How should I house-train my puppy? (not to wee or poo inside)

Training your puppy not to wee and poo inside is sure to be important to you! The good news is, all dogs can reliably learn this. The bad news is, it always takes longer than you would prefer.

Over time, using the below techniques, your puppy will stand by the door and whine when it needs to wee or poo, wanting you to let it out. Perfect! Typically, this takes around two months, but could take as long as four months if not followed consistently.

In the meantime, expect many wees and poos inside – at 8 weeks of age, perhaps six inside wees a day, and two poos. Keeping puppies off the carpet is recommended…


All dogs want to please you, and will respond to praise. Any time your puppy wees or poos outside, give immediate, strong, and jubilant praise. Be loud, and use your happy voice – exaggerate the happiness, as if this is the most amazing thing the puppy has ever done! For example:

Goood girl, Buckle! Well done! Good girl!

The more the puppy associates weeing and pooing outside with praise, the more likely it is to want to wee and poo outside. Dogs want to please you.

It’s best not to leave the puppy outside on its own for toileting – immediate praise is vital.

Expect wees and poos

It’s likely your puppy needs to wee and poo:

  • As soon as it wakes up from a nap
  • Directly after eating
  • When you wake up in the morning
  • Dashing around urgently, away from people, briefly going to corners sniffing
  • Sitting by the door (when partly trained)

On each of these occasions, anticipate and take your puppy out, and deliver warm, loud and clear praise.

Always interrupt inside weeing and pooing

If you catch your puppy weeing and pooing inside, never rub their nose in it (this can lead to aggressive behaviour later).

Make a loud noise – a solid clap, stamp your foot, and loudly growl the word “No!”, pick up the puppy and take it outside. Don’t be rough, but it’s essential to do this promptly – during the act (doing it any time after, and the puppy will not associate it with making a mess inside, and the shock will just confuse it).

Possibly the puppy has finished weeing/pooing inside already, or maybe there’s a bit more left so you can praise it for finishing outside.

Crate Training overnight

Crate Training is a useful technique. Dogs generally don’t want to wee / poo where they sleep, so if their sleeping area is constrained overnight, they will resist the urge to wee and poo. Thus, using a crate, a wire-mesh box with a comfortable bed that the puppy can stand and lie down in (but no bigger), is effective.

Younger puppies (8 to 10 weeks) will need a middle-of-the-night outside trip to wee and poo, but after 10 weeks, they should be able to hold it for ~8 hours.

As soon as you wake up, take your puppy directly outside immediately. Best to carry it – if you let it walk, it will wee on the floor as soon as it’s gets out of the crate!

Of course, warm and loud praise while it wees and poos outside.

Use a trigger word

Each time the puppy wees and poos, you can use a “trigger” word as well, for example “puddle”, “toilet”, “business” (best make it a word you can use in polite company!).

Over time the puppy will associate the word with the act, and you can cause the puppy to wee and poo before it realises it needs to. This can be handy in some situations.