How to toilet train your puppy

How to toilet train your puppy

There are three things we can guarantee when you welcome a puppy into your home: happiness, a few stolen socks, and definitely some puppy puddles. To help you manage the toilet training phase, we’ve enlisted the help of Hannah from Chapter One Dog Training. 

She’s currently toilet training Bubbles — a dachshund puppy from Long Dog Squad (one of Lyka’s breeder partners!). Taken from her online toilet training module, here’s everything you need to know for successful “wee wees” and a nice, dry home! 

Getting the basics of toilet training down pat

Like a toddler, puppies need to be toilet trained. They tend to learn a lot quicker than their human counterparts, but accidents still happen! Stay calm and collected when they do, as puppies respond best to positive reinforcement. You don't want them feeling scared when it’s time to go to the toilet in front of you!  

Some of the most common toilet training mistakes, which include: 

  • Not cleaning up accidents properly 

  • Shutting them outside to go by themselves 

  • Not being conscious of the last time they went 

  • Expecting the dog to "tell" them or "know better" 

  • Not being mindful of textures (carpet, wet grass) 

  • Allowing rehearsal of toileting inside a lot and not being "onto" it 

We recommend using an enzyme-based cleaner with a neutralising odour. The smell of the urine can cause your dog to have repeat incidents in the same spot.

Spotting the signs

Puppies will communicate an impending need to go to the toilet in various ways, and you can’t say they don’t give you fair warning! When you notice your pup doing any of the following, take them to their designated spot without fuss — even if they’re already doing their business. 

  • Turning in circles

  • Sniffing the ground

  • Scratching at the door

  • Whining to get your attention

Nighttime toilet routines

Hannah is leaving this up one to you: puppies can either toilet in their pen overnight, or you can set an alarm in the night for nocturnal toileting. You’ll only need to do this until you’re confident they can hold on until morning. 

Try not to praise or reward them at these times: we don't want your puppy to learn to wake you up for midnight party time! 

Limiting food and water close to bedtime can help as well. Consider puppy-proofing with pens, crates or baby gates. It could also be worth rolling up rugs while they’re young.  

You can’t keep an eye on your puppy at all times — you need good quality shut-eye just as much as they do! 


Routine is key. Make sure to take your puppy outside every day when you wake up, before you leave for the day, before you go to sleep, after mealtimes and after playtime: at a minimum. Unlike adult dogs, puppies can’t hold on for long once they get the urge to go, so it’s important to take this into account when creating a toilet schedule.

The training method known as “capturing” that you can use at home

Hannah asks her dogs to “hurry up”, and they’ll go straight away! So how does she do it? 

Toilet training capturing step by step

  1. Choose a word that you want your puppy to associate with going to the toilet. Steer clear of saying this cue beforehand: not until they’ve learned what it means. This will prevent you from needing to say the cue two, three or more times until they go. 

  2. Say the word once to pair the meaning. This will help your pup to respond the first time you ask. 

  3. Wait until your puppy is finishing (so you don't interrupt them) and say a reward marker (like "yes!") out loud. It’s about establishing clear communication with your pup early on. 

Finally, you can give them a treat — just make sure you feed them in moderation. This verbal marker bridges the moment we liked to the moment they enjoy their treats! 

By rewarding your pup's behaviour, they’ll be more likely to do it again. The goal is to communicate that this area is where we want them to go to the toilet.

Lyka: complete and balanced for growing puppies

By supporting ethical breeders and behaviourists, you can help your pup get the best start in life: from day one. When combined with a nutritious human-grade diet like Lyka, your growing puppy will leap, bound, and zoomie their way into the golden years. 

Our vet-formulated fresh food recipes are filled with all the important nutrients you need to support your growing puppy and to help keep their gut healthy. Exclusive to our Lyka pack members, our treats are a fun and healthy way to help toilet train your new addition — but don't give too many! 

Make toilet training a breeze today.

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