TOILET TRAINING PUPPY IN THE CITY - How to train your new puppy to pee and poop in the correct way

Dr Sing Kong Yuen

Case 1/10  
First written; June 28, 2005
Updated:  April 1, 2015

"Not a visitor for the whole day," Janet, the pet shop girl in her early 20s, wiped her nose with the tissue paper said to me when I vaccinated her 3 puppies at 5 p.m. She was licensed to sell puppies by the veterinary authority but she has 4 puppies for sale compared to more than 20 from the competitor down the road.

It was Tuesday, June 28, 2005, the second day of the school term for students going to school including the junior colleges. Had Singapore slided into an economic recession? Yet the well-stocked established competitor down the road had several prospective buyers when I was there a few minutes ago to vaccinate the puppies.

A part-timer, a muscular young man in an orange sleeveless T-shirt, a student studying Chemical Engineering was surfing wirelessly on his note book. "Did you tap on the cafe's broad band," I asked him as the pet shop's policy was to prevent no broadband access to discourage malingering. Several young adults of around 20 years old are employed by the pet shop as part-time to clean the puppy cages and do sales of puppies and accessories. However, they loved to surf the internet, chat and post on message boards like, neglecting the prospective buyers..

The working hours are long from 10 am to 10 pm and the shop opens seven days a week. It is physically tiring. "Why don't you write a book on puppy toilet training just for your puppy buyers during your free time?" I asked the fair complexion pet shop girl who was the sister of the proprietor of the shop. "Many of them have no clues as to what to do after buying the puppy from the pet shop. If you give or sell them a book on the Singaporean situation, they will remember you as no other pet shop bothers to do such a book."

She shook her head. The flu viruses had drained her soul. "Have you got good antibiotics for me?" she sniffed and rubbed her red nose. "Some good ones you use for your puppy's kennel cough. Or for cat flu." I asked her to seek proper human medical attention. She said, "My doctor's medicine are ineffective."

"You should be at home resting," I advised. "Antibiotics are ineffective against the flu viruses." Her obligations as a proprietor must be fulfilled as the shop must have at least one operator at any one time so as not to close the shop and losing business.  

She then explained to me how to toilet train the puppy. "Good hands-on experience is needed," she had advised the buyer verbally. Don't ask her to write a book  even if that would help her increase sales. There are better things to do in life when you are twenty-something. She is typical of the young adults. In any case, most young adults do not like writing or reading. 

"If the puppy buyer can afford to pay $50.00, I will recommend the grated crate for small breeds like the Shih Tzu. This crate has a pee tray below the grate. The urine and stools drop through the gaps in the grated floor onto the pee tray, keeping the puppy clean.

"The newspapers on the pee tray cannot be shredded by the puppy. The tiled floor of the house or apartment will not be soiled as the pee-tray traps the puppy's waste. In addition, the walls of the pee-tray will not collapse on an active puppy, unlike the 4 fences forming a play pen or puppy pen."

Many puppy owners buy the cheaper 4 panels of fencing to form a playpen to enclose the new puppy. The cost was around $30.00. 

Janet sold a puppy and the crate with pee pan while I was at the shop. I snapped an  image as shown below. 


To toilet train the puppy, take it out from the crate to smell the newspaper placed outside the crate. A house-breaking solution bought from the pet shop is sprayed on the newspaper. The puppy is supposed to pee and poop on the newspaper after smelling this solution.

That is the theory behind the sale of the product. Some new puppy owners find it not effective. A better alternative, in my opinion, is to wet the newspapers with the puppy's own urine. The newspapers outside the crate and the crate must also be enclosed to prevent the puppy roaming around the whole apartment. A good location will be the guest bathroom, usually found beside the kitchen in many apartments.

The puppy should be confined, that is, housed in this manner for around 4 weeks so that it learns the proper way to pee and poop.  Most Singaporean puppy owners let the puppy roam the whole apartment. The puppy pees and poops everywhere, hence the owner becomes a failure in toilet-training the new puppy.    

Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Be consistent with the puppy's sleeping and waking times, even during weekends. Remove the water bottle after 8 pm so that the puppy does not need to go to the toilet after midnight.

For the first 2-4 weeks, feed the puppy without distraction from family members including children and grandparents hanging around him and talking to him. Let him poop after his meal as part of the routine before letting him out to play.

When he is let out, monitor him. If he sniffs the floor or turns, pick him up and put him on the newspapers, saying "Pee here". Reward and praise when he does it. 

Puppy whining throughout the night. On the first night, ignore the whining and barking. If you keep going to see the puppy inside the crate or confined area, the puppy will bark more times to get your attention and nobody can sleep. Put the puppy crate inside your bedroom if you wish to resolve this problem. If this is not possible, place a ticking clock or light in the area. Sometimes, the puppy barks after midnight to ask you to change the soiled newspapers.

TIP: A young family member sleeps next to the new puppy and changing the newspapers will hasten the completion of the paper training course but this may not be practical.  

See my 2015 Youtube video advising a new Chihuahua owner at:

How many first-time puppy buyers in Singapore inn 2005 have knowledge of toilet training? More in 2015 as such knowledge can be found in the internet.

Who actually looks after the puppy at home? It may be the domestic worker or the mother who is not present when the puppy is purchased. So, the poor puppy does not get properly trained.

Or worse, it gets beaten up every time it soils the whole apartment. After several beatings, some puppies seem to know where the owner wants it to pee and poop, but this negative reinforcement method of training is not recommended as it is said to be puppy abuse.

Original blog on June 28, 2005:

Main webpage:
Toilet training  your puppy


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All rights reserved. Revised: April 07, 2015
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