How to toilet train a puppy…in seven days!

How to toilet train a puppy…in seven days!

Is it possible to housetrain your new puppy in a week? This guide will help you make it happen!

Considering that it takes the average pup up to six months to become fully house-trained, attempting to toilet train them in just seven days is a mammoth task, but not impossible!

Your puppy’s breed, age and natural ability to pick up potty training are all contributing factors as to whether it will be possible, but with consistency, the right strategy and a little luck, you could have them toilet-trained far sooner than you would have otherwise thought.

Here is a guide to give you the best chance of successfully toilet training your new pup in just seven days.

When to start

Puppies under 12 weeks of age simply can’t control their bladders well enough to get them toilet trained, so while it’s great to get started straight away, don’t expect such a quick response before they are over that age at the least.

1. Location

First, decide where you want your pup to do their business and stick with it to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Ideally, make it somewhere outdoors to avoid the obvious unpleasantries indoors. For some, however, due to factors like weather or property type (such as apartments), it must be indoors, in which case, choose a designated spot, ideally gated off from the rest of the house. Potty pads and or litter trays are fine to use.

When using potty pads, leave a previously used one in the same location to create an easily associated familiar scent for your pup to return to.

2. Schedule

Quick toilet training requires setting a schedule. As well as the obvious times such as first thing in the morning, 10-20 minutes after each meal and just before bedtime, include some other regular intervals. A general age-related rule of thumb is every hour for 8-week-olds, increasing to every other hour for 12–16-week-olds.

Set an alarm at regular intervals through the night to take them to the toilet. This may seem like a painful exercise, but consistency is key, and you can quickly increase the time left between alarms the more thoroughly you follow the schedule.

3. Signs

Watch out for signs that they need to go – while you want to stick to the schedule as best as you can, accidents can and probably will happen and that’s okay. Signs include:

  • Sniffing the floor
  • Pacing about
  • Scratching at the door
  • A panicked expression
  • Mild whining or barking
  • Taking a squatting position

If you catch them about to go, make a quick, loud clap – this often stuns them for long enough to get them to their designated toilet location.

While the occasional accident is okay, you do want to avoid it becoming a pattern, so stick to the schedule, lessen the time between toilet breaks if necessary, and keep a very close eye out for the signs.

4. Don’t punish

Hopefully this goes without saying, but as The Vets reiterate, punishing your pup while training them is the worst possible thing you can do. The aim is not to have them obey you through fear and anxiety and it is not the kind of bond and relationship you want to develop with them.

It has been proven time and time again that positive reinforcement is the best form of training, so focus on rewarding them when they get it right and staying calm when they don’t.

5. Crate training

Crate training isn’t for everyone but there is no denying its effectiveness, as dogs don’t like to soil their own beds. Crate training is another article in itself but suffice it to say here that it is worth considering – it provides your pup with a secure, safe place to sleep where they can feel calm and relaxed, while also teaching them to control their urge to go wherever and whenever they feel the need.

6. Bladder control

Once things are going well and a routine has been created, it’s time to teach them a little bladder control. When they exhibit signs of needing to go, start by making them wait for a few minutes more than you usually would. If successful, start increasing the amount of time that you make them wait until they are able to hold their bladder for as much as 20–30 minutes.

Keep a very close eye on them during this time, of course, and revert to the clap method if they give into their natural urges before time is up.

Final thoughts

The sooner you introduce your puppy to this process the better, but make sure that you remain both consistent and patient, regardless of their age or progress.

So long as you consistently follow these steps, you are virtually guaranteed to have your puppy fully toilet-trained long before they may otherwise have been, and quite possibly even within seven days!

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Emma Williams is a professional writer and pet parent who has written for big publishers including Animal Wellness Magazine, The Telegraph, Home Beautiful and She enjoys sharing her knowledge on pet health, lifestyle topics and pet behaviour.