What Age Should a Dog be Potty Trained?

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 8 min.

One of the reasons why some puppies end up in animal shelters is soiling in the house. Rarely will you find a homeowner that entertains a pet who won’t stop messing up his rugs and carpets, the fact that the owner is normally to blame seems neither here nor there to some of them. In my view they shouldn’t have pets in the first place. Still as you are reading this, I am going to assume that YOU are not one of those people and that you have your pets’ best interests at heart and are willing to put in the time and effort it needs to help potty train your furry little friend.

What age should a dog be potty trained? The best time to start potty train your dog is when he is between 3-6 months old (that’s just 12 to 24 weeks). Even by this young age they should have enough control of their bladder and bowel to learn how to hold on, or at least go to where they are allowed to poop. An alert eye from you and consistent encouragement with gentle reinforcement as you teach them will get them from messing on the carpet to finally messing outside. Patience and persistence will get you there!

In this post, we will give you some handy tips on How To Housetrain Your Puppy and take a look at the most ideal stage to introduce potty training in your dog’s life.

House training your pup takes patience from you, consistency, and positive reinforcement given by you.

Puppy Potty Training Girl
Don’t berate your puppy, just encourage him to go elswhere

The objective here is to give your puppy desirable habits and develop a loving bond between you and your pet.

Most pups won’t be able to control the urge to go until they are about 3 months old, however, you can start when the dog is just 6-weeks old.

You can begin taking him out in the garden frequently to allow him to go. While this may reduce the number of times he accidentally pees or poops in the house, it will take up to 3 months for him to be a good age for house training.

According to experts, your pooch can hold his bladder for around one hour per month of his age. So, at 3 months old, it will probably take 3 hours maximum between potty trips.

This may vary depending on his level of excitement and how much he’s had to drink. Dogs tend to loosen their bladders whenever they are overexcited.

Normally, it will take the average puppy between 4 to 6 months to be completely potty trained. In some cases, the duration could take up to a year.

Size can be an influencing factor. For example, small breeds can have a higher metabolism and their tiny bladders will need to go more often; meaning they need to make more trips outside to answer the call of nature.

Another factor is your pup’s previous living circumstances. In some cases, you may find yourself having to break old and undesirable habits to instil better ones.

Remember that while training your pooch, there may be setbacks, but don’t let this discourage you. Stick to the program and eventually it will result in a fully and professionally house trained puppy.

When Should I Begin Housetraining my Pup?

House training your puppy should begin when he’s 12-16 weeks old. At this age, your pet should have adequate control of his bowel and bladder movements, and can probably learn to hold it in.

If you adopt a puppy older than 12 weeks and he’s still going in his cage when you bring him home, potty training may take a little longer.  This might also require that you rehabilitate his behavior with appropriate positive reinforcements.

Puppy Potty Training Finger
Try not to scold him for mistakes as you will make him nervous and then hide his peeing behind the sofa

Don’t be dispirited if your puppy still has mishaps through the first 12 months of his life. Remember that every dog is an individual and some may require more time.

How to Housetrain your Puppy

Below are 3 basic methods on How to Housetrain Your Puppy if you want a more detailed guide on any of the 3 methods then Click The link in blue at the bottom.

Animal behavioural experts propose confining your pup to a defined space when you start; it could be in a room, crate, or on a leash. As your puppy becomes accustomed to going outside whenever he feels like going, you can slowly reward him with more room around the house. To potty train your puppy, try the following steps below:

The Paper Method to Toilet Train Your Pup

  • If you have a keen attentive eye, leave some paper or a litter tray on the floor, every time your pup goes to toilet, pick them up with encouraging words and put them on the paper.
  • When your pup has learnt to go to the paper to go to toilet, keep encouraging them and move the paper a few inches every day toward the door you will want them to use to go outside.
  • When your pup is eventually going to the paper every time, put a second piece of paper outside the door. When they head for the paper by the door, be quick to pick them up and put them outside.
  • This will enforce the habit that they need to go outside, but YOU must be alert to their need to go. Don’t scold them for your lack of timing or interest if they pee inside.

For a more detailed guide on The Paper Method Click Here

Puppy At The Door
If they are at the door – let them out

The Timing Method for Toilet Training

  • Take your puppy outside to defecate first thing in the morning and proceed to do it once after every 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Be sure to take them outside every time he wakes from a snooze and see to it that he goes out before sleeping at night and when you come home after he’s been left home alone. 
  • Take your pooch to the same spot every time. The unique scent he leaves behind will encourage him to repeat his business.
  • Keep your pet company as he answers the call of nature until he’s fully potty trained.
  • Always praise and reward your pooch when he defecates outside. Positive reinforcement like his favorite treat or a short play in the garden will do.

For a more detailed guide on The Timing Method Click Here

Puppyongrass 400 1

House Training your Dog Using a Crate

A crate can make a great housetraining tool for your puppy, even if it’s short term. It enables you to keep a close eye on him and pick out any little signs that he wants to pee.

It will also be easier to train him how to hold it in until the crate is opened and he can finally come outside.

Use the timing method above and then follow the guidelines below if you decide to use a crate for potty training:

•    Choose a crate that is spacious enough for your pooch to stand, lie down, and turn around in.

•    If you are going to keep your pup in a crate for anything beyond two hours at a time, make sure he has access to fresh water. You can link a water dispenser to the crate for this.

•    If you won’t be available during the potty training period, remember to ask your neighbor or friend to fill in for you and give your dog potty breaks for the first eight months.

•    If your pet is eliminating inside the crate, stop using it altogether. Eliminating inside the crate could have several implications: Your pup may have picked up the habit from the pet store or shelter he was living in before you adopted him, the crate is just too big or he may not be getting enough time outside.

For a more detailed idea how to use the crate for toilet training Click Here

How Can I speed up my Dog’s Potty Training?

If you are hoping to shorten your pup’s house-training period, you have to strictly maintain the schedule of taking him outside for the chance to go potty. Using a crate is a good move because dogs generally prefer not to eliminate where they have their nap. If you must abandon your pet for longer than his bladder can hold, leave the crate open in the bathroom or any other available small room. This will ensure they have a place to go without having to soil her bed. Remember to also place some food, water, and even toys near the crate. Take your pup out as soon as you come back from work and make a point of getting up preferably once or twice during the night till he turns 6 months old.

Expect a few Setbacks

During the house-training period, it is not unusual for your dog to have mishaps in the house every now and then. If you witness this happening, do the following:

•    Disrupt your puppy’s go-time if you catch him in the act.

Puppy Peeing
If you see him peeing pick him up and take him to your designated place

•    Startle them with a firm command, and immediately lead them outside to the appropriate defecation spot. Reward your pup with a treat when they have finished their business.

•    Don’t punish or reprimand your pet for going inside the apartment. If you find out that your rug is already soiled, just clean up the mess as it is too late to make any corrections. Punishment, in many cases, does more harm than good; your pup may end up fearing you or finding it hard to go when you are around.

•    Make sure the soiled area is thoroughly cleaned with no traces of odor. Dogs will continue to defecate in the same spot because it smells of their poop and pee.

NB: It is crucial that you try to utilize these confinement and supervision approaches to limit the number of mishaps. If you let your pet defecate anywhere in the house, your dog will ultimately forget where they are supposed to go, and this only serves to lengthen the training period.


As we have seen there are numerous factors that will influence how easily you manage to potty train your pup. These will range from the approach you are using to train and your consistency in sticking to the rules.

You must take in to account the puppy’s age and his previous living conditions. A 2-month old dog is in a totally different stage of development when compared to a 4-month old dog.

If you got your dog from a proper breeder who took the time to introduce him to the basics of potty etiquette, then obviously the time taken to achieve this will be much shorter.

Some puppies will get the hang of it after just a few months while others will require up to a year to become fully potty trained. However, with patience and persistence, you and your furry friend will get there sooner rather than later.

For more detail on Puppy Training click the link below,

How Do I Toilet Train My Puppy Click Here

Dog Scooting 1

Previous Post

Why do some dogs need their glands squeezed?

Next Post

Why does my Dog Eat Grass?

Dog Eating Grass 450 1