Basic Obedience

How Do I Train My Puppy to Use the Litterbox?

How do I train my puppy to use the litterbox?

It can be quite a challenge to potty train a puppy or a small dog. They have smaller bowels and bladders, yet have to process more food and water than larger dogs. As a result, they may need to eliminate more often—that means more responsibility for you. Those who support litterbox training, say that it virtually eliminates 'accidents' because dogs are free to go to the bathroom anytime during the day as needed.

How to start litter box training

  • Look for a litter box designed especially for small dogs. You can also use a large cat litter box, or use almost any type of low, open plastic container. You'll also need bags of litter.
  • Just like outdoor training, take your dog to the litter box when he first wakes up, after he's eaten, and periodically throughout the day. Watch carefully for signs that he needs to go, and quickly take him to the litter box. 
  • Immediately praise him, but be prepared with cleaning supplies and a generous amount of patience, as accidents may still happen.


Keep in mind that dogs do not have the instinctive behaviour for using a litter box and burying their waste. While you may succeed with litter box training, you need to be aware of the risk: some litter box-trained dogs may continue to have accidents off and on for life. If possible, also train your young dog to eliminate outdoors on grass, sod, or other outdoor surfaces. Click here for tips on outdoor potty training.


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