Published: April 24, 2019  

Last updated: February 7, 2024  

You brought home your new puppy, took him outside to show him where to go potty and he sniffs, plays, but doesn’t potty. So you take him inside and he squats and pees! Sound familiar? Welcome to puppyhood!

Potty accidents are part of adopting a puppy, so I’m sure you want to potty train her fast will likely be your number one priority.

If you have an adult dog that is having potty accidents, please make sure your dog is healthy before assuming he is not potty trained.

Potty training is a lot of work, it takes a lot of patience, but easy when you follow the four steps below.

young brown and white puppy sniffing carpet with pee accident

To potty train a puppy fast, you will need a leash, crate, rewards, consistency, and a ton of patience! Take your puppy outside every hour. Limit his freedom inside, using a leash or crate. Reward with treats and praise every single time he does potty outside. Pick up your puppies body language signals to know when he does have to potty. Be consistent and you will have a potty trained puppy in no time.

Need more help? Check out Mastering Potty Training by SpiritDog Training. It’s a full course that will help you and your puppy master potty training.

two young puppies cuddling each other
12 week old foster puppies

4 Easy Steps to Potty Train Your Puppy as Fast

A few years ago, we fostered two 12-week old puppies at the same time! (You can read our foster tails about them by clicking here.)

This past spring we added a border collie puppy to our pack. He was only 8 weeks when we brought him home. Potty training an 8-week-old puppy is easy if you follow my 4 steps below.

We have adopted several dogs over the years, some as young as 4-6 months old, and still not potty trained for various reasons. My experience with potty training spans puppies and dogs of all ages… yes even adult dogs. Potty training my dogs fast is always my top priority!

1. Keep your puppy on a leash with you at all times until he is fully potty trained

This will alleviate the temptation for your puppy to wander off to the other room and have an accident. When you can’t watch him closely, use a crate. In fact, I always recommend keeping any new dog, potty trained or not, in a small portion of your house.

Don’t give your puppy free reign of your house until he is completely trained. This will also help with chewing and general mischievousness… you would never let a baby or toddler roam your house without supervision would you?

Doggy Lawn Dogs

2. Take your puppy outside every hour or so

Puppy’s bladders are small, they can’t hold it for long… in fact it is recommended that the age in months your puppy is, is how long he can hold it. So for example, if he’s 3 months old, he should be able to not have an account inside for 3 hours. 4 months old, 4 hours…

When he is 6 months old, he should be able to wait 6 hours. Although sometimes you will feel like he has to go outside every 10 minutes!

Take him outside often! Avoid playing before he goes potty, take him outside calmly, avoiding any distractions and tell him to “potty”.

Giving a verbal command will help as you he learns what you want from him. You can play AFTER he goes potty, this will be his reward for doing what you want.

This is why so many people adopt a puppy in the spring and summer. Winter makes it more difficult, but it’s so important to show your puppy that outside for potty is the ONLY place he can go. Don’t give him the opportunity to go potty inside the house.

Note the time you feed him and then take him outside 10-20 minutes from the time he is done eating.

If you live in an apartment or a home where it’s not easy to quickly take you dog outside, then I recommend trying a natural indoor puppy potty.

3. Reward, Reward and Reward

Potty training is the perfect opportunity to use treats and a lot of praise. As soon as your puppy squats to pee or poop, say “good boy”, being careful not to get too excited to make him stop his business.

Immediately when he finishes, treat him and get super excited at this point. He will very quickly pick up the idea that if he goes outside to pee or poop he gets treats and love.

4. Schedule. Routine. Consistency. And a ton of Patience!

Be very patient and consistent. Do not scold or punish your young puppy for having accidents in the house, it really is inevitable that he will have a potty accident. Just as babies aren’t born potty trained, neither are puppies… so it is your job to train him.

Potty training puppy had an accident

Accidents will happen

If you should catch your puppy circling for a spot inside to go potty, or even starting to squat… say NO in a firm voice. Then immediately take him outside, and tell him to go potty.

If your puppy somehow escaped your watch and had an accident in the house already, you can bring him over to the mess and say NO in your firm voice. There really isn’t much you can do if you didn’t catch him in the act, but let him know you are not happy with the pee or poop inside is okay, just don’t hit or punish him.

IMPORTANT: It is always possible your puppy can have an infection or other health issues that causes him to not be able to hold it. If you have any doubts, contact your vet to discuss any health concerns.

If you practice these steps, your puppy will be potty trained in no time at all! Every puppy is different, so I can’t guarantee that in 3 days your puppy will be potty trained. But stay positive and be consistent and before you know it you will be passed the potty training phase. Phew, what a relief 🙂

If you haven’t read our Bring Your New Dog Home post yet, head over there now to get some great tips on your first few months with your puppy.

How to get dog pee out of carpet

Sorry to tell you, but it’s not a matter of IF your puppy will pee on your carpet, but a matter of WHEN. And when he pees on your floor, you MUST clean it thoroughly and as soon as possible.

Removing the smell is extremely important part of house training any dog. Think about it… a dog’s sense of smell can be 100,000 times stronger than a human’s.

There are several options when it comes to removing the stain and smell of urine. You can create an all natural mixture or buy a pre-made enzyme cleaner.

I highly recommend testing a small area of carpet before using any of these techniques. I used the baking soda/vinegar trick once on a cream color carpet and it bleach the spot! Thank goodness it was in the basement.

TIP: If you suspect your dog has urinated in places unknown to you, I suggest buying a UV light to find all the hidden spots.

Removing dog pee stains with vinegar and water

  1. Soak up anything wet by blotting with paper towels or a white rag. Do not scrub the urine into the carpet. Blot only! You do not want to work the urine deeper into the fibers of the carpet.
  2. Mix a solution of 50% vinegar, 50% water.  
  3. Pour the vinegar/water onto the urine stain. Scrub using a white rag. The vinegar will help to neutralize the ammonia in the urine.
  4. Firmly blot the urine stain using a clean rag or paper towel. I usually step on it with all my weight.
  5. When the carpet is completely dry, generously sprinkle baking soda on the stain.
  6. Once dry, vacuum the area. 

Here is another all-natural deodorizer you can make for your carpet:

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 spray bottle

Using a professional enzyme cleaner to remove dog pee

  1. Wipe up as much of the stain as possible, then thoroughly soak the stain.
  2. Allow to sit and work for 10 minutes.
  3. Blot up stain with a clean cloth. Allow area to dry for 24 hours.

Use baking soda to remove the smell of pee

Baking soda works by absorbing moisture and trapping odor. Generously sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet, working it into the fibers of the carpet. Let it sit overnight before vacuuming the next day. Repeat as necessary.

Read in more options on how to clean pee out of your carpet here: How can I remove dog urine odor from carpet?

My favorite enzyme cleaners that are proven to work

These are the brands proven to work within my foster network.

As a side note, I use Odoban for cleaning everything in my house. It not only cleans, but disinfects, sanitizes and deodorizes. OdoBan eliminates unpleasant odors on washable surfaces such as upholstery, carpets, bedding, showers, walls and floors.

If you want to learn more about how to keep your house from smelling like dog, read my 21 Secrets To Keeping My House From Smelling Like Dog.

Recommended for you to read next: 

P.S.If you still need more help with potty training, check out Mastering Potty Training by SpiritDog Training. It’s a full course that will help you and your puppy master potty training.

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. As a seasoned dog owner who has experienced the challenges of potty training with both puppies and adult dogs, I can attest to the importance of patience, consistency, and understanding in this process. Your article beautifully encapsulates the journey that many pet parents embark upon when bringing a new furry family member home.

  2. my son's dog poops at night when everyone is in bed. it's hard for me his wife hits him. honestly I want to take him from her. I go over yesterday and he chews the woodwork and toys.

  3. Our little girl was rescued at 5 1/2 mos old and she’s been with us slightly over one year. Loud noises scare her. We’ve gone through long periods of ‘being potty trained’ but now that our upstairs neighbors are here for the winter the noises of someone living upstairs scares her. She seems scared to go outside. She tells us she has to go potty then runs under the bed (her safe spot) . She won’t always go both while we are out even though when we come back in she goes. How can I get her to be ‘braver’ while outside? She is a chihuahua and terrier mix. Probably a Jack Russell mix.

  4. Thank you so much for these tips! It has been quite the ordeal potty training our puppy. Slowly but surely we will get there!! I hadn't thought of keeping my dog on a leash while we potty train – great tip! I'm going to try that for sure. After my pup is trained I'm going to have a professional come in and do a pet urine removal treatment so we can get rid of the smell completely. Anyway, great tips!

  5. I have a 6 month old rescue mix (Doberman & Lab). We thought he was potty trained until after he was neutered. He was neutered 3 weeks ago and since then he has had multiple peeing incidents in doors. We take him outside he does his business comes back in and 20 min later looks right at me and pees. Its looks like it's deliberate. I am at my wits end, any advice is greatly appreciated. PS. I do have an appointment with the vet to check his bladder but I'm not convinced that's it.

    1. I’m glad you have an appointment with the vet, because the first step is to rule out a medical issue. My second thought is that he is 6 months old, it’s common for setbacks on potty training at this age. He is also likely going through a fear period phase, not that it is necessarily connected, but could be. I recommend started over and treating him like he is a young puppy again. Take him outside a lot and do not allow him free roam when inside until he figures it out again. Be patient… it’s a phase, it will pass.

  6. I have a 6 month old rescue Rottie, beagel, hound male mix that has yet to go potty outside. No matter how far we walk or how often we go out. I’m so frustrated…please help!! From what I understand, he was kept in a cage 24/7, sleep, eat and potty.

  7. The dreaded potty training! But the big question is how to potty train a puppy fast? If you follow these steps it really won’t be bad and will go by faster than you ever imagined. Puppy potty training doesn’t need to be daunting, in fact most puppies I work with are potty trained with the first few days of coming home.

  8. Hello
    Feeling a little defeated today my pup will be four months old on 15 February. I’ve got her on a good schedule feeding and taking her outside keeping her on a lead but today turn my back for one minute and she pooped. I had her pooping outside an hour before and this morning Peed in front of my eyes . She is great at night when I put her to sleep at 9 she sleeps till 630 No accidents in her crate . Thank you for any encouraging words will be deeply appreciate .
    Sincerely ,Anne Marie. Ps her name is Queenie Z she is Kerry blue terrier ☘️????❤️

  9. Hi Debi! I really like your blog. You have shared amazing tips with us . All the tips you have shared are amazing and informative for all dog lover. Thanks and keep posting!

  10. I have found out that taking my German Shepherd out every 30-45 minutes helped out tremendously. Then I would immediately take him out after he ate and drank that way he did not have a chance to think about relieving himself in the house. I work nights (6pm-6am) so my fiancée would take him out around 8-9pm before bed and I would take him out around 12 on my break and she would take him out at 4-5am. It took about 2-3 days and he was sitting at the door waiting to go out. I have never been a fan of praising good deeds with treats so I have just done praise with petting and a reassuring voice and all together he only had an accident in the house 3-4 times and 2 times it was because my fiancée and myself were not paying close enough attention.

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