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Best Practices to Potty Train and Clean Up After Your Pup

Housebreaking a puppy can be a long and frustrating process, especially if you have a small dog. There are many potty training tips, tricks, and advice to help your pup learn how to potty outside or on potty pads. We will also talk about the best practices for cleaning up pet stains and odors so you don't have to live with any bad smells or unsightly accidents.

Best Practices to Potty Train Your Puppy

  1. Set up a schedule - Take your puppy out every 20–30 minutes as you are going through this process. This may seem like quite a bit of time to devote to your pet, but it's important to give your dog the best chance to "go" outside versus your floor. Puppies have small bladders, making two to three trips an hour beneficial.
  2. Consider crate training your puppy - Set up your pup's crate so that it is a comfortable, safe space. Dogs don't like to potty in their sleeping area, which will help to teach them how to hold their bladder. A good rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age. For example, a four-month-old puppy should at the most hold their urine for four hours.
  3. Prepare for nighttime potty breaks - Young puppies often will need to go potty throughout the night. Set an alarm for four to five hours after they go to sleep and take them out, even if they don't wake up on their own.
  4. Reward good behavior - When outside, give the command "go potty" and then proceed to cheer for them when they do their thing. A lot of excitement on your end will show that this is important to you too. High-value treats also work well in this situation, too.

Removing Pet Stains From Carpet

Accidents on the carpet should ideally be treated right away to help reduce permanent odors or stains. If you find an accident on the carpet, use these steps:

  1. Clean up as much of the pet accident as possible.
  2. Blot any excess urine with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove as much moisture as you can.
  3. Spray an enzyme cleaner on the remaining stain and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping away stains and odor completely. Enzyme cleaners work by breaking down organic material and neutralizing the odor.

Removing Pet Stains from Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors require different treatment when compared to carpeted floors. Urine stains and smells are more challenging to remove though there are some homemade remedies to help mitigate the situation.

  1. Mix one cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water with grapefruit oil
  2. If the spot is still damp, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area to soak up moisture
  3. Hydrogen peroxide may be applied directly to the stained area. Cover the area with a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide, weigh down the edges, and let sit overnight. This should help remove stains or odors.

Be mindful that hydrogen peroxide may lighten floors, resulting in the need to refinish the area. It's not recommended to use hydrogen peroxide on a large area of hardwood floor for this reason.

What are Enzyme Cleaners?

Enzyme cleaners work to break down pet stains and odors. They can be used on a variety of surfaces, including carpets, rugs, concrete, wood floors, and upholstery. Enzymes will destroy organic matter or bio-based substances through natural decomposition by oxidation enzymes produce chemical reactions that release

Enzyme Cleaners for Pet Odors

Enzyme cleaners are generally safe for use on carpet, but always test a small inconspicuous area before cleaning a large surface with any product you have never used before.

  1. Once the enzyme cleaner is applied and has sat for 15 minutes, wipe away stains completely using a wet enzyme cleaner.
  2. Do not allow the enzyme cleaner to dry before removing stains and odor from your carpet or it may leave a residue that will attract dirt, which can lead to future staining issues.

Enzyme cleaners for pet odors are also safe on hardwood floors when used correctly but should never be applied directly onto finished surfaces due to the risk of staining.

When enzyme cleaners are used on hardwood floors they should be applied to a rag or sponge and rubbed into the area until all residue has been removed from the surface.

After using an enzyme cleaner, wipe away any excess moisture with a dry microfiber cloth before allowing the wood floor to air dry for 15 minutes.

Potty Training and Dealing with Pet Stains is No Small Feat

Puppies are a lot of work and potty training is one of the most frustrating experiences that a new owner will go through. Dealing with accidents in the house is no fun, especially if you're dealing with stains and odors on your flooring. To remove pet odors, use our tips, like using an enzyme cleaner, to keep your hardwood or carpeted flooring looking and smelling new. There are ways to mitigate the smells and odors from your hardwood or carpeted floors, but it's essential to understand the best practices so that you can completely remove the stains and odors without harming your flooring.

Don't forget - a healthy pet is a happy pet! If your dog is still experiencing accidents despite potty training success, it's best to get them checked out at the vet. Having a pet insurance plan like Figo can ensure you catch any bladder issues before they snowball. Get a quote today.


Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

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