The question I am asked above all others is, how do I toilet train my puppy/rescue dog?

Whether that dog is a puppy or adult, you can toilet train in 3 days in 4 basic steps. However, its important to be mindful that there is likely to be some accidents to clean up.

Although, theoretically its simple to train your dog to toilet outside, it can be frustrating and a lengthier process than it should be, particularly if you dont have good guidance.

How to Toilet Train Your Puppy in 3 Days

  1. Keep your puppy with you at all times during toilet training. If you are unable to watch closely and attentively, consider crate training, alternatively use a playpen. The utility or the bathroom if you have one downstairs can provide a safe den. More on this to follow.

  1. Use dog appropriate and motivating rewards. This is usually a treat, given most dogs arent motivated enough by just praise or a game. Note: Keep some tasty natural treats with you at all times, so you can reward within a few seconds.

  1. Every hour take your puppy/dog out. The key is repetition and consistency. Your Puppy will get it quicker the more times that you can reward the wanted behaviour. Remember, if you haven’t rewarded your puppy/dog for toilet-ing in the right place, for say 24 hours, then it will take much longer for him/her to learn.

4. Avoid punishment but be patient and consistent. Punishing your dog after an accident will not teach him/her anything, except that you are to be feared. When an accident happens, move forward and try to take your puppy /dog out more often.

Puppy Pads

Many trainers advocate the use of puppy training pads to put on the floor or newspaper to teach your puppy to go in the correct place.

Once your puppy/dog is toilet-ing on the pad, start moving the pad closer to the door.

While this will work, you must be mindful that you will have to teach your puppy/dog to use the pad, then he or she will have to relearn that they need to start toilet-ing outside.

In my experience it’s simpler just to go for the behaviour you want the first time around, rather than teach two separate things. The main advantage of these absorbent pads is that they make clean-ups easier, so while your puppy/dog is being crated, in his/her playpen or the utility/down stairs bathroom you can put a puppy pad down to absorb any mess.

Crate Training/Confinement

You cannot be with your puppy every second of the day and your puppy does need lots of rest, generally around 16 hours a day. Therefore, when you and your puppy need a break, send your puppy to his/her bed, that should be somewhere that will limit any roaming accidents.

If your puppy/dog will often be travelling around, be confined when people visit or at night-time, it might be an idea to invest in a large transport crate that can be used as your puppy/dogs den. It should be somewhere cosy that is safe, but big enough for him/her to easily turn around in, even when fully grown in the case of puppies.

Childrens or Pet Playpens/Baby Gates

Playpens or baby gates across a doorway can be used to similar effect.


In a smaller area, your dog will either learn to hold him/herself and so avoid toilet-ing in the cosy den, or will at least select a place away from his/her bed to toilet.

As soon as you let your dog out from the crate or pen take them to the toilet-ing spot. NEVER keep your dog confined for long periods of time.

How Will I Know When My Puppy Wants To Toilet?

Puppies need to toilet a lot more often than adult dogs because they have small bladders and no instinct to hold on. Older dogs usually toilet after waking up,10-20 minutes after eating, drinking and playing and sometimes after being outside. 

Note: NEVER assume that your dog knows that he/she must toilet while outside, unless they have be taught to do so.

An adult dog might only need to go outside every 2 hours, but a puppy needs to be taken outside every hour to avoid toilet-ing in the house.

Signs Your Dog/Puppy Might Need To Toilet

Some early warning signs of a need to urinate or defecate are circling and sniffing the ground.

If you watch your puppy/dog closely or he/she is on a lead with you at all times it is much easier to pick up when your puppy/dog needs to toilet

More Helpful Tips

Set The Alarm On Your Mobile Or Clock.

During the early stages of training, set a timer on your phone or an alarm to remind you to take your puppy or adult dog out every 1-2 hours.

If accidents are happening, increase the frequency. This is the key to training your dog in 3 days.  Remember, Remember, Repetition is the key to success.

Use A Lead Or Tether.

A really good way to make sure your dog stays with you, so you can keep an eye on him/her is to attach his/her lead to your belt or tether him/her to your chair if you are working at home. If your puppy/dog is roaming freely, chances are you wont see him/her display those early warning signs of needing to go outside.

Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!