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How to Potty Train a Puppy in the Winter


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A lot of people have emailed in asking how to potty train a puppy in the winter. According to statistics, the number one cause of death in newborn puppies is catching a draft (which is why it’s so important to keep them warm) but even with older ones warmth is important.



Looking at how to potty train a puppy in the winter generally means not potty training outdoors in the garden or otherwise. Instead you should look at something like how to paper train a puppy or how to litter train a puppy. These things can be taught indoors so when the seasons change you can retrain them but your puppy hasn’t spent the last few months making a mess of your carpet at least.



In the long run I usually suggest people potty train puppies immediately outdoors although for some people that’s just not feasible (see the article on how to potty train a puppy in an apartment) or this case when you can’t potty train a puppy because of the cold.



So for training indoors it’s either paper training or litter training. To be honest they’re both pretty much the same thing. You teach your puppy to do their business on piles of newspaper or especially set out litter tray or pad. These are much easier to clean up rather than on the couch or rug and it keeps the mess in one place. The difference between the two is pretty minimum and the training works out much the same way.



You need to place the litter, pad or paper out if the way of the puppies sleeping, eating or play area. It’s hard to train a puppy not to urinate in the kitchen when that’s what it smells like. I like using a spare, fairly unused, room with a lino floor.



Every hour and before and after sleeping, playing, sleeping or meeting new people you should take your puppy and place him or her on the set spot and repeat a consistent command word such as ‘potty’ or ‘make’ and you need to use this same command every time and try to keep your tone the same as well. If your puppy does their business on the right spot you reward them before moving back to the main part of the house and replacing the paper or litter. Try not to let your puppy stand in it and walk the mess through the house.



There will be the odd accident and there really isn’t anything you, or the puppy, can do about that. But any time you catch your puppy in the act (and only in the act) of doing their business in the wrong area repeat a firm no and move them to the correct area, this is the basics of how to potty train a puppy normally and when it comes to potty training a puppy outdoors you follow the same principles again. If training twice sounds like too much work then perhaps avoid getting a puppy until a warmer season so you won’t need to learn how to potty train a puppy in the winter.


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  • About us

    Hello, Chris here and thanks for stopping by. I hope I'll be able to help you learn how to potty train a puppy without too much of a headache!

    There's nothing quite like living with a dog and I've potty trained a fair few in my time. I put this site together to help people who were having problems potty training a puppy.

    It doesn't have to be as hard as people make out and the guides you'll find here should make things nice and easy for you.