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How To Train A Puppy To Pee Outside?

At A Glance

Train your puppy to pee outside by using positive reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and affection. Make sure it has a designated bathroom spot outside, and a clear, consistent command from you like ‘go pee’ or ‘go potty.’

Be patient with your pet, and remember that it's adjusting to a new environment and routine. During this time, it’s important to cultivate a bond with your pet and reinforce good habits through a consistent routine.

Last Updated on: Mar 22, 2022

Dogs need to be taught to pee on a puppy pad, or outside, during the first few weeks of their arrival at your home. Unfortunately, it’s not in your new pup’s DNA to seek out the great outdoors when nature calls. So yes, there might be a couple of accidents involving your favorite rug or couch.

But don’t worry. With the right tools and knowledge, you’ll get your puppy to follow your cues and learn how to pee outside in no time. This article will take you through some practical tips on how to train a puppy to pee outside.

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a puppy looking up while sitting on the grass

How Do I Get My Puppy To Start Peeing Outside?

Potty training requires consistency (and maybe some treats, too). At least during the first few weeks of training, your puppy will need a lot of positive reinforcement to motivate it to learn quickly.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your puppy during the first few days of training. You’ll also want to react quickly to any of the puppy’s cues to pee. If it starts to pee indoors, take it outside right away. This will condition the puppy to eventually learn how to wait until it’s outside to go to the bathroom.

Keep a puppy-safe, enzymatic cleaner close by, too. This will be very helpful in cleaning indoor areas in case accidents happen. (Spoiler alert: They will happen.)

Keep reading for some more helpful tips on how to train your furry friend to pee outside.

Reward Good Behavior

According to professional dog trainer Ken Steepe, puppies will do whatever they find rewarding. This is why it’s extremely important to use positive reinforcement when training your puppy.

Use a verbal command when you’re on walks, or out in the yard for a potty break. Whenever you reach their designated bathroom area, you can use commands like ‘go pee,’ or ‘go potty’ so that your pup can associate the command with the act of peeing at his designated spot.

After a successful potty, be sure to praise your puppy and give it a treat within three seconds. Rewarding good behavior immediately after it occurs is crucial for the puppy to associate the treat with positive behavior.

Over time, you can reduce the frequency and volume of food treats given after the potty time. Your goal is to phase them out eventually, as you wouldn’t want your dog to expect a reward every time it goes to the bathroom. Replace food treats with praise, playtime, or affection instead.

Build A Routine

Puppies need to be kept on a strict bathroom schedule as part of their daily routine. Very young dogs can only hold their bladders for an hour per month of their age. A three-month-old puppy, for example, can only hold its pee in for three hours. A five-month-old can hold its bladder longer at five hours, and so on.

If you’re wondering how to train a puppy to pee outside in an apartment, it all begins with routine.

Establish a routine with your puppy as early as possible. Let it out first thing in the morning after it wakes up, as well as after meal times and after playtime. For easier training, offer your puppy a toilet break every 20 to 30 minutes when you’re just starting to housebreak it.

Having a consistent, accessible spot is incredibly helpful while training your puppy to pee outdoors. Have a designated bathroom spot for the puppy, so that it can easily associate potty time with both the time and place it’s being let out. If you go on walks or go out to the yard for potty time, try to be as consistent as possible by having a designated tree or patch of grass for it to pee on.

Man smiling while holding a puppy

Be Understanding

Be careful not to be too harsh or forceful when training your puppy. In case of an accident, avoid scolding them to the point where they’re too nervous or scared. This will only increase the chances of them hiding where they pee indoors because they’ll associate pee time with getting punished.

Keep in mind that your puppy is still learning and trying to adjust to its new living arrangement. It will take a while for it to fully process what it should and should not do inside the house.

Take accidents in stride, and remember that your puppy often does not intend to have these accidents indoors. Be patient and understanding of its learning process, and keep reinforcing positive behavior instead of punishing negative ones.

Instead of using punishment such as yelling, you can use a sound like clapping your hands with the command ‘go outside’ or ‘go pee.’ Quickly take your puppy outside and allow it to finish peeing or pooping outdoors. Then, reinforce the behavior by offering praise or a tasty treat.

Keep It Clean

Because dogs have a very keen sense of smell, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean any soiled surfaces. Immediately throw out soaked pee pads, launder soiled sheets or rugs, and clean dirty floors.

Don’t use harsh cleaners like bleach or detergent for the floor, as these might irritate your puppy’s sensitive paws and nose. Instead, use a specialized enzymatic cleaner that can break down the scent markers in dog pee and poop. This way, your dog won’t see the spot as an okay place to go.

You can also use soiled paper towels or pee pads from indoors to reinforce your pup’s training to pee outside. Take them to your puppy’s designated bathroom area and place them there, so that they can associate the smell with the correct potty spot.

To remove urine smells from a spot in the yard where your pup isn’t supposed to pee, you can use baking soda or specialized sprays to break down crystallized urine particles that emit a smell.

An image of a puppy peeing while a woman holding its leash

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Housebreak A Puppy In 5 Days?

The only challenge when potty training a puppy is when you have a very young pup. This is because their bladders are still too small and really can’t hold much pee. For slightly older puppies, housebreaking can be made easier by focusing primarily on teaching your puppy where it has to go when it has to potty.

Fun fact: During the first two months of a puppy’s life, its mother will teach it to go to the bathroom away from its den (the place where the pack sleeps). You’ll want to reinforce this behavior by establishing a ‘den’ in your own home by crate training, and then letting your puppy out to pee in its designated spot at similar time intervals.

Should I Carry My Puppy Out To Pee?

If your puppy is four months or younger, you can carry it out to pee or accompany it outside, especially at night. This helps to ensure that your puppy did go to the bathroom and can prevent indoor accidents later on.

As much as possible, you want to allow your puppy to walk outside on its own when it has to go potty. It’s important to go outside with them, or even keep them on a leash during the first weeks of training.

Don’t make a habit of carrying your puppy outside to pee each time because it might unintentionally learn that it has to be carried out to potty. This could result in accidents if your puppy keeps ‘waiting’ to be carried out instead of trying to walk to the designated area on its own.

How Long Does It Take To Train A Puppy To Pee Outside?

It takes approximately four to eight weeks to train a puppy to pee outside. How fast a puppy learns how to pee outside depends on several factors like its environment, breed, temperament, and age.

The owner’s experience is also a significant factor in the learning process, as it might also take a while for humans to understand a specific puppy’s cues and learning style.

A puppy peeing in a bush

Teaching your puppy to pee outside might be challenging at first, but once your puppy masters it, it will become a lifelong habit for them. Be patient with your pet, and make sure to use positive reinforcement instead of punishment to train your puppy.

Focus on building a bond with them, and they will be much more comfortable following your commands and learning new habits.

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.