How to Potty Train a Dog in an Apartment

How to Potty Train a Dog in an Apartment

Puppy potty training tips are usually geared towards individuals who live in homes with outdoor areas, where their dogs have a lovely grassy lawn to relieve themselves at their leisure. However, if you’re one of the 1 in 8 Americans who lives in an apartment (that’s almost 40 million people nationwide), you know that not everyone can just put in a doggy door and hope for the best! 

Without a doubt, apartment living is trending and seems to be the way of the future. More and more people will be moving into these yard-free units in the next decade, which means a lot of puppy parents will need some help taking care of business. But how can you both work together to manage such an unnatural environment?

We believe that apartment layouts shouldn’t further complicate pet parenthood. Caring for a dog is challenging no matter what your home looks like, so we’re giving you our tried-and-true methods to potty train a dog while enjoying the perks of an apartment.

#1: Keep Your Cool

If you want to make potty training a success for everyone, it all starts with making it a positive and supportive experience.  Always remember that your pup is learning, and that just takes a little time. It’s best not to raise your voice or resort to disciplining them unfairly while they’re figuring it all out. 

Also, dogs adjust to their respective routines through verbal encouragement and special rewards. They’re often food-motivated, and some are thrilled with pets and praise when they find success. Make positive reinforcement your ally, and your dog will be happy to team up to create a workable routine. And remember: as they get the hang of it, potty training will become smoother and much less messy, but accidents do happen in the interim. Take a minute before you raise your voice.

#2: Know Your Pup

Younger puppies have to urinate more frequently than adult dogs, so you’ll need to make sure you’re setting an appropriate schedule. The rule of thumb is that, for every month old they are, puppies can control their bladder for one hour.  

Other sources cite a different formula: divide your dog’s age in months in half, and that’s the maximum time you should make them wait. If it helps, combine both recommendations to create a range, meaning that a puppy of that age should make it at least two hours but no more than four.

These are rough estimates, not to be taken as dogma (ha), so careful observation will be key when you potty train a dog. Pay attention to signals indicating that they need to go, such as whining, circling, or searching for a spot to pop a squat. 

#3: Choose Your Words Carefully

Aside from being aware of their potty limitations, it’s wise to decide on a specific word or phrase to use when potty training your dog. Widely shared favorites include “pee-pee,” “time to go,” or “go potty.” The shorter, the better. It’ll be their cue from here on out. 

In order to teach the dog to associate this agreed upon word or phrase with relieving themselves, everyone in your home should use it. Follow with a treat and voice your approval to reinforce the concept once they’ve gone. Do a dance, cheer them on, celebrate!

Tone also matters. Dogs begin to recognize that higher-pitched communication indicates a satisfied owner, and since they aim to please, they’ll strive to earn that reaction from you. Likewise, they respond to harsh volumes, such as loud yelling, by cowering or hanging their head. Your dog distinguishes between words like “good” or “bad” based on your inflection, and those early experiences will imprint on them for the long-term.

#4: Use the Right Accessories

A big part of potty training your dog involves figuring out where you’d prefer for them to do their business. Ideally, this location is not your nicest rug or the freshly refinished wood floors!

People living in apartments may think that walking their dog around the building is the only way to get them to go, which is a fairly restrictive arrangement if you’re ever away from home for long periods of time. Relying solely on walks for potty breaks trains your dog to become selective with their bathroom needs, and therefore tougher to oblige. Besides, if it’s pouring rain or the elevator is broken, do you really want to be stuck taking your dog outside for a stroll? 

Your next thought might be to stock up on disposable pee pads. Excessively wasteful and foul-smelling, pee pads are a common default for people who are unable to get their dogs outside to defecate.

However, in theory, a pee pad is a fantastic solution for the challenges of apartment-dwelling canines. It allows everyone to operate on their own schedule, and relieves you of stressful scheduling ballets. Fortunately, technology has come a long way since the messy and smelly pug rug was invented, and there are solutions today that are not only functional, but stylish, hygienic, and make training a snap.

Your Secret Weapon: the City Loo

The City Loo is an entirely in-home bathroom system for your dog, and perfect for the busy pet parent with an apartment lifestyle. We’ve designed a dog litter box that’s conducive to quick training while maintaining discretion by keeping your pooch’s potty routine clear and clean.

Whether it’s in a corner of your laundry room, a portion of your balcony, or alongside your own toilet, the City Loo fits into your space seamlessly. You can avoid the hassle of potty training your pup outdoors and upgrade from the pee pad situation that so many owners settle for in their apartments. It can be daunting to potty train a dog, let alone do so in an apartment, but we’re here to help.

Try a City Loo dog litter box in your home today. Trust us: your dog will thank you!