New Puppy Guide: Potty Training, What to Buy, & More

by Hannah Roundy

new puppy running outside

Thinking about adding a new puppy to your pack? There's a lot of prep to be done and we're here to help.

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an unforgettable moment. It can often be overshadowed by all the to-dos you need to check off before bringing your new puppy home. Instead of stressing, read our new puppy checklist and learn all the how-tos before your pup arrives. 

Where can I adopt a puppy? 

If you aren’t sure where to find your new puppy, check your local shelter, rescue or adoption websites like This site will show you puppies available for adoption in your area along with details about their age, breed, behavior, and health history. And before making a commitment ask yourself these five questions to ensure you a ready for a puppy. 

New Puppy Checklist

Before bringing your new puppy home, there are a few things you’ll want to purchase. Our No-Fail New Puppy Checklist has a shopping list of all the puppy essentials your new furry friend needs to thrive. This includes items such as:

How to Train a Puppy

Although you might worry about how to train a puppy, it’s more than doable. In fact, training dogs tends to be easier the younger a dog is, so it’s important to start training as soon as possible. 

A new puppy needs some time to get comfortable in their new environment. Be as patient and empathetic as you can be with your furry friend. If they find their new home unwelcoming, it may cause them to act out, and creating a bond with them can become much more difficult. 

Curious about how to train a puppy to learn boundaries in the home? If you don’t want your new puppy in certain rooms or spaces in the house, move them to an area you are okay with. Close doors and consider purchasing baby gates to block off restricted areas of the house. 

The easiest way to train a puppy with any new habit is to reward them and use positive reinforcement. Dogs react better to positive reinforcement compared to harsh punishment. Reward your dog with a treat when they do something right and patiently correct them when they do something wrong. 

Do research and read up on your dog’s specific breed. Some breeds respond to different training methods better than others, so this might speed up the training process. 

How to Potty Train a Puppy

One of the main worries for new parents is how to potty train a puppy. With patience and practice, you’ll find potty training isn’t as scary as it sounds. 

We recommend using the bell method for new puppy potty training. You can purchase potty training bells from pet stores or online retailers like Amazon. Simply hook the bells onto the doorknob of the door your pup will be going out through to go potty. 

Every time you take your new puppy potty, take their paw and lightly tap the bells so they jingle. Repeat this every time your pup needs to go to the bathroom. Eventually, your dog will learn to jingle the bells with their nose or paw to let you know that they are ready to go potty. 

Consistency and patience are key with the bell method. Your new puppy will still have accidents here are there in the beginning, so be sure to purchase some pee pads just in case. 

Need more tips on how to potty train a puppy? Well for starters, your new puppy can hold their bladder for about an hour for every month old they are. That means your 3-month-old puppy needs to go out every 3 hours or more often. 

You should also start and end the day with a trip outside to go potty. As soon as you wake up, take your furry friend outside and go right before bed, too. It might be helpful for you to keep a log of how often they need to go potty, as well. 

Benefits of Crate Training for Dogs

There’s some debate between pet parents who like to crate train their pups versus those who choose not to. We always recommend crate training your new puppy from the start of their time in your home. 

Even if you won’t enforce a crate with your pup, the benefits of crate training for dogs are undeniable. Firstly, dogs need a designated space that’s just for them when they experience stress. Crates become that safe space for dogs even if they don’t seem to like it at first. After fully crate training your pup, you might notice that they prefer to spend time in their own space. 

Teaching your new puppy to behave in a car or vet’s office are other benefits of crate training for dogs. When you take your dog to a groomer or vet appointment, odds are they will spend some time in a kennel before you pick them up. Crate training prepares them for this possibility so your puppy doesn’t get scared. 

What Is a Puppy Fear Period? 

A puppy fear period often occurs between 8-11 weeks, and again between 6-14 months. The most common “symptom” that your puppy could be entering a fear period is a sudden onset. Fear periods will generally only last a few weeks at a time.

Signs of fear in puppies may look like: 

  • Ears pinned back 
  • Whale eye with a stiff gaze
  • Tight lips with or without panting 
  • Stiff or tucked tail 
  • Sudden urination 
  • Vocalization   

Be understanding towards your puppy as they are experiencing the world for the very first time. Try not to get upset with your puppy if a fear period leads to setbacks in training.

More New Puppy Tips

New puppy parents are often faced with a flood of questions. Here's some common conumdrums and what to do. 

What can I do about puppy biting?

Your new puppy may softly (or not so softly) nibble on your fingers every now and then. It might seem cute, but it’s best to quit this habit as early as possible. Read our guide on how to stop puppy biting before it gets out of hand. 

Chewing isn’t a bad habit as long as it’s directed at something safe for your pup to gnaw on. We recommend purchasing plenty of chew toys, rope toys, rubber food-stuffing toys and fetch toys to keep your pup’s teeth at bay.

Why is my puppy breathing so fast?

On average, fully-grown dogs will breathe 10-30 times in a minute, while puppies will take 15-40 breaths per minute. This range holds true for puppies at every age, whether they are 8 weeks, 12 weeks, or 4 months old. The reason is that puppies have higher metabolic rates, which is a fancy way of saying their bodies use up way more energy. They burn up energy fast because their bodies have to support their proper growth and development.

How long do puppies sleep?

The simple answer is that puppies sleep a lot, but in general, most young puppies sleep around 18-20 hours. Exactly how much a puppy sleeps depends on how old they are. Here’s a more precise answer based on age: 

  • First 2 months: 22 hours
  • 3 to 4 months: 18-20 hours
  • 5 to 6 months: 15-18 hours
  • 7 months to 1 year: 10-15 hours
  • 1-2 years: 10-12 hours

When do puppies open their eyes?

Most puppy eyes will slowly begin to open between 10 and 14 days. Whether they begin to open earlier or later can depend on the breed, as well as the individual puppy. With some litters, a puppy or two may keep their eyes closed for a couple days longer than the rest of the litter. 

Adding a puppy to your pack surely takes a lot of research and a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. Remember to enjoy these early days, because they are fleeting! 

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