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How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment – (Quickly Ways from Experts)


More and more apartment complexes are becoming pet-friendly, which means there are going to be more puppies and pet parents entering into the situation of learning how to potty train a puppy in an apartment home.

Cindy Grant

Although, having a puppy in an apartment is not as convenient for potty training as having an accessible backyard, there are steps and tips to help the process go smoothly.

Let's check out the video of potty training a Mini Husky Puppy below​...

Step 1 - Repetition, Praise and Rewards

Potty training a puppy for an apartment dwelling will take a lot of repetition, praise and rewards (not unlike other home training). However, the canine species has an innate trait of wanting to please their human companion, which plays well into the potty training process.

A helpful hint to remember when potty training a puppy for an apartment is it can only hold its bladder for a short period-of-time. A good rule of paw is one hour per month of age. In other words if your pup is eight weeks old then his bladder-holding ability will only be a maximum of about two hours.

Remember to praise your dogs at the right time

Repetition, praise and rewards reinforce the potty training action, so the more you take your pup outside, the better your chances will be to "catch" the good behavior and follow up with plenty of praise and rewards.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

Be sure to use the words "go potty" when you and your puppy are outside. Your pup will pick up on this verbal command and will eventually learn that relieving himself outside will get him lots of love and a treat or two.


Say "go potty" when taking your dogs outside to create a habit for them (Via  stories.barkpost)

References: http://www.dog-care-knowledge.com/house-training-a-puppy.html

Step 2 - Restrict Access to Only One Room

It's easier to potty train a puppy in an apartment when you limit her access to only one room (the kitchen works well). Limiting your puppy to just one room helps to monitor her behavior so you can watch for signs of her needing to go and follow up accordingly.

In addition, most kitchens use a tile or linoleum which is easier to clean if an accident does happen.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

Use a baby or puppy gate to keep your puppy in one room

Step 3 - Watch for Those "I Gotta Go" Signals

Puppies will exhibit definite signals when they need to go to the bathroom. These include sniffing, circling, whining, barking and pawing the ground/floor. If you see your puppy doing this be sure to quickly pick her up and bring her outside or put her on the puppy pee-pee pad if the trip outside is going to take too long.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

Puppies usually have to eliminate shortly after awakening from a nap or overnight and also right after a meal. Be sure to bring your fur baby outside at these times to prevent any accidents from happening.

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Take your puppy outside after she takes a nap

Step 4 - Invest in Puppy Pee Pads

Many pet parents opt for the puppy wee-wee pads when potty training a puppy in an apartment. These highly absorbent pads are specifically designed for puppy urine. They come with an absorbent top layer that has a scent to attract your puppy and a bottom layer that traps the urine, keeping it from running through onto your floor.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

The wee-wee pad should be the first thing your puppy's feet touch in the morning. Reinforce the elimination on the pee-pad with "go potty" and lots of praise and reward when the action has been successfully completed.

Step 5 - Correction

Puppies will be puppies so we can expect there will be some accidents in the beginning of training a puppy for an apartment. If you catch your puppy going in the apartment, clap your hands together to get her attention then immediately carry her outside or to the wee-wee pad to finish.

Even if your pup has emptied half her bladder on the floor, always praise and reward when she finishes outside or on the puppy pad.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

Never rub your dog's nose in her waste. This is a cruel and out-of-date practice that can create fear and anxiety in your puppy.

Step 6 - Crate Training

Crate training a puppy is a great way to keep messes from occurring when you are away from home. Dogs and other animals do not like to soil where they sleep, so putting Fido into a crate will save on those messy cleanups.

However, remember that even though your puppy will dislike going in his crate, he will if left in it for too long. Take into consideration his age with the plus one rule to be sure you get him out of the crate before it becomes necessary for him to go.

When it is time to take your puppy out of the crate, be sure to immediately take him outside or put him on the training pad. Use the words, "go potty" then praise and reward when he has finished.

Potty Training a Puppy for an Apartment Tip

​When shopping for a puppy crate, keep in mind that if the crate is too large, your pup will simply eliminate at the back of it. 

The crate should only be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in. Some crates come with adjustable inside walls so it can grow along with your puppy.

References: http://www.allstarfrenchbulldogs.com/CrateTraining.html

Additional Tips on How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment

Although we've covered the basics of how to potty train a puppy in an apartment, there are still a few extra tips that WebMD recommends:

  • The average length of time it takes to potty train a puppy is 4 to 6 months. However, with persistence and lots of praise this time-period may be shortened.
  • Potty training is often affected by breed. The general thought is the smaller the dog the smaller it's bladder will be, therefore those tiny breeds may have to go outside more often than their larger counterparts.
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Don't offer you puppy food which is out of the schedule in the training period

  • Keep your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. Don't leave food out all the time when your pet is in the potty training-mode.
  • Take him to the same spot for elimination as the scent will already be there, reinforcing the habit.
  • Stay with your puppy while he is outside to prevent escaping and to praise/reward for a job well done.
  • Never punish a puppy if you find waste in the apartment. He won't remember doing it and this reaction can cause fear and anxiety towards you.
  • Clean up any accidents with an enzyme-based cleaner made specifically for pet waste. Ammonia-based products can attract your pooch back to the same naughty-spot.

Potty Training a Puppy in an Apartment Doesn't Have to Be Difficult

No one looks forward to potty training a puppy, especially when you are in an apartment and getting outside is a bit more difficult. However, it can be done.

Have patience, follow the tips on Nolongerwild.com, look for the signs of your puppy needing to go, follow a schedule and always follow up with plenty of praise and rewards when your puppy is successful. Before you know it, your puppy will be asking to do his business outside.

About the Author Cindy Grant

A pet lover from Boston, USA who is extremely passionate about all cute little pets, especially puppies, kittens and birds. I created NolongerWild as a community where all pet lovers around the world can meet and share their passion with each other.

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