TOILET TRAINING PUPPY IN THE CITY - How to train
your new puppy to pee and poop in the correct way
Dr Sing Kong Yuen
First written: July
Updated: April 3, 2015
Toilet training your apartment
puppy starts immediately using praise and rewards rather than punishment
This brief report
is based on a survey of Singaporean pet owners
who bring their puppies to
Toa Payoh Vets
for vaccination at various times
from 2005 to 2015.
Many first-time puppy owners seldom know how to
toilet train their puppies and don't know where to get the information or
The puppy is immediately free to roam the whole apartment and some family
members are unhappy as the puppy urinates and passes stools on the rug and
everywhere except on newspapers. Toilet-training sprays bought at the pet
shop have been placed on the newspapers by some owners,
but the puppy ignores the newspapers.
The reason is that most puppies have had
been housed on wire flooring in crates (cages)
at the breeders and pet shops and have no association of relieving
themselves on newspapers.
However, a very small percentage of puppies relieve themselves on the
newspapers within a week with little training.
Many pet shop operators recommend the first-time puppy owner to buy four panels
of fences. When these four panels are hooked up,
they form a play pen (puppy pen) to confine the puppy.
The following is one method of toilet training the puppy confined to the
play pen or a small area. It is known as PAPER TRAINING.
1. CONFINEMENT FOR 3-4
WEEKS. Keep the puppy confined in the play pen (puppy pen) or small
area of around 6 sq ft (e.g. Shih Tzus). The sizes depends on the
breed. The play pen is placed in the balcony, kitchen, outside the
toilet. If you don't buy the play pen, choose an area in the
balcony, spare utility room or kitchen. Block the area using a baby
gate or fence. Keep the puppy confined for most of the time in the first 3
2. 100% NEWSPAPER COVER. Cover the whole floor with
3. ACTION. When the puppy circles, moves forward and backward
or sniffs around, it wants to urinate or defaecate. Say to the puppy
"Wee Wee" or any word you like JUST BEFORE it has relieved itself.
5. LAVISH PRAISE AND/OR REWARDS. After it has relieved
itself, give it a small treat and say in a HAPPY voice "Good dog" or any
word you like.
6. Replace the soiled newspaper as
soon as possible if you are at home. Soon, you will note that it
will choose one spot as it wants to keep its sleeping area clean.
7. Gradually remove the newspaper (e.g. 5 cm by 5 cm per day) till
only the newspaper covers only the area the puppy uses to relieve itself.
Give the puppy a towel to sleep on but it may chew it. Give it one good
quality chew toy or a chew toy with food.
8. When the puppy is paper-trained, put newspapers outside the
confined area in a bigger area of the apartment so that the puppy can
relieve itself on the newspaper. This is because the puppy will not be
able to get into the play pen (if it has no door). It may whine to
ask you to put it in the play pen but you may not be free to note that it
wants to go to the toilet.
Some pet shops recommend a second water bottle to be put on the outside of
the play pen so that the puppy can still have water to drink after it has
been toilet trained. It uses the play pen as its den to sleep and eat.
9. Position the puppy near to family activities as the puppy is a
social creature. Most Singaporeans keep the puppy in the kitchen, balcony
or living area.
A crate sold by the pet shop. 3 feet long and 2
NOTES: 1. From 8 - 20 weeks old, the puppy relieves
itself around 10 times per day.
When it stops growing at around 8 months old (for a small breed), the
number goes down to 2-4 times. When the 8-week-old puppy is taken
out to play, it will usually relieve itself after two hours.
2. The puppy usually relieves itself overnight, early in the
morning, after each meal, after a rest period and before sleeping. Stick
to the ROUTINE of feeding on time. It is recommended that
8-12-week-old puppies are fed three times a day and the feed removed after
20 minutes. For 6-10-week-old Chihuahuas, it may be necessary to
provide feed over-night.
3. HITTING THE PUPPY AND SMELLING SHIT. Some Singaporeans use some
objects to beat the puppy when it has passed stools all over the
apartment, force the puppy to smell the stools and then bring it to the
newspaper to tell it to relieve itself there. The puppy runs away or
growls at the disciplinarian. It does not know why it is pushed to
smell its own stools or yelled at and associate the person with unpleasant
feelings. It relieves itself after the person is not around. It eats up
the stools to "hide the evidence".
Some Singapore pet shops recommend the wire crates with a door for
new puppy owners. The puppy can see everybody. It tends to play or
overturn the water bowl but will not be able to shred the newspapers. The
urine falls down to the pee-tray's newspapers, keeping the puppy drier and
not soiling the tiles of the apartment. The stools may need to be picked
up regularly. The crate is foldable. It costs around S$50.00 for the small
breeds and are more expensive than the 4 pieces of fencing for the playpen
(puppy pen). The fences may collapse onto the puppy.
4. FAMILY CO-OPERATION. Toilet training needs every member of
the family to supervise the puppy and give the same commands. If "pooh" is
used and another family member say "shit", the puppy gets confused.
5. BUSY WORKING COUPLES. Evenings and weekends may be needed to toilet
train the puppy. They will find that the newspapers have been shredded
when they return from home. Do not be angry. It will be good
if the new owner can take leave for a few days to toilet train the puppy.
If not, persist in paper training and most puppies will be toilet trained
in 3 weeks.
Leash training is another way to toilet train your puppy.
6. YOUNG CHILDREN. Unfortunately, young children play with the
puppy for long hours and this affect the success of toilet training!
Explain to the children the need for confinement.
7. RUGS AND CARPETS. If you can't stand the puppy
whining on its first night alone, you can move the cage or play pen in
your bedroom or switch on a radio. If the puppy sleeps on your bed,
provide a rug (and several rugs in the apartment) as the puppy loves to
relieve itself on soft material. It does not want to dirty its
8. BUYING TWO PUPPIES. The same toilet training procedures apply, with
each puppy being confined separately. Most owners house two puppies
together and this is hard for the cleaner puppy to relieve itself on the
same spot in the newspaper when the mate dirties the whole area.
Dual bowls may be harder to be over-turned
by the puppy. Aluminum and stainless steel cages are seldom bought by
the puppy owner as they are expensive.
9. PAPER TRAINING is the most common method of toilet
training the puppy in Singapore where around 90% of the population live in
apartments. Other than newspapers which don't cost money, PUPPY
TRAINING PADS with scent of urine are bought by some owners from the
pet shops and used for paper training
instead of newspapers. These cost more asnewspapers
are free but the owner believes that the puppy paws are cleaner when pads
are used to absorb the urine effectively.
TYPES OF PUPPY HOUSING FOR
training. Confine the 2- or 3-month-old puppy in
crate for one hour. Every hour, on the hour, take out the puppy and put it
onto the play-pen with newspapers or a pee tray with newspapers to pass
Increase the duration of crate confinement as the puppy grows older.
As a general guide, a 2-month and 3-month-old puppy is crated for 2 and 3
hours respectively. However, the interval of taking out to
pee or poo starts from 1 hour first.
Supervise and clean the crate or carrier if it is
This method is effective if the domestic worker or somebody is at home.
2. The typical play pen (puppy pen) sold by
most pet shops to puppy owners in Singapore. The play pen confines the
puppy so that it does not soil the apartment. Newspapers are placed inside
the play pen.
The puppy is given 2 meals a day and water from the water bottle. The
puppy food is taken away within 15 minutes if the puppy does not finish
For Chihuahuas and Malteses, extra feeding and supervised feeding is
advised. A honey-paste is given to such small breeds to
3. A pee tray encloses the play pen to prevent the fences
collapsing onto the puppy, especially the bigger breeds. The tray prevents
the tiled or marble floor from being stained by the puppy's urine or
stools. Costs around $150.00.
The use of water bottles is not sanctioned by the local animal shelter but
some puppies just get wet playing with water when given the water bowl.
types of cages (crates) are bought by puppy owners. The stainless steel
cages cost around $300. Inexpensive ones are made of wires enclosed by
plastic. There are plastic/fiberglass crates with ventilation holes and
only the front metallic door. Such crates are good for puppies who chew
and dig and can be used for travel.
If you use cages, some puppies can hop in and out of the cages to a
confined toilet area where newspapers are placed. For short-legged ones
like the Yorkshire Terrier, they are taken out.
Some owners just place newspapers inside the cage and let the puppy be
paper-trained. Shredding of newspapers is the common complaint.
5. The holes on the cage floor lets urine pass through and
keeps the puppy cleaner. The newspapers below the floor catches the urine.
This cage set up is commonly used by Singapore's pet shop operators to
house puppies for sale. However, some pet shops have built-in cages.
You can see that the puppy is not paper-trained at most pet shops since
they seldom contact the newspapers directly.
Surprisingly, some puppies immediately use the newspapers as the toilet
area when brought home. The use of the house-breaking aid, bought
from the pet shop, sprayed onto the newspapers is useful in some cases and
ineffective for others.
Platform training + crate + play pen 2 puppies
Toilet training mistakes
Six-month-old Maltese keeps peeing on tiled floors
A puppy that has not been toilet trained properly may suffer from beatings
and then given away, abandoned or sent to the animal
shelter. As many as 1,000 dogs are handed
over to the animal shelters in Singapore in the last few years.
I hope that this article has sufficient basic information to start
training your new puppy. It will never be abandoned by you or your family
members for being "messy" and smelly if you have the knowledge and time to
toilet-train your best friend.
Toilet training puppies