Going crazy because your puppy is still having accidents in the house? Check out these tips and tricks that will help even the most stubborn puppies become potty trained.

Potty Training a Stubborn Puppy

Struggling to potty train your pup? Need a little extra help? We’ve got you covered! Let’s talk about the essential steps to potty training a stubborn puppy, the right age to train, and signs that they need to go.

What Age Should a Puppy be Potty Trained?

Let’s start with age. Your puppy’s problem might just be that they are too young to learn how to be potty trained. Just like with humans, there are different ages at which puppies are able to learn different skills.

Pets.WebMD.com says “experts recommend that you begin house training your puppy when they are between 12 weeks and 16 weeks old. At that point, they have enough control of their bladder and bowel movements to learn to hold it.”

Of course, if you bring home a new dog that is older than 12-16 weeks, and they are still having accidents in the house or their crate, training might take a bit longer. You’ll have to retrain those bad habits with positive reinforcement and encouragement. But no worries—it definitely can be done!

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

Before you start training, you may be wondering how long it will take to potty train your puppy. Well, the veterinarians at Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital say that “on average, it takes roughly four to six months to completely potty train a puppy. As you move into the four and six-month marks, your puppy will be close to completely potty trained but accidents are still likely to occur.” So try not to get discouraged when you start potty training a puppy for the first time.

In order “to cut down on the time it takes to have your puppy completely potty trained, avoid punishing your puppy for accidents, and use positive reinforcement when they [potty or poop] in the designated area.”

Not exactly the answer you were hoping for? If you want to have the best odds for quicker potty training, you’ll need to be home all day every day, so that you can let your puppy outside to potty every hour of the day, and to be as consistent as possible. “If you have the right schedule and a puppy who’s an especially quick learner, potty training can be accomplished in seven to fourteen days.”

But remember—this is not the norm! So don’t set your expectations too high, or get discouraged too quickly. Remember, this puppy is just like a toddler. And potty training doesn’t happen overnight.

Steps for Potty Training Your Puppy

Ready to get started? Here are the simple steps you’ll need to take to properly potty train your puppy.

Create a Routine—Be Consistent!

Dogs thrive off of routine. They want to know your expectations, because they want to be a good dog. The more you build a routine and stick to it, the happier you’ll both be. When first starting out, you’ll want to take your puppy outside once every hour to try and avoid any accidents. But as they age and begin to learn, you can create a routine of going potty outside at key times.

And make sure to always use a collar, harness, and leash when taking a puppy outside. To be extra safe, you can use a Fi Smart Dog Collar to track your puppy’s GPS location.

  • When you wake up – take them straight from their crate to go potty outside
  • After each meal – within the first 5-30 minutes after eating
  • When your puppy wakes up from a nap – just like when they wake up in the morning
  • After playtime – like a kid, they might forget they have to potty when they’re playing
  • Right before leaving home – this gives them one last chance to potty before you leave, giving them the best chance to hold it while you’re gone
  • Right before bed – giving them the best chance to hold it throughout the night

Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital also recommends a maximum number of hours to go between potty breaks for your puppy—depending on their age:

  • 2 Months Old → 3 Hours
  • 3 Months Old → 4 Hours
  • 4 Months Old → 5 Hours
  • 5 Months Old → 6 Hours
  • 6+ Months Old → 6-8 Hours

Give Them a Way to Signal You

This will take some time to train your puppy to do, but it will help you in the long run. In addition to keeping to your dog’s potty training schedule, there may be times when they need to go outside right away! They could signal you by barking, sitting by the door, or some pet parents even train their dogs to use a bell.

Use the Same Spot

Taking your dog to the same spot to potty each time will help create consistency, so they understand the objective. But make sure it is secluded, and distraction-free. Make sure you don’t play with the dog during this time. And be extra patient—it may take them a while to do their business.

Crate Your Puppy When You’re Gone

Crate training your puppy can be helpful to you and them. It gives them a safe space, and helps them learn to control their accidents. They will naturally not want to alleviate themselves where they sleep.

Positive Reinforcement

The American Kennel Club recommends that you always reward your puppy for a job well done immediately after they potty or poop outside. And try using small “training treats” to avoid overfeeding them.

Signs that Your Puppy Needs to Potty

As your puppy learns to potty outside, they will try to signal you when they need to go. If they haven’t learned a special action, watch for these signals:

  • Sniffing and scratching at the door
  • Whimpering and walking in circles
  • Sniffing or licking their groin and rear
  • Going to a spot in the house where they’ve peeped before

Potty Training Your Puppy

Now that you have these tools in your belt, your puppy potty training should go a lot smoother! Just remember to be patient, use positive reinforcement instead of punishment, and stick to a consistent routine. These steps will help you and your puppy to both be set up for success.

For more articles about helpful pet parenting tips, breed mixes, and fun dog-friendly activities, check out the Blog at TryFi.com.