VCA Animal Hospitals

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

- Provided by

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.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


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.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.