How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast

I am in the process of potty training the newest dog in my home. Between the dogs I have owned, rescue dogs, and client’s dogs, I have completed the potty training process for around 50 dogs in my home. I have learned many tricks to make the process go fast!

Pick the Spot

If you want to potty train your puppy fast, pick a spot that is appealing to them. Sniffing and moving around is what stimulates a dog to potty. If you want your puppy to hit a small target of concrete or a puppy pad, you may get frustrated with the process. Find an area where you can give them some freedom to get the job done. Some dogs need to roam around for 5-10 minutes before they have a bowel movement. If your puppy needs to be on a leash, use an eight-foot or longer leash to give them enough freedom to go potty. You can always refine the potty area as they mature to a smaller space.

Get Potty on Cue

Once you get your dog to the spot, you need a cue that tells them what to do. Otherwise, when you go to a new spot, you will be waiting a long time for them to figure out why you are hanging out there.

The quickest way to get “potty” on cue is to say the words “go potty” right as they start to pee. I give poop a different cue, “get busy.” In the beginning, you need to match the word to the action. Dogs don’t speak English so the two events needs to be paired together (pee = potty, poop =busy). Once you have paired it together for one week (several times a day), you should be able to use your cue to make the potty happen.

The Problem With Puppy Pads

While puppy pads seem like an ideal solution, they don’t always make sense to the dog.  Hitting a small target is the first problem.  Some dogs will naturally pee on the pad, pooping on it is a whole another problem.  Humans also don’t generally remove the pad after each use which leads the dog to avoid it.

I never use potty pads.  Once given some freedom in the house, the dog will confuse them for floor mats and other soft surfaces.  A good schedule will eliminate the needs for pads.

Ring The Bell

The number one false belief is that the dog will tell you when they have to go outside.  In the dog world, puppies don’t give their dog mom some alert signal they have to go to the bathroom, they just go.  Teaching your dog to ring a bell on the door is the fastest way to train your dog to signal you.

Ditch The Dog Door

I know I am rocking your entire world.  Humans potty train their dogs, not dog doors.  The problem with dog doors is that humans assume once they have shoved the dog outside through the hole, the process is done.  Many dogs get afraid or distracted once they are outside by themselves.  They may run out there, start chasing a bird and completely forget to go potty.  Then they come inside and pee on the floor.  Dog doors can also lead to territorial behavioral in adulthood.  

Breeds Do Matter

I have potty trained just about every breed out there:  labradors, pugs, shih tzus, chihuahuas, australian shepherds are just a few.  Some breeds are easier than others to get on a potty training plan.  However, the difference is mainly in the individual dog.  

Some dogs can naturally hold more urine before they need to release it.  More frequent potty makes potty training takes a little more effort.  If your puppy came from an environment where there was no designated potty area or confinement training, by the time they come home you are already set back a bit.

If your breed of dog is naturally more active, they will have to potty more. It will require more diligence on your part.  You will have to be home more often during the training process.

Quality Dog Food

If you are feeding your dog less expensive food with lots of fillers like corn, soy, or by-products, you are simply making potty training harder. The more fillers in a food means more poop! Dogs and puppies on a quality dog food will poop less and have smaller poop. Quality dog food makes potty training faster.

If your puppy’s poop is the consistency of soft serve ice cream (or softer), take action. Get a fecal done at your vet to check for parasites. If it comes back negative (clean), consider feeding your puppy less food. Too much food can cause looser stool. Firm, healthy poop makes potty training go faster.

So Here’s the Secret to Fast Potty Training

Controlling the environment and putting the dog on a schedule can accomplish the goal no matter the breed or size. Sorry, nothing too flashy!

You have to use management to restrict their movements so they don’t roam around and just squat mid-run. This means crate training at night, exercise pens during the day, tie downs, and umbilical cords. You have to be home to see your dog or puppy’s warning signs for having to potty (circling, sniffing, whining). There is no short cut. You have to be consistent and take your dog or puppy out to his or her designated potty spot, get a successful potty, and reinforce with treats or toys.

It is true that most dogs given a normal upbringing don’t want to potty in what they consider their den. Most naturally, a den is a very small space. Teaching your dog that your whole entire house is the den will take some time. You will have to “potty train” your dog in every room of the house.

We would love to hear about your potty training challenges! Drop a comment below. If you have any questions about puppy training, feel free to contact us or sign up for a puppy group class!

Busy staying home watching your puppy? Try our online dog training classroom.

15 Responses

  • What is the best puppy food we have a new Australia Sheppard puppy. Axie is only 3.9 lbs and 8 week s old thanks

  • How do I get my husky to stop peeing in the crate as soon as I put him in it. I let him potty then put him in the crate but yet he still pees in the crate.

    • Hi Melissa, for some dogs, being confined in small space — like a crate — can be stressful. Your husky peeing in his crate might be a stress response.

      We suggest teaching your dog some crate games. Instead of putting your dog in the crate, try playing games (being in the crate gets you a reward) to get him to offer the behavior of going into the crate on his own. Each time he offers the behavior of going into his crate on his own, add a cue to it. Eventually, going into his crate on his own will become a learned behavior. Frozen Kong toys are a great way to give your dog a longer lasting reward which will help them enjoy being in the crate.

      If you would like to learn more about crate training, you can refer to our Online Classroom Course “Crate Training”!

  • Hi. I recently got a new 5 month old puppy. The problem is the ex- owner never taken her out to do her job she just let her do it in the toilet. Im having a hard time in potty training her. I tried to take her to a specific spot 3 or 4 times a day perhaps she smells other dogs and sniff out a place where she encourage to do it and every time I spend more than 30 mn with her. Till now I couldn’t make it and by the time she gets in she goes straight to the toilet and pee there. Is there any solution for this problem? Please advise.

    • Hi Elie,

      Thanks for reaching out through our website. There are lots of reasons why a puppy may not potty when outside. They may be overwhelmed by the environment, either scared or sniffing or distracted. If the previous owner didn’t work with her, she doesn’t understand why you are out there walking around. You didn’t state whether this was a backyard or out in a public area. she may need a longer leash so she feels “free” to potty. First thing in the morning is usually the best time to get them to go potty in their spot. Be sure to put it on cue when she does go potty so you can use that cue in the future to tell her why you are out there. If she doesn’t go potty, take her back inside, restrict her movements so she can’t just potty in the house, then try again every 15 minutes until she goes.

  • Please HELP I have a 4mthsold staffie Male he doesn’t pee outside at all and as soon as I come in he pees what can I do

    • Here are some things to start with:

    • Put your Puppy on a leash so you can control his level of distraction.
    • If your puppy is too scared to potty outside, create a safe away close to the house
    • If your puppy doesn’t go potty outside, keep him on leash in the house and try again every few minutes until he goes
    • Need more help? You can schedule a zoom lesson here:

  • Hi guys, I have a 5-month old puppy, and I’m wondering how I can
    get him to stop biting, so this article helped me a lot. Also, I
    want to teach him to ‘shake hands”… Been searching for some
    methods, found this one, and I’m wondering if you think it will
    work. if I follow this method?
    [[Link deleted]

  • My lab will turn 8weeks on tuesday. we have only had him for almost a week.. he hates the leash and just plants himself to the ground.. how can i get him accustomed to the leash?

  • My pup is 4 years old she won’t pee or poop outside l keep her out for 10 to 15 minutes as soon as she comes in she will go potty l have only had her for 3 weeks l have tryed almost everything please help

    • Thanks for reaching out about your potty training. Since your dog is an adult and new to you, there could be a lot of reasons this is happening. If you near one of our facilities, I would recommend a private lesson. If you are not in the area, we do offer zoom private lessons online where we could get a complete history and then develop a behavior change plan for you.

  • Hi, my pup is 8wks old. We have a puppy pad he uses it when he feels like it BUT during the day we take him outside. ( he does great, the only time we dont take him is when its -20C) Another issue is he doesnt go #2 outside at all no matter how long we’ve outside. what can we do?
    please and thank you. Emily

    • Dealing with cold weather can be a challenge. Physically it can be hard for dogs to release urine or feces in cold or wet weather. Exercise and a long leash is the best way to get a dog to have a bowel movement outside. You can also place a piece of plywood on the ground to keep it warmer in one spot to help the dog go to the bathroom. Just pick up the board when it’s potty time and the grass/ground underneath will be drier or warmer to help the dog potty there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *