How to Potty Train Your Puppy in an Apartment

Living in an apartment changes nearly every aspect of having a dog. One of the biggest differences you may experience is how to potty train your puppy while living in an apartment.

Many apartment buildings don’t have backyards, where do you take your dog to pee? Another issue is taking your dog out in the middle of the night, even though you went out with them before bedtime! Then, down the flight of stairs or elevator you go…again.

You may be wondering, “Are there ways to potty train my puppy in my apartment?” Absolutely! Check out this guide to learn about puppy potty training methods for apartments.

How Do You Potty Train a Dog in an Apartment?

If you’ve brought home a puppy, you’re probably wondering how to go about housetraining your new best friend. How to potty train puppies in apartments? Is it different from potty training in a house? 

High rise apartment residents face unique circumstances when they have pets, such as elevators and long flights of stairs.
Training your dog to be comfortable in elevators is unique to apartment living.

Between apartments and houses, there are obvious differences. Puppy potty training in apartments needs certain things addressed. Let’s go over how to successfully potty train a dog in an apartment! 

Where Should My Dog Pee & Poop in an Apartment?

Many apartments offer dog parks or pet relief stations on the property grounds. If that is what you want your dog to use, find the one closest to you. If your dog is older, they can be trained to hold it until you get to one of these designated areas.

Many apartment complexes offer dog parks or "pet relief stations" throughout the premises.

 Many apartment complexes offer dog parks or designated dog relief areas.

However, if your puppy is young and is not fully vaccinated or their bladder is not developed enough, it may not be safe or even possible to take them all the way to the pet relief station.

Even with an adult dog, you may not want to hassle with elevators, multiple trips up and down flights of stairs or late night walks out in the open. Unlike a house with a fenced yard, where you might be able to let your dog out on their own, in an apartment, you’ll have to accompany your dog on every single potty break, rain, sleet or snow.

In these cases, you’ll want to look into alternatives like dog toilets and setting up a puppy area.

Is There an Indoor Potty for Dogs?

If you’re looking for an upgrade to puppy pee pads, there are indoor dog potties made for apartment spaces. These dog potties come in many different styles and sizes to fit most homes and apartments.

Many of these "litter boxes for dogs" on the market are boxes made of cardboard or plastic that come in the mail with a patch of grass. These dog potties require a monthly subscription to receive a new dog potty delivered to your doorstep. 

Porch Potty is an excellent alternative to pee pads. It looks great, can be used indoors as well as outside. It is durable enough to survive even the most tenacious puppy.
Porch Potty was invented by a dog parent living in a high-rise condominium.

Among these options is the award-winning Porch Potty, a dog potty for indoor and outdoor use with its own drainage system.

This reusable dog potty has a durable, all-weather wicker resin material that handles the outdoor elements with ease while giving your pup a comfortable place to potty. In addition, it includes a scenting fire hydrant, which is essential in triggering your pup’s natural inclination to go when you wipe down their urine scent onto it.

With the choice of waterproof synthetic grass or natural sod with live grass, your pup gets the natural feel of the backyard (even if you live on the top floor of a high-rise building!). When you need new synthetic grass or fresh training sod, you choose when to have it delivered to your doorstep. No replacing an entire dog potty platform: all you need is new grass!

When your dog pees on the Porch Potty, it rinses down to the 14-foot drainage hose and into a yard or drain. If you don’t have a proper drainage spot, the urine will collect in the Indoor Catch Basin to be disposed of later.

Can You Potty Train a Dog on a Balcony?

Rather than braving the elements at night or walking up and down countless stairs for the umpteenth time today, wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could train your puppy to potty on the balcony?

Excellent news, you can.

Yes, you can train your puppy to go potty on your balcony with the help of puppy pee pads or a dog toilet.
Teaching your dog to use a dog toilet on your balcony saves you time.

Puppy pee pads are a common potty training tool that allows you to guide your dog to where you want them to pee or poop. Many brands come scented with a dog attractant that naturally encourages your dog to use it and are probably one of the easier ways to get your dog to pee and poop out on your balcony.

However, the drawback to puppy pads is that they are lightweight and will blow away. You don’t want to be the neighbor that has soiled pee pads (or worse) flying off your balcony. Because of this, we recommend using a dog toilet like Porch Potty for your balcony.

How to train a dog to use a toilet in an apartment

While puppies do tend to take to dog toilets easier and quicker than older dogs, that just means that an older dog will need more time and consistency. Either way, the process itself is not that different from potty training your puppy in a house.

Here are the steps to training your dog to use a dog toilet:

  1. Establish a house training (or re-training) schedule and follow it strictly.
  2. Use this schedule in conjunction with crate training.
  3. Pick a location for your dog toilet. Note: If your puppy is young and you want to put your dog toilet on a balcony, you’ll want to place their crate next to the balcony door.
  4. Introduce your dog to their dog toilet. Allow them to sniff, walk on and explore it, but discourage them from laying on it.
  5. Take your dog to the dog toilet 15-30 minutes after eating and/or drinking, playing or napping (5-15 minutes for young puppies).
  6. If your puppy does not use their dog potty, put them back in their crate and try again in a little bit. They only get access to your apartment if they’ve toileted.
  7. Watch for signs your dog needs to pee like sniffing, pacing, circling or squatting. Older dogs may even yawn or lick their lips if they have to go.
  8. Praise and reward with treats or a favorite toy every time they pee or poop on their toilet.
  9. Never punish your dog for accidents in the house. It only confused them and makes them afraid of you.

If you’d like more information on how to train your dog to use a dog toilet, like Porch Potty, we have a free, comprehensive guide written by Certified Dog Trainer and Behaviorist, Siddhika Bhat. Click here to learn how to potty train like the pros with our free, downloadable Habit Method for Porch Potty.

If you don’t have a balcony, you can still train your dog to pee and poop in a specific spot in your apartment rather than the whole home by setting up a puppy area inside.

How do you set up a puppy area in an apartment?

While your puppy is still training, you’ll want to restrict their access to much of your home, but you also want their area to be comfortable and inviting.

Bathrooms and laundry rooms are excellent places to set up a puppy area that are easy to gate off. Portable, indoor dog pens can also be used in your living room or bedroom if preferred.

Set up a puppy area for when you aren't able to watch your puppy while housetraining. This gives them space to be comfortable while restricting access to most of your home.

Make your puppy area comfortable and inviting.

Make their puppy area comfortable and inviting with their crate, a few toys and a puppy pee pad or their dog toilet at the opposite end of the area from their crate.

You can feed them in their puppy area but you’ll want to do so away from their pee pad or dog toilet and remove their food and water bowls when they are done, so they don’t make a mess.

You’ll feel great knowing your puppy has their own comfortable space in your home and confident there won’t be hidden “treasures” for you to find later.

While it may take a bit of ingenuity and careful consideration of alternative solutions, potty training your puppy while living in an apartment can be done easily.

By following basic potty training guidelines and adjusting them to fit your puppy’s needs in your particular home, there’s no reason that your puppy couldn’t live their best life right alongside you in an apartment.

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