6 Steps: House Training A Puppy In An Apartment

Sounds painful but it doesn't have to be, let's go through the steps...

By Laurencia Walker-Fooks - February 13 2023

house training a puppy in a flat with a grass patch

How Do You Potty Train A Puppy In A Flat?

Bringing a new puppy home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you live on the 12 floor and you don’t have any outdoor space! But you can experience the joy of owning a dog even if you don't have a garden. So how can you make this work? Let’s take a look at how you can potty train a puppy in a flat within a week.

The most common potty training methods include:

Indoor real grass patches, pee pads, and artificial grass. We recommend using a real grass and soil patch as this will trigger your dog's natural instinct to go to the toilet, this is the easiest way to potty train your puppy. (And the most Eco-Friendly!)

The 6 Main Steps To Potty Training A Puppy

  • Choose a dedicated place for your dogs toilet patch
  • Watch for your pup's toilet cues, eg, sniffing and circling. Sometimes young pups won’t give cues this is where a dogs natural instinct for grass really helps
  • Place your pup on the patch in the morning, after meals, and before bed
  • When your pup is on the patch say “wee wee” or a similar command to create an association for your pet
  • Establish a daily routine
  • Praise your pet when they toilet on the patch

Now let’s get into the details of each of these steps...

In Depth: Puppy Potty Training With A Grass Dog Toilet

Firstly, make sure your puppy can only access the Oui Oui Patch under your supervision. Perhaps by closing the door to the balcony or cordoning it off. Then when it’s time for their toileting, bring them to the Patch.

Try to encourage your pet to start a routine by placing them on the patch in the morning, after meals, before bed, and so on, and use phrases such as "wee-wee", so that they start to build associations with time, sounds and location of when they should do their business. It might be necessary for you to use your FurBaby's lead to keep them on the patch.

We encourage that especially with new puppies, parents should discourage any form of play on the patch. Creating the association of the patch with toileting ONLY, will discourage their need to dig or create a mess.

dog using grass dog toilet

The grass and soil together is scent triggering

You'll also start to identify certain cues your puppy makes when they have excess energy and want to play or dig. In this case, when your dog attempts to play on the patch, a stern "no" should help them learn that it's not a toy to be played with.

If you find that your dog is digging at the patch, try to discourage this by giving them something else to play with to keep them distracted. If this doesn't seem to help, you may want to consider creating a digging den out of old towels and soft textiles. This would offer your pup a safe release for their digging instincts.

When your puppy does their business in an undesirable location, quickly place them on, or lead them to the patch. Use your chosen phrase to encourage association and leave them alone with the patch for a couple of minutes. If they keep stepping off the patch, you may need to keep them on a lead.

Even though they've already relieved themselves, it's important for them to associate the patch with toilet time. The more we practice this, the faster they will learn.

Should I confine my puppy?

Puppy training with confinement crate

While it's likely that your pet will experience an accident at first, after a while we are confident that your pet will associate the Patch as their pee-place of choice.

It's no surprise that your pup will learn faster when you confine your puppy to a safe zone. This can be in the form of:

  • A large, safe and comfortable crate, with separated areas for sleeping, playing and the Oui Oui Patch.
  • We suggest cordoning off an area in your house that is tiled, free of electricals and other hazards and is big enough for their bed, water bowl, food, toys and Oui Oui Patch.

Is it cruel to keep a puppy in a crate?

Some people find crate training and confinement in general a cruel practice - and we would never try to convince anyone otherwise. However, crate training has been proven to offer your pet a sense of security when they first arrive at their forever home. Always consult your vet and trainer for the best advice based on the breed of your dog.
Here are our recommendations:

    Crate recommendations:

  • Dogs should never be kept in their crate for extended periods of time.
  • It is very important to make sure your crate is the right size for your pet.
  • If your Oui Oui Patch will be kept within your crate, make sure that it is cordoned off away from toys and your pets' food.

Positive Reinforcement

We all have accidents and make mistakes, so why should we punish our FurBabies for doing the same? Dogs are very alert to our emotions, and while we shouldn't congratulate them for their accidents, we should be patient and calm to allow for learning.

Does positive reinforcement work for puppies?

  • Research tells us that reward-based training is the best way for dogs to learn
  • Training with rewards is more fun for all involved, and helps build a positive bond between pup and parent
  • Studies show that owners that train using rewards report fewer behaviour problems in their dogs
  • Reward based training helps encourage dogs to think for themselves

Establish A Routine

If you have a crazy schedule or the weather is not on your side, taking daily walks to the nearest green-space might be tricky. As a result, your pet may not be used to having a specific allocated time to doing their potty business.

Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. The schedule teaches them that there are times to eat, times to play and times to do their business.

Create an association with time and toileting, but also where this action is to take place.

If your pup is just starting out with their house-training, this step will be important for building the connection between the command word and the expected behavior

Follow the morning, after meals, before bed, routine so that they start to build associations with time, sounds and location for when they should do their business.

Older dogs need a routine as much as puppies do, no matter how they have learned to do things in the past, it is never too late to relearn a routine.

Smell is an important training trigger for dogs of all ages, and what may help is to dab a bit of tissue into your pet's urine and rubbing it off gently on the grass to build the association.

Puppy Potty Training Video

In this 2 minute video watch City Doggo's in-house trainer, Thomas-James Laidlaw show you how to:

  • Introduce your dog to their first Oui Oui Patch
  • The ideal locations to place the patch in your home
  • Train on the grass

For more training info visit our Training Tips Page

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