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Puppy Potty Training Guide (Merry Christmas New Pups!)

"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."

One of the things I get asked often by individuals in search of help, in one form or another is "do you train dogs to go potty outside?" Since we launched Liberation back in 2019 my definitive answer has always been "no." As a business owner and entrepreneur that is probably the worst answer one could give to potential would be clients. As a dog trainer and life long professional in the working K-9 industry however, I firmly believe that potty training and housebreaking dogs is something that is best done by educating owners on correct management practices and reinforcement based training methods which reward dogs for going potty in the proper location which is outside. Not only do we truly believe potty training is something EVERYONE can do themselves, we believe it's something that is honestly best done without a trainer because it's really not practical to hire someone for this task. This article should serve as a guide for those in need to utilize for creation of their own potty training plan. So without further ado let's breakdown gimmicks to avoid, the best management tool for the job, some training techniques to use and some to avoid, and the 30/30/30 method.

*It should be noted that this guide is primarily focused on new puppy owners not adult dog owners with engrained behavioral issues.*

Absolutely DO NOT use puppy pads.

Puppy pads are absolutely a marketing gimmick and do not work to properly teach dogs to go potty outside. Dogs are creatures of habit and all habit is established through routine. If you want your dogs habit to be dropping land mines in your living room then puppy pads may be for you. If you're like most sane people you probably don't want that to become your dogs normal. Rather you should establish the habit of going potty outside by getting your puppy into a simple, structured, and consistent routine. We recommend the 30/30/30 method (we will break this method down in detail shortly). Seriously I can't overstate how bad potty pads are. The very literally teach dogs to go in your home.

Crate Training Is Part of Responsible Dog Ownership. Use One.

There will be naysayers who will tout their belief that crating dogs is somehow cruel or akin to putting a human behind bars. If you are a new dog owner DO NOT fall for this fallacious nonsense. It only takes 1 time of having seen what happens to a young dog with a 3 inch sliver in their intestines from

chewing a kitchen chair leg while left unattended or getting into something toxic to understand why crates are absolutely morally ethical. You want to transport your dog on an airline? They'll need to be in a crate. If your dog gets injured or has to have surgery they will be in a crate at the vet to limit movement. Crates are management tools and will allow you to effectively manage your puppies routine. Working canines are transported everywhere in crates and live very full filling and exciting lives.

A hammer is the most common construction tool in the world used since the dawn of time to build the greatest civilizations throughout our worlds history. A hammer is also one of the most utilize murder weapons throughout history. A tool used incorrectly and inhumanly does not mean the tool itself is a bad tool. When used in conjunction with reinforcement based training methods crates limit how much free rein young puppies have if your home before they've earned it and allow you to properly structure your potty break routine. Train your puppy to the crate early and make it fun. An easy way to do this is by structuring their feeding times so that they eat in the crate. This also gives dogs their own space when eating.

Reinforcement Goes MUCH MUCH Further Than Anything Else. Period.

Over the years I've heard of dog owners doing some pretty outlandish things to potty train their dogs. Most dog owners struggling with housebreaking and potty training have never been told any of the basic information I've laid out in this guide and they do mean well. Here's the straight harsh reality though... if you allow a dog free rein of your home and don't establish routines early on and that dog ends up urinating and deficating in your home that's not the dogs fault. Don't shove the dogs face in it's mess because of an accident.

I know that is rather hard to read but folks I hear of it happening all the time. You the reader won't have those issues though because you're being educated. Reinforcing your dog doing their business outside whether by treats or with lots and lots of exuberant praise coupled with a consistent routine is bar none the absolute correct way to train your dog to go outside to potty. Make going potty outside FUN and EXCITING. If you're a parent of a potty training toddler you'll take to this like it's second nature.

The 30/30/30 Method

If you've made it this far I'd like to commend you for your commitment to your dog and I hope this has been a learning opportunity for you. Our preferred method for potty training puppies is the 30/30/30 method. This method is a 30 minute rotational routine method. Again this guide is geared specifically towards young puppies (8-12 weeks) but can be applicable for other situations.

30 minutes of supervised play or interaction in the home (preferably one dedicated room).

30 minutes outside. If the dog potties outside give them reward and lots of praise.

If the puppy does potty outside bring them back in the home for another 30 minutes of supervised time. If the puppy does not potty outside crate them for up to 30 minutes then take them back outside again for up to 30 minutes.

It is highly advised to keep a written log and set alarms to keep oneself on a constant schedule. Once your young puppy is in a constant routine you can begin bumping the time up between rotations as needed to 35 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, and so on.


Hopefully you can see that potty training your new puppy isn't a daunting or challenging task. It simply requires consistency and dedication to establishing and maintaining a good routine. If you avoid marketing gimmicks such as potty pads, use crates integrated into a potty break routine, use lots of reinforcement when your dog potties outside, and stick to a routine schedule such as our 30/30/30 method you'll be on track to potty training your dog quickly. Most importantly though take this to heart. You'll probably mess up somewhere along the way. And guess what? It's okay. It's part of life.

If you like what you've read in this guide, if you learned something, and if you think this guide could help others it would mean a lot of you'd SHARE it with your friends. If you have any questions or if you'd like us to break anything you've read in this guide down in more detail let us know and we will cover it in a future blog. As always thank you for reading.

*All images used in this blog are the sole digital property of Liberation K-9 Training and may not be utilized without direct permission. If you would like to use any of our images for business purposes please contact us directly for business inquiries.*

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