How To Potty Train Your Pug Puppy In A High Rise Apartment

Inviting a new Pug puppy into your home is a beautiful experience. You now have a loyal friend that will provide you years of loyal companionship. But how do you potty train a Pug when you live in a high rise apartment?

How to Potty Train Your Pug Puppy In A High Rise Apartment?

When you live in a high rise building the fastest way to potty train your puppy is to get them to use indoor potty pads, but you should also wean them off the pads as soon as they get their potty schedule down. Here’s how to potty train a Pug in an apartment with a grassy area for pets.

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Unfortunately, you can’t rely on traditional potty training methods that most people teach for new pet owners, but it is still possible to potty train them to use the potty outdoors. Check out our huge resource for Potty training Pugs to help you get started.

In fact, out of 7% of the pet owners in the United States, there are plenty of dogs that are raised in highrises. While some people do use pee pads, there are several pet owners that train their dog to relieve themselves outside.

It isn’t as easy as training a Pug puppy in a regular apartment or house, but it is possible to potty train Pugs regardless of where you live. This comprehensive guide will show you how to potty train a Pug, what the best training pads are, and how to make sure your pup is trained quickly.

Related: How to Potty Train Older Pugs

What Is A High Rise Apartment?

skyline apartments
High Rise apartments are 7 floors or more.

According to the National Fire Protection Association in the United States, a high rise is a building that is 75 feet tall (23 meters) or about 7 stories tall.

The trend of apartment buildings keeps growing taller and there has been a widespread shift to high-rise and mid-rise apartment buildings. These apartment complexes usually don’t have a big area for pets, especially if you live in a city.

So what does this mean for pet owners? Well, it means you have to learn how to potty train your puppy taking into account that it can take you 5 minutes or longer to reach their potty spot.

The Downsides of High Rise Potty Training

As mentioned above, you’re living 7 stories or further from the first level. This means that it can take you 5 minutes or longer to put your dog’s leash on, walk to the elevator, and catch a ride down.

Your dog may have an accident in the elevator or in the hallway on the way down.

Should You Use Pee Pads?

how to train a pug to go on an indoor pad
indoor potty pads can work great for puppies or older dogs.

There’s a huge debate online as to whether you should use pee pads for a puppy when you live in a high rise. Some people say that a dog will never be 100% trained to use a pee pad, while others say that it’s the easiest way to train a puppy who grows up in a high rise.

Pugs are smart dogs and can be potty trained indoors or outdoors. We’ll share tips on how to pee pad your Pug, and you can decide if it’s the method you want to take.

The best part is you can wean your puppy off of them once they are properly house trained.

What You Need To Succeed

Clicker Training

dog training clicker
clicker training is one of the easiest ways to train a puppy.

One of the quickest ways to potty train your Pug puppy is to use a clicker. It teaches both you and your dog how to be effective with timing. When your puppy hears the clicking sound, they’ll learn to understand that they get a treat. It won’t take long for your pooch to do whatever it takes to hear that clicker sound.

You start by teaching your puppy to understand that whenever they hear the clicker they get a treat. You’ll need to keep clicking the clicker, until your pup associates the clicker with a treat.

Once they know that the clicker means treats, you can then start using the clicker in conjunction with peeing and pooping. When your puppy pees in the designated spot you’ve chosen, you click the clicker and reward them with a treat after they do their business.


Owning a crate is an essential while you’re potty training a puppy. While you’re away and at night, your puppy will live in her crate. Dogs are clean animals and won’t mess where they sleep. Your pooch will learn to hold their bladder until you take them outside to relieve themselves.

As a pet owner, you’ll want to know how long a Pug can hold their bladder, so you can ensure you’re taking them outside often enough.

You’ll want to get a crate that can be adjusted to the size of your Pug. If there is too much room, you’ll find that your pup will go potty in the corner where their bed doesn’t touch.

Enzyme Cleaner

You’ll also want to invest in a good enzyme cleaner for when your pup has an accident. Remember, puppies can’t hold their bladder as long as an adult dog. This means that they are likely to have an accident, especially, if you leave them at home all day.

A good enzyme cleaner will clean up any accidents and will remove any lingering smells that will cause your puppy to want to continue going potty there. It’s important to clean up any accidents as soon as they happen.

Baby Gate or Play Pen

If you can’t get a create, you’ll want to keep your puppy confined to a specific room during the night and while you’re away. A baby gate or play pen will make it easy to section off a specific section on your apartment so your puppy can’t harm themselves or make a mess in your whole apartment.

Lay down some pee pads in case they have an accident while you’re gone. Don’t forget to give them access to water and some toys to keep them busy while you’re gone.

Healthy Snacks

Pugs are prone to obesity, so you’ll want to make sure you have access to some healthy Pug treats. These treats should only be given when they do when they go potty the way you want them to. Don’t feed them these treats outside of the potty training.

Treats can range from vegetables, pieces of chicken (not the bones), fruits, or any store bought puppy treats. Make sure that your Pug actually enjoys the treat, otherwise they won’t perform the way you want them to.

Poopie Bags

poopie bags for pug potty training
Biodegradable poopie bags will help you clean up after your puppy.

You live in an apartment complex, so you’ll want some poopie bags that make it easy to clean up after your pup. No one wants to step on your dog’s poop and besides many apartment complexes may issue fines if you don’t clean up after your pooch.

Opt for environmentally friendly poopie bags that can be disposed of quickly without issues.

Leash and Harness

Many high rise apartments and apartments, in general, will require you to have your pet on a leash. The right leash and harness can keep your puppy protected from cars, people, and other animals.

Most high rise apartments are located in busy cities, so a leash and harness can keep your puppy protected from unexpected dangers. Don’t try to let your puppy walk onto the elevator, there are too many horror stories about dogs being caught in the elevator.

Next Steps for Potty Training

Once you’ve purchased the items above that you’re planning on using, it’s time to prepare your home and your schedule around their potty training session.

These steps include:

  • Make sure they have been vaccinated
  • Create a designated area for potty training
  • Getting them on a regular schedule
  • Take them to the same spot
  • Determining praises and rewards
  • How to discipline for potty accidents
  • When and how to wean them off the puppy pads

Make Sure They Have Been Vaccinated

Before you start taking your new puppy around other dogs, cats, and animals, make sure they have been properly vaccinated. Most local and state ordinances require household pets to have certain vaccinations.

A puppy that hasn’t been vaccinated is prone to rabies, distemper, and other illnesses. Contact your veterinarian to ensure that your new puppy has its required vaccinations.

Create a Designated Area In Your Apartment

how to potty train a puppy on pads
Lay down some puppy pads to keep your home protected from accidents.

If your puppy is 8 weeks old, they don’t have complete control over their bladder. This means you’ll want to designate an area in your home to lay down some training pads.

This is the room where your puppy will spend most of their time, especially, when you’re away and at night. It’s important to keep the pee pads in the same spot, so your puppy learns this is the place for them to relieve themselves if they can’t hold their bladder.

Moving them around to different places will confuse your puppy and they’ll likely relieve themselves everywhere in your home.

Get Them On A Regular Schedule

Now it’s time to get them on a regular schedule. For the best results, you’ll want to take your puppy outside as often as possible, but definitely:

  • In the morning as soon as they wake up.
  • 30 minutes after breakfast.
  • Before you leave them alone and go to work.
  • At lunchtime, they’ll be ready for a mid-day potty break after waking up from a nap. (you may need to ask a family member or friend)
  • After work when you get home. (they’ll be so excited to see you so take them outside immediately)
  • 30 minutes after dinner
  • Before you put them in the crate for the night

It’s best to take your new puppy out every 2-3 hours, as they have small bladders.

Most puppies will sleep through the night, but if you hear her crying, you will want to get up and take her outside.

If you see your puppy sniffing the ground or circling, take her outside immediately or get her to the pee pads immediately.

Take Them To The Same Spot

Another thing to remember is to take your puppy to the same spot outside everyday. Just like you shouldn’t move the pee pads, you want to take them to the same patch of grass everyday.

This helps your puppy learn that this is the spot they are allowed to relieve themselves. Keep them on their leash, and use the “potty command” until they learn to go potty. Once they do their business, use the clicker and reward them when they are finished.

If they don’t go, then you’ll have to take her back upstairs and put her in the crate and wait for another 10-30 minutes to try again.

After they’ve gone potty, you can take off the leash to allow for playtime, as long as it is safe to do so.

Determining Praises and Rewards

Speaking of treats, there are several kinds of treats that will help you potty train your Pug puppy. I recommend starting out with some tasty treats that will make her want to go.

However, there’s no reason you can’t switch from food treats to other treats. Especially, since Pugs are prone to obesity, you don’t want to overdo it with the food treats.

Here’s some other ways to reward your dog that don’t add excess calories.


Choose one of their favorite toys that they don’t get to play with until they go potty. Your pup will learn that they only get to play with this toy when they do their business. Don’t let them play with this toy unless they take care of their business.


As your puppy gets older, you can remove the food treats altogether and just give her lots of praise. Use an excited voice and tell her “good girl” and get down to her level and give her a hug, rub, and pet her.

Let her know that you’re happy that she went potty. Pugs love attention and will want to keep pleasing you, so it won’t be hard to get her to go next time.

How To Discipline for Potty Accidents

how to discipline a Pug
Pugs learn better with positive reinforcement rather than punishment.

Accidents are bound to happen, and it’s important to discipline your puppy properly. The best way to discipline your puppy for peeing or pooping in the house is right as it’s happening. Tell them “No” and pick them up and take them outside or move them to the potty pad.

When they finish doing their business, give them praise and don’t forget the reward.

We know that it can be frustrating when your puppy goes bathroom on your hardwood floors or clean carpet. Just remember, it was an accident and they didn’t do it on purpose.

Whatever you do, don’t rub their face in it. That’s the old school way of doing things and that doesn’t teach your pup not to do it again. Instead, it can make them scared and next time they can’t hold their bladder they will take care of their business in an area you can’t find.

Just use the enzyme cleaner you picked up and clean up the spot.

Pugs learn best when you use positive reinforcement training rather than harsh or cruel punishment.

When and How to Wean Them Off Of Puppy Pads

As your puppy grows, they’ll start to learn the concept of house training, plus their bladder will be bigger so they can hold it longer. This doesn’t mean you make them hold it longer, it just means that they will be less likely to use the puppy training pads.

You’ll still want to take them downstairs on their regular routine, especially, since they are no longer using the training pads.

You still shouldn’t get rid of the pee pads, until your puppy is fully trained. They can protect your home, especially, if your Pug happens to drink a lot of water while you’re at work.

Once your puppy is properly trained and there are no more accidents on the pee pads or in the home, you can remove the pee pads altogether. Your puppy has learned the potty schedule and will hold it until you can take them out.

The Only Way To Fail

One of the biggest mistakes I see when apartment dwellers potty train their puppy, is they try to rush the process. They try weaning their pup from the pee pads too soon and then complain when their pup has an accident in the home.

When asked why they removed the pee pads so soon, the biggest complaint is the they didn’t like the smell and the look of them in their home.

I get it, no one wants pee pads lying around their home. However, it can take 4-6 months to properly train a puppy. That may sound like a lot, but if you rush the process, you’ll be starting the process over and it will just take longer.

It’s important to have patience and develop those good habits you want your puppy to have. When your puppy is given the time they need, you’ll have a well-behaved puppy that won’t pee or poop in the house, unless you leave them alone for over 10 hours!

Bottom Line

Potty training a Pug can be a challenge, but hopefully, these tips will show you that it is possible to have a dog when you live in a high rise apartment.

Pugs are smart dogs and with proper training, they will understand they can only use the potty in their designated area. Besides the potty command, every well-behaved Pug should know how to sit, lay, come, stay, be quiet, and more.

References And Further Reading

RentCafe Blog – Florentina Sarac – High and Mid-Rise Apartment Buildings Are Overshadowing Low-Rises for the First Time In 3 Decades

Black Pug Site