Puppy Potty Training: 1 Weekend Lesson

Puppy potty training doesn’t have to be horrible. We know it’s going to be weeks, maybe months before they finally get the hang of it. During that time, there’s finding where they had the accident, cleaning up pee and poop, and making sure there’s no smell leftover. Then there’s wondering why they had an accident right after you just took them outside.

Maddening, right?

Let’s skip all that and get it right in one weekend.

The mainframe to Puppy Potty Training In 1 Weekend is getting a schedule down and understanding what that puppy has going on in their head.

You’re going to have happier times outside and less cleaning up inside by the end of this.

Be sure to snag my FREE Puppy Potty Training Chart to keep track of your puppy’s schedule!

Puppy Potty Training: 1 Weekend Lesson. Get It Right In One Weekend #puppy #puppypottytraining

The smaller the puppy breed, the smaller the bladder. If you have a chihuahua puppy you can’t expect them to hold their bladder for 8 hours. Adjust your schedule accordingly to stay ahead of them needing to go out and empty their bladder.

Most puppies start out needing to use the bathroom:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After every nap
  • After every feeding
  • During and after playtime
  • Right before going to bed

After feeding time, you can expect them to have to use the bathroom 5 to 30 minutes after eating. Take them out every 5 minutes until you know their schedule. It won’t take you long to figure it out.

I recommend crate training because it allows the puppy a safe place of their own and it is a place they can focus until they get the hang of potty training.

Find A Place They Can Focus

Puppy minds wander, just like little kids. Like trying to play a sport, but are really out there watching a butterfly or digging in the dirt.

Puppies have a short attention span just like kids, so instead of thinking about using the bathroom their watching that butterfly that just went by or Woah! That leaf just moved! …because everything is so new to them.

There are so many exciting things going on outside that they don’t get to see all the time so they get distracted easily. They need a place to focus when using the bathroom. As you’re taking them out every 5 minutes, if they don’t go, put them back in their crate for a few minutes and try again in a little bit. Continue this until they use the bathroom then they can play!

Continue this same process when they get up in the mornings, after naps, playtimes, etc.

If there’s still a struggle with the process, take them out every hour until you get to know them and see how long they’ll go before needing to use the bathroom.

Going Outside

When you take them outside stay consistent with the process. Dogs use the bathroom to eliminate and to mark their territory. Take them to a spot you’re comfortable with them going and continue to go to the same spot.

There they will smell their scent and it will remind them of why they’re out there.

Do not play with or talk to your puppy until they have done their business. You can also be a distraction. Help keep them focused on the task at hand, but no walks or pre-celebration.

Save the celebrating until they have completely finished doing the deed.

Praise Them

Praise them with soft, excited tones and treats so they’ll understand they did something good.

If they have an accident in the house DO NOT rub their nose in it. That really does nothing. By the time you find it, they’ve completely forgotten about it and don’t understand why you’re rubbing their nose into something they would’ve sniffed in a few minutes anyway.

Correcting them when you catch them in the act is the best. Clap loudly or make a noise to catch their attention. Then give a firm “No” and take them to the specified place outside.

Clean Up

Clean the accident area well. Don’t leave any smell left behind that they may catch and think it’s okay to use the bathroom there. Get a good cleaning agent to remove stains and smells, like Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator or Nature’s Miracle Pet Stain and Odor Cleaner.

Read Eliminating Stains and Odors: Baby and Pet Safe to make sure you’re getting the smell completely and great spray products.

You CAN potty train your puppy in 1 weekend! When you and your puppy master the routine, it will make life easier for both of you and you’ll have a better relationship. Stay on top of it and get ahead of their schedule.

Have everything you need for your new puppy? Not sure? Check out my New Puppy Checklist to make sure. There’s also a free printable!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info. Thank you.

What’s Next:

How To Trim Dog Nails

Puppy Teething: Tips & Tools To Get Through It

Puppy Diarrhea: Quick Solutions


  • Tish

    Hi! I would first clean the pee up with the puppy pad and leave it out. Dogs are big on scent and will go in the same area. So having the urine smell on the pee pad will direct him more there rather than beside it where he is smelling the urine. You can also look into pee pad ideas to help block in the pee pad once he figures it out and check out how to eliminate the smell from where he is going beside the pee pad, so he gets a better understanding that you want him to go on the pad. Hope this helps!

  • Joanna

    I have a 10 month old Chawaha Terrier who won’t use the puppy pads inside the house. He goes next to in my carpet! We tried spraying the pads with a spray that supposed to make him go on it but he won’t! What do you suggest,

  • Britney Jones

    Thank you for these tips! I think this will be a great guide as I train my puppy. The dog I have now still has some accidents, so even though I clean up after her, I still have my carpets cleaned to remove the pet urine odorodor. I’m sure I am in for a ride with this new puppy!

  • Mary

    I have an 8 month Yorkiepoo that I have failed to hour deal because I wasn’t consistent. I’m a senior citizen and we live on the second floor. Now I would like to retrain him to go outside. Those pee pads stink and he almost always misses and goes half on the rug.
    Is it too late to retrain him?

  • Tisha Ross

    Hey Ashlee, Congrats on your new baby! I hope you found some helpful tips here. Stay on top of it, it sounds like you’re doing great with her.

  • Ashlee

    I have just adopted a German Shorted Haired Pointer…She does well with training but there are time she goes in the house….we are hoping this gets better. She doesn’t give us any signs she has to go out. I’m hoping this gets better with time….

  • Tisha Ross

    Hey Karen, thanks for commenting. If they’re used to going out every hour then their going to get in the routine of having to go that often. With smaller breeds it may be best to train them to potty pads since they are so small and can’t hold it for long periods of time.
    When you have to go out how long are you usually gone for?

  • Karen

    I have a 4 month old Teddybear puppy. I am home all day and as long as I take him out every hour or so he is fine during the day. But there is times I need to leave the house and no matter if he poops and pees before I leave I come home and there is always poop and pee in the house or his crate. I have tried both the crate and no crate. I am running out of ideas..what can I do?

  • Tisha Ross

    Hi Brenda, both are good ideas. Taking him further away from the playground so he doesn’t get distracted by smells and the children is a good idea. Also putting him in the crate for about 10-15 minutes when he doesn’t go, then taking him back outside will remind him of what he came outside to do! Thanks for reaching out, let me know if this helps!

  • Brenda

    I have a 3 month old beagle/poodle puppy,,,,, we live in apt, our apt is right across from playground,,, he loves the kids,,,, I take him to the same place to potty every time,,,, all he does is smell and sniff,,,,, but back inside he does his business… I lose it,,,get upset should I put him in his crate,,,, should I take him m further away from playground,,,,,,need help.

  • Tisha Ross

    Thanks Denise, you are completely right! It takes 21 days to get into a habit. The purpose of this post is to get the ground work set in 1 weekend, to understand what has to happen for quicker success and how to get there with a schedule.

  • Denise

    There’s no way you can potty train a puppy in one week. I’ve raised several pups over the last 40 years and there is no way a puppy can be potty trained to reliably eliminate outside in one week.

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