VCA Veterinary Hospital of Leon Springs

How to Potty-Train a Puppy: 5 Puddle-Proof Tips to Follow

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Until puppies are born house-trained, you'll have to start putting your potty training plan to work as soon as the little one comes into your home. Successful house-training requires setting up a potty schedule, limiting a puppy's roaming options to areas you can supervise, showing your pup the area you want him to use and praising him for going there.

Even with a positive approach, people make mistakes that delay the process. Here are a few key rules to remember:

1. Limit Your Puppy's Wanderings

Use pens and baby gates to keep your pup where you can keep an eye on him. That way, if you see him start to make a mistake, you can whisk him outside and praise him for finishing the job in a pre-selected spot. When you can't supervise, your puppy should be in a crate.

2. Understand Your Puppy's Physical Limitations

Little puppies have limited storage capability and need to be taken out frequently. A general guideline: A puppy can hold it as long as his age in months. Thus, a four-month-old puppy is good for up to four hours, at the outside limit.

3. Remember That Puppies Function Like People

Puppies need to relieve themselves after they wake up, after they eat or drink and after playing. Make sure to take your puppy out at these times. Offer food and water at scheduled intervals to help predict when your pup will need a trip outside.

4. Clean Up Mistakes Thoroughly

A puppy can still smell even what you can't see, and smells invite repeat business. Keep commercial products on hand that use enzyme action to break down the smell. White vinegar also does a great job of neutralizing the odor of urine. Don't use an ammonia-based product, though: To a pet, ammonia smells like one of the components in urine.

5. Be Patient and Consistent

While some puppies seem to house-train themselves, others are slower to learn. If you don't seem to be making progress, ask your veterinarian for a referral to a trainer or behaviorist who can help.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of an emergency during normal business hours (M-F 7:30am - 7:00pm) please call us at 210-698-1043.


Should you have an after-hours emergency, please contact either of these pet emergency hospitals:


Mission Pet Emergency -

Located at: 8202 N Loop 1604 West, San Antonio Texas, 78249

Phone: 210-691-0900


Emergency Pet Center -

Located at: 503 E. Sonterra Blvd., San Antonio Texas, 78258

Phone: 210-404-2873


If you feel that your pet has potentially ingested a toxin, please contact either one of the above listed pet emergency centers, or the pet poison helpline. 

Online at:


For a list of current pet food recall alerts, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association's website at