10 Tips to Potty Training a Puppy

Nancy K.G. wrote:

Don’t know if this consists of a behavioral issue, but here goes….I have a 10 week old Beagle mix puppy. I take her out to go potty then she comes back into the house and a few minutes later, goes again. Why is that and what am I doing wrong? Please, anyone who can help, please do!!  Thanks in advance….


Hi Nancy,

Ohhhh, the delightful and frustrating perils of having a puppy.  A puppy isn’t able to reliably control their bladder and bowel until they are about 20 weeks of age, although you should see their control improve from 10-20 weeks of age.  So in other words, it will probably get better with time.

Here are some quick tips regarding housbreaking:

  • Make sure your puppy has had enough time to do their business outdoors before bringing her back in as maybe she just wasn’t yet done.
  • When you take her outdoors, make pottying the first order of business and then verbally praise her after she eliminates.
  • Take her on leash to the same spot for her to eliminate as the smell of where she has gone before will stimulate her to eliminate.
  • As she eliminates, name the behavior by saying “potty”, “break”, or another term.
  • When she comes back inside, keep a close watch of her in case she needs to go back outside again.
  • Keep a close watch of her by closing the door of the room you are in with her, attaching her to a leash which then is attached to your waist and by teaching her to rest comfortably on a dog bed, “place” command.
  • “Crate train” her so that when you can’t closely supervise her activities she can rest comfortably in the crate that is only large enough for her to lay down, stand up and turn around.
  • Take her outdoors often, much more often than you may think one should have to.  This may mean hourly outings and certainly every time after a play session, upon waking up, and after eating or drinking.
  • Feed your puppy a high quality dog food, that doesn’t contain by-products, corn and dyes.
  • Consult with a professional dog trainer for more advice as training questions are a challenge to answer within the confines of an email or blog entry.  A trainer can help you make sure your puppy starts off on the “right paw.”

And if the situation doesn’t improve despite the above tips, take your puppy to your veterinarian for a wellness check.

About Michael Burkey

Michael Burkey is a professional dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of MichiganDogTrainer.com, a highly successful dog training company whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and families. Additionally, he is an expert trial witness, certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker. Dog training is a complex science and art requiring knowledge of behavioral science and learning. You can rely on Michael's experience, teaching methods, and integrity. He can be contacted at info@MichiganDogTrainer.com or 734-634-4152.
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