BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Pets

A beginner’s guide to potty training a puppy

How to potty train a puppy

Adding a new puppy to your family is always exciting and fun. However, your furry friend will certainly keep you on your toes. In addition to teaching them about their new boundaries, you’ll also want to potty train your puppy as soon as possible. 

There are several potty training methods. Picking the best method for your family depends on the age of your puppy, your living circumstances and your puppy’s breed. Regardless of your preferred method, here are some items you’ll need to potty train your puppy.

Puppy potty training methods

Crate potty training

While it may seem harsh to keep your new puppy confined to a crate, it's one of the most recommended potty training methods.

Keep your puppy's space small. The principle behind the crate method is that dogs won’t soil in their space or den. Keep the area small by using a small crate or a crate divider, leaving enough room for your furry friend to stand up, lay down and turn around. 

Don't leave your puppy for too long. Your puppy has a small bladder and can’t be in the crate for too long without a potty break. As soon as they scratch or whine, take them outside and reward them for using the bathroom. 

The key to the crate potty training method to work is to make sure your dog sees their crate as their den. Don’t use the crate as a negative tool or punishment. 

Bell potty training

Train your dog to touch the bell. Introduce your dog to the bell and have them practice touching it. Use a command such as "touch," and reward your puppy as soon as they touch the bell. 

Hang the bell on your door. When you feel your puppy understands how to touch the bell, it's time to hang the bell on the door. Say your command and when your dog rings the bell, take them out. 

For this method to work, you need to take your dog outside every time they ring the bell, so they know they won't be ignored when they need to use the bathroom.

What you need to potty train a puppy

Regardless of your preferred method, here are some items to help you potty train a puppy.

Items you need to crate potty train

Amazon Basics Premium Folding Portable Dog Crate

Small dogs will feel at home in this compact, soft-sided carrier crate. The screened panels allow your puppy to see you, and it includes a plush fleece-covered pet bed. 

Sold by Amazon

MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Inclusive Home Training System

With options starting at 18 inches up to 48 inches, you’ll be able to find the perfect size for your furry friend. It comes in single and double doors and includes a divider to make your crate as small or big as you need. 

Sold by Amazon

MidWest Homes for Pets Quiet Time Dog Crate Cover

A dog crate cover can make your pup feel more comfortable and secure. The Teflon fabric protector repels stains & odors. It’s also machine-washable and dryer-safe. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Items you need to bell potty train

Caldwell's Pet Supply Co. Potty Bells Original Dog Doorbell

Hang this potty bell from any doorknob or handle so your pup can easily find it and tell you when they need to go outside. The metal bells are loud enough to hear anywhere in your house. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0

A dog potty communication doorbell is an excellent alternative to a traditional bell. It attaches to any door with an adhesive strip and can be customized with the bell volume and ringtone of your choice. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Downtown Pet Supply Big Button Training Clicker

Quickly and positively train your puppy to use the bell with a training clicker. It fits nicely in the palm of your hand and has a loud click sound your dog will always hear. 

Sold by Amazon

Items you need for pad potty training

Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pads

These puppy pads have five layers with a plastic lining to make them leak-proof and super absorbent. They dry quickly and are disposable. 

Sold by Amazon

The Proper Pet Washable & Reusable Pee Pads for Dogs

If you’re trying to cut down on waste, reusable pee pads are a smart idea. These eco-friendly puppy pads are machine-washable and come in cute designs. 

Sold by Amazon

Petmaker Artificial Grass Puppy Pad

Whether you live in an apartment or prefer to get your puppy used to grass rather than disposable pee pads, this portable artificial grass puppy pad is an essential potty training tool. Cleanup is as simple as rinsing the three layers. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Items you need to clean up messes

Nature's Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator

This enzymatic formula works to eliminate tough stains and odors from a puppy accident. It continues working to ensure any smell is completely gone, discouraging puppies from going in the same spot. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Amazer Heavy-Duty Scrub Brush

For tough stains, extra scrubbing may be necessary. This heavy-duty scrub brush has a comfortable grip and can be used on all surfaces. 

Sold by Amazon

Bissell Pet Spotlifter

A 2-in-1 cleanser and scrubber is useful and convenient to clean up any puppy messes in a hurry. It completely eliminates all odors, so your pet won't be able to find the exact spot again.

Sold by Amazon

Items you need to praise your pup

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Dog Treats

Don’t worry about overfeeding your puppy with these bite-size treats. They’re a mixture of pure meat protein with added fruits and veggies to help your puppy grow big and strong. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Blue Buffalo Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats

Real chicken is the first ingredient in these healthy puppy treats. They’re tender and bite-size, with no artificial preservatives. 

Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Rocket & Rex 6-Pack Dog Chew Toys

Instead of edible treats, reward your dog with toys and one-on-one playtime. This six-pack allows you to alternate toys to keep your puppy surprised and happy. 

Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: