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How to Train a Labrador Puppy to Use the Toilet

Training

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2 min read

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How to Train a Labrador Puppy to Use the Toilet
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon1-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Labrador Puppies are as cute as they come. I mean all dogs are pretty adorable in their first few months, but a Labrador puppy may take the prize. With big floppy ears and tiny little bodies, they can put a smile on even the coldest of customers. 

You’ve all loved having your little Lab in the house. He spends his time curled up on your lap while you watch TV or itching to dive into his next meal. However, it hasn’t all been without problems. In particular, your Labrador puppy hasn’t figured out where he can and can’t go to the toilet. As a result, your floors and furniture are frequently sprayed in a not so pleasant substance.

Training your pup to use the toilet, however, would relieve these concerns. In fact, no longer would you have to carefully walk downstairs in the morning in fear you’ll put your foot in something unsavory. It also means less time cleaning and more time cuddling your pup.

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Defining Tasks

Training your Puppy to use the toilet is, of course, not the easiest place to teach them to do their business. However, that does not mean it isn’t possible. In fact, with careful training and the right motivator, they could be using the toilet more accurately than your teenage sons. Training will consist of working their way up from a tub outside to the toilet. You will need to use positive reinforcements throughout. 

Because your Lab is just a puppy, he should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in just a week or two. Having said that, if your Labrador puppy isn’t so good at following instructions, then you may need a number of weeks before you see consistent results. Get training right and your puppy will be the talk of the town-- and, less bacteria will be spread around the house from accidents.

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Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to get your hands on a few bits. You will need a small tub or basin, to begin with. A step and a clicker may be needed and poo bags and some antibacterial spray will also be required.

Stock up on mouth-watering treats or break the pup's favorite food into small pieces. You will need to set aside several minutes each day, throughout the day, for training.

Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!

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The Tub Method

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Tub neighbor

Take your Labrador puppy out to the toilet in the same spot each day. Make sure you take them out at several points through out the day. You need to get them in a consistent routine. Then leave the tub next to the spot where they go to the loo.

2

In the tub

After a couple of days, start encouraging your Labrador puppy to go in the tub. Point, talk in an animated voice and encourage them to go inside. Placing previous toilet visits in there can also help, as the smell puts them at ease.

3

Next to the toilet

After a few days of your pup using the tub outside, move the tub into the bathroom, next to the toilet. Again encourage them to go there each time until they look comfortable using it.

4

In the toilet

Now place the tub inside the toilet. Note you may need to put a step down so the pup can make their way up to the toilet. Then continue to encourage them to use it until they are comfortable making their own way to the toilet each time.

5

Remove the tub

Once they look comfortable using the tub in the toilet, remove the tub altogether. Simply clean up any accidents and encourage them to go. Before you know it they will be in a habit of using the toilet each time.

The Verbal Cue Method

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‘Toilet time’

Take your Labrador puppy out to go to the toilet regularly. You need to get them into a consistent routine. Then whenever they go or are about to go, give a ‘toilet time’ command. Give it in an upbeat, playful tone.

2

Reward

As soon as your pup has finished going to the toilet, quickly go over to give them a reward. You can use either food or a toy. You can also give them some verbal praise. Do this every time and the command will soon become a toilet trigger.

3

Tub

Now start taking them out to the toilet and pointing to a small tub and giving the ‘toilet time’ instruction. Persevere, it may take a couple of days for your Lab to get comfortable using it.

4

Head inside

Once the pup is used to going to the toilet in the tub, place the tub next to the toilet. Again, use your verbal cue and point to get them to go about their business in it. Continue to reward them each time until they start heading for the bathroom whenever they need to go.

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In the toilet

Now move the tub inside the toilet and follow exactly the same steps. Be patient, it may take them a few days to get used to clambering up and positioning themselves. Then when they do look comfortable, lose the tub.

The Clicker Method

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Clicker friendly

Clickers can be bought from a range of online and local stores. Simply click and give a treat whenever your Labrador puppy performs a trick or behaves correctly. This will be a clear and effective means of communicating with them and may speed up the learning process.

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Cue

Start giving a ‘pee’ or ‘toilet’ command in a playful voice just as your puppy starts going to the toilet outside. Note you can use any word or phrase you like, Labradors can learn hundreds of different commands.

3

Click & reward

As soon as they go, give a click to let them know they have performed the right action following your command. Then hand over a tasty treat or play with a toy for a minute or so.

4

Head for the toilet

Now take the dog to the toilet inside. You can secure them on a leash and provide a step or support the first few times until they get the hang of it. Point in the toilet, give the command encourage the pup to go inside the toilet. Don’t worry if it takes a couple of days for your Labrador puppy to catch on.

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Lose the reward

Once the Lab looks comfortable using the toilet and heads there of their own accord, you can slowly phase out the treats and toys. By this point they will be into a habit of using the toilet and you can just use a clicker.

By James Barra

Published: 04/03/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

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