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So, when potty training Owl, I’ve been working off of the basic tenets of puppy potty training. I’ve received tons of advice for potty training Owl and have incorporated some of it into my program, but it’s always easier to work off of what you already know.

And so, for anyone else who finds dogs easier than kids, I present:

Potty Training Your Puppy Toddler

substitute dog with child and grass with potty

Step 1: Allow your  puppy toddler to roam around the house, while you watch carefully.

Step 2: Take your puppy toddler to the appropriate location on a regular basis, most notably whenever he/she wakes up, has played for 10-15 minutes, or has eaten.

Step 3: If your puppy toddler urinates or has a bowel movement in the correct place, make a big deal out of it. Have special, very high value treats that you dispense only when your puppy toddler has voided in the correct location.

Step 4: If your puppy toddler begins to urinate or have a bowel movement inside while playing, interrupt the behavior (by picking him/her up or simply saying “oops!” or clapping your hands to distract him/her) and immediately direct him/her to the correct location. Hopefully he/she will finish urinating or defecating there.

Do not punish mistakes; simply try to interrupt them. Potty training is about conditioning correct behaviors.

Step 5: If your puppy toddler manages to urinate or defecate in the correct place once redirected, throw a big party and dispense the usual treats, even though this started with a mistake. What your puppy toddler will remember is that urinating/defecating on the floor resulted in interruption, while urinating/defecating in the correct place was highly rewarded.

Further adjustments: Since puppies are naturally naked, it is easy to spot urination and bowel movements as they happen. For this to work with toddlers, they must be similarly unencumbered. A collar shirt is optional.

Further adjustments part the second: Toddlers seem to respond better to smarties and similar small sweets than they do to freeze dried liver or cut up hot dog, but this may vary from toddler to toddler.


You have begun the process of potty training your puppy toddler! While you should see dramatic improvements within a few days, the process may take several weeks to months to complete. Consistency is key!