Ask a dog trainer: what’s the simplest way to potty train?

Puppies are absolutely the cutest thing on this Earth…until they have their first accident in your house. On your brand new carpet. That’s when a lot of new pet parents start rethinking their decision to own a dog. But it doesn’t have to be that way! As an adult, I had always adopted older shelties. When I finally got my first puppy, I was a bit nervous about potty training. To be honest, it was one of the reasons I never got a puppy! However, Merlin was potty trained within just a couple weeks with only two accidents, both my fault.


How did I do it?

First, let’s start with what I didn’t do.

Potty Pads

Potty pads are quite possible the worst and hardest way to potty train a dog. Why? Because you are letting them go in our house! Not only are you letting them, but you are putting something on your floor that has scents that actually encourage them to soil inside! So why are you surprised when your puppy misses the pad and goes on the floor? To them, it’s all the same.


Many puppies just chew up the pads, not ever using them to go to the potty on anyway.

Potty pads do have some uses. If you have a small dog and you plan on them always using pads, you can train them to use them, but it will take time. A litter box is much easier in these situations, since it is distinctly different from your floor, it will be easier for your puppy to learn “only go in here” rather than “only go on this tiny pad that’s flush with the floor.”

They can also be helpful if your dog has medical issues or is aging and prone to accidents in the house. In these cases, you may find potty pads useful.

Free Reign

I also did not give my puppy free reign of my house. It’s easy to do – they are so cute slipping and sliding on the smooth floors and following you everywhere you go. But, when they aren’t following you around, they can get into trouble, including chewing things they shouldn’t and going to the bathroom.


Puppies, like small children, need constant supervision, especially during potty training. So, they need to be watched and/or contained in some way. This is where keeping your puppy on a leash or in an x-pen comes in handy!


I also did not use correction. Correcting a dog after it had gone to the bathroom has proven over and over again to not be effective. Instead, the puppy gets scared and confused – all they understand is that you are, for some reason, mad at seeing their eliminations. So, the next time they go in the house, they hide it. They don’t understand that you spanked them because they weren’t supposed to go in the house. All the dog understands is that for some reason you get made when you SEE their potty. So they hide it. “Problem solved” is all your dog thinks about this.


Correction also causes your puppy to be fearful and wary of you. Do you call your dog to you and then punish them for soiling in the house? Your puppy will stop coming to you and now you are going to have a very hard time teaching “come,” which means you just created more work for yourself.

So, how did I do it?

I did it the easiest, simplest way possible: Crate training!

Crate training works off a dog’s natural inclination to like a den. As den animals, they will not soil in a small space where they also sleep and/or eat. So, the crate provides a safe (your puppy can’t get into anything dangerous) and natural way to teach them to not soil in your house.


Of course, they don’t stay in the crate 24/7! When they are outside of the crate there are things you have to do to watch them. Some things, like leashes and x-pens, I mentioned above.

Teaching your pup to love his crate is easy!

In my online class, you can learn how to potty train your dog using a crate. BONUS! He will learn so much more than just potty training, including how to go into his crate on cue- how to settle in his crate- how to remain calm inside his crate no matter what is going on around him, and more!

ctc19 IMG_0428

You can practice with your dog whenever it’s convenient for you (no set weekly day/time!) and you can move at you and your dog’s pace without fear of being left behind by the rest of the class.

Sign up now and learn how potty train your puppy the simplest way possible!

Reviews & Comments

Related posts