How to House Train a Puppy in an Apartment?
One of the great things about house-training a puppy in an apartment is that you don’t have to take it outside several times of the day. This means that you can keep your dog healthy even if you have a busy daily schedule.
If you’ve just got a pup in your apartment and are worried about potty-training them, take a deep breath because it’s not that hard – it only takes a bit of patience and time.
Here’s a complete guide on how to house train a puppy in an apartment.
How to Train Your Pup to Go to a Designated Spot Indoors?
Training your dog to do their business in a designated spot inside your apartment can be an excellent alternative to taking it out frequently. Here are some affordable options you can use for your dog to go indoors. Be sure to watch this video on house training a puppy in an apartment.
Learn our method of how to house train a puppy in an apartment, but first watch this video below.
Place Dog Litter Boxes At Your Apartment
We know what you’re thinking: “aren’t litter boxes for cats?” Well, you’d be thrilled to learn that there are litter boxes for dogs, and they work just as effectively. You’ll find that dog litter boxes are a little larger than cat litter boxes for obvious reasons. If you’re considering this option, ensure that the size of the litter box is perfect for your dog.
The great thing about a dog litter box is that the litter itself is relatively inexpensive. Once you set up the litter box, encourage your pup to use that as a bathroom. You can use commands and positive reinforcement to train your dog to use the litter box.
If your dog does have an accident at some other part of your apartment, keep the towels you use to clean the mess in the litter box. The scent of their pee will prompt them to use the litter box the next time.
Dog litter boxes are relatively low-maintenance; you just have to change the litter twice a week depending on the size and breed of your pup. Another benefit of a dog litter box is that it will keep your dog clean. It is common for dogs to pick up mud or dirt on their bodies when they go outside.
Dog litter boxes also save you the time and effort you’d spend taking your dog outside the apartment to do its business. Dog litter boxes make it much more feasible to keep a dog even with a busy schedule.
Use Doggy Pads Often
It will be harder to train your pup to use a doggy pad instead of going outside for their business. This is because the surface area of a doggy pad is rather small. However, with time, you’ll succeed in getting your pup to do their business in a doggy pad. Just be patient with your dog throughout the process.
One great thing about doggy pads is that they’re quite affordable. Because they’re disposable, you can just throw them in the trash once your pet is done using them. This saves you the trouble of scooping the poop like you would if your dog did their business outside the apartment.
If your pup uses a spot indoors as a bathroom, ensure to clean up all accidents immediately during the house-training process. There is a higher chance for the smell of their waste to linger if you don’t clean it up right away. The lingering scent of your pup’s waste may make them relieve themselves in the same spot again.
Restrict Your Pup’s Access to Most of the House
Don’t’ let your pup roam freely around the house – especially not in carpeted rooms. This will make it harder to keep watch on your dog – which will increase the number of accidents outside of the designated pooping area in your apartment.
If you don’t keep an active eye on your pup, you may not even know it has had an accident in another room. Finding their waste hours after it happened will make it more difficult to remove the stain and scent.
Use a baby gate to restrict your pup’s access to a specific portion of a room. Pick a spot that will be easy to keep watch on. Also, choose a room with linoleum or tile floors. It will be easier to clean up accidents off of these floors than carpeted floors.
Keep the Litter Box or Doggy Pad Close By
Your pup’s litter box or doggy pad should be easily accessible to ensure that they use it. Your puppy won’t use any of these designated pooping areas if they cannot find it. During the house-training process, you should ensure that your dog can reach these devices without much effort.
If you’re restricting their access to most of the house, then make sure that the designated pooping area is visible to your pup. This will improve the chances of them using it.
The designated pooping area should always be a few steps away from your pup so that it doesn’t have to hold its waste for long. Small puppies have a hard time holding their waste.
Thus, keep a litter box close to them so that they won’t need to hold in their waste. This will greatly reduce the chances of your pup having accidents in other parts of the apartment.
Use a Word or Phrase as a Command
Make it a habit to utter a word or phrase when you want your pup to do its business at the designated location. You can use this command to let them know when it’s time for them to do their business. For example, you could say “potty” or “go potty.”
Remember, the goal is to encourage but not force them to do their business where you want. Thus, be supportive throughout the process and reward them at the end. If they don’t respond to your command, don’t get angry at them. Just give them space and let them do it on their own.
Using a word to command your pup is good because it helps associate a particular action (relieving themselves, in this case) with a specific word (and how that word is spoken).
If you do it each time before your dog goes, it will know what it has to do the next time you say it. However, that also means that you shouldn’t use that word when you’re not at the designated spot. If you do, your dog might do their business at an undesirable spot.
Give Your Pup Space
Don’t hover over your dog when they’re relieving themselves, and don’t force them to do it. Encourage them with your words and actions, but let them get to it on their own. Let them take as much time as they need to as well. You want your dog to feel as comfortable as possible throughout the process. This will help them accept this pooping pattern more readily.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs react well to praise for their good behavior. They associate a desirable outcome (giving praise or a treat) with performing a particular task. In this case, the job is doing its business outside of the apartment. They will be more willing to perform the task if they expect to be rewarded for it.
Your puppy won’t know if certain behavior or tasks are favorable unless you make that explicit. During the house-training process, reward your pup with a treat every time they do something that you want them to do. This includes doing their business at the designated dog litter box or doggy pad.
In addition to treats, praise them for a job well done by your words and the way you interact with them. If you have time on your hands, you can also choose to take them outside and play with them after they’re done with their business.
Be sure to do this after they finish their business and not before. Doing so will help them understand that they can only play after they do what needs to be done.
Make a Pooping Routine for Your Pup
It will be easier for your puppy to learn when and where to do their business if you create a consistent pooping schedule for them. Create a complete schedule for training your dog – make it a feasible one because you should stick to this schedule even after your dog is well-trained.
Your schedule needs to be comprehensive for it to be effective. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when creating your puppy’s house-training schedule.
- How many times will you clean the dog litter box?
- What time will you feed your dog?
- What time will you encourage your pup to do its business?
- What time will you clean the dog litter box?
A schedule helps with being consistent when training your puppy. Consistency will help you establish when your puppy should do what. This will help develop a pattern that they can remember. It will be difficult for them to realize what they have to do if you’re all over the place.
House-training, your puppy, can be a lengthy process, but creating a schedule can speed it up. Keeping a consistent schedule will make it easier for your puppy to remember when and where they have to do their business.
Create a Feeding Schedule
An essential part of your training schedule should be the timings at which you feed your puppy. Puppies usually need to do their business within half an hour of finishing their meal. Thus, you should expect your puppy to use the dog litter box or the doggy pad soon after they’re done eating their food.
We cannot stress enough how important it is that everything in your schedule is consistent. That is why you must plan the schedule carefully. It should work into your daily routine.
If your routine and your pup’s routine don’t match, it may become difficult for you to keep the litter box clean or keep clean doggy pads nearby. Your puppy most probably won’t do their business in a dirty litter box. So you must keep it clean at all times.
Be Attentive to Your Pup’s Habits
If you pay close attention to when your pup has their accidents, you’ll notice patterns in their behavior. Puppies are more prone to going at certain times of the day. Make a note of those times and when they generally like to eat their meals.
You should create a house-training schedule while keeping that in mind. This will make things more comfortable, and they will be more likely to adapt to the routine you set for them.
What Should I Do If I Want to Take My Dog Outdoors?
Besides knowing how to house train a puppy in an apartment, it is essential to know how to train a puppy outside the apartment as well.
Sometimes, your schedule may allow you to take your dog outside several times of the day. This means that you can train it to do its business outside your apartment. Here are some tips on how to house train a puppy in an apartment if you can take it outside.
Take Your Pup Outside Frequently
Dogs need to relieve themselves several times a day. You should take your dog outside first thing in the morning. They usually need to relieve themselves after a good night’s sleep. Be sure to give them a treat after they do their business. After that, you should take them outside every half an hour if that is possible in your schedule. If not, then you should take them out after every meal.
Eating food gets dogs’ bowels to work. Therefore, they need to go soon after they finish eating. The food in that meal isn’t instantly digested; it’s the previous meals that need to be removed from their bodies.
Also, take your dog outside of your apartment to relieve themselves before they take a nap and before they go to bed at night. You don’t want them to wake you up in the middle of the night, asking to be taken outside.
Hire a Pet Sitter
If you’re finding it difficult to take your dog outside, why not have someone else do it? You can hire a dog-sitter to take your dog for a walk at appointed times in the day. Ensure that the sitter is trained and experienced in dealing with dogs.
They should know what they’re doing, prioritize your pup’s health, and be prepared for any issues. A trained sitter can help you with potty-training your dog if you are unable to do it yourself.
Carry Your Pup to the Destination
Pups that are under a year old can’t hold in their waste as easily as older dogs. If your dog signals to you that they need to go, you should carry your pup in your arms and move quickly to the spot where you want them to do their business.
Always pick the same spot for your pup to poop at. It will help them associate that action with that location. Furthermore, their scent from that location will prompt them to do their business.
Carrying your puppy to this spot will be faster than letting them walk alongside you. The time it takes your pup to walk, there might be too much for them. This may make them go on the way there –which may cause a problem for you if they do it at an unfavorable location.
In addition to that, it will be difficult for them to go while they’re in your arms. Once they get older or are well-trained, you can let them walk beside you to the spot. This daily routine can also be a good way for you to spend with your dog.
Don’t Punish Your Pup
Accidents are going to happen, whether you like it or not. You should get comfortable with that thought now so that you can be patient with your pet early on. If you catch your pup in the middle of a squat, just say “no” and clap your hands loudly. Don’t display anger and avoid reacting harshly to their behavior.
If your pup stops midway of their business or stops before they get to it, pick them immediately and take them to the litter box inside your apartment. Be sure to reward them with praise or a treat when they do their business where you want them to.
Your dog needs love and care to be healthy and responsive to your commands. If you act aggressively to their accidents, they will begin to fear you. This will ruin your relationship with your dog, and it will negatively affect their health.
You want to teach your dog how to behave by employing positive reinforcement. Your focus should be on positive consequences and not negative ones. This will yield better results, and it’ll keep your dog healthier in the long run.
Bringing a pup into your home is almost the same as bringing home a baby. You will have to give them a lot of attention, care, and affection. After they reach about 12 weeks old, you’ll have to start the house-training process.
This can be a long and tiring process if you live in an apartment, but once you do it right, you’ll have a loving and well-behaved companion by your side. With this guide in hand, you now know how to house train a puppy in an apartment.
Paul Cook is an avid pet and animal enthusiast. He spent much of her childhood on a small farm in rural Iowa. When in high school, Paul nursed an entire box of newborn, and recently dumped, kittens back to health, and successfully found homes for all of them. He’s presently the dog-dad of nine beautiful dogs, Bruno, Lester, Sandy, Bailey, Dio, Pat, Max, Brutus, and Nora. In his career life, Paul has 20+ years of writing experience as a content writer and content collaborator across a host of verticals. When he is not writing, he is spending time with his dogs.