How to potty train a new dog – East Bay Times

Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a newly adopted puppy and are struggling with potty training him. Do you have any suggestions you could give to help us with the process?

Congratulations on your new pup! As with any new pup into our home, we need to give them guidance on where we would like them to go to the bathroom. Here are a few guidelines to help streamline the process.

Have your pup on a feeding schedule, if you know when things are going in, you have a better idea of when they should be coming out. If your pup grazes on its food throughout the day, you will have a harder time getting the training under control.  Give your pup an allotted amount of time to finish their meal and then pick up any remaining food and wait until the next feeding.

Have your pup on a potty routine. General rule of thumb is access to the potty area every 2 to 4 hours depending on age. If your pup is sleeping through the night, do not wake them. In addition, they should have access to the potty area anytime shortly after waking, eating or into a big play session. It is helpful to use the same door each time to teach the pup that leads to the potty area.

If they have an accident, don’t scold the dog regardless of if you catch them or not, interrupt and redirect to the appropriate area and then clean it up using a cleaner that breaks down the enzymes. Use management tools such as crates and x-pens when you are not able to watch them. Be patient with your pup remember they are still learning the rules, give them the extra time they need to adjust and understand your routine. If your pup is still having problems adjusting to your home or you would like extra help, you can schedule a 1:1 Consultation with one of our behaviorists or call our Behavior Helpline at ext. 183.

Tasha Suda is the Lead Dog Trainer for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Behavior Department. For more information, please visit, call 650-340-7022 or email

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