How to Teach the "Potty" Command to a Puppy

By Maya Marin

If you're walking your puppy outside for lengthy periods in the hopes he goes potty, maybe it's time to reassess your potty-training methods. Just how you can teach your pet companion to sit, stay and come, you can teach him to do his business when you tell him to. In addition to being a time-saver, going potty on command comes in handy during bad weather and long road trips.

Designated Potty Area

To get your puppy to respond to the word "potty" (or another word or phrase of your choice like "toilet," "go pee," or "do your business") you must first choose a potty area where you'll take him each time he has to go. This can be a grassy area outside or, if you're training him to go potty indoors, a pee pad or newspapers that are spread on easy-to-clean, hard flooring. After cleaning up one of your puppy's accidents, place the soiled towel in the designated potty area, because the smell can help him recognize what the area is for.

Consistent Command Phrase

if you want your puppy to understand the meaning of your potty command, you must use the same word or phrase consistently in the same tone of voice at the correct times. Using a different command each time is confusing and isn't going to get the job done. Ensure that all other people who take your puppy to go potty throughout the day use the same phrase and use the same tone of voice.

Using the "Potty" Command

To get your puppy to eliminate on command, take him to the potty area when you think he has to go. This can be about every two hours of the day, or after he wakes up, after he eats and drinks and after play time. While he eliminates, say your command repetitively until he finishes. Then reward him lavishly with praise and treats. Do this consistently, and after two to three weeks, he'll associate the command word with relieving himself and you'll be able to use the command to tell him what to do.


After your puppy consistently eliminates on command in the designated area, start using the command in other areas so you can get him to do his business elsewhere when needed. Walk him in another area, and randomly give him the potty command. When he does his business, praise and treats are in order. After he goes potty on command, don't always take him back inside, because knowing that going potty stops the outdoor fun might make him refuse to go potty altogether.

About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.