How to Potty Train a Female Puppy

by Kate Evelyn

As soon as you get your female puppy home and she knows where the back door is, it is time to start potty training. Since puppies aren't born knowing that they need to eliminate outside instead of in the living room, it requires patience and positive reinforcement to get this job done. Most puppies will pick it up within a week or two. If you notice no improvement in this time, take your puppy to the vet. She could have a medical problem that is hampering her progress.

Step 1

Leave your puppy outside for an hour or two when you first bring her home and observe her "ritual" before she eliminates, such as sniffing the ground or walking in circles.

Step 2

Show your puppy where you would like her to relieve herself. Keep in mind that since female puppies squat to urinate, all the liquid goes in one place, which can cause the grass to become discolored. When you've chosen a spot, take your puppy over and tell her to "go potty" each time you see her exhibiting signs she has to go. Reward her by saying "good potty," when she eliminates there. You can pet her and give her a treat if you like.

Step 3

Take your dog out into the yard as much as possible during those first few days. Aim for about a half hour after she eats or drinks. Every time you see her urinate or defecate, say "good potty." Eventually she will associate the word "potty" with going to the bathroom.

Step 4

Be careful with punishing your puppy when she eliminates in the house. Unless you catch her in the act, ignore the behavior and continue rewarding her when she potties where you want her to. If you find her in the process of squatting indoors, give her a firm "no!" Then take her to your designated outdoor spot and praise her with a "good potty" if she finishes there.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 every day for at least a week. You will notice that your dog starts coming to you or to the door when she needs to relieve herself since she associates eliminating outside with being rewarded.

An Item You Will Need

  • Treats (optional)

Tips

  • Some people like to paper train their dogs before moving to full potty training. This can be confusing for your puppy since she will think it is acceptable to eliminate in the house as long as it is on a sheet of paper. Skip paper training if you can.
  • Take your puppy out at least every two hours. It is hard for very young dogs to "hold it."
  • Continue to praise and reward each time your dog potties where you want her to. Training is an ongoing process.

Warning

  • Never cut off a dog's access to water in an attempt to control its urination.