Potty Training a Poodle Puppy: A Helpful Guide With Videos

When it comes to poodles, housebreaking can be a bit easier than it is for many other breeds breeds. Poodles are among the dog world’s most intelligent breeds, and Potty training these fluffy geniuses is often a snap with the right tools and a cheerful attitude. 

Potty Training a poodle puppy is accomplished by, bell training, pad training, crate training, or a combination of these three training methods. Housebreaking your puppy is easier when the puppy’s diet routine is strictly regulated and the puppy is taken outside on a rigid, consistent schedule.

With a little guidance, housebreaking your poodle puppy can be accomplished in just a matter of weeks. Keep reading to learn more about how to housebreak your poodle puppy and be sure to check out the videos if you’re more of a visual learner. 

Housebreaking Your Poodle Puppy With Bell Training

One effective way to train a Poodle puppy to be housebroken is to bell train your puppy. With bell training, a bell is installed near the door and the puppy is trained to ring the bell whenever they need to go out to use the bathroom.

When done correctly, a Poodle puppy can quickly learn to associate the ringing of the bell with going out to relieve themselves. Because one of the hardest parts about housebreaking a dog is knowing when the dog needs to go, bell training helps take some of the guesswork out of the process. 

Here is the procedure for bell training a Poodle puppy for housebreaking:

  • Install a training bell near the door. Training bells are often designed to lay flat against the wall near a doorway. Touch pad bells that are installed on the floor near the door can also be used.
  • Train your puppy to touch the bell with his nose by holding a treat near the bell until he accidentally moves the bell and makes it ring, then say “Touch” and giving the reward. Once the dog has figured out the touch command, you can move on to the next stage of training. Use a clicker or a simple positive response like “Yes!” or “Good!” to alert the puppy when they execute the Touch command appropriately.
  • Train the puppy to execute the touch command and ring the bell each time you take them out to relieve himself. Eventually, this will cause your puppy to associate ringing the bell with going out.
  • If the puppy has accidents, do not punish the puppy. Instead, either clean up the accident if it happened while you weren’t looking or if you catch the puppy having an accident, tell the puppy “No”, gently pick it up, and take it outside where he is supposed to relieve himself. If you catch your puppy just before they actually begin to have the accident, you can bring them to the bell and ring it, saying “touch” and then taking the puppy out. 

Bell training is a good way to housebreak a puppy as it allows them to tell you exactly when they need to go outside and use the bathroom. Not only does this reduce the number of accidents in the house that have to be cleaned up, but it is also self-reinforcing—the more the puppy successfully gets to go out after ringing the bell, the more often they are likely to use it to try and communicate. 

Housebreak Your Poodle Puppy With Pad Training

Another way to housebreak a Poodle puppy is to use pad training. Pad training involves putting disposable pads in one small area of the house and training the puppy to relieve itself in that one area, rather than training it to go outside to use the bathroom. 

Pad training is often used for indoor dogs who have to be left alone for long hours while their owners are gone or smaller dog breeds who have a small bladder and can’t hold their urine as long as a larger dog might be able to. Miniature poodles especially can benefit from pad training if they cannot be taken out every few hours.  

Here is the procedure for pad training a Poodle puppy:

  • Install disposable pads in an area of the house (preferably near a doorway, since in many cases you’ll want to encourage the puppy to go stand at the door if they need to go out). These pads will be treated with chemicals that encourage the puppy to use them.
  • When first housebreaking with pads, you should use a larger area of pads in an enclosed space that is gated off, giving the puppy plenty of room to use them. As the puppy grows larger, you should wean the number of pads back until only a single pad is left.
  • Carry the puppy over to these pads whenever they begin to act like they need to use the bathroom. The smell of the pads should encourage them to use the bathroom on the pads.
  • Leave a pad soiled with urine underneath the fresh pad (at least for a day or two). This can help reinforce that the puppy is supposed to use that spot. However, it is important during pad training that any housebreaking accidents be thoroughly cleaned
  • Keep the puppy near you whenever they are indoors. This will allow you to more easily observe them and catch them before they have an accident. If you catch the puppy sniffing or circling, it’s important to pick them up quickly and move them to the pad area. Don’t allow puppies that aren’t housebroken to roam freely in the house. 

Puppy pads aren’t the only thing you need to pad train a puppy. It’s also a good idea to purchase dog gates, a crate, and even a soft-sided puppy playpen to help restrict the puppy’s movement during the housebreaking process. Remember, the more housebreaking accidents you prevent, the quicker the dog will housebreak. 

A great behavioral training course can help when you want to begin training your dog. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I like the private member’s area, where I can connect with other dog owners and get solutions to issues I have with my dog’s training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here to discover how this program can aid your training efforts.

Using Crate Training to Housebreak Your Poodle Puppy

Crate training is often used in conjunction with pad training or bell training, and also provides a way to keep your Poodle puppy in a safe enclosed space during times when they can’t be directly supervised. 

When used properly, crates can offer dogs a comfortable place to rest that is a private sanctuary for them. However, puppies should not be left crated for long time periods, as this will only encourage them to have accidents inside their crate and defeat the purpose of using it. 

The concept behind crate training is that dogs do not want to urinate or defecate in their sleeping area, so they will avoid doing so when they’re put in a crate that they’re used to sleeping in. This can train the dog to hold their urine until the owner has a chance to take them out and walk them. 

It’s important to keep in mind that Poodle puppies have very small bladders and while they will try not to urinate or defecate in their crate, it can happen if they are left crated for too long. Puppies less than six months old can only hold their urine and bowels for 1-3 hours, and the younger the puppy is, the less time they’ll be able to hold it. 

Here is the procedure for crate training a Poodle puppy:

  • Purchase a crate and teach the puppy to sleep in it. The crate should be where the puppy is kept at night, so make it comfortable by adding a soft pad and a few of the puppy’s favorite toys in the crate. It’s also a good idea to include a chew toy of some kind to give the puppy something to do in the crate other than sleep.
  • It is normal for puppies to cry when being crate-trained the first night. Puppies would prefer to sleep with their owners because they miss the contact of their family, but try to avoid the habit. This can lead to housebreaking accidents directly in your bed, and smaller puppies can be crushed by heavy sleepers. Do not get into the habit of letting the puppy out of the crate when it cries if you know it does not need to go out. This will only reinforce the crying for attention.
  • Keep your puppy in the crate whenever he can’t be directly supervised. The puppy should be taken out to relieve itself both before and after being placed in the crate. When the puppy is young, they should only be crated overnight with a midnight break to relieve themselves, as they cannot usually hold their bladder throughout the night for the first few months. 
  • Puppies need to be taken out to use the bathroom AS SOON as they leave the crate. After a puppy has been holding their urine for hours, they may have to go urgently. Don’t let your poodle puppy make their way to the door on their own, or they’re more likely to have an accident on the way. Pick them up and carry them outside until their bladder control improves with age.
  • Puppies should be taken to use the bathroom before being crated. Always make sure the puppy is “running on empty” before they are put in the crate. This will help prevent the puppy from having an accident in the crate, which is both messy and can set back housebreaking. 
  • Do not leave the puppy in the crate for too long. A problem with crate training miniature poodles, in particular, is that it’s easier for small dogs to get away from their waste in a crate than a larger dog, which makes them more likely to relieve themselves in a far corner of it. To prevent this, Poodle puppies should be kept in the smallest crate side they can comfortably stand up and turn around in. In standard Poodles, larger crates should be bought as the puppy grows older.
  • Do NOT use the crate as punishment. Remember that the crate is not a time out place, but an area that the dog should enjoy going into and should eventually go into on their own. It’s okay to put the puppy in their crate if they are getting overexcited or need to be put in a safe place when they can’t be watched, but it shouldn’t be associated with being a “bad dog”. 

Crate training may seem cruel, but they aren’t if they are used as intended, rather than a place to leave a dog for long periods of time. Once a dog has been properly housebroken, they can often be given free rein of the house and will return to their open crate whenever they want some alone time or a nap. Crate training can be used with either pad training or bell training, depending on whether you want to train your dog to strictly go outside or to go inside on a pad. 

Feeding a Poodle Puppy While Housebreaking

How you feed a Poodle puppy while housebreaking has a profound influence on how effective you are at pulling it off. In general, people who free feed their puppies—or allow them to eat whenever they want by leaving a bowl of food out at all times—have a much more difficult time housebreaking their puppies than those who control when their dog eats.

Instead, you should feed your puppy at the same times each day. The smaller the puppy, the more often they should be fed throughout the day. This is especially true of miniature breeds, who can be prone to hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar) between meals. 

Puppies will usually have to go to the bathroom about fifteen to thirty minutes after they have eaten and drank water. This means that within this time frame after feeding a puppy will need to be taken to use the bathroom. 

While puppies should have regular access to water, owners should watch how much water they give their puppy to drink, especially when they are very young and not housebroken. Drinking too much water can lead to the puppy needing to relieve itself more often than necessary, which can increase the chance of accidents in the house. 

Training a Poodle Puppy to Relieve on Walks

f you are not training your Poodle puppy to be let out to go to the bathroom or to use puppy pads, you may be planning on taking them on walks to relieve themselves.

Many dogs enjoy marking their territory as they roam the neighborhood on a leash, but it’s important to take a few things into consideration when learning to housebreak your puppy by walking him: 

  • It’s good to walk in the morning and the evening. Not only can a long walk give a puppy who has spent hours in the crate (or is about to) plenty of time to stretch their legs and get some exercise, it also makes sure they have plenty of chances to use the bathroom before they have to go in the crate.
  • Always bring disposable potty bags to collect your puppy’s poop. Don’t be that guy (or gal) that doesn’t clean up after their dog when you take them out on a walk, since this can damage your neighbor’s grass or just leave a nasty mess for them to accidentally step in. Be sure to bring disposable plastic bags as well as a storage bag to keep used bags in.
  • Consider a harness and leash rather than a collar. Collars can be hard on a puppy’s neck, and small dog breeds like miniature poodles are especially vulnerable to a weakened trachea that can be agitated through leash-pulling. A harness gives you more control over your puppy without hurting them.
  • Resist the urge to pick your puppy up when approached by another dog. Be vigilant by all means to prevent a fight, especially if there is a large size difference, but picking up a puppy to shield it from a larger dog because you’re afraid they’ll fight can actually increase fear-based aggression towards other dogs in your puppy. Puppies have to learn to socialize on a leash with other dogs in order to become dog-friendly adults.
  • Try to take your puppy on familiar routes. There are usually spots in the neighborhood that are well-marked by all of the surrounding dogs, and these spots are more likely to elicit a bathroom break than others. Figure out which spots your dog likes the most and make sure to hit those spots each time you take a potty walk. 

Making sure to walk your puppy regularly from the beginning when you first get them (no matter how early or what the weather is like) is the best way you can ensure that your puppy housebreaks quickly and easily. The number one challenge to housebreaking is making sure the puppy gets enough chances to relieve themselves outside to avoid an accident indoors.

Supplies Needed to Housebreak a Poodle Puppy

Along with the supplies you’ll need that are specific to each housebreaking method, there are also some general housebreaking supplies that can make your life easier while trying to housebreak your Poodle puppy: 

  • Enzyme cleaners: It’s important to use an enzyme cleaner to clean up any housebreaking accidents your puppy might have indoors, as regular cleaners may not remove all of the smells in the puppy’s feces or urine that will attract them to mark the same spot again.
  • Home barriers: Barriers like dog gates, baby gates, or other screens can help keep puppies contained to a small area, which allows you to housebreak them on surfaces other than carpet and also lets you keep them close to training pads.
  • Playpens: A soft collapsible puppy playpen can be a lifesaver when you need to keep your puppy in an enclosed space for housebreaking purposes, but need more room than a crate can provide so the puppy can move around and play. 
  • Treats: Treats play a large role in positivity training, as many dogs are highly motivated by food. If you don’t free-feed your puppies, they will be even more excited to get snacks between meals, as they’re more likely to be hungry. 

All of the above supplies can not only make it easier to housebreak your puppy, they can also make it a less frustrating process for your puppy, too.

4 Tips for Housebreaking Your Poodle Puppy

Poodle puppies are smart and easy to housebreak, but there are some things you should keep in mind to make sure that the process is efficient and successful. All puppies will have some setbacks in their housebreaking, and how you react to them can make a huge difference whether your puppy gets back on track or whether they regress. 

Here are some tips for making sure housebreaking sticks when training your Poodle puppy: 

  • 1. Be patient with the puppy: Remember that puppies are just babies, and babies don’t learn things perfectly the first time. Try to stay patient with your puppy and be compassionate if they make a mistake while housebreaking. It is hard for puppies to communicate with other animals than dogs, so breaching that communication game should be done gently and with respect for your dog.
  • 2. Always clean up accidents promptly: Leaving traces of old housebreaking accidents can leave the scent of urine or feces, a strong trigger that tells the puppy to use the bathroom in that place again (since dogs use urine and feces to mark their territory). All accidents should be cleaned up as quickly as possible to avoid staining and urine soaking through the carpet into the subflooring.
  • 3. Be consistent with training: If you don’t consistently get up early in the morning to take your puppy out when they have been holding their bladder all night, then you can’t get angry at them for having an accident in their crate—you’re the cause of it. Make sure that you always walk, feed, water, and train your puppy on a schedule to make housebreaking a lot more simple.
  • 4. Do not spank a puppy or rub its nose in his mess: Not only do these methods not work to housebreak your puppy, but they may also teach your puppy to be afraid of you. Dogs do not inflict these kinds of punishments within a pack structure. If you catch a puppy having an accident, you should tell them “No” and immediately move them outside. If they’ve had an accident earlier, do not address the puppy—just clean it up and be more vigilant about watching for next time. 

It’s important that you keep housebreaking as a positive experience for your puppy since it is a very formative time period in the dog’s life and how you interact with it during this age makes a big difference in the puppy’s personality moving forward. 

Common Questions when Housebreaking a Poodle Puppy

Q: Does pad training train a dog to pee in the house? 

A: Yes and no. A dog puppy be trained to pee on indoor pads only, but pads can also be used to train a puppy to eventually pee outdoors by moving the pad closer and closer to the door until the owner starts taking them out or they are trained to use a doggie door to access the pad outside. It really depends on the owner and whether they want to train the dog for long hours indoors or not. 

Q: How long can a puppy hold its urine and bowels?

A: 1-3 hours at six months or less. An additional hour can be added for each month over the age of six months up to 8 hours. Adult dogs should not really be left this long without the ability to relieve themselves. If you have to work a full day while your puppy  is left alone at home, it is better to arrange for a lunch-time dog walker if the dog is going to be crated for long periods. Otherwise, puppy pads should be used and the dog should be left free in a closed-off space. 

Q: What do you do when a puppy won’t go outside? 

A: If your puppy doesn’t use the bathroom outside when you take them, they may not need to go. This is especially true if he hasn’t eaten or drunk anything recently. However, many puppies will have to go to the bathroom soon after they were just taken out if they didn’t go out when they were supposed to, so keep an eye out for signs right after a failed attempt to make sure you didn’t jump the gun and bring the puppy in too early. Some puppies take longer than others to pick a “good” spot. 

Housebreaking Poodle Puppies Is a Breeze with The Right Tools and Attitude

It is annoying when puppies aren’t held enough to be able to hold their bladder or bowels yet, but it’s a part of any dog owner’s journey in raising a Poodle puppy. 

As long as you use the right tools and consistently work on training your puppy, your Poodle should housebreak quickly. These quick-witted dogs are well-known for their intelligence, so you can be sure your puppy will catch on quick with praise and attention.

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Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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