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Potty-Training a Puppy in an Apartment

If you haven’t already noticed, our apartments here are pretty pet friendly. (Did you know we greet your furry Neighbors with treats and toys upon move-in?) At Prometheus, we understand that pets are family, too, and we encourage everyone to take the opportunity to experience life with a four-legged companion. Of course, raising a puppy in an apartment doesn’t come without its challenges. Having been there, done that, here are some helpful tips to consider when potty training your puppy in small spaces and without a yard.

Potty Training 101

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies! You may wonder how to get through those early days, when your puppy needs to relieve himself every couple hours. There are several methods to consider, depending on your schedule and the pup’s age.

Crate Training

Crate training is pretty popular and effective for many families—pups feel cozy and safe inside their crate and won’t “go” in their personal space, but will go as soon as they get outside. A reward for a job well done will quickly reinforce the behavior, and your pet will likely be well trained in a matter of weeks.

If you aren’t crate training, indoor potty training and wee-wee pads are also possibilities, particularly with smaller dogs who don’t produce much waste. Simply close off a designated space in the apartment for them to stay while you’re away; provide easy access to their pads in that space that is also far enough away from their living area. Supplement this by taking them immediately outdoors to do their “business” when you get home.

Hire a Dog Walker

If you aren’t able to be with your pet often enough to take them out for daily walks, you’ll want to find a good dog walker. If you don’t have one already, you can find several listings for local and reputable dog walkers online, as well as dog sitters, at

Puppy Kindergarten

The most loving thing you can do for your pet is to train him well. One popular way to do this is to join a local Puppy Kindergarten class, focused on general puppy skills. The SPCA offers listings for great puppy training programs near you.

Apartment Living

In time, your pet will become more comfortable with a variety of sounds from the urban environment, as well as occasional sounds from Neighbors, or passersby. If your pet barks at strangers, doorbells, and hallway sounds, you might try to desensitize him to the sounds by repeating them over and over (e.g. have a neighbor walk by repeatedly and reward your pet when he doesn’t bark at the noise). This can lessen the trigger to react and bark in the future.

Books are also excellent resources to learn about your puppy. Most notably,The Art of Raising a Puppy, by Monks of New Skete, offers chapters on play, crating, adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations, raising dogs in an urban environment, and the latest developments in canine health and canine behavioral theory. Although the monks specialize in German Shepherds, the principles are easily applicable to any breed.