puppy in apartment

How to Raise a Puppy in an Apartment

In TRAINING by Rachael Summers2 Comments

Have you recently found yourself smelling poop as you walk through the door? Or even stepping in pee as you walk across the landing? If yes then this post will be very useful to you.

It was only around 2 weeks in of becoming a parent to my new golden retriever when I realized. That, this was not going to be as easy as anticipated. Living with a puppy in an apartment can be hard work…

And that’s exactly how it continued to be for weeks on end as I would come home to find pee and poop everywhere in the house. My husband was frustrated and to better that my pup was misbehaving too.

Something needed to be done, and I had to do it fast.

 puppy in an apartment

Starting the research

When I set out to start researching on this topic. All I could find online was a ton of articles giving very vague tips on how what to do if you are moving into an apartment with a pup.

On top of that, they were all talking about the different things that you should change as if you could rebuild the building to suit your needs. Now by no means am I belittling anyone’s efforts but man o man was the information so unuseful around this topic.

What if you’ve already moved in and looked for help

So with every site under the moon talking about how to move in before you there I decided to write this for those who already live in an apartmentIf your anything like me then you may not have fully thought this through before moving in until it hit you straight in the face.

Depending on the breed that you have will vary on the suitable training for living in an apartment. Bearing this in mind, I decided to research and share some generalized tips for any breed living above ground.

What to do when your out and they are left at home

In order for your dog to behave throughout the day, they must establish that you are going to be returning at a certain time. More often than not you can find dogs acting out of character due to stress that they are being left and forgotten of.

It is important to keep them aware that you will be returning to them later that day. A great way to establish this relationship is to start training them little by little with timing. 

So a great way to adjust them into the larger time periods would look like this.


It is important to make the steps as gradual as possible in order for them to adjust to the timing of being left alone.

Crate training a puppy in an apartment

I found this to be a great way into getting your pup used to spend time on their own. It’s horrible to see them inside a crate so it’s important that you make the effort to take them out for regular walks when you arrive home. Make sure to use some nice fluffy lining for the inside of the crate along with placing the crate away from you to ensure they sleep alone.

The first few times you place them in will cause them to cry and whine for a while. But every time that happens you should come down and open the crate but not allow them to come out. This trains them to understand that they must stay in the crate but you are there to help if needed. Heres a great video I found explaining this in an easy to understand format.

Potty training for when you’re out

First things first an that’s to establish a place of relief outside for your dog to go every day. Take them to the same spot every day to use the bathroom in order for them to familiarise themselves with that spot. This will repay you tenfold in the future as before you leave for work then take them to the spot to go just before you leave. 

If you find that they don’t go then you can train them to use an indoor potty at home. The best indoor potty I have found to do the job is the Petmaker on Amazon.

indoor potty

Balconies are great – Use your surroundings

If you have the privilege of a balcony then even better. Even a big enough ground-level cupboard will do the job. This will make a great place for your dog to use the bathroom whilst your out. But be sure to assess whether it would be safe to do so as some balconies are shorter than others. And the last thing you want is your dog climbing up whilst you’re out.

You could lay out a potty area for your dog on the balcony to ensure they use that for the bathroom whilst your out. I personally would still recommend the indoor potty for this purpose and instead place it outside on the balcony to use there.

Don’t give them a hard time

From personal experience, I know how difficult it can be to come home from a long day at work and have to clean up some poop. But remember it is not their fault and you signed up for this to take responsibility and see it through.

That may mean picking up poop for a few weeks until they get the hang of everything around the house. I suggest taking your puppy out at least once every 2 hours when you are home as they have a very weak bladder when young.

Do not try to discipline them in a bad way by rubbing their noses in the mess. Instead, reinforce your initial teachings and give them time to get the hang of things.

timing is everything

Timing is everything

As you may have gathered around this topic, everything is about time. It requires time and adjustment for your puppy to get used to this new environment and before you know it they will. I suggest some in-home dog training that could be very useful for this purpose. It’s the very thing that helped me out when I needed it, so I’m sure it’ll work for you!

puppy in apartment


If you live with a puppy in an apartment then I simply suggest that you first get an indoor potty. After you have one of those I suggest you implement some crate training and maybe use an online course to teach your dog new skills.

That’s what has worked for me and my husband and allowed us to both work full-time jobs while owning 2 puppies in an apartment. Owning a puppy inside of an apartment is definitely possible but it will take some time and some training first.

Related Post: Best dog harness for golden retrievers

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