How can I get this puppy potty trained?

Dear Sara,

My kids have been begging for a dog for at least two years. A friend’s dog had puppies and they fell in love with one so we brought it home. We are all in love with it now. Sad to say our puppy is not potty trained and everything I’ve tried has failed. I left him outside and he barked and whined the whole time. I have puppy puddles all over the den floor. How can I get this puppy potty trained?


Dear Roz,

Puppies are so cute but they can be bad as well. You probably will need to take your puppy out every hour or so for a while. When you catch him peeing or pooping outside give him a treat and tell him “Good Boy.” He will eventually get the message and associate getting a treat with doing his business outside. You can eventually lengthen the time between outside visits. The kids wanted this puppy so they need to help with the potty training too. You can also invest in a crate designed for dogs so that he will have a safe place to stay when you are not available to watch him. Puppies are fun and cute and grow into your best friend.



  1. I used to raise and train Guide Dogs for the Blind, and this was the very first thing we trained. It is so very important to do it right! Every time your puppy wakes up from a nap, he will take a few steps and then pee. Your job is to watch him like a hawk and when he opens his eyes and looks around you must scoop him up (don’t have him walk to the door!) and take him outside and say, “Go potty!” in a cheery voice. When he does, you praise him enthusiastically. You do this every time. If he wakes and then potties before you pick him up, it is not his fault, he can’t physically hold it, it is totally your fault. Do not scold him…he is an infant puppy learning. Also, immediately after he eats or plays, when he is finished, you do the very same thing immediately. Don’t wait 10 seconds. It is wise to snap on a leash so that he gets used to going potty on a leash. Hand it by the door. If you do these things (yes it is tiring and time-consuming and seems never ending at the beginning) you will have a wonderful lifelong friend that all you have to do is say, “Go potty”, and they go out and immediately do their business and come in. IT IS SO WORTH IT. Trust me.

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