Adding a new furry family member to your home is always exciting, but puppy owners know the transition can be challenging.
First-time puppy owners are likely asking themselves some particularly relevant questions regarding one key topic — how to potty train a puppy.
After all, it’s probably the most critical first step in your training regimen.
No one wants to clean up a poopy mess, and the quicker your fuzzy pal understands the potty expectations, the better.
How long will it take to potty train a puppy?
If you’ve been consistent and patient, your new puppy can grasp the basic structure of potty training within the first two weeks (assuming your puppy is at least eight weeks old).
If, for some reason, you’re caring for a puppy less than eight weeks old, you won’t have much success.
Bladder control doesn’t mature until a puppy reaches at least eight weeks, and you probably won’t be able to build much consistency until 10-to-12 weeks of age.
Wondering how long to potty train a puppy? A puppy is considered fully housebroken when it has gone at least one month without an accident. You’ll likely achieve this milestone when your pup reaches six months.
All told, while your puppy can begin practicing with some success after just a few weeks, it may take up to three months before you can confidently put the cleaning spray away.
How often do puppies need to go out?
Consistent and frequent trips outside are essential for puppy housebreaking,
You want your puppy to have more opportunities to head out than it needs.
Your puppy should feel confident that trips outside are a dependable, regular part of each day; otherwise, some anxiety could develop if you leave too much time between potty breaks.
Adult dogs have bigger bladders and better bladder control than puppies so they can wait longer between trips outdoors.
In most cases, a healthy dog can wait up to eight hours between trips to the restroom. Puppies, however, need to go outside every couple of hours.
When puppies are especially young (under 12-to-16 weeks old), prepare for some restless nights.
Build potty breaks into the daily routine.
Take your puppy outside as soon as you both wake up, after breakfast, before and after lunch, after playtime in the afternoon,n and so on.
Consistency will pay off in a big way later on.
How long after puppies eat do they poop?
Puppies poop a lot. Their digestive tracks are still developing, so food quickly moves through them.
Moreover, your puppy should eat several meals throughout the day (at least three).
As such, your puppy can go outside to poop within minutes of finishing its meal. Wait about 15-to-20 minutes and head out. In total, expect your puppy to poop at least five times daily.
Other factors may affect how quickly your puppy poops after a meal, most notably the puppy food it consumes.
Not all puppy foods are created equal, after all.
Those brands that contain extra fiber (such as foods where wheat or corn are high on the ingredient list) may cause your puppy to poop additional times throughout the day.
How long can puppies hold their pee?
According to the Humane Society of the United States, your puppy’s age in months corresponds to how many hours it can hold in pee.
So, a one-month-old puppy can hold in pee for about one hour. A two-month-old puppy can hold in pee for about two hours, and so on.
By six months, your puppy should be able to go through the night without requiring a potty break.
Be sure to remove your little one’s water dish a few hours before bedtime; if not, your puppy could still have an accident.
What can I do if my puppy regresses?
As your puppy grows, it’s not uncommon to still have the occasional accident. However, sometimes puppies do regress in their potty training.
This can occur if your puppy is experiencing separation anxiety or feeling submissive, such as when you raise your voice.
Puppies aged four months to one year are developing rapidly, so their brains could forget the basics.
Stay calm if your puppy is regressing (having frequent accidents even though it has been fully potty-trained).
First, talk with your vet to make sure there is no medical concern. Then, return to the basic puppy routine. Be consistent and positive (even though potty training regression is frustrating).
What are the best potty-training tools?
Compassion and patience are essential tools for housebreaking a puppy.
However, a few practical purchases and tips may make your life a little easier while your puppy learns the ropes.
Offer your puppy a reward every time it successfully eliminates outside.
Keep a bag of small, healthy puppy treats right by the door.
Pee pads can be a beneficial, albeit temporary, fix for puppies just beginning their training.
These should only be used for very young puppies or if you do have to leave your puppy for several hours.
Simply place a pee pad in the crate for the occasional accident.
Remove soiled pads, and don’t employ this strategy for too long; otherwise, your puppy could get too comfortable urinating indoors.
Dogs love to mark things with their scent and assert their dominance. You’ve likely noticed that your dog likes to urinate on consistent and often smelly spots (like well-worn signposts).
Following this logic, you want to remove that temptation from any spot inside your home — if your puppy accidentally pees inside, deep-clean that spot thoroughly.
A favorite pee spot
Following that same logic, choose a potty spot somewhere outside (maybe a tree, bush, or patch of grass nearby), and consistently bring your puppy to that area.
Eventually, your tiny canine will recognize the scent and associate that spot with the act of relieving itself.
A command word
Choose a command for your puppy when you head outside.
Commands could be phrases like, “Let’s go potty!” or “Time to poop!” A consistent expression will help your puppy associate the command with the action.
Final thoughts on how long to potty train a puppy
If your puppy’s pooping and peeing habits don’t feel normal, be sure to give your veterinarian a call.
Puppies can develop blockages when they eat something they shouldn’t.
Sometimes they can have allergies to foods or suffer from infections, like a urinary tract infection.
Otherwise, if you stick to a consistent routine and give your puppy plenty of love and support, you should have a well-potty-trained little pooch within eight-to-12 weeks.