermilk.. He only eats Curd.. He didn’t drink water.. When I give him water he only smells not drink.. Now what to do.. Please help me.

  20. Hello, we have an 8 week old chocolate lab that we brought home at 7 weeks. He had his first vet check and is very healthy. We are working on crate training him. His crate is large but I am using the divider that came with it to make it the appropriate size for him. He is doing great peeing outside, has only had one accident in the house, which was completely my fault, I was distracted at the moment. Our problem is that he has taken to pooping in his crate. Even if he has just gone outside, as soon as he goes into his crate for the night or during the day he poops. I know that it is almost immediate because I have been trying to catch him in the act so I’ve been going in a few minutes after I put him in the crate and I’m always too late. I change the bedding immediately and clean the crate, but I’m afraid he is building a bad habit that we will be fighting forever. Any suggestions you have for us would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

  21. I commented earlier about my 6 week old lab female and my comment is gone. I’m not sure if it needs to be accepted to be posted and that’s why I can’t see it or if it need to be reposted.

  22. Hi I have a 6 week old female black lab we have had for a week. We got her early because her mom wouldn’t feed her and she was already weaning to (wet and mashed up) dog food. I was under the impression she was too young to crate train at night and she has been soiling in her crate at night time. She is fine during the day. My question is, is it too late to night time crate train her since shes been going potty in it at night for the last week. ( I clean out the crate every morning and take her out twice before bed (9pm) twice through the night and in the morning (7am). Her crate is a large crate so if I make it smaller with a crate divider will she whine and let me know when she has to go to the bathroom? How often should a 6 week old lab be taken out at night? I want to do the best for my pup. Thank you.

  23. hello,
    I have a 7 week Labrador retriever, when i first got her she would scratch the door or cry to let us know when she had to weewee, but my question is can i leave her in her cage for 8 hours, i have to work and i’m skeptical about leaving her free in the house, or outside without someone watching her.

  24. Our Maggie is a 13 week old female lab. I have finally figured out why she is peeing in the house as well as outside…. It’s because after she finishes peeing I tell her she’s ‘such a good girl, such a good girl’… But I don’t reserve that phrase for just outside…. I mindlessly use it inside as well. So she things every time I say ‘ such a good girl’, it’s time to pee… Regardless of where were at! It’s a slow process…esp to train my own mouth!!
    I am trying to change the phrase to go potty

  25. I just got a lab puppy but she is eight months old. Read the info about house breaking and would the info apply to an 8 month old? She was raised in a kennel and this is the first tin=me she has been in a house. I have had her for 5 days and I feel we are out side more then in the house. Winter is cold in northern Pa. Thank you.Bob Blum

  26. Hi, I have a female black lab who is 2 months old. I have to take her out every 15 minutes or she wee’s in the house. Even taking her out every 15 minutes she will still have an accident in the house. She can stay in her crate for a few hours without weeing. Any information would be helpful.

    thank you, moe

  27. I got my pup when he was only 5 weeks. I started feeding him small portions of meals 4 times a day! He would start howling for food if I was even 10 mins late! He also started making noise at midnight! I had to give him food to quiet him down! After repeating this for fews days ! I increased his diet to 3 times a day! So far he seems satisfied ! However now after eating he wants to play! If I leave him with the food! He will come back to my door and howl till I get up ! I just can’t ignore it ! As I can’t sleep and I am worried about my neighbours ! I really want to stop this! Suggest Please

  28. I have an almost 9 week old lab pup (Bucky), recently I lost a dog due to Parvo so the vet recommended me not to take Bucky outside due to parvo being in the area. Bucky was starting to get use to going wee outside but now that we are alert of our area having parvo I want to keep Bucky inside until he’s completed his boooster shots for parvo. How can I train him to wee in doggy pads indoor?

  29. I recently got a 10 week old pup and when ever I take him outside he doesnt do his business instead he does it inside his crate any tips?

  30. Hi All…I have a 7 Months Lab pup and I have managed to train him with the “Potty” word….it works for me whether he is peeing or doing the big job….and the word “Bath” makes him go retrieve his towel!!….lol!!!!

  31. Please help! We have a 5-month old chocolate lab. She can hold her bladder and bowels all night and if she needs to go out she will get someone up to take her. However, she still piddles on the floor during the day. Is this normal for her age? Thank you.

  32. Hi pippa, really enjoyed your article. I have an 8 week old lab, he wees everywhere. He doesn’t have a chosen spot and I cant put him in his crate because he screaches like mad and iam concerened with disturbing the neighbours at night. He hasnt haf his vacs yet so iam concerened about him spending to much time in the garden. Could you please help

    • Hi there what I would suggest is crating your dog during a day for short intervals during the day and gradually increasing the amount of time left never put your dog in crate as a punishment. Possibly you could also have a chew toy what the dog ONLY gets when in the crate that way it becomes good because they only get the toy when crated. Also taking the dog out the crate when showing negative behaviour accidentally trains the dog to think if I miss behaved I get taken out. If big enough you could try feeding the dog in crate then straight out for toilet that way the dogs happily going in the crate for feeding maybe 2,3,4 times a day.

  33. Pippa,

    I have a 2 month old Black Labrador, which has become extremely well behaved over the last few days. Only problem is we had him at 8 weeks and didn’t want to run the risk of letting him outside and him catching Parvo, so paper trained him (which he picked up extremely fast) problem is now he wont wee or No. 2 outside, however persistent we are at taking him out, in the garden or walks he wont go and will relieve himself inside straight away on the floor, at this age should he still be contained to just one room e.g. the kitchen where his crate is? Also what would be the best way to “drum” into him that he can only wee outside!

    Read all your posts and they are great i must add!

    Look forward to your response.!

    Mark

  34. my lab is three months now and when we give him water he does not drink it. he puts his hands inside, splash water out and rest on the spilled water. what should i do?

  35. Hi there, we have just got a 14 week old black lab and we tried putting her in a crate at night whilst also coming every 2-3 hours to let her out for the toilet. She both wee’d and pooed in the crate and was in a big mess so we immediately stopped putting her in the crate at night after one night of this as to do so seems to be very cruel and it broke my heart seeing her in the mess she was, so i just cannot put her in the crate again.

    We instead just keep her in the kitchen but she still wee’s and poo’s at night inside, even with going to her every couple of hours. She also cries for about half an hour when we leave her for the first time at night and then for about 10 mins after each visit to her during the night. We make sure she goes the toilet before bed as well but we still have accidents during the night. During the day she is very good, we take her out and she goes toilet and even takes herself outside to toilet sometimes.

    It’s just the night where we have this problem.

    We have had her for 1 week, with great improvement during the day, but not at night.

    Any help and advice would be a big help, many thanks, from a worried owner.

  36. Hello! We just rescued a beautiful 12 wk old chocolate lab. She is wonderful! And too smart for her own good! lol we take her out regularly to go potty but I’ve been finding that she is squatting and looking at me pretending to pee, then a bit later actually peeing in the house. I’ve bent down and looked and there is no pee coming out but she still looks for praise and to come inside. We are just not sure what to do with this at all! Any suggestions???

  37. I have a 3mos old mixed labrador girl named Piji. Unfortunately, I wasn’t knowledgeable before about how to potty train a pup, I stumbled upon this just now. She was with us when she was still 1 and a half old and was accustomed to doing her “stuff” on a certain area inside our house, near the door. I wasn’t able to potty train her, since I’m always at work and she’s always with my mom who’s a bit old to take her outside. Is there any chance that she can break these habits, it really gets annoying sometimes. And any advice for us who has work? Thanks a lot for this! 🙂

  38. Pippa,
    Just found this website. Wonderful advice! I wish I had found it sooner. Perhaps you have some ideas for us – we have a sweet loving 7 month old Chocolate. Her temperament is extraordinary and we are all in love with her. However, we brought her home this winter during the Polar Vortex – and with all the ice, power outages, and snow, I’m afraid we were not able to be as consistent as we would have liked with housetraining. As a matter of fact, during the worst of the ice storms, we would have to carry her up and down icy stairs outside every 1/2 hour or so, and often we just couldn’t get outside safely, so she had no choice but to relieve herself on a pad by the mudroom door. By Spring, she was reliable most of the time, and now scratches at the mudroom door when she has to do out. However, occasionally, about once a week or so, and usually when there is a towel or anything soft on the floor, she relieves herself on it. We’ve had to pull up all the rugs. She knows how to tell us she has to go out, and she does that most of the time. We also have her on a regular schedule. How do we break her of the this habit?

    • She is still very young Diana, you should be able to break her of this habit now. Keep the rugs out of her way for a month or so, then gradually reintroduce them when you know she has an empty bladder and won’t be left for long. Don’t put them down at night for another month or so, and you will probably find she is ok by the autumn. Make sure the rugs have absolutely no trace of wee on them, or she will use them again. Good luck, Pippa

      • Thank you for the reassurance – it is very comforting. We were so concerned that this might be irreversible. This plan will work fine – we don’t need rugs on the floor until the winter!

  39. Hi,
    i m from india,gujarat
    i have 3 months old blackfemale labrador “Lucy”.
    she is going toilet during she sleep.so she is always in wet condition so she get infection in there vagina. so help me hoow can i slove this problem

  40. Hii, pippa
    Your site is very useful I have a 3 months old labrador puppy and he has habit to bite everyone what should I do for control that habit. Please reply, I am waiting…..

  41. I have a lab puppy of eight week old I am feeding him on Royal cannon three times a day and each time about 60 gms, is it O, we have started giving some rice with curd also. Is it alright? and he goes to toilet each time we take him outside, is it OK?

    • Hi Krishna, there is no need to feed rice or curd. Royal Canin should be a balanced diet for your puppy. And yes, it is normal for puppies to go to the toilet several times a day. Provided he does not have diarhorrea, you don’t need to worry about frequency. Pippa

  42. hey i have 3 month black lab puppy and he does not go out side the house.. i try hard but he stays in the house , please guide me what shall i do ? Please

  43. yo pippa,
    my puppy is about 7-8 weeks old , i have been feeding him with cerelac for these few weeks , should i continue with cerelac or give him some other food? few days ago he was trieng to eat his paw and was unable to walk properly , doctor said it was due to lack of calcium in the food , what should i give him to eat ? royal canin, pedigree , drools or something else?

    • Start giving ur puppy royal canin for starters along with boiled mashed egg, some boiled meat, handful of rice… AL in a well proportioned manner…
      For the limping consult a vet…
      I have given my puppy octacalium, and A-Z vitamins…

  44. Great article. It has been quite a while since I have had to train a pup. It was a very good refresher to read. I am really looking forward to our new family member.

    Thanks again for the very good read!!

  45. Thank you for all these great articles……..I am just going to give my board exams and then will buy a pup.
    I just wanted to know pre-handed how to treat and train a lab pup.Your articles have done it right!!!
    Thank You………!!!!

  46. Hi. I have a 13 week old black lab and I have a few worries and wondering if you could help. Firstly she is quite good if I open the back door she will go out and do her busines but and when she wants she will do stand by the back door. When finished she will bark to come in but I can not get her to make a noise to tell me when she wants to go out. I just have to follow her round constantly. Secondly her poop is rather soft and some times almost liquid she has a constant diet but I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. She settles wonderful on a night and has most of her basic comands learnt by positive rewards. I’m just not sure and I’m getting a lot of different advice. She is fully wormed cos they thought that could be the cause even treated her for tape worm. Any help would be gteat thank uou xx

    • Hi Mary, it sounds as if your puppy is doing pretty well. Small pups need a lot of supervision and plenty of opportunity to go out. I would not ever encourage a dog to make a noise when they want to go out, as it could easily escalate. Just let her out at regular intervals, and supervise or crate her for a few minutes when you bring her back in, if she does not oblige.
      For the upset tummies a vet check would be a good idea, but a common cause is meals that are too big. Try dividing her daily food ration into more smaller portions. Pippa

  47. Our 7 week old puppy pees and poops in her crate! She doesn’t find it hard to go when she wants to! We let her out quite frequently, but she still just wees when she wants to! Any advice?

  48. I aquired a 14 week old lab from a friend who didn’t bother trying to house break her.I’m finding it difficult to completely break her from peeing in the front room of our house. I let her out constantly but it seems she would rather play while she’s outside than use the bathroom most times.

  49. Hi pippa,

    We got a 6 weeks old lab (will be 7 this coming sunday). Even though I take him outside he still comes inside and wee’s and poops. He is also chewing everything … even though I give him his toys he takes more interest in mine. I see his also starting to dig … his sounding already like a naughty puppy. Please help!!?

    • Hi imilda, he sounds like a very normal puppy, and he is really very young to be away from his mum. You’ll need to be patient. Put your things where he can’t reach them, just like you would with a toddler. And all puppies chew, it is normal. You need to put baby gates across rooms with your best furniture, and distract him with toys. With the housetraining, follow the instructions in the articles in the puppy care section. Ignore accidents and take him outside more often. He will get more control over his bladder as he gets bigger. Pippa

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