So, you got a puppy and you’re wondering how long does it take to potty train. Or perhaps you’ve adopted an older dog who was neglected from learning how to use the outdoors as a bathroom. The act of teaching your pup to pee and poop outdoors versus indoors can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you understand the process and timeline for potty training.
Treats in hand for positive reinforcement, and let’s get started!
Potty Training Puppies Can Seem To Last Forever!
How long does it take to potty train puppies? It can seem like a lifetime, especially if you’re working full-time or you don’t have help from other family members. It’s as if time itself slows down when you embark on this adventure. Perhaps it’s because the mischievous little furballs are determined to test your patience to the limits.
Puppies start by luring you in with their innocent eyes. Then their impressive bladder capacity comes into play as if they were storing up enough liquid courage to challenge the laws of physics. As you diligently clean up puddles and repeat the words “No, not there!” a hundred times, the days roll on into what feels like a million dog years.
But fear not! For every accident, there’s a glimmer of progress. With each near-miss, you inch closer to success. So take a deep breath, and embrace the journey because one day, your puppy will be potty trained.
At What Age Can You Potty Train a Dog?
The optimal age for potty training a dog can vary depending on individual development. Generally, it’s recommended to start the process when the puppy is between 12 and 16 weeks old. During this time, they have better bladder and bowel control and can begin to understand basic commands.
However, it’s important to note that each dog is unique. Some may be ready earlier or later than others. Factors such as the dog’s size, breed, and temperament can influence the timing and effectiveness of potty training. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key elements in successfully teaching a dog when and where to pee and poop.
How Do You Stop a Dog From Peeing and Pooping in the House?
When addressing the issue of a dog peeing and pooping in the house, it’s important to focus on positive reinforcement rather than scolding. One of the most effective approaches is to establish a consistent routine. Take your dog outside very frequently, particularly after meals, playtime, before bed at night, and waking up from naps. When your dog pees or poops outside, offer praise, treats, or affection to reinforce the desired behavior. It’ll begin to realize that the outdoors is the place to go pee or poop for a positive interaction with you.
If you catch your pup peeing or pooping indoors, avoid punishment and instead redirect it to its designated bathroom area outside. You’ll also benefit from cleaning up accidents promptly to eliminate any lingering odors that may attract your dog back to the same spot.
Again, a routine filled with regular opportunities for exercise and stimulation can help prevent indoor accidents by reducing anxiety and getting into regular bathroom habits.
How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy?
Potty training a puppy is an essential aspect of its early development and an important step towards a hygienic living environment. The process requires patience, and the timeline for how long it takes can vary from one pup to another. It generally takes several weeks to six months to fully potty train a puppy.
The time it takes depends on several factors including breed or size. Smaller dog breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms than larger breeds. Therefore, they require more frequent potty breaks.
Individual temperament or ability to learn and the consistency of your training routine are also important factors. By establishing a structured schedule, providing positive reinforcement, and practicing gentle guidance, you’ll be able to establish that the outdoors is for peeing and pooping.
Start at 12 to 16 Weeks Old
Start potty training your puppy when it’s 12 to 16 weeks old. This will give it enough time to get its bearings and be developed to retain new things it’s taught. Choose a specific spot outside where you want your puppy to pee and poop. And take it to this area consistently so it associates it with going potty.
Ever Wonder: When do puppies get easier? Find out the unfortunate truth.
Keep a Regular Feeding Schedule
Set a regular schedule for feeding, playtime, and potty breaks. Puppies generally need to go shortly after waking up, after meals, and after exercise. Take your puppy to the designated potty area at these times.
Keep a close eye on your pup, especially during the initial stages of training. You might consider using baby gates or keeping your dog in a confined area when you can’t actively supervise. This helps prevent accidents and gives you an opportunity to observe its potty behaviors.
Take Out Every 30 to 60 Minutes During the Daytime
Take your puppy out every 30 to 60 minutes during the daytime. This helps it remember where to relieve its bladder and allows you to observe how much it really needs to pee and poop. Also, Learn to recognize your puppy’s cues for needing to go, such as circling, sniffing, or restlessness. When you notice these signs, take them to the designated potty area.
Mark a Cue
Mark a cue for your puppy that indicates potty time. For example, say “Go potty” whenever your dog goes potty, then reward it with a treat. This trains it that it only gets the treat if it’s said, and it’s only ever said outside. It provides the added benefit of training your pup to go practically on command in the future and when it knows what you want it to do.
Give Positive Reinforcement When It Goes Outside
Regardless of marking the cue, reward going potty outside. Positive reinforcement is crucial. Potty training takes time, and accidents are a part of the learning process. Avoid punishment or scolding as it can make your pup afraid or confused. Or worse: it could make them pee more out of fear and submission.
Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and consistency in your training approach. As your puppy becomes more reliable in its potty habits, you can gradually increase its freedom.
How Long Does It Take to Potty Train an Older Dog?
Potty training an older dog can be a slightly different process compared to training a puppy, as it may already have established habits and behaviors. The duration of potty training an older dog can vary depending on its previous training, temperament, and any underlying issues that might contribute to accidents such as medical conditions.
In general, it can take several weeks to a few months to potty train an older dog successfully. The process involves many of the same principles as training a puppy, such as establishing a consistent routine, providing positive reinforcement, and closely supervising the dog. However, older dogs may require additional patience and understanding, as they might have ingrained habits that need to be changed.
It’s important to be consistent in redirecting your dog to your designated potty area and rewarding them for going in the right place. In some cases, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer who can provide guidance tailored to the specific needs of your older pup. With patience and consistency, even senior dogs can learn new habits and become successfully potty trained.
Fun Fact: Older dogs can learn new tricks!
Should I Carry My Puppy Out to Pee?
Carrying your puppy out to pee can be a helpful strategy, especially during the early stages of potty training. Puppies have limited bladder control and may struggle to hold their urine for extended periods. By carrying them outside to the designated potty area, you minimize the risk of accidents indoors and reinforce the idea of where they should pee. This approach is particularly beneficial when you notice signs that your puppy needs to go, such as restlessness or circling.
However, it’s essential to gradually transition to having your puppy walk outside on its own to the potty area. This encourages independence and allows it to learn to signal its need to go outside. Ultimately, the goal is to teach your puppy to go potty independently, but carrying it initially can be a useful tool to set it up for success in its potty training journey.
Tips for Pups That Take A Long Time To Potty Train
If you’re dealing with a puppy that’s taking a long time to potty train, we have some tips to aid in the process. First, consider crate training. It can be an effective tool for potty training, as it helps establish a den-like environment where puppies are less likely to have an accident. Utilize the crate when you can’t directly supervise your pup.
You might also want to try training pads or doggy diapers. Training pads are helpful if you’re unable to supervise your pup for a period of time. Doggy diapers come in handy when there are extended periods of time your dog can’t go outside. Or you can use them overnight. Just remember not to use them all of the time or you’ll never complete potty training.
We also recommend restricting where your dog-in-training can go in the house. For example, by only allowing it on hardwood floors you’ll have a better time cleaning up an accident. It’s also easier to eliminate lingering odors from hard surfaces. If you only have carpet, consider putting down the sticky plastic material realtors and construction persons put on carpets to keep them clean. We wrapped our couch with it when we were potty training our dog Solar so he wouldn’t pee on it. He only did it once and it worked to keep the urine off the fabric.
Remember, every puppy is unique, and some may take longer to grasp the concept of potty training. With time and dedication, even the most challenging pups can become successfully potty trained.
If you’ve followed the training techniques consistently and your puppy still struggles with potty training, it may be helpful to consult a veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to the difficulty in potty training.
Potty Train Your Pup with Consistency and Confidence
Stay patient, consistent, and confident when potty training your pup. When you provide plenty of guidance and positive reinforcement, you’re sure to succeed. It’s not always easy during the process, but you’ll likely look back after it’s done and realize the time went by rather quickly.
Are you in the midst of potty training your puppy or older dog? Share your experience in the comments below.
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