Toilet training a puppy in 7 days… it sounds wonderful: No sorcery, just a few tips, tricks and the slightest bit of patience.
On second thought, make that a large piece of patience.
In this article, we’ll show you a simple 7-day schedule to help you jump start your puppy’s toilet training. The days of pursing your lips at the sight of a puddle in your living room will soon be over.
Before we start, here’s a list of props that will get you to a wee-free household:
- A well-defined and suitable puppy toilet area
- Puppy Training Treats – make sure they’re the good ones. Cut them into small pieces, and keep a pot near the toilet area so always have them at hand.
- Your puppy toilet trainer planner
- An enzyme cleaner (Simple Solution, Urine Off, and Wee Away are quite good)
- A confined space your puppy can use as a den. A crate or playpen will do. We don’t recommend The Cupboard Under the Stairs – they often come out as wizards.
- Patience. The day will come when your puppy will understand where to go to the loo. It won’t take forever!
How do I house train my puppy?
To toilet train your puppy, you’ll have to follow the same logic their mother has already taught them.
No not you, their other mother (the one with four legs). Especially when born inside a home-reared environment, puppies’ mothers have already done the first steps of toilet training for you by teaching that the toilet is not the same place they sleep, so they’ll need to move their bums from place to place.
When they arrive at your home, you’ll simply have to start off with the same lesson. Before your puppy gets home, make sure you decide on your puppy’s sleeping area and toilet area and we need to continue with that process as soon as we get them home.
Check out our full guide to toilet training a puppy for more detailed information on getting started.
Be aware: Mistakes sometimes happen!
As you may have already realised, house training a puppy will be quite an adventure. And like any respectable adventure story, the suspense from the multiple things that can go wrong makes it rather exciting, frankly.
What we’re trying to say is that at the end of the day, your puppy’s accidents are part of your story together. They’re also opportunities for improvement!
PRO TIP: Keep a record of mistakes on your planner, to be more aware of what needs work.
Getting started with house training your puppy in 7 days
For puppy house training, it takes two to tango. The fastest way to succeed is to keep both of you on a strict routine based on sleeping, eating, playing, and exercise, and toilet breaks.
Relax, we know it sounds like the army, but it’s not.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind for your routine.
Toilet training is based on this simple idea: what goes in must go out.
Puppies have small digestive systems, so getting their feeding times on a regular schedule is key for more regular trips to the loo. For you, this might make it a lot easier to plan your day ahead for toilet breaks and playtime.
Give them twenty minutes to eat. If they eat, splendid. If they don’t, then no large snacks until their next meal.
Supervision is key
It’s not that you don’t trust them yet. Well, maybe it is. But it’s totally fair.
Watching your puppy the entire day to succeed in house training might be a bit much to ask, but in case you need to place your attention elsewhere, make sure your puppy is:
- In a crate with the door closed
- In a confinement area or play pen
- In a bed next to where you are working or sitting
- Attached to you with a lead
Basically, anywhere you can see them from the corner of your eye. That way you can jump into action faster than Bond.
PRO TIP: For everyone’s good (including your shoes and soft carpet floor) don’t let your puppy wander around the house if you’re not watching them. The day will come where you’ll be able to live together in full trust. For now, staying in a crate or playpen is the best idea.
Teach a cue word
A cue word, sometimes called a command, is a set phrase that reminds your puppy that you want them to go to the toilet.
It can be pretty much anything – “Need the privy?”, “Let’s go for a wee”, or “Pee pee time” are quite popular. But feel free to let your creativity run loose, perhaps you can think of a better one.
No matter what your cue is, ensure everyone in your household uses the same phrase so that it’s reliable for your puppy.
How to use cue words for house training:
- Take your puppy to the toilet area
- Say your cue. It may help to show some enthusiasm and encouragement.
- Wait until your puppy goes to the toilet, and shower them with compliments and treats.
- If your puppy doesn’t go straight away, wait a minute and repeat their cue. Don’t end up embodying a parrot and repeating it over and over, but you may need to try it a couple of times before they actually go.
PRO TIP: Try saying the cue AS your puppy is about to go, or going into the toilet area. This will clear things up even more.
You’ll see, it’s only a matter of time until your toilet cue works like a magic word.
How to toilet train a puppy in 7 days
Before we waffle on about everything you need to know about your training schedule, take note of these three points you’ll need to follow to to make it through:
- Follow the end of every activity, nap time and meal (breakfast, brunch, dinner, and supper) with a toilet break.
- After ‘active’ moments of the day (playtime or training time), it’s time for a nap. Puppies become easily tired, and won’t have a problem slumping down for a rest. At this point, they still need lots of them!
- Keep track of your puppy’s toilet activity – not because it’s got any scrapbook potential in particular, but because it will be useful in getting a better idea of any patterns, and could help plan your day better around them.
Let’s give it a go then.
5:00 -6:00 am: Wake up
Yep, it’ll be an early one.
- Immediately after opening your beautiful, but tired eyes, carry your puppy to their toilet area, grabbing that pot of treats on the way.
- Say your cue word and wait for them to go.
- Follow their success with a treat and the top-quality praise you’re already brilliant at.
- Come back inside and write down whether your puppy’s choice for a morning toilet trip was a pee or a poo in your house-training planner.
PRO TIP: Jotting down your puppy’s toilet habits is a good way to work out when they’ll need the toilet next. With time, planning your daily routine will become an easier task.
6:00-7:00 am: Breakfast time
Feed your puppy their breakfast out of an activity feeder. These are great for puppies to:
- Slow eating down to avoid bloating – and to give yourself some time to enjoy your morning Earl Grey.
- Develop problem-solving skills (no need to become the best Einstein, but always good to work on these skills)
Kongs or puzzle feeders are good choices – trying out both could be a good way to see which they like best.
Take them to their toilet area and go through the toilet training process:
After breakfast and toilet break, spend some quality time together by playing or working on a few training exercises. Five to ten minutes should do just fine, no need to have the Full Monty.
Chasing toys on the floor, practicing handling or grooming exercises or working on crate training exercises are good examples of activities you can do during these times throughout the day.
Toilet Break, again.
We weren’t joking. Remember:
Cue word – wait – success – reward!
After you’ve brilliantly fed, entertained and taken your puppy to the toilet, a nap sounds about right. Not for you silly goose, for your puppy, of course.
Place their crate or bed next to you, and let them doze off.
Toilet Break, once more.
You know how it goes:
Cue word – wait – success – reward!
PRO TIP: If your puppy doesn’t look like they fancy the toilet after 10 minutes of waiting, have a round of play to get their insides moving. Starting to sound a little like a poop factory by now. As soon as they go, you know what to do: Cue word – wait – success – reward!
11:00 am: Brunch
Time for their second meal of the day
And yes. Repeat the cycle you’d just done a few hours before:
Toilet break, play time, toilet break, nap time, toilet break.
3:00 pm: Dinner time
Dinner or lunch is sometimes the best time to give them their largest meals of the day because they’re more likely to go for a poo before bedtime – and not during.
Nope, you’re not done. Go ahead, and repeat the house-training cycle.
7:00 pm (latest): Supper
To reduce the chance of middle-of-the night toilet visits from happening, schedule supper at 7:00 pm at the latest. In between supper and bedtime, they’ll have enough time to go through the last round of their house-training routine before zonking down for the night.
This time, as we get closer to bedtime, it will be much better to skip playing games, and instead, relax and start winding down to get into the right mood for a deep sleep. Follow that up with a final toilet visit, and Bob’s your uncle.
All that’s left is bedtime.
5:00 -6:00 am: Wake up
Did they sleep through the night? Marvellous.
If not, there’s nothing to worry about. Is there a puddle of wee somewhere that isn’t the toilet? Try your hardest not to get the hump. There will be plenty of opportunities to improve!
What we can advise you for future successes, is to carry them to the toilet as soon as you hear some shuffling around at any point during the night. It’s highly likely that they’ll struggle to hold it in until they reach the toilet, so avoid any delays by giving them a ride on the toilet-training express.
After all that’s done, well, let us say good morning. Welcome to Day 2.
Now, just carry on the same routine as Day 1. Good luck!
Here’s one more thing. Don’t worry, it’s not more than you can chew.
Just make sure to take them to their toilet area every half an hour when they’re awake, as well as the key times we mentioned earlier:
- After eating or drinking
- When they wake up
- After playing or training
Follow the routine in the same order as Day 2, and you may perhaps start noticing how you and your puppy are seeing more eye to eye about your daily routine.
On your part, you’ll be getting more used to the nightly and early morning wake ups. Your puppy will be more accustomed to the midnight potty express ride when feeling like going to the loo.
PRO TIP: In your midnight visits to the loo, make sure that interactions are kept to the minimum. No fun allowed (til morning, of course).
Have you been checking your planner? Can you start to see patterns? Not inside the poo as if you’re telling the future, but in terms of when (and where) they’re going? Is it immediately after eating or does it need more time to brew?
Asking yourself these questions is important to become more strategic in your toilet training game plan.
On Day 4, you’ll want to keep doing the same as Day 3. By now, you may notice your puppy getting more engaged at playtime or training, as he becomes more comfortable with their surroundings.
Hurray! You’re succeeding in making your puppy feel truly at home. Adorable.
As this happens, keep practicing crate or confinement training exercises. We agree someone should work on their design to look less like prisons but until the day that comes, working hard to associate them with positive emotions is just what we’ll have to do.
Day 5, 6 and 7
Your puppy should be well on its way to having the ultimate good manners and polite toilet etiquette.
You’ve probably surpassed the Queen’s Corgis’ at this point.
So here we are.
At the end of this terribly long (but marvellous) house training guide.
The question you’ve probably asked yourself – can you toilet train a puppy in 7 days? – is technically for you to answer based on how well the training goes.
Ooh didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Just kidding. The number of days, until it gets done right, doesn’t really matter in the end. All we can say is that by sticking to our advice, tips, and guidance, you’ll be well on your way to a house-trained puppy.
We know you can feel defeated, challenged and tired, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your puppy learns. Someday, it will all make sense.
Until then, you know what they say – every dog has its day.
So now you know how to toilet train a puppy in 7 days! Looking for more great training tips and advice? Check out our week-by-week puppy training schedule, next.