How to Litter Box Train a Puppy

Most puppies begin using the litter box within a week or two.
puppy image by Sergey Yakovenko from

Training your puppy to use a litter box can save you frustration and stress when you are unable to get home on time or during inclement weather. While litter box training does not replace a dog's need to run and play outdoors, it can keep your home cleaner with fewer accidents. The type of litter you purchase is extremely important, as a puppy may try to eat it. Choose a natural litter that does not clump to avoid an emergency visit to your veterinarian. With consistency and positive reinforcement, your puppy will be using the litter box on his own every day.

Step 1

Choose a location in your home for your puppy's litter box training. If you have been using housebreaking pads or newspaper for your puppy, place the litter pan nearby. Choosing a tile or hardwood floor area is wise to make accidents easy to clean up.

Step 2

Fill a disposable cookie sheet or pan with wood pellets or recycled paper litter. A cookie sheet is smaller and therefore easy for a little puppy to climb into and jump out. Wood pellets or litter made specifically for dogs is larger and more absorbent than traditional cat litter. Once it is soiled, it will break down to a sawdust consistency.

Step 3

Place your puppy in the litter pan. Continue placing your puppy in the pan hourly. Each time you place him in the pan, give him a vocal cue such as "go on" or "potty." Continue this until he relieves himself, and give him lots of praise. Your puppy may still have a few accidents, or not get his entire body into the box before attempting to use it. Do not punish him for accidents near the box. Instead, continue placing him in the box at regular intervals.

Step 4

Replace the cookie pan or sheet with a litter box large enough to accommodate your growing puppy. Place the litter box in the same spot as the disposable pan for consistency, and show the new pan to your puppy.


  • If you notice your puppy begin to relieve himself outside of the pan, make a noise such as a clap or whistle to distract him, and place him in the litter pan.

Items You Will Need

  • Disposable cookie sheet or pan
  • Wood pellets or recycled paper litter
  • Litter box



About the Author

Kimberly DeCosta is an accomplished equestrian and entrepreneur. She has written for numerous equestrian publications and authored marketing packages for large companies and sports teams.

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