How to Potty Train a Puppy Using Vinegar Water

Jack Russell Terrier puppy
Photo by Verdlanco, Wikimedia Commons,

Potty training a puppy with vinegar water can make training more effective. After your puppy has an accident in the house, he may return to the same spot to potty. Even if you clean the spot with regular soap, the dog may still smell his scent unless you also neutralize the odor. White vinegar is a chemical-free way to disinfect and neutralize the odor of urine and feces. Use a mixture of vinegar and water to house train your puppy.

Step 1

Prepare a mixture of 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water. Stir the ingredients to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle. Keep the bottle on hand during training.

Step 2

Spray the vinegar mixture lightly on carpeted areas in your house. Only spray a light mist on the carpet. Do not soak it or apply as much as needed during a cleanup. The vinegar odor acts as a deterrent to help prevent the puppy from urinating and defecating on the carpet.

Step 3

Allow the puppy to sniff the vinegar scent. Gently place her nose on an area sprayed with vinegar water. Do not rub her nose in it, because that will scare her.

Step 4

Take your puppy outside to potty frequently during the day to prevent accidents. Puppies have small bladders and may need to go out as many as six to eight times a day during training. Give the puppy an opportunity to potty outside after waking, before bed and after drinking water or eating food.

Step 5

Present the puppy with a dog treat after he potties outside and whenever he avoids making messes in the house. Rewards provide positive reinforcement.

Step 6

Clean up any household pet messes immediately. Use a cleaning cloth to soak up excess urine. Pick up feces with a paper towel, and throw it away. Spray the affected area with a generous amount of the vinegar water mixture until it is saturated. Scrub the mess clean with a fresh cleaning cloth. The vinegar will both disinfect the area and neutralize the odor.

Step 7

Soak a cleaning cloth with the vinegar mixture, and allow it to sit on tough spots for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rub the debris away with the cloth.

Step 8

Dry the area with a towel. The towel will completely dry hard surfaces, such as linoleum, tile or wood. However, carpet needs to dry overnight. Avoid walking on the spot until it is completely dry. You can also use a blow dryer to speed up drying.


  • Keep the vinegar-water mixture out of the reach of your puppy and children.


  • Add essential oils to the vinegar-water mixture to improve the scent. The essential oils rose, lavender and clary sage blend well with white vinegar. You will smell less vinegar, but enough of the vinegar scent remains to be effective for your pet.

  • Vinegar water works with all methods of dog potty training, including crate and training pads.

  • Use a scrub brush saturated with the vinegar-water mixture on resistant pet stains.

Items You Will Need

  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Dog treats
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Cloth towels



Photo Credits

  • Photo by Verdlanco, Wikimedia Commons,