How to Prevent Accidents While Potty Training Your Puppy


Potty training a puppy can be a challenging process, and accidents are a part of your puppy’s learning process. But what do you do when your puppy has an accident in the house? We’ll walk you through the steps to take when your puppy has an accident, and what you can do to minimize them in the future.

What to Do When Your Puppy Has an Accident

So, your puppy had an accident in the house. Not to worry, this is not unusual! You can expect a few accidents when potty training your puppy. However, your reaction to the accident is important and will shape the likelihood of future accidents. Here’s what to do when an accident happens:

  1. If you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating inside, maintain a calm composure and take them out to their designated bathroom spot. Praise them heavily if they finish up their business there.
  2. If they do not finish in that spot, don’t punish them. Simply wait with them calmly until they are ready to go inside again.
  3. If you find an accident that happened while you were not there, simply clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle to eliminate the scent and prevent your puppy from using that spot in the future.
  4. Do not punish your puppy. They won’t associate your punishment with the accident, and will only become afraid of you which will cause more problems in the future.
  5. Continue to closely supervise your puppy and take them out for frequent scheduled potty breaks in a designated area. A puppy with free run of the house will easily become confused as to where they can do their business.

How Long Does Potty Training a Puppy Take?

Fed up with the potty training process? Not to worry, potty training should only take about three to six months when done correctly. Although, some puppies may take up to a year to learn proper bathroom habits. Once your puppy is fully potty trained, it’s a great time to install a pet door for them. The Dragon Pet Door for Doors is an excellent choice for puppies with a lightweight and comfortable flap. Dragon Pet Doors allow your dog to come and go as they please so that you no longer have to play doorman to them—the perfect reward after six months of potty training!

How to Tell if Puppy Accidents are Abnormal

While an accident here and there is totally normal when potty training a puppy—especially in the early stages—if the accidents become more frequent it’s a good idea to consider health or other behavioral issues that may need to be addressed. Consider the following questions:

  1. Is your puppy a few months into their training and still having accidents?
  2. Is your puppy demonstrating other behavioral problems like aggression or hiding?
  3. Does your puppy have accidents in the house very soon after doing their business outside?

If you are uncertain whether the accidents your puppy is having are normal, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. If they clear them of any potential health problems but your puppy continues to have accidents, working with a dog behavior specialist or taking them to training classes is a great option.

For more details, this guide goes over some of the reasons your dog is urinating indoors often. If you suspect a behavioral problem is at play, check out our quarantine puppy socialization tips.

Potty Training Basics

In addition to dealing with a few inevitable accidents, it’s important to create a clear and consistent schedule and plan when potty training a puppy. Below are a few key points to keep in mind when potty training your puppy. Check out our puppy potty training guide for a more detailed plan.

Create a Routine

Establishing a clear routine is essential for training your puppy. Puppies do best with predictable routines that they can rely on throughout the day. Your puppy will need to be taken out right when they wake up, every two hours during the day, right after eating and drinking, and right before they go to sleep. Create a consistent schedule that works for you and your puppy and try to stick to it to the best of your abilities.

Choose a Designated Potty Area

Choosing one potty area outside for your pup to do their business is an excellent way to establish a clear bathroom routine for them. They will feel comfortable and confident knowing that they own that area and can relieve themselves there. It will reduce any confusion s your puppy learns where they can and cannot go to the bathroom.

Supervise Them Whenever Possible

Puppies are a lot like human babies in that they need to be supervised to stay out of trouble! Keeping your puppy in a confined area like a playpen is important so that they establish a sense of security in their space. Make a plan for times when you leave the house. Crate training is a great tool for creating a space where your puppy can relax while you are away from home.

Always Use Positive Reinforcement

Never use negative punishment like yelling at your puppy or pushing their face into an accident they had. These tactics will only scare your puppy and likely cause increased accidents in the future. When your puppy does their business in their designated outdoor space, use heavy verbal praise and petting to let them know you are happy with them. This will encourage your puppy to continue using this area to eliminate in the future.

We hope this helped explain what to do when your puppy has an accident in the house. Puppy potty training can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. With a little time and patience, your puppy will be using the bathroom like a pro! Interested in some further reading? Check out the best U.S. cities to raise a puppy in.

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