How to train your new puppy to pee and poop in the correct way.

House-breaking Puppies  - Success Stories - How to successfully paper-train puppies by 10 weeks of age

Dr Sing Kong Yuen

Case 5/10  
First written; July 15, 2007
Updated:  April 5, 2015

*A young couple in their early 30s. One newborn baby.
*First-time home-breeder.
*Two Shih Tzu parents around 2-3 years old.
*Four 10-week old Shih Tzus, 2M,2F>
*Saw Dr Sing for 2nd vaccination.
*Successfully paper-trained.
* Three sold via the internet at $500/pup. Prospective buyers are screened customers as they are the wife's "babies" and not sold to just any Tom, Dick and Harry.
*100% successfully paper-trained puppies.

As I had time to chat on this quiet Sunday afternoon of July 2007, I asked about toilet training, not expecting much success for this young couple as they had to take care of a new born baby as well as for 4 rambunctious puppies. But I was surprised. This couple did succeed in paper-training all 4 Shih Tzu pups by 10 weeks of age.

How did they do it when many Singaporeans had great difficulty paper-training one pup?


"The pups follow their mother by using the  newspapers as toilet, distant from their sleeping area," the wife said. The dam is the best teacher. 

"The Male Dog is a super clean dog!" the wife reiterated. "At 2-3 am, he will bark to wake us up to cover up the soiled newspapers if he has had peed. The puppies become fussy about cleanliness as they grow up".

CONFINEMENT TO A SMALL AREA - Kitchen only. Puppies are never allowed out of the kitchen or entry into the bathroom near the kitchen. The wet bathroom floors dirty the puppies' feet too. So, the kitchen is the only place for the puppies. This wife is applying the principle of CONFINEMENT TO A SMALL AREA to toilet train the puppies. In this case, this was a room and the playpen for the puppies initially.

1. During first 4 weeks. Puppies and mum confined to the dam's playpen which consisted of 2 panels of fences x 1 panel of fence. The sire's playpen is adjacent and has 1 x 1 panel of fence and towel.

2. The wife placed newspapers to the left of the playpen in both cases. In the dam and puppy pen, the papers were spread out in 3 layers. The width of the papered area was 1.5X the paper width (Singapore Straits Times). That is, 1 paper's left half overlapped the other paper's right half. When soiled, she simply covered up the soiled portion with the other half by folding over the soiled area. However she would replaced the soiled papers when necessary.

2. There were 2 toilet locations for puppies. Newspapers placed to the left of the dam's playpen and near the kitchen door which is was by a panel of playpen fences to prevent the pups straying out of the kitchen.

3. The wife has been full-time at home for last 10 weeks and able to train the puppies. Initially the puppies would eliminate anywhere in the playpen but at 4 weeks, they went to pee and poop onto the newspapers like mum. In the first 2 weeks, mum cleaned them by licking. This is a natural behaviour of dams.

4. Feeding - Daily, the mum was fed 4-5X. Puppies 2X. Puppies weaned at 4th week onto milk powder, oats and dry puppy feed. Feeding bowl was taken away after eating. It was kept near the right hand side (bed area).

5. Water bottle hung from the front of playpen. There was also no problem with water spillage when he water was provide in a water bowl. 

6. Elimination - 2 toilet locations. Adult dogs waited till the evening when husband came home. Thy would eliminate on the newspapers. If papers were soiled, the  puppies rushed to the 2nd toilet location (newspapers near kitchen door). The puppies eliminated overnight sometimes. Papers were replaced in the morning. The male dog would bark at around 2-3 am to wake up owner to cover the soiled papers.

6.1 Urine spraying by male dog. The owners "angled" the newspapers. One half was clipped to cover the side of the playpen fence (which separated the dam from the male dog's pen. Cloth pegs tied up this partition so that the male dog could  lift his leg and spray urine without dirtying the female bed (which was to the immediate left of the male playpen). The kitchen was small and so it was necessary to improvise.

Adult dogs will eliminate only in the newspapers on the kitchen floor.

"Yesterday, a buyer came to see the puppies," the wife said. "The puppies ran to newspaper under living area table to pee."

This proves that puppies were successfully paper trained as puppies sought out the newspapers all the time to pee and poop. The puppy buyers would have NO toilet-training  problem if they adopt the routines already set for the puppies. 

However, in my experience, when they bring the puppy home, buyers have their own housing floor plan, let puppy roam the whole apartment as they deem it cruel to crate the puppy.

The home breeder needs to inform the buyer about the paper training and feed routine. If not, toilet training problems start for new owners in many cases.

A super-clean dad

"The sire is a super clean dog," the wife who had just given birth to a baby said. "He will not dirty his paws by going into the playpen of the dam and puppies."

"The puppies want to be clean," the housewife or homemaker shared her experience with me. "In the morning, they dash to the 2nd toilet location as the papers have had been soiled in the playpen."

I was impressed by her hard work in training the puppies. She said, "The mum and dad usually eliminate in the afternoon when they know that the papers would be changed immediately. Just cover one end over the soiled papers --- that would do."

"Where do you learn about toilet training?" I asked the young Singaporean couple. as they have successfully executed a program of toilet training 4 puppies. "Do you read about toilet training?"

"Yes," the wife said. "Lots of internet surfing and  reading. I borrowed books such as 'Puppy Parenting' from the National Library and its branches." 

The younger Singapore generation is usually very knowledgeable. 

"How do you market your puppies?" I hope to get some tips to help other home-breeders.

"3 out of the 4 puppies were sold at $500 each at the website,," the wife told me of a website I did not know existed. 

The selling prices were much lower than what pet shops would sell. Soon, it will be difficult for pet shop operators to sustain their business profitability if home breeders and professional breeders sell directly to puppy buyers at lower prices.

Fortunately the younger generation is time-pressed. They seldom have the time to look after young puppies and get them ready for sale. Puppy sales are a source of income for home-breeders but the Straits Times advertisements of 3 lines are very expensive at around S$40 per advert/day and are shunned. So the internet has been a real benefit to the ordinary person as they are usually free of charge. 

I checked out today Sunday Mar 4, 2008. I have no puppies to sell. The website is now There are 371 advertisements of cats and dogs from May 23, 2007 to May 3, 2008.

2.  The most common mistake most time-pressed Singapore puppy owners in this research is to let the puppy roam the entire apartment before he knows where he should pee and poo.

Generally 2-4 weeks of confinement in a small space will be necessary to toilet-train the puppy. Give commands e.g.. "Pee here". Praise, food treats and playtime on successful performance. Monitor for signs of elimination. Neutralise the urine smell of "accident" areas with white vinegar:water

Original webpage dated 12 June, 2010
House-breaking puppies - Successfully paper-training 4 Shih Tzu puppies

See other case studies at:
Toilet training your puppy in Singapore

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All rights reserved.  April 05, 2015
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