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Potty training a puppy is a little trickier when you have an apartment, since you can't install a doggie door or easily let your furry companion outside.
Once you get to know your puppy, you'll be able to watch for signs she needs to relieve herself. When you're house training a puppy, it's very important that you be available to meet her needs at all times of the day. In order for positive reinforcement to work effectively as a training strategy, consistency is key. Your puppy is ready to spend time in the rest of the apartment after she has learned to signal to you that she needs to go outside, either by moving toward the door or looking at it.
When you clean up after an accident your puppy has had, you can place the soiled paper towels or rags in the designated area so that your puppy associates the the smell of urine with her bathroom spot. If you hear your puppy barking in the crate, take her outside to relieve herself and place her back in the crate.
If you find a mess in your apartment after the deed has been done, don't ever rub your puppy's nose in it or try to discipline her. This version of How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on June 27, 2015. You might be a little frustrated right now because house training is not progressing as fast as you had hoped. Every puppy presents different challenges, but there are common instincts that will facilitate the house training process. The section below on "HouseTraining Taxi Service" will tell you WHEN to give your pup immediate access to her toilet area. If your puppy is not sleeping in her crate or pen, and is out in the house, you must follow her around to know what she is doing: chewing a bone, running circles, getting a drink of water, etc. It's very important to put your puppy on a regular and timely feeding schedule; What goes in on a regular schedule will come out on a regular schedule. Confinement to a small area such as a bathroom or an enclosed exercise pen in combination with confinement to a crate works best. The key to house training is preventing "mistakes" and rewarding the puppy for going in your chosen spot. Taxi your pup for about one month (until the pup is about 3 months old as this should give the pup enough time to develop some bladder and bowel control). If you have a large breed puppy and can't pick them up, slip on a leash quickly and "rush" them to the potty area, do not stop until you are there !
However, with a poop you might get some warning - sometimes sniffing; usually circling by the puppy. As always, never make a big deal about cleaning up after your puppy when an accident occurs. Just before you go to bed and turn out the lights, go get your puppy, no matter where she may be, asleep or not, and taxi her to the potty area.
Confine your puppy to his, 'puppy-proofed' bathroom or an exercise pen and paper (or wee-wee pad) the entire floor.
While your puppy is confined to the bathroom or his pen, he is developing a habit of eliminating on paper because no matter where he goes, it will be on paper.
Once your puppy is reliably going only on the papers you've left, then you can slowly and gradually move his papers to a location of your choice. When you are home but can't attend to your puppy, follow the same procedures described above. When your pup does eliminate in his toilet area, praise and reward him profusely and enthusiastically!
Don't allow your puppy freedom outside of his room or pen unless you know absolutely for sure that his bladder and bowels are completely empty. As your puppy becomes more reliable about using his toilet area and his bowel and bladder control develops, he can begin to spend more time outside his room or pen with you in the rest of your home. The most important thing you can do to make house training happen as quickly as possible is to reward and praise your puppy every time he goes in the right place.


A young puppy (8 weeks) needs to be given the opportunity to go outside every 20 minutes, if you are to increase the chances of her peeing outside rather than inside. If you leave her alone in the apartment all day it might take a very long time for her to understand what she's supposed to do when she needs to go to the bathroom.
This helps to reinforce a routine and allows you to better predict when she may need to go outside.
You might find yourself the subject of a sign warning dog owners to stay away - a common sight near city apartment buildings! The best way to train a puppy is to reinforce good behavior and eliminate possibilities for bad behavior. That means that every single time your puppy relieves herself outside, you should praise her. If your apartment is on a high floor in your building, it might be difficult to get outside in time for your puppy to go to the bathroom. Puppies actually like the feeling of being in a small, cozy crate - it makes them feel safe and secure.
Very young puppies might wake up barking, though, so you should line the crate with towels just in case your puppy has an accident in the night.
If your puppy has an accident in her crate or elsewhere inside, be sure to clean it up and sanitize the spot so it no longer smells like urine. If your puppy is relieving herself in your apartment, pick her up and immediately take her outside to the designated bathroom spot.
You will teach your puppy to be afraid of you, and it won't help her learn what to do when she needs to relieve herself. Nothing with ammonia in it, as that smells like urine to puppies, and they'll try to go in that spot again, what you don't want to happen. If you change from paper training to house training halfway through, it will confuse your puppy, and make it more difficult, but done consistently potty training your puppy can be a breeze. This article will detail a training program with techniques that will house train your puppy as soon as possible and foster a trusting and loving relationship between you and your pup. Their elimination schedule will depend upon when they last ate or drank water; rambunctious physical activity; and the big unknown - personal preference! Your pup needs to develop his natural "den instinct" and learn where to eliminate - and where not to. If you are going outside, put a collar and leash on the pup immediately after picking them up, unless the toilet area is safely enclosed and escape proof.
By paying close attention to your puppy when they are out and about in the house, you may get a heads-up.
Place your dog on a regular feeding schedule so you can predict when she'll need to go outside, and reward her every time she demonstrates good behavior. Older puppies also need to relieve themselves frequently, as they can't physically hold their bladder for more than an hour or two.[1] To avoid accidents, scoop up your puppy and take her outside once an hour like clockwork. Living in an apartment building, you might have trouble getting all the way to the closest park. When your puppy relieves herself outside, giving her praise and a treat will make her want to do it again.
This is especially important in the first few months, when she's still learning correct behavior. This is necessary during the first few months, since keeping your puppy in one place allows you to keep an eye on her so you can take her outside right away when she shows signs of needing to relieve herself. If you have a small dog who makes manageable messes, you can consider paper training your dog instead of taking her outside every time.
For this reason you should never use a crate as a form of punishment; it should be your puppy's personal safe place. If an area smells like urine the puppy will instinctively want to relieve herself in the same spot again. When she successfully finishes doing her business there, reward her before taking her back inside.


Puppies have not yet developed bowel and bladder control, so they can't 'hold it' as long as adult dogs. Successful house training depends upon your diligent supervision so you can be there to show your pup where to eliminate. This means that though you may be making tremendous progress housetraining, there will be "mistakes".
If you cannot watch her continuously, you must put her back into her pen or crate to prevent potty training "mistakes". To potty train our puppy we must condition a desire in the pup to avoid soiling the "den" - your house. Well, he may not make it all the way to the toilet area, potty or poop in the "wrong" place and you have missed a housetraining opportunity! At the same time you will train a stong preference in your pup to eliminate in your chosen spot. When this place is well established and the rest of the papers remain clean all day, then gradually reduce the area that is papered. Your puppy is too young to understand and it can set the house training process back drastically. Therefore it's important that you spend as much time as possible with your puppy and give him regular and frequent access to his toilet area. Before you know it, your puppy will run to the door and wag her tail instead of having indoor accidents. Pick a patch of grass close enough to your apartment entrance that your puppy won't have an accident on the way. If she has too much freedom, she'll end up going to the bathroom before you can catch her to take her outside. Line an area of the room with newspapers or special training pads you can buy at the pet store. Puppies don't like soiling their living space, so make sure you take your puppy outside so she can go to the bathroom right before you put her in the crate. Confinement and your due diligence in providing access outside the "den" to potty and poop will develop this instinct and eventual desire.
So, if they potty in the wrong place, you didn't take them to their potty area soon enough - plain and simple. Urgency is key here - you want to startle the pup just a little as you move towards them to pick them up, but you DO NOT want to scare the pup. Eventually your pup will have enough control that he will be able to "hold it" for longer and longer periods of time. Use the same training method you'd use for an outdoor bathroom spot, carrying your puppy to the papers each time she has to go. So many times when housetraining, a puppy is led to the door and on the way they just stop and do their business. Don't be discouraged if your puppy seems to be making remarkable progress and then suddenly you have to return to papering the entire area.
And second, she will not necessarily associate you as the provider of her food (see our article on being a pack leader and winning a puppy's respect and trust). This usually happens because the puppy has not developed enough bladder or bowel control yet to "hold it" until they get to the toilet area or they simply don't know where the toilet area is yet. Not only has the pup made "a mistake," but you have lost a chance to reward for going in the right place. The important thing is that when you get home, clean up the mess and lay down fresh papers.



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