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A professional trainer explains how to potty train a puppy

July 14, 2022

Figuring out how to potty train a puppy can be daunting. What do you do to get this bouncing little furball to understand he should do his business outside — not on the kitchen floor? Grab a bag of NutriSource SuperStar Soft & Tasty Training Rewards along with plenty of paper towels. NutriSource’s in-house dog-training expert Michael Boehmer has these great dog training tips for beginners to help.

How to train your puppy to pee outside

Pee pads, crate training or taking your pup outside at timed intervals are all great techniques that have worked for many pet parents. But successful training comes down to these three guidelines:

  1. Reward good behavior
  2. Break it down into smaller steps
  3. End on a happy note

Read on, and our easy training tips for dogs will fit in with these three tenets of getting through to dogs.

1. Reward good behavior: Train your puppy with treats

When puppy potties outside, where they’re supposed to, you’ll want to react right away. Don’t delay.

Find your inner goofball. Dogs want to see you happy. Use your happiest, most enthusiastic voice while giving them pets and tell them “Good job!”

Be ready with a training treat. SuperStar treats, for example, are low-calorie, quick to eat and will reinforce their good behavior.

2. Puppy won’t poop outside? Find the baby steps

The goal is to get puppy to understand which behavior you want from them. If they’re only getting potty training half right, for example, you need to find clearer communication. The best way is to break the task down into smaller steps.

So why is my puppy peeing in the house, you ask? It’s important to understand puppy’s not trying to spite you or get even. They may have (accidentally) been conditioned to think peeing in the house is the right thing to do.

To stop your dog from peeing in the house and having other accidents, use baby steps to better get your message across.

Move the potty pad: If they’re doing their business on the potty pad, great. Every day, you’ll want to move it a bit closer to the entrance where you head outside for potty breaks. Once the potty pad is at the door, try placing it right outside. This will help your pup make the connection. Walking to the door equals potty break! And it can be a great cue for you.

Bells: Sometimes, humans need a stronger cue from their pups when they want to go potty outside. That’s where potty bells can be helpful. Hang them on or by the door and ring them before heading out in order to associate the sound with going potty. Eventually they’ll learn to nose or paw at the bells to send a signal.

Work on timing: A puppy potty training schedule often helps. First, note the timing of the accidents. Many puppies poop 30 minutes or so after a meal, which is an excellent time to head outside, whether it’s a walk, or you lead them by leash to their backyard potty spot.

Provide examples: If you have an older dog in the house, let puppy come along on their potty break. If the younger dog sees them going outside they’ll want to mimic that.

3. End on a happy note

When it comes to potty training, it’s just like any other training session with your pup. Make sure it always ends on a happy note. This is particularly important because there will be accidents. Your puppy is just being a puppy. Use your leadership skills to direct the puppy to the correct behavior.  

How to correct puppy after an accident:

Remain calm: When puppy screws up and pees in the house, it can be frustrating. Take deep breaths and count to 10. If puppy senses your irritation and frustration that can undermine their confidence. Also, lashing out with an angry voice can damage your bond.

Offer a consequence: Say, “No,” or “Don’t do that” in a stern voice.

Go outside: Catching the puppy in the act is best. Pick the puppy up and go right outside to the place where you want them to eliminate. In a lighthearted and happy voice praise them for peeing outside. Review a training they have mastered, followed by a SuperStar training treat with happy praises.  

How long does potty training a puppy take? 

Many puppies catch on to potty training within a week or two. After many sessions of doing the right thing and getting praised it starts to click. They learn to understand what they have to do to keep things happy and fun. That’s the natural progression of training; little pieces coming together.

Sometimes teaching a puppy how to go potty outside takes longer and that’s OK. Age and breed often impact the length of potty training. So do these other factors.  


Speaking from personal experience, male puppies seem to take longer to potty train than female puppies.  

Living situation

How quickly and easily you can get puppy outside makes a big difference in potty training. If you live on the 13th floor of a condo, for example, training takes longer.  


Shifts in weather patterns and seasonal changes can throw some puppies off their potty game. It takes time to get used to new sensations, especially the snow or wet grass. Going indoors can be more comfortable.

Your responsiveness

Potty training is also a learning time for humans because we have to learn puppy’s signal for going outside. It can be a bark, a whine, a whistling yawn or a simple stand and stretch. They may start circling and sniffing. Whatever their potty signal, grab their leash and get them outside right away. Being attentive and tuned in to their cues will make potty training more successful.

Treat your superstar right

Pups are our superstars in training. But to get there, it’s not always an easy road. They need patience, good guidance and someone like you who can bring out their best! NutriSource’s SuperStar Soft & Chewy Training Treats is the perfect snack to have on hand during those marathon training sessions. They’re delicious, and won’t crumble in your pocket.

Best of all, every purchase spreads the goodness, because 100% of the proceeds are donated to great causes that help kids, dogs, veterans and so much more. Pick up a bag today at your favorite pet retailer and learn more about the NutriSource SuperStar Giving Program.