How to House Train a Puppy in an Apartment?

How to House Train a Puppy in an Apartment?: Here we are again with a solution to another one of your pup-problems (or puproblem!) – How to house train a puppy when you live in an apartment? Yes, you read that right. You can easily (well, almost) train your new addition to the family even when you live in a high rise building like an apartment! Nifty!

You wanted to adopt a lil’ doggo, you went through all the adoption centers in your town to adopt the perfect little pet. Just when you were about to give up, you decided to go to this one last adoption center and VOILA! A little boy rushes to you with his little puppy dog eyes and a neat fur. Fluffy!

This wasn’t the dog you had pictured as your pet, but when it ran towards you when you entered, you knew this little pooch was ‘THE ONE’. In just one glance you knew that this was the one to have as a partner and that you wanted to give this pup the world. And for it to BE your world!

You write your name on the register of the adoption agency to book this little one and say that you will be back in a jiffy to get him.

You rush to the grocery store in your neighborhood, you go through our lists of the perfect dog foods best for your puppy, you pick the cutest blanket and the perfect crate, and you even pick the perfect little outdoor mat! You save the contact of the best veterinarian in the town as well, just in case!

You set up your house for the new arrival and rush back to the adoption agency, you pick your little one just as he rushes towards you again (and rightfully so – the lil’ pup just found a parent) and you take him in your car (the first ride together! EXCITING) and you just know it in your heart that you made the right decision.

But the next day, you see dog poo near your couch and oh man, it stinks!

Just then, a foreign thought hits you – did I really do the right thing adopting this precious gem living in an apartment? You think you don’t a have yard outside your home, to look out for your dog when Mother Nature calls…

But don’t worry my friend, you did the right thing adopting this little cutie (ugh, this shouldn’t even be a question!). Never question that again as we are here to help you just when you need it!

In this article, we will guide you on how to potty train your precious when you live in an apartment. You live on a high rise on the 16th floor? This won’t bother you anymore!

Say hello to the perfect life for Mr.Doggo even on the 16th floor!

8 Ways to Train your Puppy when you live in an apartment


Just when you thought house training your newly brought pup in your apartment was next to impossible, we tell you that it very much isn’t! It’s wholly possible and not too hard either. This is your lucky day as we serve you with answers to tackle this worry of yours. Lucky!

This job isn’t impossible but first, we need to understand that the most effective way to house train a dog is by reinforcing and rewarding correct behavior and limiting the opportunities for bad behavior.

It’s true that training a dog in an apartment brings us a whole lot of challenges but it is very much achievable! And we over here are to help you overcome those challenges!

So let’s go!

1- The basics of potty training your jewel in a high rise

Before going into the depths of ‘how to potty train your dog in an apartment?’ we need to understand some basic concepts. Basics come first! Don’t worry Mr.Doggo we are here to help you and your parents and you can rest assured that you are in good paws (we mean hands!).

So let’s get on with the basics…

Firstly, we need to understand that puppies have very small bladders which means that they cannot hold their pee for long durations! A great rule of thumb is that your little one can hold their bladder for one hour for every month old they are.

Let’s say you have a puppy that is 2 months old, they probably can’t hold it for more than 2 hours. That time increases to 3 hours when they are 3 months old, and to four when they are 4 months old, so on and so forth… You get the idea!

Puppies can usually hold their bladder and can exercise great self-control when they are sleeping (the same cannot be said when they are awake!). They also might go to answer nature’s call soon after playing or eating. That play really does burn some calories and you will know it!

It’s is also extremely important to keep an eye on your newly brought kiddo and supervise them for any ‘accidents’ that might occur (deliberately or not). This helps them differentiate between which is right and which is wrong from a young age, so when they grow up they become mature and wise adults! 10 points for a good boy!

You have to carefully look for signs to prevent any accidents that might occur. These signs might include your pup sniffing around in your apartment more than usual, or circling here and there, or perhaps even running from one corner of a room to another! If you find any of these you need to just catch your pup before he dirties your home!

We also have to keep in mind that accidents do occur, it isn’t always your little one’s fault (even if you think that they have got it down)! Keeping this in mind, you should know that when these accidents really do happen, DO NOT PUNISH YOUR DOG FOR IT. We repeat – DO NOT!

They are not humans; when you scream at them or push their nose into the mess, they have no idea of what is going on! Poor souls. They might just think that answering their calls to nature in front of you is just bad (they must be thinking that their pee or poop brought them this trouble). And obviously, they can’t stop to eliminate, so they will just get sneaky about it.

They might actually have no idea of what is really going on that has made you so upset and angry. They might even develop fright in their poor little hearts. YES, they might get scared! So, we repeat – don’t punish them for this!

What you can do is keeping it positive, reward them for their good behavior when it comes to potty training. You can reward them by giving them a treat, or praising them, or giving them their most liked toy! These few little things make them happy and encourage good behavior. Innocent souls.

Now we are done with the basics, let’s move on to some house training tips!

2- Getting into a regular routine!

As for us humans getting a good routine is essential for getting a good life, it turns out it is very much the same for your pets!

You need to fix the time for everything for your pup if you want to succeed in this training!

That being said, you need to feed your dog at regular intervals and take breaks for elimination at the same time each day, every day. This way your jewel starts to develop habits and expectations and knows when it’s time for what. Big brain time!

As we have learned in the basics that younger puppies cannot hold their bladders for much longer (one hour for each month of age), they will need more frequent potty breaks. You cannot just expect them to hold their bladders for longer durations!

To give them these frequent breaks to relieve them of their concerns, you can start by taking them out for a walk every hour (yes, every hour! You read that right). You might even want to do it more often if the pup is younger. Yes it would be tough in the beginning but in the end, you’ll love the outcome!

You might also want to take them out for a walk IMMEDIATELY after they wake up from their doggo sleep or when they come out of their crate. This has to be done within 5 to 10 minutes after eating, drinking or playing when you have a younger pup on your hands.

You can even log your pup’s elimination schedule in some application on your phone or using the good old fashioned paper and pen way! This will help you in predicting patterns and trends, helping you get a better idea of when to take your canine out for a walk!

3- Praise and reward your little one for doing it right to promote good behavior

We even as adults like praises and rewards when we do something good. Organizations tend to reward their employees and give them bonuses for their good performance or when they reach a target.

Ever saw ‘employee of the month’ board in a supermarket? They are doing just that – praising good performance.

We can apply the same psyche in training our dogs – praises and rewards. Ah! What a perfect world!

Analyze what your dog likes best and reward the good boy with that particular thing. Give them positive stimuli for good behavior. It can be in the form of verbal praise, a rub behind the ears, a tasty treat or even their favorite toy. They will absolutely love you for this!

The good old praise and reward trick works the best as there is nothing that these cute souls want more than good rewards for their good behavior. They will strive to get this reward by behaving in a well-mannered way that reflects well on your training and on you too!

So the next time your cutie pie pees or poops in the right and proper location, be generous and reward them with all your heart!

Mr.Doggo now wants to be a well-behaved boy at all times when he got to know about the treatment that you brought for him this morning from the grocery store!

4- Restrict your pup’s access to small and easy to clean areas!

What do we mean by small and easy to clean areas? We mean your bathrooms, kitchen and storerooms.

These should always be NO-GO areas and declared a red zone for your pup. Sorry, Mr.Doggo but these areas are off-limits!

Dogs like to relieve themselves in small and secluded areas when they don’t have an idea of where to go when it comes to relief. As these areas are not in front of your eyes always, you won’t find the mess any time soon either!

The worst thing that can happen is that you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you are too sleepy to notice a thing on the floor. The next thing you know, you are standing in a puddle and your socks are all wet now. Ew! Now that is gross!

But what can you do over here? You can create a blockade. That’s right, a blockade! You can use a baby gate (a small gate to restrict your child’s entrance to certain areas that can pretty much be used for your pup as well!) to block the entrances to these areas. You can even use another item like perhaps a basket or a chair to block the entrance! No entry!

Blocking such areas ensures that you are able to monitor, respond to, and correct their wrong behaviors at the right time.

So the next time you see your pup hovering around such areas, you know their motive and guess it’s time to take them out for a walk! Happy blockades!

5- Look out for those signs!!

Signs mean everything. You see a sign, you know something is about to happen. Signs bring predictability in training your dog. We can be intelligent too, Mr.Doggo!

As mentioned before, there are some signs that suggest that your dog might want to unload itself. And we over here are here to tell you those signs.

When training a little pup, watch out for these signs of urgency!

Your dog might start pacing around here and there for no reason at all. They might start sniffing objects or the floor, they might start walking around in a circular motion. They even might start squatting here and there.

When you see these signs, you know something is about to happen and you need to act FAST!

When you see these signs, you need to verbally command your pet to stop or wait. You can take them outside or even place them on dog litter (mentioned later in this article) if it’s too late!

If you catch your little pup relieving himself indoors, loudly interrupt them. Perhaps by clapping your hands loudly or by making a shrill sound from your mouth. This will often surprise your pet and they might stop urinating.

Next, quickly grab them and take them outside or place them on dog litter if the stream won’t stop! This sounds like a challenge and is really one too… all we can say over here is – GOODLUCK, MATE!

6- ALWAYS have a backup plan!

Sometimes rushing to take your dog outside might not be an option. Especially, when you live in an upper level of a high-rise apartment building. You will not make it in time if you take the stairs (which you possibly cannot because there are too many stairs) and it will be too tiring too.

You cannot even take the elevator as first you’d have to wait for it to arrive first, there is always a chance that the elevator is busy and might arrive after some time. And even if it does, you can never be certain that your dog won’t litter the elevator and gross-out other people who are in it! Nasty!

For all these reasons you need to have a backup plan.

Before good outdoor potty habits are solidified you need to consider the following options.

Pee pads

These pads are just great for training your dog indoors. These typically contain scents that attract your little one to pee on them, you can teach your pet to use them by rewarding or praising (the old way!) them whenever they pee on these pads.

Pee pads are reusable and washable too, so you won’t have to get new ones every time your dog eliminates!

Whenever your dog starts showing signs of peeing indoors, just place them on these pads and reward them for it! Easy!

However, we do not highly recommend pee pads because they might make outdoor potty training difficult for you. It’s obvious that if you find your dog peeing on these every now and then, they might develop a habit of peeing on them only, making outdoor training very hard.

So we want you to use these pads only as a BACKUP and nothing more!

Dog litter boxes

Nothing beats litter boxes when it comes to training your pets!

You see your dog wanting to relieve itself and don’t have the time for taking it outside? Just pick them up on the right time and put them on the litter box. PROBLEM SOLVED! Whew!

You can put these litter boxes indoors or in your balcony, it’s your choice

The most common options you will find when it comes to dog litters are boxes of synthetic grass above a tray of absorbent litter or real grass patches delivered as a monthly service.

Some are just patches of grass while some have containers to put the sod in so you can empty any waste that might drain out. Cool!

Along with dog litters, you can also get a dog waste container to put any poop bags in it so that it does not give off an obnoxious poop odor that might linger and spread, later you can just empty it when it’s full. Easy isn’t it?

7- Use a crate while training

If you cannot give your puppy undivided attention because you aren’t at home, we suggest you get a dog crate!

Create a happy place for your pet by giving him a crate in which they can sleep and reward him as he exits or leaves it. Sweet!

When you leave the house, just put them in a crate. And voila! Problem solved!

This works because dogs are very unlikely to dirty their sleeping place, so this definitely reduces the chance that your dog will eliminate its waste in the crate while you are gone.

However, it should be kept in mind that they cannot simple hold it forever. After some time THEY WILL need to relieve themselves, so extremely long periods in the crate are definitely not advised!

It should also be kept in mind that when you take them out of the crate, you should IMMEDIATELY take them outside so that they can give themselves the pleasure of relieving itself outdoors. Training and pleasure go hand in hand here!


If you crate your puppy when you’re somewhere else (like work or at a friend’s house), remember the rule. Make sure that when you get a break you go home and tend to your little one and take the break every day at the same time so that your pup can establish an elimination pattern. Work work work!

You can also have a neighbor or a friend tend to your little one when you are working for hours on the run. Or you can just find a pet sitter that can do this stuff when you are not around. BUT HAVE SOMEONE DO IT AND DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PUPPY ON ITS OWN OR YOU’LL NEVER GET THOSE RESULTS!

8- Carrying your canine friend

This training tip sums it all up, so let’s get on with it!

When you take your little puppy for a walk, remember to carry him in your hands as you leave your house and go through the stairs (or elevator).

This way he will definitely get to know the route that leads to the light in the sky (we mean the world outdoors!)

When you reach the designated potty spot, just leave your puppy there and wait for it to relieve itself.

With this technique, your pup learns the right spot and the right route that leads them to that spot. This way, when your little pup is not so little anymore and has grown into a magnificent dog, it will know the way and can go on its own towards that spot outdoors!

And you will know that you did just the right job! So many good, well-trained dogs here! WOW!

To sum it all up…

Training a pet can be an extremely difficult task. The most challenging bit is that they can’t understand what you’re saying. They can’t make anything from your commands (until they do!).

They might even start getting frightened when you scream at them (for wrong behavior) without them understanding a thing.

When it comes to potty training these innocent souls, training becomes even harder as you won’t be able to spot the filth right away and your dog might forget about it, so when you take them to it, they won’t make out a single thing of what’s wrong. It’s essential that you catch them doing the act for effective training.

This training becomes even harder when you live in an apartment, you do not have a yard for your dog to go out and relieve itself. The dog might have to climb down lots of stairs to find its way to the designated potty spot. Poor thing!

Where it’s challenging, it’s pretty much achievable too. You just need to have the will to train them accordingly (WHEN THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY!).

You should know that while training your little pup is a strenuous task, you should enjoy it nonetheless. This is because this period of hardships is also a bonding time for you and your perfect little pet. You don’t want to scold them or punish them because this image can last a last time

They might start thinking you as too commanding, exertive and mean. You won’t want your pet to see you as a mean parent after all that you’ve done, do you?

Dogs too have memories and you want to give them the greatest childhood (or puppy-hood) memories possible. The training process should be paw-sitively planned and implemented!

Challenges aside, when you see the outcome of the training you’ve given your little pup (when they all by themselves go to the right potty spot). You’ll feel contented. The satisfaction will rush in your veins and you couldn’t help but feel proud of your dog (and yourself too!)

Your friends and neighbors would applaud this training and you now have a well behaved, well trained, good boy on your paws. The Paw-sitivity spreads and you know that you have done the right thing!

You know that all those breaks from office, all those pee pads, all that carrying your pup all the way downstairs, the crating, the mess, the almost giving up moments, they weren’t for nothing. They helped you create the perfect pet.

Even if you bring another pet into the house, just by looking at your well-trained dog, they might automatically get trained too! Without the ordeal of you going through the process all over again! The good days are here, and they are going to last a lifetime!

Have a great and healthy time training your newly brought pup. With this article on your hands, we are sure that you would!

We wish some luck to Mr.Doggo as well. You can do it, Mister (or Miss)!