How to Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment (2 Simple Solutions)


When it comes to taking care of a puppy, there are a lot of things to consider.

Of course, making sure that you have enough space for the puppy is going to be a must. In addition to this, making sure that you can afford the supplies for taking care of a puppy is also important.

However, there is one thing that some people neglect when it comes to taking care of a new puppy, and that is potty training.

Making sure that your puppy has a place outside that it can do when it needs to eliminate is a normal part of taking care of a puppy.

With that being said, if you live in a high rise apartment, house training a puppy might be more than difficult. Even if you lived on the third story, it could still be troublesome with a puppy who does not yet know where and when to relieve itself.

While it is significantly more complicated, there are still many ways that you can house train a puppy in an apartment.

You just need to make sure that you have the knowledge and the products to do so.

You Need to Know Some Facts Before Potty Training a Puppy in an Apartment

You Need to Know Some Facts Before Potty Training Your Puppy

Before you begin the endeavor of potty training a puppy, you will need to know a few things first.

When you live in an apartment, there are a few more areas that you will need to make sure that your puppy understands are not places that it can relieve itself.

These places, while dependent on your apartment, generally include the following:

  • The hallways
  • The elevators
  • The stairwells
  • The lobby of the apartment building
  • The office area
  • The sidewalk near the apartment

These are all places that your dog cannot be allowed to think are appropriate places to eliminate.

The sidewalk, while technically a place your pet could relieve itself, is not the best. It is generally good courtesy to have a city dog do business in the gutter, rather than a place where lots of people walk.

Another thing that you will need to note is that, until your pup is a few months old, it will be physically incapable of holding its droppings for more than an hour.

As a general rule, a puppy can hold his bladder for one hour per month of age. For example, an 8 week old puppy can last up to two hours, while a 4 month old can hold his bladder for four hours.

This means that, at a minimum, you will need to be taking your dog to relieve itself at least once an hour until he can be able to hold it for longer.

You Will Need to Know the Signals of Your Puppy

signals that your puppy

Before you can really begin learning how to potty train a puppy in an apartment, you first need to learn what the signals that your puppy needs to go to the bathroom.

Puppies generally need to use the bathroom as soon as they wake up and shortly after eating or playing. The signals of a pup ready to have an accident are that he is going to be sniffing around, pacing, and circling an area.

This area will not be the usual places that your puppy visits to sleep and sit, as most puppies won’t want to relieve themselves in such places.

What Products Will You Need for Potty Training?

Depending on which method you plan to use to house train your puppy in an apartment, you will need a few different products.

Some of the universal products you will want to obtain are potty training pads and cleaners.

Puppy Potty Pads

Puppy potty training pads are special pee pads that are made to be absorbent and attract dogs to the area. They are the litterbox, but for dogs and disposable.

When you cannot wait to take your dog outside, you will always need to rely on puppy potty pads.

Dog Odor & Stain Removers

Accidents are going to happen, no matter how optimistic you want to be.

You will want to pick up some enzymatic cleaners and some scented objects to hide the smell of dog urine.

The best thing that you can do for both you and your dog is going to be just to have the materials needed to clean up an accident. Although you will definitely want to try your best to avoid an accident in the first place.

Dog Waste Bags

You will need dog waste bags to collect the poop of your puppy every time he goes out to do his things.

Every responsible dog owner has to keep his environment clean for the welfare of his neighbors and community.

Training Classes

This isn’t quite a product, but it is something that you are going to want to look up.

No matter how much you try, you might not have enough patience or time to really be able to properly house train your puppy, especially in a small apartment setting.

You should get a good idea of what dog training classes or trainer you trust to take care of this for you, and if you believe that it is going to be a certain possibility, you will want to set aside the money for such classes.

What About Going Outside?

Puppy going outside to potty

Now that you understand the signs and you have the products you need to begin house training your puppy, you can begin this painstaking endeavor.

If you are living in an apartment close to the ground and there are patches of grass outside that your dog can relieve itself on, this will be optimal to take your puppy outside.

Puppies need to go outside every hour to go to the bathroom, meaning that, if you live close to the floor and a grassy area, you are going to want to familiarize your canine friend with that area. Give your young puppy more than enough chances to go outside to the designated potty area.

When you take your puppy outside, you should bring dog waste bags to clean up after your dog does his things. Nobody likes dog droppings just hanging around.

You should also bring treats for your pup. Giving lots of praise and treats to your pet for relieving itself outside is going to be a crucial part of house training a puppy.

The treats and the praise for going outside to relieve itself, even if you are the one who brought the dog out, are going to reinforce the idea that relieving outside is an excellent thing to do.

This will encourage the dog to go potty outside more often than inside.

What If Going Outside Isn’t an Option?

Puppy inside

To potty train your dog in an apartment, no matter if you live on the highest floor of a high rise building or you simply don’t have a grassy area readily in reach, you will need to prepare yourself and your home.

This is where the puppy pee pads or grass pads (either with real or artificial grass) will come into play, especially for young puppies.

You will want to select a location to keep the puppy pads so that your pup learns that until it can hold itself long enough to go outside, pee pads are the right way to go.

You will usually want to use these pee pads near the crate your dog sleeps in. When you eventually go to sleep, there’s a very good chance that your pup will be uncomfortably holding itself, as most puppies don’t want to soil their sleeping spaces.

First thing in the morning, the moment you wake up take your puppy to the pee pad and let it do its business.

This is also what you are going to want to do when you are out of your home for more than a few hours.

Keep in mind that when you do pick up your puppy, whether it’s after you wake up or when you come back to your home, your pup is going to need to go as soon as its paws touch the ground.

To make it work, always praise your dog for using the puppy pad, even if you are the one who brought the pup to the training pad. This reinforces the behavior of seeking out the puppy pad and not just going wherever is the most convenient.

Until your pet is old enough to wait to be outside, puppy pads might be the best option when you live in a high rise apartment and don’t want to carry a puppy with a full bladder down seven stories every day.

Accidents Are Inevitable

Puppy potty accidents

Accidents are going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Potty training a puppy can take weeks or even months.

Crate training is the best way to reduce accidents, although accidents will happen anyway.

Instead, you can plan what to do when it happens. If you find your dog in the act of relieving itself where it isn’t supposed to, clap your hands loudly to get its attention. Then carry your dog to the puppy pad and let it finish its business.

While it might seem counterintuitive to do this, praise your dog for finishing on the pee pad, even if it started elsewhere in your home first.

This is going to further reinforce that the puppy pad is the place to go potty when relieving outside is not an option. With time and proper training, young puppies will learn that the pee pads are the appropriate place to eliminate.

If you make the unfortunate discovery that your dog has already relieved itself, there’s nothing you can do. Just pay closer attention to him when you can.

Scolding the dog will do exactly nothing, as your dog isn’t going to connect the accident with a reaction that follows minutes or hours later.

Just make sure you clean up the mess and remove the smell completely with the proper pet odor and stain removers.

If there is any scent left, it may cause your pup to think he can do it again in the same place.

If your dog is particularly stubborn, a good tip is to get a baby gate and keep your puppy in a room with a puppy pee pad to try and further encourage the dog to use that.

You should never, ever scold, swat, or shove your dog’s nose in its accidents. Dogs learn from positive reinforcement and doing these things is only going to instill fear in your pet.

A scared dog is going to relieve itself in places that you will not catch it in at first, which is helpful to nobody.

Final Thoughts

Patience, praise, and treats are what you need to remember when you are potty training your pup.

Praise your dog and give him its favorite treat every time it relieves itself outside or on the pee pad, no matter if you are the one who carried it there or if it began in the apartment.

This reinforces the idea that outside and puppy pads are the correct places to go to the bathroom, and as your puppy gets better control over its bladder, you won’t have to regulate every single thing so harshly.

With consistency, in no time your puppy will be properly potty trained, and you will be able to rest in peace, knowing that your dog can hold him through the night.