Effective Puppy Potty Training Schedule
Dog TrainingDog Behavior

Effective Puppy Potty Training Schedule

Puppies are just the cutest. Having one at home can bring so much joy and happiness. Yet there are challenges and difficulties that come with them. One of the biggest being potty training. Having a good schedule can make this process a lot smoother. Let’s break down some general rules and specific tips for creating a successful potty training routine for your new furry friend. By sticking to a schedule you can even succeed in potty training an 8 week old puppy.

General Potty Rules

When You Wake Up

In the morning, take your puppy outside right away. They can't wait all night, so they'll need to go as soon as they wake up. During potty training a puppy, be extremely consistent with this timetable to set the tone for the day.

After Meals

After chowing down, puppies usually need to go potty in about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them after meals and whisk them outside pronto. This helps them learn that going potty happens outside, not inside the home.

After Playtime and Naps

Playing and napping can stimulate your puppy’s need to go. After each play session or nap, take your puppy outside to relieve themselves. This regularity helps reinforce the habit of going outside.

Leaving Home and Last Call

Always take your puppy out for potty before leaving the house and before bedtime. This way they will not have accidents while you’re gone or during the night.

Puppy Potty Training Schedule

If you are eager to potty train your pup quickly stick to a schedule as much as you can. When you are making a schedule for them keep their age in mind. This is because their bathroom needs vary with their age. If you want to get some help with this, Zoetis has a handy little bar chart that can guide you accordingly.

Newborn to 8 Weeks

Feeding and Potty Breaks

The phrase “What age to potty train?” is commonly searched by new pet parents. The answer is as soon as possible! When you start training them in the first months, they pick the habit early on and stick to it throughout their life.

At this age, puppies need to go out every two hours. Feed them four times a day and take them out after each meal. Be patient though because newborn puppies are still learning to control their bladders.

Night Time Routine

Setting an alarm to take your puppy out every 3-4 hours at night is a good idea. It might be tough, but it helps prevent accidents.

8 to 12 Weeks

Developing Bladder Control

Around this age, puppies start developing better bladder control. A roughly three-hour interval between toilet breaks is ideal at this point. You should try to have a set time for feeding the dog. This way you can correctly judge when they need to go out to do their business.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Make it a practice to offer them treats and praise as a reward when your pup goes potty outside. This inspires them to repeat the behavior as often as possible. Make sure to reward them immediately so they associate the reward with the action.

12 to 16 Weeks

Extending Time Intervals

Your puppy can hold it for a bit longer now—up to four hours. Gradually extend the time between breaks to help them adjust. Keep a close eye on their signals to avoid accidents.

Introduction to Command Training

Start introducing commands like “go potty” to help your puppy understand what you want them to do. Use the command consistently each time you take them out.

16 to 20 Weeks

Increasing Independence

Your puppy is getting more independent and can easily control their bladder for about five hours at this stage. Encourage them to alert you when they need to go outside. They will do this by giving signs like sniffing or circling.

Monitoring for Signals

Your puppy will tell you a lot with their body language. Understanding it is the key to potty training. If they start whining, scratching at the door, or suddenly stop what they were doing before, take them out for potty immediately.

20 Weeks and Beyond

Establishing a Reliable Routine

Keep your pup on a regular eating and potty schedule. By the time they hit around 20 weeks, they'll have their routine down and can hold it for up to six hours during the day. Adhere to regular potty breaks to maintain their progress.

Maintaining Consistency

Sticking to a routine is key for potty training. Keeping things consistent helps avoid setbacks. Even as your puppy grows, they'll still benefit from having a predictable schedule.

Tips and Common Problems

Use of Crates

You can simplify potty training by using crates. Crates may be helpful because puppies will not soil the area where they sleep and in turn learn to hold their bladder for a longer period of time. Figuring out a puppy crate training schedule that works well can often be tricky but it is not impossible. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends using crates to discipline and train your puppy, especially during night time.

How to Properly Use a Crate

Make sure the crate is just right for your pup to stand up, turn around, and cozy up comfortably. Too much space can encourage accidents. Use the crate for short periods and gradually increase the time as your puppy gets used to it.

Positive Reinforcement

Always reward your puppy for going potty outside. Use treats, praise, or playtime as rewards. This positive reinforcement makes them want to repeat the behavior.

Handling Accidents

Accidents will happen—it’s part of the process. When they do happen, try to clean up thoroughly and remove any lingering odor. If they smell pee, the dog might be attracted to the same spot again and again.

Avoiding Negative Reactions

Punishing your puppy for accidents isn't helpful. It can scare them and make them nervous about going potty around you. Focus only on positive reinforcement.

Regression in Training

If your pooch starts having accidents again, it is time to look for a physical problem. Changes in their routine, health issues or stress can cause regression.

Identifying Causes

Common causes of regression include changes in the household, new pets, or health issues like urinary tract infections. Identifying the cause can help you address it effectively.

Steps to Get Back on Track

Re-establish the basics of potty training if regression happens. Increase the frequency of potty breaks and reinforce positive behavior. Be patient—your puppy will get back on track with consistent effort.

Potty Training in Different Environments

Introduce your puppy to different environments for potty breaks. This allows them to learn to relieve themselves in places other than home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

Around four weeks—although it might take longer for some pups, depending on their breed and personality.

How long can dogs hold their pee?

Grown up dogs can hold their pee for up to 6 to 8 hours. Young pups need more regular breaks after 2 to 4 hours.

How often do puppies poop?

Puppies usually poop 3-5 times a day, often after meals and play sessions.

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