Potty training. Two little words that often strike fear into the hearts of dog owners everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live on a farm or in an apartment, the challenges of teaching your dog to do its business in the right place are very much the same.
What if we told you that it was possible to potty train your puppy in as little as seven days?
Potty training isn’t just about training your dog, it’s about training you too!
Read this complete guide to an accident-free pup in just 7 days!
What’s The Secret To Potty Training A Pup In a Week?
Routine, consistency, positivity, and a crate.
In short, that’s all you need to successfully train your pup. With these four elements in place, you’ll find that it really is possible to create a habit so quickly.
There are plenty of advantages to training your puppy in such a short time. It reduces stress, helps your pup to learn behavioral cues, and nurtures the bond between the two of you.
If you’re not consistent with training or don’t make it clear to your pup what they need to do, this can create a stressful environment – for both of you.
By being consistent, providing positive reinforcement, and giving your pup clear commands, you’ll have a happier, less stressed dog.
What Age Should You Start Potty Training Your Puppy?
Basic potty training your puppy can begin as early as eight weeks of age. Because a younger puppy's mind isn't fully developed at this age, however, it’ll take longer than 7 days.
The good news is, your puppy develops quickly. At 12 weeks old, when their minds are more developed, not only can they understand more in-depth potty training techniques, their bladders are more developed.
Set your puppy up for their best chance at house training success with our puppy potty training schedule.
Potty Training Your Pup at 8 to 10 weeks
Your little ball of puppy love is home and your ready to get started potty training. But what can you expect from your 8 to 10 week old puppy?
While it isn’t quite time for strict schedules, take advantage of their enthusiasm and curiosity by introducing them to new concepts like:
- Choosing a potty spot
- Hearing “Go potty!” when you see them begin to squat to pee or poop
- Establishing a positive connection to their crate
- Settling into a potty training routine for mealtime, potty time, playtime and crate training
- Keep track of when your puppy pees or poops
Potty Training Your Puppy at 10 to 12 Weeks
Now that your puppy is older, you can start expecting more from them developmentally. At 10 weeks, you can begin lengthening crate time, but do not increase play time. By 12 weeks, they should be able to hold it up to 2 hours while properly crated.
By 12 weeks, you can reasonably begin:
- Practicing potty control up to 2 hour intervals while crated
- Introducing the harness and leash and guiding them to their designated potty spot
- Our potty training in seven days schedule found below
- Take your pup to potty 10 to 20 minutes after eating and playtime (sooner if he or she starts showing signs that they need to potty)
Why does age make such a big difference? It boils down to physical development. Puppies under 12 weeks of age usually don’t have the bladder control needed to properly potty train them within a short period of time.
Begin by establishing good habits with your puppy at eight weeks old to make the seven-day potty training possible later on.
Why You Need A Crate For Potty Training
First things first, a crate is not a cage! A crate is a safe space for your pup to sleep and relax in a confined environment. Plus, it can keep your dog safe as it restricts their access to the rest of your home where they may chew or eat dangerous items while you’re not watching.
Crate training makes potty training easier, and it helps to make your dog feel secure.
Dogs like crates because they’re den animals. This also means that they are not likely to pee or poop in their crate, as it’s where they sleep. Essentially, crate training works with a dog’s natural instincts, so you’re tapping into what your pup would do if they were in the wild.
Crate training taps into your pup's natural instincts to keep their space clean.
When using a crate for puppy training, you’re giving your dog its own den. In time, they’ll start to see the whole house as a den, but when they’re young, you need to limit their freedom and introduce them to larger spaces slowly. This helps to reinforce potty training as it lets them know where it’s appropriate to do what.
Just like your pup’s age affects potty training times, it also plays a role in how long your dog can stay in their crate.
12-week-old pups can stay in a crate for around 2 hours and by 6 months, they can handle for a maximum of 4 hours.
Once your pup is trained and around 6 months of age, they can generally sleep through the night in their crate.
What’s a good training schedule?
The best times to get your puppy to potty are in the morning, before bedtime, and 10 to 20 minutes after mealtime. Although it can be challenging to know when your puppy will need to potty, set up two-hour intervals to take them to their potty spot.
If your puppy doesn’t need to go at each two-hour interval, slowly increase the time to give them more wiggle room.
Every puppy is different, so the times they need to “go” will vary. Adjust these tips as needed for your puppy.
Here’s an example of a puppy potty training schedule that can be modified depending on when your puppy tends to “go” throughout the day. This schedule is condensed to two-hour intervals so you can get an idea of how this schedule can work for your day to day.
Morning, 7-9 AM: Wake up and see if your puppy needs to go potty. If they don’t need to, see if they want to eat, drink water, or play. If they seem disinterested, give them crate time with a chew toy or treat. Watch the clock and prepare to take your puppy to their potty spot again in that two-hour period or whenever they display signs of needing to go potty.
Mid-morning, 9-11 AM: Take another walk to the potty spot. Your puppy should need to go potty by this point. After they’re done, allow them to play and burn off some energy, and then give them crate time (they’ll probably need a puppy nap after all that playtime!).
Early Afternoon, 12-2 PM: Lunchtime! If your puppy doesn’t want to eat right away, put the food away and try again within 10 to 20 minutes. Whether your puppy eats or not, take them to the potty spot after 10 to 20 minutes and see if they will go. Give them playtime if they have the energy or put them back into their crate.
Afternoon, 2-4 PM: Potty time again! Take your puppy to their potty spot and allow them playtime. After playtime, it’s crate time again.
Late Afternoon, 4-6 PM: Time for dinner! After your puppy eats, wait 10 to 20 minutes and take them to their potty spot. If your puppy won’t go potty, let them play again and see if they will go afterward. After they’ve gone potty, return them to their crate.
Evening, 6-8 PM: At 8:00 PM, the later part of this two-hour session, give your puppy their last water for the night. After all, you don’t want to take them potty all night if they have too much to drink. Let them go potty and then spend time playing with them to wear out that puppy energy again!
Nighttime, 8-10 PM: Crate time and then do one last potty run for the night. Sometimes, within the first two days, your puppy may need to go potty late in the night. Take them potty if needed and then return them to their crate for the remainder of the night.
To make this schedule more detailed and catered to your specific schedule and your puppy’s potty times, take note of the following:
If waiting 10 to 20 minutes after mealtime is too long or short of a wait for your puppy’s potty time, adjust accordingly.
If you work outside your home every day, you will need a friend, family member, or trusted adult to watch your puppy during the day. They will need to document when your puppy goes potty and follow the schedule. Never leave your puppy in their crate alone at home.
Some dog parents opt to hire a professional dog walker or sitter to help in the first few months.
The scheduling of your puppy’s potty time is up to you to adjust depending on when they go potty, when they have an appetite, when they have energy for playtime, and how long they can stay in their crate without a potty accident.
Document everything you do with your puppy throughout the day to determine a solid potty schedule for the remainder of the week!
How do I know if my puppy needs to go potty?
Determining when your puppy needs to go can be a mystery. For example, maybe you placed your pup on his or her designated potty spot and they won't pee or poop, but it's within the two-hour interval and before bedtime. How can you figure out if they need to potty later on?
Sniffing is one of signs that your puppy might need to eliminate.
These signs usually point to nature calling:
- Pacing around the room
- Sniffing the floor
- Scratching at walls or doors
- A panicked expression
- Barking or whining
- Squatting on the floor
If your puppy exhibits any of these behaviors, immediately take them to the potty spot to avoid an accident.
Sometimes, your puppy won't "go" right then but has a potty accident later. Don't get frustrated, this is a learning opportunity! You're gaining valuable insight into when your pup needs to go potty throughout the day and night, so don't get discouraged over a setback.
If you’re trying to achieve a seven-day turnaround, pay closer attention to your pup’s behavior to avoid most accidents.
7 Tips To Master The 7 Day Potty Training Schedule
If you follow these tips, you’ll find that following our schedule to potty train your pup in 7 days is even simpler:
Get the right size crate: Your training crate shouldn’t be too big. Ensure that your pup’s bed can fit in it and they can turn around, lay down, and stretch out comfortably. A crate that’s too big doesn’t have the same den effect. A good rule of thumb to use is their crate should be 2-4 inches longer than your puppy, minus his or her tail. While this may seem difficult with a growing puppy, there are crates with dividers that allow you to wall off the right amount of space.
Make the crate a happy place: Use treats, plushy toys, bully sticks or marrow bones, and positive reinforcement techniques to make the crate a place where your pup wants to spend time. Pop their favorite blanket in, make it nice and cozy, and never force them to spend time inside. Take your time closing the crate door, and don’t let it have any negative associations.
Practice makes perfect: Stick to the schedule! Consistency is key and you cannot expect your pup to guess what you want them to do. If you follow a schedule, they’ll soon learn what’s expected of them.
Reward positive behavior: Every time your pup does what you want them to do, give them a high value treat and lots of praise. After every potty session, show them that they did something right and reward their behavior. Dogs want to please you, so show them that they are!
Don’t punish pups: A training crate should never be a form of punishment, nor should a pup be punished if they mess inside it. If your pup messes in its crate, clean it up and try again. If they repeatedly mess on their bedding, remove it for a while. Never shout, lock them in the crate, bang on the crate or smack them. They didn’t make the mess intentionally and punishing them will make them nervous, which can lead to future accidents.
Follow your pup’s cues: If your dog is showing signs of needing to potty while in their crate, take them to the place where they need to do their business. Some dogs start to whine, dig, or turn in circles beforehand, so keep an eye out to see if they give you any potty clues.
Train yourself: If you want to master the 7-day potty training schedule it’s as much about training your pup as it is about you. Set your alarm for every few hours when your pup is crated, make sure that you have treats at the ready, and focus on the positives.
In time, you can even teach your dog to tell you when they need to do their business using potty bells or a specific signal, such as standing on their hind legs or barking once.
Potty training in 7 days is possible! Use our schedule to train your pup to do their business where and when it's appropriate. You’ll get to enjoy more time with them doing all the fun things, and both of you will benefit in the short and long run.