what age should a puppy be toilet trained?
Pet Health Questions and Answers

How to Toilet Train a Puppy (When at Work All Day)

One of the first hurdles that a dog owner faces when they get a new puppy is potty training. So, you want to know how to potty train a puppy fast! Some dogs can learn quicker than others. But, on average it can take 4-6 months before a young dog is fully housebroken. Toilet training takes time, consistency, and a willingness to develop good habits in your puppy.

If you have a full-time job, you’ll likely want to know how to potty train a puppy when at work. The last thing that you want is for your dog to pee on your bed. The basics don’t change, even if you’re gone all day. You have to get your dog into a routine and be consistent about it.

Accidents will happen. Knowing how to stop a dog from peeing on the carpet is just one of the steps you’ll learn on your potty training journey with your puppy. Positive reinforcement is key. Even if you’re gone all day, encouraging your dog to do their business outside will help them to understand the behavior you want from them.

Most dogs are eager to please, so don’t get frustrated too easily if they have an accident. There are methods that you can use to house-train your young dog. Even if they do have the occasional accident, there are home remedies and store-bought products that can make the situation easier to manage.

Table of Contents:

How to Stop a Puppy from Peeing in the House

It’s a time-consuming job to potty train a puppy, and it can be frustrating at times. Keep in mind that your young dog isn’t going to the bathroom in the house to make you mad. They simply don’t know any better!

Getting angry or frustrated is inevitable, but most puppies respond better to positive reinforcement from their owner. Rather than yelling at them for peeing on the carpet, you should praise them when they do what you want. By staying positive and being consistent with them, they can become fully potty trained within a few months.

This guide will provide tips on toilet training your dog when you’re at work all day. We’ll also cover what you can do in different living situations, and at different times of the day. Finally, if your dog does have an accident in the house, don’t worry! Check out some of the home remedies and products you can use to clean up a mess quickly.

What Age Should a Puppy Be Toilet Trained?

You shouldn’t try to house train a puppy until they are at least 12 weeks old. Before that time, it can be challenging because they’ll want to go to the bathroom almost immediately after every meal.

But, you can start to look for signs that they’re about to go. Once you learn their signals, you can eventually use them to your advantage in making sure they get outside to go, rather than peeing or pooping on the carpet.

Once your puppy is three months of age, they’ll have more control over their bladder and bowel movements. That’s when you can start to put a plan in place to toilet train them.

how to stop puppy peeing inside

Puppy Toilet Training Tips

Puppies don’t automatically know where you want them to go to the bathroom. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a puppy can usually hold their bladder for an hour based on how many months old they are. For example, a three-month-old puppy should be able to hold their bladder for three hours. Every dog is different, though, and you should take your pup’s needs into consideration and pay attention to their signals that they have to go.

Training is essential, especially if you work all day. It will provide peace of mind that you won’t come home to a mess. Your dog will also be happy to please you! Toilet training takes time and patience, as well as a lot of encouragement.

Follow these tips to make the process easier:

  • Start immediately: It’s tempting to want to do nothing but play and cuddle your puppy. But, it’s essential to start a toilet training routine right away. You should develop this routine around your work schedule.
  • Right spot, right routine: Decide on a spot outside that your puppy will go to use the bathroom. When you are home, take the dog to this spot every two hours, or after they eat. Create a routine when doing this by adding triggers. This could include grabbing your dog’s leash from a hanger, putting your shoes on, asking the dog if they want to go out, etc.
  • Create the right space: You should create a small but comfortable area for your puppy inside. This could be a gated area in your home or even a kennel or crate for them. Dogs don’t want to soil their living areas, or where they sleep. Keeping the area of confinement small will make accidents less likely.
  • Easy cleanup: If you’re going to be gone for several hours at a time, line your puppy’s confined area with newspapers. This will make any accidents easy to clean up. Accidents should be expected if you’re gone for a long period of time.
  • Don’t scold: You should never yell at a puppy if you catch them going to the bathroom inside. Instead, calmly take them to their outside spot and encourage them to go there. It can take repetition and time for some dogs, but eventually, they’ll make the association.
  • Encouragement: Most dogs respond much better to support than yelling and scolding. When your dog does go outside to the bathroom, you should praise them. You can do this with an excited tone, positive words, or even a treat.

Make sure that you always let your dog out to go potty right before you leave for work. If possible, try not to feed them before you leave for work, either. Most young dogs will have to go to the bathroom within an hour after they’re fed. Feeding them and leaving can cause them to become too uncomfortable to ‘hold it’ for long!

how to toilet train a puppy with pads

How to Housebreak a Puppy in an Apartment

Toilet training a puppy in a flat or apartment might seem more difficult. There’s a lack of space, and it can be harder to take your dog outside frequently. Most of the training tips are the same. But, if you live in a small space and are at work all day, there are things you can do to make potty training easier for your dog and less stressful for you.

Here some quick tips:

  • Find the right spot: Some apartment complexes have ‘dog areas’ where you can take your pet to relieve themselves. Others may not. In any case, it’s a good idea to take your dog near the same spot each time you let them out to go to the bathroom. They’ll associate this spot with going potty, and they’ll likely go quickly. You can say something like “go potty” to further help your dog associate the spot with what they’re supposed to do.
  • Stay away from flowers: Try not to let your dog go to the bathroom near flowers or other plants. You may even see some signs from your apartment building to stay away with dogs. Pet urine can kill certain types of flowers, and you could get reprimanded by the complex.
  • Confine your puppy: For some apartment owners, starting an inside routine is a better option. For starters, you can gate your dog in a specific area of the apartment. It’ll give you a better chance to learn their signals. You can also feel more comfortable knowing if they do have an accident while you’re gone, you’ll know exactly where it is. As they start to become more housebroken, you can stop confining them.
  • Indoor bathroom spot: If you live in an apartment on a high floor, it can be hard sometimes to get your puppy outside in time to go to the bathroom. Some apartment owners have success using training pads. We’ll talk more about how to train your puppy with an indoor bathroom spot in the next section.

How to Toilet Train a Puppy with Pads

According to the American Kennel Club, puppy training pads are a practical solution for many people. They can be used as a tool until your dog gets comfortable going outside. Or, if you live in an apartment or are gone all day, they provide a safe place for your dog to go, so they don’t have to be uncomfortable.

Just like training your puppy to go outside, though, you also have to train them to use a potty pad correctly. You’ll also need to appreciate that some dogs are scared to go outside in the rain, particularly during a storm. Many of the steps you’ll take are the same. Positive reinforcement and consistency are essential! There are a few different methods for ‘pee pad’ training.

We’ve listed out one of the most popular methods in easy-to-follow steps below:

  1. Cover a specific area with potty pads. You’ll need several of them. This will be your dog’s designated ‘potty’ area.
  2. Take your puppy to the potty area frequently. Use a command word that they can eventually associate with going to the bathroom, such as ‘potty.’
  3. If the dog does use the bathroom on the pad, reward their behavior with praise, treats, etc.
  4. If they do not go to the bathroom after a few minutes, remove them from the pad and let them play, sleep, etc. Try again later.
  5. As your dog starts to get used to the pads, you can reduce the number of them you have in the designated area. Eventually, you’ll be able to get down to just one pad, which will be your dog’s singular spot to go to the bathroom inside.

How to Get My Dog to Pee on a Pad

If the steps above don’t seem to be working for you, some things can be done to encourage your dog to use a pee pad inside. Remember, patience is incredibly important when it comes to this process. But, some dogs can have a harder time getting used to potty pads than others.

One of the best things you can do to encourage them to go on the pads is to use the scent of urine or another attractant scent.

To do this, the next time your dog urinates on the pad, try to blot up some of it with a paper towel. Then, leave those paper towels on the pad. They’ll recognize the urine scent and be more inclined to keep going there.

You can also try to use puppy toilet training spray. Sprays like this entice your dog to go to the bathroom wherever it’s sprayed. It mimics the effects that urine can have. But, don’t worry! It won’t make your house or apartment smell like urine.

Puppy Toilet Training at Night

Even if your dog is doing well with their training during the day, it can be a different story for some puppies at night. But, nighttime training is still all about having a routine and being consistent. The good news is most puppies don’t usually have to pee as often at night as they do during the day. This is especially true if they’ve had a full day of play, exercise, and interaction. Dogs want to get some rest, too.

But, that doesn’t mean there are never accidents in the night, or your dog will never have to go out. You might lose a few extra minutes of sleep for the first few weeks you have your puppy. Eventually, though, they will sleep longer without having to go to the bathroom, and you can both get some more rest.

In the meantime, there are two major things you can do to avoid accidents at night:

  1. Put your puppy’s crate near your room, or even near your bed. When you’re ready to wind down, you should put the puppy in the crate, so they associate it with sleep time. When ready to go to sleep, you should wake your puppy up and take them out to go potty. They should be sleepy enough to go right back to bed once you bring them inside. You may need to set the alarm for a few hours to take them out again in the middle of the night. But, if your puppy goes for a few weeks straight without getting up in the night to go potty, you can probably start setting your alarm later and later!
  2. As well as letting your dog out as late at night as you can, let them out first thing in the morning. When they wake up, you might have to hurry to get them outside before they have the chance to go inside!

By following this nighttime routine, most dogs can make it about 7-8 hours each night without going to the bathroom by the time they’re around four months old.

How to Stop a Dog from Peeing on Carpet

If you follow the advice in this guide, you can train your puppy to stop going in the house in just a few months. But, accidents will happen and they should be expected. When they do, you shouldn’t scold your dog or yell at them about it. This is especially true if you find the accident several hours later.

Instead, you should move on and stay consistent with your training. But, cleaning up your dog’s mess is essential. No one wants a home or pet carrier that’s full of stains and smells. Aside from your preferences, though, cleaning up your dog’s mess can also be used as a training tool.

Dogs don’t like certain smells, while they’re attracted to others. Carpets absorb smells better than just about anything else in your home. Using that to your advantage can give you an edge when it comes to training your pup not to go to the bathroom inside. The next few sections will cover some of the best home remedies for getting your puppy to stop peeing on the carpet.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A baking soda and vinegar solution can get rid of a stain your pet may have left and get rid of the smell, according to PetMD. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. It helps to neutralize odors instead of covering them up with another scent. Vinegar can also help to lift stains and bad smells from carpet.

Try sprinkling the pet stain with a bit of baking soda. Let it sit for ten minutes as this will help to absorb any excess liquid. Then, spray a bit of vinegar over the baking soda. You should see a bubbling reaction. Not only will this get rid of the smell, but the reaction will help to lift the stain from the carpet.

You may need to repeat the process. But, these two ingredients will work together to get rid of the smell and make it less likely for your dog to go in that spot again.

In a pinch, you can also use a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% vinegar. It won’t have the same lifting reaction to get the stain out of your carpet. But, it can help to get rid of the smell left behind.


Listerine can be used in a similar way to get rid of the urine smell in carpet. Fill a spray bottle with Listerine and dilute it with water. After you’ve cleaned up your dog’s mess, spray the area with the solution.

Listerine doesn’t have stain-fighting power. But, dogs seem to be turned off by the smell. If you spray an area of your carpet with the mouthwash, there’s a good chance your puppy will want to steer clear of that area, and not mess there again.


Peroxide has a similar lifting effect that can get rid of stains and bad smells from pet accidents. You can pour a small amount of peroxide over the stain or use a spray bottle to cover a larger area. You’ll see a bubbling reaction from the solution that should allow you to blot away the stain with a clean cloth.

The neutral scent of peroxide is also one that your dog will probably want to stay away from. Once you’ve sprayed it on an area of the carpet, they probably won’t go to that spot again to relieve themselves.

As you can see, making sure the scent of urine or feces is gone is key to preventing future accidents in the same areas. Dogs are attracted to urinating where they’ve gone before. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a designated spot outside or a potty pad inside. Encourage them to go to these places with familiar scents. Discourage them from going elsewhere by making sure the areas are clean or covering them with unappealing smells.

Leaving a Puppy Alone During the Day

Having a new puppy is a lot of work in many different ways. Toilet training a young dog can be one of the most challenging tasks you’ll face in your first few months together. But, it’s not impossible, even if you do work full-time.

Leaving your puppy alone during the day will get easier as they get more familiar with your routine. Making their toilet training a part of that routine will be helpful for you both.

The best thing you can do when housebreaking a new dog is to remain consistent and patient. It’s easy to yell at your dog for having an accident. In the end, that will only discourage them, and the process can take longer. By staying calm, developing a routine, and encouraging your dog when they do the right thing, toilet training doesn’t have to be such a daunting task.