It’s exciting times when you have a new puppy, but not so exciting when they pee and poop everywhere. The house starts to smell, and carpet stains begin to appear. I know this too well, and you’re not alone!

Many years ago, one of my Jack Russell Terriers would pee on the laminate flooring, and after a while, the pee caused the laminate flooring to buckle, and eventually, I had to replace it.

I learned the technique below and successfully trained my own and my friend’s puppies to go to the toilet on a pad with the same method. This guide will help you prepare and direct your puppy to go on the puppy pad each time, and it’s relatively straightforward. The key to success is to be consistent and have a very watchful eye.

Whether you have a miniature or a toy puppy and want to have them permanently using a pad, you may live in a flat or have communal gardens. You have a standard or large-sized puppy, and eventually, you want them to go outside or a mixture of the two; this will also benefit you.

Having a Watchful Eye

The first important piece of advice I can give you is to watch them closely like a Hawk. The aim is that you need to catch them before they do the act. You can quickly pick them up and put them on a pad by having a constant eye on them. It’s that simple! Catch them before they commit the act. You can tell when a puppy needs to go toilet.

Recognising your Puppy’s Body Language

Some telltale signs tend to get low to the ground, start to circle, and often head off to the corners of the room or sniff around and whine. The more you get to know your puppy, the easier it will become for you to understand their body language and recognise that they need to go toilet.

If Toilet Time Can Not Wait

However, sometimes it isn’t always possible to catch them before they show the signs, you could turn your back for two minutes, and they have started their business. This is impossible to avoid sometimes. Don’t wait for them to finish, even if they are halfway through. Carry them over to the pad asap, and if they have done most of it on the puppy pad, still praise them!

Did you know puppies can go toilet every 15 minutes? It will put training back if you miss it entirely, even if it’s just a little pee. That is why it’s so crucial to dedicate some time. Have you ever heard of the saying I have eyes in the back of my head? That is what you need to have!

A puppy successfully going toilet on the puppy pad

When Puppy has Finished Toileting

When your puppy has gone toilet on the pad, whether you have popped them on it or they managed to find it themselves—praise, praise and praise. Your puppy loves praise.

Puppies understand that praise from an early age is good, and they would like to continue getting it by being good. You won’t need to keep praising them over time, but it doesn’t hurt to do so. It helps to avoid any relapses as well.

Be Patient/Consistent

At times I know it can be frustrating, especially if you missed the chance to pop them on the pad or you have done the placing on the puppy pad repeatedly, and they still aren’t getting it. Trust me, and it will eventually sink in.

Be patient and consistent. Puppies are different; some take two weeks, and some take as long as two or four months. When you leave the room, I would suggest taking them with you or getting someone else to take over the duty of watching your puppy.

Don’t Tell Them Off

Telling them off only confuses your puppy; they might think that going to the toilet is generally bad and will only teach them not to go in front of you. It doesn’t work as well as praise. Puppies respond much better to being praised rather than aggressively towards them. Some puppies, for instance, like the Poodle, are sensitive dogs, and telling the likes of a poodle off can be quite damaging.

Consistent Language

Pick and choose the words you want to say in different scenarios, and make sure everyone in your household or any visitors knows the language, which will help no end. Your puppy will be much better positioned to pick up the training more comfortably. Please keep it simple! Some suggestions below

Suggested Words

  • Good Boy
  • Good Girl
  • Well Done
  • Clever Boy
  • Clever Girl
  • You can say this “on your pad” when popping them on it.

When you get confident and notice that they are looking around and heading to the corners, you can say, “On your pad”. They will begin to make their way to the puppy pad; some may need help to get there quicker. However, This is an all-time success! And you should not only praise your puppy but praise yourself as well.

Important Reminders

  • You must train yourself to watch them like a hawk, and it’s key to successful toilet training, be proactive.
  • Understand your puppy’s body language and learn when they are about to go toilet.
  • Never tell them off; if you have missed the moment, still pick them up and pop them on the pad, don’t show affection or aggression, and stay emotionless. Clear up the mess, and next time, ensure you catch your Puppy before the act.

Going Toliet Outside

a Puppy pooping outside
Puppy pooping outside

If you want your dog to go potty outside, maybe permanently or a mixture of both, all you need to do is slowly move the puppy pad after they are familiar with going on it towards the backdoor and into the garden. When the puppy pad is finally out the door, you can cut it in half and a quarter the following day. Pick a day that’s not raining to start the training. Don’t forget to praise; you can use a treat, or your voice can often be enough.

Bladder Control

Your puppy can’t control their bladder till they are 16 weeks of age, so making sure a pad is always available for them is a must.

A puppy can hold its bladder for roughly 1 hr each month old. See chart below

Puppy Age/time

  • 3 Months old = 3 Hours
  • 4 Months old = 4 Hours
  • 5 Months old = 5 Hours
  • 6 Months old = 6 Hours
  • 7 Months old = 7 Hours

Additional Times to Place a Puppy on a Pad

  • First thing in the morning
  • After each meal
  • Before you go to bed
  • If they haven’t been to the toilet for over an hr


You have a few options during the night; the first option is putting your puppy in a crate. The good thing is that puppies and dogs generally don’t pee or poop where they sleep. However, depending on their age, they will likely need to go toilet. So setting your alarm clock nice and early to let them out to go potty is a good idea. You can always go back to bed after. Or you could opt for a playpen; playpens are generally bigger. If you sleep in the bed with your puppy, taking up a puppy pad with you might help. However, it will be harder to keep an eye on them while sleeping or have complete control over them, and you may want to wait until they are fully toilet trained first.

Plummer Terrier puppy in a playpen
Plummer Terrier puppy called Max in a playpen.

Home Alone

During the initial stages of toilet training, it’s best not to leave your puppy alone for too long until you have fully trained them. The options you have is similar to when you go to bed. Use a crate or use a playpen with a puppy pad inside. 

How to Clean Up After Your Puppy

  • Before you start cleaning, make sure you put some gloves on, there are many harmful bacterias to humans found in animal poo and pee.
  • Soak up any pee with paper towels, and scoop any poo up in a poop bag like you would when outside.
  • Use a bio-based pet odour neutraliser spray, which will stop your Puppy from thinking he or she can return to the same area.
  • Don’t use bleach products, as these cause your Puppy to return to that area.
  • Once you’ve fully neutralised the odour, you can work with the disinfectant.


Training your puppy to go toilet can be frustrating at times. Just remember to be patient and watch them like a hawk is vital. Be proactive and never tell them off. Still, with the above, I am confident you will achieve your goal so you and your puppy can get on enjoying your time together and creating many happy memories.

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