Toilet training a new puppy is rarely easy, whatever time of year it is. Winter time though can come with a few extra challenges, and toilet training your puppy in winter is often not easy! Here at Zigzag, we love to make your life easier, we’re going to help prepare you for the highs and lows of winter toilet training.  So if you’re expecting your new bundle of fun in the winter, here’s our top tips and guide to Toilet training a puppy in winter. 

Before we jump into how to house train a puppy in the winter, .Have you downloaded the Zigzag app? It’s a complete walk through training programme tailored specifically to your pup’s age and breed type. You even get 24/7 access to our team of expert puppy coaches.

The difficulty of toilet training your pup in the winter

Toilet training in winter isn’t impossible, but it can be harder than toilet training in the warmer months. Winter brings with it cold, dark mornings and evenings. Many puppies simply don’t like the cold or dark, and can refuse to go outside at all.

 It can also be tricky to be quick sometimes if you’re having to reach for coats and winter boots before you can get out, this can be when accidents happen. 

Winter toilet training can be especially difficult if you live in a flat or don’t have access to your own private garden. Puppies just going out to the toilet and not exploring don’t adapt to the colder temperatures as easily as those who spend regular time outdoors. 

Top tips for winter toilet training your pup 

1) Go out with your puppy

Pups love to follow us around, so by heading outside yourself your pup is more likely to do the same and follow suit. Give them plenty of positive encouragement and rewards just for going outside when it’s very cold or snowy.

2) Clear an area

If you’ve had a good covering of snow, clear an area close to the house where your pup can go to the toilet. Deep snow can be daunting for pups, especially the smaller ones, and this can make toilet training a puppy in winter a real challenge. 

3) Have a backup plan

Sometimes toilet training needs you to be ready to get your pup outside at a moment’s notice. Have everything you might need to hand, so you can get outside quickly. Coats, shoes, dog lead, poo bags should all be on hand, so you can be ready to get out as fast as possible.

4) Stay Calm and Consistent

Don’t make a big fuss about cold weather or snow, just carry on as normal and reward and praise your pup for following you outside. Do make it easy for them though by clearing a path if you need to. Also be mindful that icy temperatures can hurt their paws. 

5) Make toilet training a puppy in winter fun

Show your pup how much fun you can have in the winter. Keep it short at first, but by playing in snowy, cold or wet weather you create positive associations for your pup. Extend the time spent out gradually, so your pup can acclimatise to the colder temperatures. 

6) Have a back up plan

If your pup absolutely will not tolerate going out in the cold or wet, then it’s really not worth forcing them and causing yourself added stress in the process. Use an indoor toilet or puppy pads just until the bad weather passes, and you can get your outdoor toilet training back on track again. It might cause a slight delay, but it’s really not the end of the world. 

For further information and help toilet training in all seasons, you can read our full guide to toilet training a puppy.


Do I wait outside for my puppy to pee?

Within reason, yes, but you can’t wait forever, and some pups can be pretty distracted from the job in hand. Wait for up to around 10 minutes, if they haven’t been go back inside, but you must watch them like a hawk, chances are they will remember when they get back in so be prepared to rush them back out again. 

Is it okay to take a puppy out in winter?

Generally yes, but you should keep your dogs indoors or keep trips outside short if temperatures are around -5℃ or below.

If you have a shorter coated breed, like a Frenchie or a Chihuahua, then consider a coat for toilet training in winter, to keep them cosy.

Is it harder to toilet train a puppy in winter?

It’s by no means impossible to toilet train in winter, but as we have delved into in this article it does throw up a few extra challenges along the way, and it might slow things down. 
For more puppy training guidance specific to your pup and access to our team of expert puppy coaches, download the Zigzag App today.