Why do Puppies have accidents?

House training is easier if you understand what causes your puppy to have accidents inside your home. Dogs are den animals. They live in small spaces and want to keep their space clean. They generally will not soil in the areas where they live – especially the areas where they eat and sleep. If your family is gathered in one room, your puppy may wander into a different room to relieve himself because he does not think of it as an area where he lives.

Burrinjuck puppies are familiar with going to the toilet on grass in the backyard. We consolidate this training through the additional use of false grass, directly in front of their sleeping area.  Puppies don’t have to walk very far with a full bladder, before being able to relieve themselves. 

Crate training also assists with toilet training. Make sure you put your puppy outside to toilet, last thing, prior to placing him in the crate. Also ensure that you take him/her outside to toilet again, immediately, upon opening the door to let him out .

We have several products that may assist the toilet training process. The Pet-Loo is a system that comes with a square of false grass. It can be easily cleaned and placed conveniently in a location that you would like to train your puppy. The Pet Loo is particularly useful for apartment living. PetSafe Pet Loo

How often does an 8-week-old puppy need to go outside?

Young puppies need to go outside every time they switch activities. That means when they wake up, after they eat, after playing, etc! This can seem like every 30 minutes while they are awake!

Watch his behavior closely and learn his cues that he needs to go to the bathroom. If he stops playing with a toy and starts sniffing the ground, he needs to go out! At only a couple months old, he can’t wait long after realizing he needs to go – so you must be quick to react and get him outside.

Should I Use Potty Pads?

Ideally, no. And here’s why: 

  • Potty pads don’t teach your puppy to control his bladder. If he can go to a potty pad and relieve himself any time he’d like, he will never learn to hold it when you remove the pad
  • Its hard to explain to a puppy that he can pee on a pad inside, but not on your rug! Its best to leave it black and white – you must potty outside, never inside!

Step # 1


  • Keep your puppy in the same room that you are in at all times. Do not watch the clock to determine when your puppy needs to go outside; instead watch your puppy’s behavior. 
  • When you cannot be with your puppy, confine him in a crate or an area that is small enough to discourage him from soiling. I highly recommend that you teach your puppy to be confined in a crate. 
  • If you discover that your puppy has had an accident when you were not watching him, it is too late to fuss at him. If you did not see it happen, you should clean it up and vow to watch him more closely!

Step # 2

Develop a Schedule

  • Do not expect your puppy to ‘ask’ to go outside—he is too young. It is your responsibility to watch him and take him out before he has a chance to relieve himself inside.
  • When you let your puppy out of his crate or confined space, immediately take him outside. Important!  If he does not relieve himself outside, bring him back inside and confine him again. Wait several minutes and take him outside again. Do not bring a puppy inside and allow him to be loose in your house unless he has just relieved himself outside.
  • If your puppy has been in the yard by himself for more than 20 minutes, assume he has been patiently waiting by the door for you to let him in. Go out in the yard with him and encourage him to relieve himself before you let him back in the hous


What if I catch my puppy having an accident?

If your puppy soils in front of you, make an exclamation of disgust and immediately take him outside. There is no need to show him the mess – simply get him outside as quickly as possible.

What if my puppy keeps soiling in one location in my home?

If your puppy is soiling in one location in your home, he is attempting to establish an acceptable bathroom in the house. Try feeding him in that location for a few days. Most puppies will avoid soiling in the area where they eat.

I let my puppy outside, but he immediately comes inside and has an accident. What do I do?

You must go outside with your puppy to ensure he uses the bathroom before coming inside. If he does not relieve himself outside, bring him inside and put him back in his crate. Wait 10 minutes, then take him outside again. If he goes, praise and allow him back inside! If he doesn’t go, back into the crate for 10 minutes, then try taking him outside again. 

My puppy seemed house trained for a while, then started having accidents again. What do I do?

When your puppy starts succeeding at house training, you can give him more freedom. This is ok as long as your puppy continues to practice good habits. Do not be alarmed if has an occasional accident – just back up a few steps and ensure you are managing and supervising him as closely as you did when he was first learning. Get a few good days of no accidents under your belt, then you can ease up a bit.

3 Rules to Prevent Accidents

Your puppy will learn MUCH faster if you help him avoid accidents in the first place! Prevent accidents by following the following 3 rules:


1️⃣  Never let your puppy out of your sight – he must occupy the same space you are in.

2️⃣  Take your puppy outside every time he changes activities. You should be watching his activities rather than watching the clock.

3️⃣  Confine your puppy to a small area, such as a small room or crate anytime you cannot directly supervise.

A few additional tips.

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We often get asked if our puppies come with toilet training. The answer is …yes… and no!

In the same way that it is unrealistic to expect an infant to be toilet trained. It is not possible to fully toilet train an 8 week old puppy.  Pups do not have full control over their small bladder at this young age. 


We can definitely set up routines, and processes for success. Establishing routines; practicing toilet timing after every new activity and constant supervision are the keys to success. If you choose to use false grass or training pads, keep them accessible and not too far away from the pup’s resting place. 

At this point, your puppy should be making great strides with potty training. If you’re still struggling, we have highly trained Dog Behaviourists on our team, that are here to help.