How to Potty Train Your Puppy Outside (These Tricks Will Help!)

The time has finally come: Your long-awaited puppy has moved in with you, and now the exciting but challenging time of training begins. Housetraining is the first and probably most important item on your to-do list. This article will help you housebreak your puppy.

Table of Contents

When your puppy first enters his new world, he may not be housebroken. He hasn't learned and can't help his bad behavior. Why shouldn't he do his business on the nice, soft carpet?

So it's your job to teach him where he can do his business. This does not happen overnight. You need some patience. But it is all the more important that your darling internalizes the housetraining.

Then he can easily live in the apartment or take it to friends and acquaintances.

How Often Should I Go Out?

Puppy 1
Puppies need to relieve themselves often. They can't hold it in for long and don't understand why they should.

Also, everything is so exciting in the beginning that anything can happen. Therefore, as a precaution, you should take your kitten outside every few hours. In the beginning, every 2 hours is best. After a while, you can increase the intervals to 4 or 5 hours.

You don't have to stay outside with him for a long time every time. The important thing is that he has the opportunity to do his business. The most "dangerous" times are after eating, drinking or waking up. Your pet will probably need to go outside to relieve himself.

So plan to take your puppy outside after each meal and after bedtime. In the beginning, your puppy will also need to relieve himself at night. If you let him sleep near you, you'll know right away if he gets restless.

It is helpful to move his sleeping area to a lockable crate or higher box for the first few weeks. He cannot get out on his own. Therefore, he will whimper when he needs to relieve himself. Dogs avoid making their own sleeping area dirty. Whining lets him know he needs to go.

The more he does his business outside, the faster he gets used to it. He will also realize that there are lots of interesting smells and things to explore outside. This is an extra incentive for your puppy to go outside.


Useful Accessories

Puppy dog bed

To housebreak a puppy, you will need some special tools to make the process easier. Here is a list of the tools you will need and tips on how to use them:

Crate/Transport Box

  • Usage: Provides a safe place for your pup and encourages housetraining, as dogs don't like to urinate where they sleep.
  • Setup: Place the box in a quiet area, but in a place where the family often spends time.
  • Training: Slowly acclimate the puppy to the kennel by placing him in the kennel for short periods of time and gradually increasing the amount of time he spends in the kennel.

Puppy Pads

  • Usage: Place it in a designated area of the house where the puppy can go when he urgently needs to. Ideal for the night or when you are not at home.
  • Setup:Put the documents in an easily accessible corner of the house.
  • Training:Continue to bring the puppy to the pad and praise him when he uses it.

Dog leash

  • Usage: For regular outdoor trips. A leash provides control and safety during "potty breaks".
  • Setup: Keep the leash in an easily accessible place so you have it quickly at hand when it's time for a "bathroom break."
  • Training: Get your puppy used to walking on a leash by walking him around the house before taking him outside.

Enzyme Cleaner

  • Usage: For thorough cleaning of accident sites to prevent the puppy from using the same spot as a toilet again.
  • Setup: Keep the cleaner handy at all times.
  • Training: Do not show the cleaned area directly to the puppy so as not to reinforce the association that this is an appropriate place for his business.

Enzyme cleaners are special cleaners that contain enzymes to break down biological soils and odors. When housebreaking puppies, keep the following in mind.

What Is an Enzyme Cleaner?

Enzyme cleaners use natural enzymes to break down organic matter such as urine, feces, vomit, blood and other biological fluids. The enzymes "eat" the organic molecules, so to speak, and help to completely remove both the stain and the odor.

Why Is It Useful for Housetraining?

Puppies (and even adult dogs) have a tendency to relieve themselves in places where they have previously left their scent. A regular cleaner may be able to remove the stain, but it often leaves an odor that the dog can smell. An enzyme cleaner, on the other hand, removes the odor completely, so the puppy is less likely to use the same spot as a toilet

How to Use an Enzyme Cleaner

  1. Remove solid waste: Remove all solid waste before applying the cleaner.
  2. Dry up the liquid: If it is a liquid such as urine, absorb as much as possible with a dry cloth.
  3. Apply the enzyme cleaner: Apply the enzyme cleaner generously to the stain and follow the instructions on the product label. It is often necessary to leave the cleaner on for some time.
  4. Clean the area: After the cleaner has worked, clean the area thoroughly with a cloth.
  5. Allow to dry: Allow the area to dry. The enzymes must have time to break down all organic matter.

An enzyme cleaner is an essential tool for keeping puppies housebroken. Not only does it help keep the house clean and odor-free, but it can also prevent your puppy from urinating in the same places over and over again. It's a great way to teach your puppy where to go and where not to go.

Where to Buy

Enzyme cleaners are available at most pet stores, supermarkets and online. Make sure the cleaner is formulated specifically for pets for best results.

Small Bed Easy to Clean

  • Usage: Place it in the crate or in a designated sleeping area so the puppy has a comfortable place to sleep that is easy to clean if accidents occur.
  • Setup: Put him in a crate or a permanent sleeping area.
  • Training: Encourage your puppy to sleep on the bed by associating it with positive experiences such as treats and petting.


  • Usage: As a reward when the puppy has done its business outside to encourage positive behavior.
  • Setup: Keep treats in a place where you can easily reach them when you take your pup outside.
  • Training: Use the treats to reward your puppy when he does his business outside.

Proper selection and use of tools can make the housetraining process much easier. By creating a safe and welcoming environment for your puppy and using the right tools, you can help him learn the rules of housetraining quickly and effectively.

Step-by-Step Guide

Puppy housebroken

1. Good Preparation

Before you start training, get the necessary supplies, such as a proper leash and puppy pads. Regular feeding and drinking will help make your puppy's bathroom habits more predictable.

2. Regular Walks

Establish a schedule and follow it consistently. Puppies should be taken outside immediately after playing, eating, and waking up. In addition, allow your puppy to go outside every 1–2 hours. Also, choose a consistent place for your puppy to do his business. This will help him learn the concept more quickly.

3. Recognize Characters

Pay attention to the signs your puppy gives when it is time to go outside: Restlessness, sniffing, or circling are often signs that it's time to go outside.

4. Praise and Reward

When things go well outside, remember to praise your puppy. A treat and a pet will reinforce the learning experience.

Then You Should Go Out

Watch your puppy for a while. You will soon learn exactly when he needs to relieve himself. This is important because you need to react quickly. As soon as you learn the signs, take him outside.

Your dog probably gets very restless when he has to do his business. He seems to look for an appropriate place and sniff the ground. He may also go to a place where he has done his business before, or he may stand outside the door.

Many dogs also run in circles at this time. They know they are not allowed to do their business inside the house. But they have no choice. Your puppy will definitely move away from his sleeping or eating place. Because furry noses prefer to keep the places that are important to them clean.

Here is a summary of the characters:

  • restlessness
  • sniffs the ground
  • running in circles
  • standing by the door
  • seek a place where it has escaped before
  • moves away from the feeding or resting place

Select a Fixed Location

Puppy outside

When you realize it's time, there's no time to lose. A few seconds later it can happen. That is why you should have your jacket and shoes ready for the next time.

Take your puppy outside as soon as possible. In the beginning, you can still carry him, but later you can only lead him. If he does his business outside instead of inside, be sure to give him plenty of praise.

Your little one needs to feel like he just did something really great. He also deserves a treat and a hug. This will show your furball that it's worth going outside.

But do not reward him until he has done his work. In the meantime, he needs to rest and not be distracted. It's best to find a special place for your pet to do his business.

Then take him there every time and praise him specifically in that place. In this way, he knows that this is the only place he is allowed to relieve himself, and that he is not allowed to go into the house. If he is allowed to relieve himself all over the place, he may become confused. A fixed place solves this problem. Also, you will be able to check later to make sure he does not relieve himself in inconvenient places. And you know where the poop is.

If you want, you can also add a command that requires him to disconnect. This is not necessary. If your dog needs to, he will do it on his own. But it can be helpful.

Does he spend a lot of time in the car? Or does he stay home alone? Let him relieve himself first. This will also give you control over where he poops. To do this, give him a command like "Do it" every time he does his business. After a while, he will get used to it and know what it means.

Crate Training

Crate training is a way to encourage housetraining and create a safe, personal space for your puppy. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Select the Correct Box

Choose a crate that is large enough for your puppy to turn around, stand up, and stretch out in, but not so large that he doesn't have a separate place to urinate.

Step 2: Make the Box Cozy

Make the crate cozy by adding cozy blankets and toys.

Step 3: Place Box In Accessible Location

Place the kennel in a location where the family spends a lot of time so the puppy does not feel isolated.

Step 4: Slow Introduction

Slowly introduce your puppy to the crate. Leave the door open and encourage him to explore the crate with treats and kind words.

Step 5: Regular Breaks

Don't leave your puppy in the crate for too long. Puppies can only hold their bladders for so long, so give them regular exercise.

Step 6: Extending the time in the box

Slowly increase the amount of time your puppy spends in the crate. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase them.

Step 7: Overnight Stay

Let your puppy sleep in the crate at night. Place the crate near where you sleep so you can hear if he gets restless and needs to get out. Be patient and consistent. Crate training may take several weeks.

Crate training is a proven method of promoting housetraining and providing a safe, personal space for the puppy. It is a patient and consistent effort that will result in a happy dog in the end. With patience and the right techniques, your puppy will learn to appreciate his crate as his personal, safe space.


  • Positive associations: Make sure the box is always associated with positive experiences. Never use it as a punishment.
  • Feeding in the box: Feed your puppy in the kennel to encourage a positive association.
  • Supervision: Never leave your puppy unattended in the crate, especially during the first few weeks of training.

If He Ever Makes It Into the Apartment

Puppy in apartment

This will happen a lot in the first few days. It will take a few weeks for your puppy to learn that he can only relieve himself outside. Sometimes he just can't hold it in. It may also happen unexpectedly. He may have had no choice or didn't know any better.

No matter what the reason, do not scold him. Punishment also tends to be counterproductive. There is usually too much time between the mishap and the scolding. Then your dog cannot associate the punishment with his action. 

He does not know what he is being punished for at that moment. Just for doing his business? Because he did it in that room? Besides, punishment doesn't work nearly as well as reward. It's more likely to make him insecure, and that will hurt your relationship.

If he is afraid of you because you are angry with him, the trust between you will deteriorate. He may even do his business without you noticing because he is afraid of the consequences. So you better show your puppy how to do it right. You can do this by paying attention beforehand and taking him outside on time.

➡ The most important thing, of course, is to praise him when he does something right.

Show Patience and Consistency

It can take several weeks to months before the dog is housebroken. This can drive some dog owners to the brink of despair. Be understanding with your puppy and show him over and over again that he can only relieve himself outside. It will get better in time.

Remember, it's not your dog's fault. He just doesn't know any better. That's why you need to show him. Be firm, but not too firm. And above all, be patient. Even if it takes a while, your pet will eventually be house-trained. Once he learns, he will probably stay housebroken for the rest of his life.

Housebreaking an Adult Dog

Your dog pees in the apartment? Older dogs can also be housebroken. The same principles apply as with puppies, but with more patience and consistent training. Training an adult dog to be house-trained can be a challenge, especially if he has developed bad habits in the past. However, with patience, consistency, and the right techniques, it can be done.

Step 1: Observe your dog. Learn your dog's cues and patterns that indicate he needs to relieve himself. Watch him closely for signs such as restless behavior, sniffing, or scratching.

Step 2: Create a schedule. Establish a regular schedule for using the bathroom. Take your dog outside on a regular basis, ideally every 2–3 hours and always after eating, playing or waking up.

Step 3: Give your dog a designated place to relieve himself. Choose a specific spot in the yard or nearby and always take him there to help him develop a routine.

Step 4: Praise and reward. Encourage positive behavior. Give your dog plenty of praise and a treat when he relieves himself in the right place.

Step 5: Handle accidents properly. Avoid punishment and encourage positive behavior. If an accident occurs, clean the area thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner and do not punish your dog.

Step 6: Create a safe and comfortable "nest" that encourages housetraining. Crate training can also be helpful with adult dogs. Slowly introduce him to the crate and use it as a safe place for him.

Be patient and consistent in your training to help your dog understand the new rules. If you have difficulty, consult a professional dog trainer.

Tips & Tricks

Accidents Are Part of It

Accidents can happen, especially at night. It is important to remain calm and not punish the puppy. Clean the area thoroughly to prevent the puppy from using the same spot as a toilet again.

At night

Puppies have smaller bladders and need exercise at night as well. Schedule a "walk" before bedtime and immediately upon waking. In the beginning, you may need to get up at night so your puppy can do his business.

Crate Training

A crate can provide a safe and secure environment and facilitate training. Dogs have a natural tendency to keep their sleeping area clean. This can make housetraining easier.

Patience and Consistency

Housebreaking is a process that can take several weeks to months. Be patient and encouraging. Maintain a regular routine so your puppy knows what is expected. Be consistent in your training so that your puppy learns the rules more quickly. 

Housetraining requires a lot of patience and consistency. Every puppy is different, and some learn quickly, while others take longer. But with love, patience, and the right guidance, your puppy will be house-trained in no time.


  • Be patient and understanding
  • Praise the puppy when he does his business outside


  • Do not punish your puppy for having an accident.
  • Do not use harsh cleaners as they may irritate your puppy's sensitive nose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beginning at four months of age, puppies can learn to control their urination. Some dogs become house-trained on their own, but most need to be trained. This can take several weeks or months. Once a dog can control its needs and reliably signal when it needs to go outside, it is considered housebroken.

Either your puppy has not been housebroken, or he has a medical condition that prevents him from doing his business. Some dogs also tend to mark the house because of their character or dominance.

The most important thing is to determine the cause of the incontinence. If it is a medical cause, such as a bladder infection, the vet can treat it. If your dog needs to be educated, you can read our article on how best to do this.

If a house-trained puppy becomes unclean again, it may be due to a health issue, such as a bladder infection. It may also be due to stress or a change in living situation. Visiting other dogs can also trigger the marking.

About every two hours, plus after sleeping, eating, or playing. Since puppies can't control their urination for that long, it's a good idea to walk him every two to three hours. It's best to time the walks around the times he usually does his business at home.

With consistent training, 3-6 months can be expected.

My Conclusion

The journey to housebreaking is one of the first great adventures you will have with your new family member. With patience, consistency, and loving education, you will succeed.

Remember that every dog is different and needs his own time. Do not hesitate to ask a professional for advice if needed and enjoy the beautiful time of growing together.

It is important that you show him from the beginning that he should relieve himself outside. To do this, take him outside every few hours.

Be careful with him:

  • Unrest
  • Sniff
  • Running in circles

take him outside as soon as possible.

When your puppy has done his business outside, give him plenty of praise. This will quickly show him that he is doing the right thing. Over time, he will get used to it and slowly become house-trained.

Even if there is a relapse: Don't scold your dog. It's not his fault. Just pay more attention to the signs next time and avoid such a mishap.

With these tips and tricks, you will be well-prepared to give your puppy the start of a happy and healthy dog life. Here's to a successful upbringing and many wonderful moments with your favorite.

Too theoretical for you? If you prefer a visual approach, our app offers step-by-step video instructions to help you teach your dog to be housebroken. Learn more about our app here.

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker, and I am a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant. With these articles, I want to help you to understand your dog better and to build an inseparable bond.

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1 Comment

  1. Bernhard Schuch

    quite a great treatment of an unpleasant problem,
    will start tomorrow with your advice,
    but I am very confident.
    I have a 4 month young Airedale Terrier girl who is terrier typical sassy and stubborn.
    Will report on experience on an ongoing basis.
    Many greetings

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