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Mastering Toilet Training: A Comprehensive Guide for Puppies:

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Mastering Toilet Training: A Comprehensive Guide for Puppies is an essential aspect of raising a well-behaved and happy puppy. Whether it's daytime training using a playpen or nighttime training with the help of a crate, establishing good bathroom habits is vital. In this blog, Peter Bonney will explore some of the best methods for teaching your puppy, including teaching them to sit at the door when they need to go out. We will also discuss the importance of designating a specific spot in the yard for toileting and the lifelong benefits of this practice.


It is also important to note that there are various methods to doing these things and the following are a few methods, and he has included timings for this.


A correct puppy setup for a small to small/medium puppy.
This shows a Crate and Playpen - the Puppy is 15 weeks OLD

1. Nighttime Training with a Crate: Using a crate for nighttime training helps establish a routine and prevents accidents.

  • Puppies have a natural aversion to soiling their sleeping area, making the crate an effective tool. When the crate is the correct size. Don't be fooled into getting them a BIG crate when they only need a small crate. It is not helpful to your puppy. It should be big enough for them to SIt, Stand and Turn around without touching the side of the crate.

  • Ensure the crate is appropriately sized and comfortable for your puppy. If the crate is too big then use a divider within the crate to make it smaller.

  • Feed dinner between 5-6.30 PM (avoid consistent feeding times at night).

  • Approximately 20 minutes after feeding, take them out to the toilet on a lead/leash.

  • Take them to the same spot outside and use a specific code word.

  • Allow them to relax in the house before putting them to bed in their crate around 8.30 PM.

  • Avoid leaving water out to prevent overfilling (exceptions apply based on veterinary advice).

  • From 8 weeks to approximately 14 weeks, the puppy may need to go out in the middle of the night. Having the crate next to your bed is valuable for convenience. If you prefer to have the crate further away - maybe use a baby monitor so you can hear them.

  • When the puppy whines at around 1 AM or 2 AM, take them out to the toilet on a lead. Avoid letting them think it's a game by putting them down on the grass and allowing them to run freely.

  • Minimize engagement when taking them out of the crate or going out to the toilet. It's quiet time, not playtime.

  • Place them back in their crate and cover it. They should go back to sleep.

  • It is not recommended to set your clock to wake up every 2 hours. Allow the puppy to sleep undisturbed.

2. Daytime Training with a Playpen: During the day, a playpen provides a safe confined area for your puppy to explore.

  • Take your puppy out to the toilet throughout the day, following the same routine as explained before. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats, when they sit before going out.

  • If you are away at work and no one is home to let them out, introduce a designated toilet area within the playpen, like a puppy pad or grass mat.

  • When you return home, remove the pee pad or grass mat from the playpen. The goal is to train your puppy to go potty outside, as your house should not be their designated toilet area.

  • This applies to those living in units or apartments as well. While using pee pads or other indoor options may seem convenient, it is still preferable to take them outside for toileting. However, in smaller living spaces, pee pads can be a temporary solution, but remember to transition them to outdoor toileting as soon as possible.

  • It is important to strike a balance with the use of pee pads or indoor options. Setting your puppy up for success means gradually eliminating the use of indoor toileting aids and encouraging them to go outside. At Bonnie's Dog Obedience and Puppy School, we prioritize setting dogs up for success through proper training methods and guidance from an early age.we prefer to"Set them up for success".


3. Teaching the Puppy to Sit at the Door: Teaching your puppy to sit at the door or ing a bell when they need to go out is an excellent communication method.

  • When your puppy shows signs of needing to eliminate, such as circling, sniffing, or whining/whingeing, guide them to the door.

  • Encourage them to sit before opening the door, creating an association between sitting and going outside to eliminate.

  • You can hang a bell from the roof and teach your puppy to touch it with their paw.

  • When your puppy touches the bell, open the door promptly.

  • This method effectively trains your puppy to "ring the bell" or "sit" at the door as a signal to go outside.

4. Establishing a Designated Toilet Spot in the Yard: Taking your puppy to one specific spot in the yard on a lead/leash for toileting is highly beneficial.

  • This practice establishes a consistent and predictable routine, helping your puppy associate that spot with eliminating.

  • Use verbal cues like "Go potty" or "Do your business" or "toilet" or another such word or short phrase to reinforce the purpose of the outing.

  • Reward your puppy for going to the toilet in the designated spot to reinforce the desired behavior.

  • This approach greatly simplifies your life for the lifetime of your dog, as you won't have to pick up waste every day before your kids can play outside.

  • I suggest to my puppy clients to use a completely different word from what others may use. A work like 'Turtle' or 'baseball' only because it is then very specific to your puppy.

5. Cleaning Pet Waste off Floors:

For Wee:

  • Act quickly: Immediately blot the urine with paper towels or a clean cloth.

  • Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix 3 - 4 parts water and 1 part white vinegar or use a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner.

  • Apply the solution: Pour or spray the cleaning solution onto the affected area.

  • Blot the area: Gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towels.

  • Rinse and dry: Rinse the area with water and blot to remove any residue. Allow it to air dry or use a fan for quicker drying.

For Poo:

  • Wear gloves: Put on disposable gloves before handling the waste.

  • Remove solid waste: Use a plastic bag or scoop to carefully pick up the feces and dispose of it properly.

  • Clean the area: Prepare a cleaning solution with warm water and mild detergent or a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner.

  • Scrub the floor: Use a brush or sponge to gently scrub the affected area.

  • Rinse and dry: Thoroughly rinse with clean water and blot or mop to remove excess moisture.

Remember to refer to flooring manufacturer guidelines and test any cleaning solution on a small area first. Always check your cleaning solutions on Wooden Floors, carpets, rugs etc before using any products either store bought of made at home.



Peter Bonney is a specialist Puppy Trainer: He is the 2nd of 3 generations of dog trainers. His son Christian Bonney is 1 3rd gen trainer.
Peter Bonney - Master Puppy Trainer - Bonnies.com.au 50 Years of training

Conclusion: Toilet training your puppy is an essential but sometimes frustrating part of their development. By implementing consistent routines, using a crate or playpen, teaching your puppy to sit at the door, and designating a specific spot in the yard for toileting, you can "set them up for success" throughout their lives. Patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency are key when guiding your puppy through this learning process. With time and dedication, your puppy will become a well-trained and clean member of your family, bringing you joy and peace of mind for years to come.


There is nothing better than being able to go on road trips, go to grandmas or anywhere you want to go and your puppy can go to the toilet on COMMAND. Woo Hoo and pat yourselves on the back. You deserve it.


Written by Head Trainer and Master Puppy Trainer Peter Bonney. Discover the Secrets to Successful Dog Training Today! Share this valuable information with your fellow dog and puppy owners, because knowledge is power. Don't waste time searching for generic terms like 'dog training Brisbane' or 'dog training near me'. Instead, visit bonnies.com.au for expert insights and solutions tailored to your needs. Explore our other informative articles to expand your understanding even further. We value your input, so please leave a comment if you have any training suggestions or topics you'd like more information on. For a wealth of knowledge, check out Val's Books, available through this link: https://www.bonnies.com.au/shop-1. Don't miss out on this opportunity to enhance your dog training journey. Take action now and unleash the full potential of your four-legged companion! Cheers, Peter.


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Jul 09, 2023


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