Paper Training Puppies

You have a brand new puppy, and you’re certain that he is the absolute cutest thing you have ever seen. But that whole doing his business on the carpet thing has already gotten old, and it’s just the first day

You know that you have a little while to go before he is completely housebroken, but you don’t have time to keep cleaning the floor three or four times a day. Consider paper training your puppy. Not only will it make clean up a lot easier, but paper training can also help to simplify the process of housebreaking your new pet.

Puppy training pads can be purchased at most pet supply stores. These pads are great because they absorb the mess along with much of the unpleasant odor. Messes cannot soak through the pads, so your floors or carpets are completely protected. The only downside is that the pads are not reusable, so you will need to continue to purchase pads until the puppy is housebroken.

There are premium pads that come at a premium price, but the store brand pads are much cheaper and work just as well as the more expensive ones. Still, if puppy pads are not in your budget, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by using plain old newspaper.

While newspaper will be better for your budget, there is a downside. It is possible for messes to soak through the paper and get on your floor or carpet. Also, clean up is going to be a bit more challenging if you use newspaper instead of puppy pads.

Other than the differences noted above, paper training is the same no matter if you use newspaper or puppy pads. Below is a quick course in how to paper train your puppy.

Placement of the Paper/Pads

You should place the pad in one place (until you begin moving it as described in step 3). This will help the puppy to know exactly where to go to find the paper/pad when he needs to use it.

Show Him What The Paper/Pads Are For

Some puppy pads are already scented so that your dog will be attracted to them as a spot on which to eliminate. If you are using unscented pads or newspaper, you can achieve the same effect by placing feces from the puppy on the paper or pad. When he eliminates in other parts of the house, gently pick him up and place him on the paper/pad.

Give Frequent Potty Breaks

Ideally, you should let your puppy outside every 2-3 hours. This isn’t always possible, but you should let the puppy outside as often as possible. As he get older, he will be able to ‘hold it’ longer, but puppies are not yet able to do this.

Confine Puppy While You are Away

Do not let your puppy have free run of the house while you are away. Instead, he should be confined in a crate that is big enough for him to stand up and turn around in, but not much bigger. The reason that you don’t want to use a bigger crate is that puppies generally do not like to eliminate in the place where they sleep. If you give them too big of a crate, they will sleep at one end and eliminate at the other end. By putting the puppy in a smaller crate, he is more likely to wait to be let outside to go to the bathroom. If you choose not to crate train your puppy, then use baby gates to confine him to the one room where the paper/pads are located. That way, he will at least have the option of going on the paper while you are away. As soon as you come home, the first thing you should do is let the puppy outside.

Begin to Move the Paper/Pad

Once you see that your puppy is using the paper/pads on a consistent basis, you can begin to move the pad closer to the door that you use when you let dog outside. Every few days you can move the pad a little closer to the door. Finally, you can move the pad outside.

Dealing with Mistakes

Do not expect perfection, and don’t be surprised if your puppy makes a few mistakes, even after several days of doing great. don’t yell at, hit or otherwise punish your puppy when he makes a mistake. Instead, say ‘no’ in a firm voice and move the puppy to the paper/pad. This is only effective if you catch the dog in the act. If you find the waste after the puppy has moved on, just clean it up and keep on with the training.


While you are training, you shouldn’t just let your puppy outside by himself. Instead, you should always go outside with him and make a very big deal out of it anytime he goes to the bathroom outside. Lots of verbal praise and some treats should do the trick. Also, when you let the puppy outside, use a verbal cue such as ‘Go potty’. Be consistent with whatever phrase you choose and the puppy will begin to associate that cue with going potty.

Before long, your new puppy will be completely housebroken. But there is another use for paper training. For dogs that must be alone at home for long periods of time, paper training provides a way for them to eliminate in an area designated by you. Properly trained to use the paper or pads, they will not eliminate on the floor, so when you are home simply do not leave a pad or paper on the floor and they will wait for you to let them outside to do their business.

Paper training and housebreaking your puppy is not the most pleasant aspect of dog ownership. But with consistency and lots of praise, you and your puppy can master it in no time!



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