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Training Your Dog To Toilet

Katrina Johnson - RVH Dip Inst Dog Trainer, City & Guilds Exotics Certificate

Having an area which is used solely for your dog to use as a toilet has many benefits:

  • Prevents urine marks on your lawn.
  • Prevents leaving remnants of faeces where children may play (health risk).
  • Easier and quicker to keep clean.
  • Dogs can be taught to toilet on command.
  • Not having to clean up dog mess on walks.

It is best to start training as a puppy, but older dogs can also learn how to toilet on command in specific areas.

Choosing The Right Area

  1. The bigger the dog, the bigger area will be needed.
  2. With puppies, it is best to have an area close to the house.
  3. It does not matter what surfaces we use, but some thought needs to be given on how to keep the area clean.

How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Toileting Area?

  1. First thing in the morning.
  2. After a feed.
  3. After play.
  4. After sleeping.
  5. Before walks.

Commands and Rewards

  1. Always take dog out on a lead to the area. Once your dog knows to go to toilet here we can then give freedom.
  2. Let the dog sniff, the area, following but then saying nothing.
  3. Once dog starts to relieve itself add in command word i.e. be busy.
  4. Then reward with food treat and freedom to play.


  1. Accidents will happen at the beginning of training, don’t worry.
  2. Never tell your dog off it he goes somewhere else but take it back inside house.
  3. If you catch your dog about to go elsewhere in the garden call it excitedly to toilet area or quickly clip the lead on and take to toileting area. Remember to reward if goes in correct place.
  4. Remember to be vigilant at the beginning of training to catch the body language of the dog before it goes to the toilet enabling you to get your dog to the specific area quickly.

Keep The Area Clean

  1. At the beginning of training keep small amounts of your dog’s faeces in the area to encourage you dog to toilet here.
  2. Make sure the area is kept clean to prevent smell, staining and prevent health issues.