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How Long Will It Take to Potty Train a Dog? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

man training his vizsla dog

How Long Will It Take to Potty Train a Dog? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Potty training is one of the more challenging aspects of owning a dog. If you’re contemplating adding a puppy to your home, you probably have many questions. How long does the process take? Is it true that some breeds are easier to housetrain? Potty training your dog will generally take approximately 4 to 6 months. Let’s keep answering these and other common potty training questions.

divider-dog pawWhat You Will Need to Potty Train Your Dog

The right supplies can make it easier to housetrain your pup. Before you start a potty routine, it’s helpful to have these essentials on hand:

  • An enzyme-based pet stain and odor remover: Accidents will happen, and you want to be prepared. A pet-safe cleaner will remove any odors and discourage your dog from eliminating in the same spot.
  • Training treats: You want your dog to associate potty breaks with something positive. Reward your pup with a training treat when it poops or pees outside.
  • Patience: You will need a lot of this! Potty training a dog can seem like one step forward and two steps back. At times, it may feel like there is no end in sight. But if your pup is healthy and you stay consistent, you will reach this milestone together.
  • A timer: Dogs do best when they keep a consistent bathroom schedule. You’ll need a way to keep track of time, but you don’t need anything fancy. You can use the timer on your microwave or an app on your smartphone.
Woman showing treats to a dog
Image by: Pezibear, Pixabay

How Long Will It Take to House Train My Puppy?

You can expect the potty training process to take at least 4 to 6 months. Occasional accidents are normal up to 1 year of age. The sweet spot to start potty training a dog is between 8 and 16 weeks old. Any earlier, and they may not be developmentally ready. Any later and they can develop bad habits. Smarter dog breeds may understand the training faster.

And yes, older puppies and adult dogs can be housetrained. But be prepared for the process to take longer.

How Often Should My Dog Go Outside for Potty Breaks?

You should bring your pup out first thing in the morning, after each meal, and after naps. Don’t wait too long after meals. Puppies may need to relieve themselves as soon as 5 minutes after eating. Your dog will also appreciate one last opportunity to poo and pee outside before bedtime.

If you need to leave your dog by itself or put it in a crate, remember the “age plus one” rule of potty training. A 4-month-old puppy can only go 5 hours between daytime bathroom breaks.

hungarian vizsla dog poops in the green park
Image by: SasaStock, Shutterstock

How Do You Potty Train a Dog in 3 Days?

We are always looking for life hacks and shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up your puppy’s development.

Is it possible for you to potty train your puppy in 3 days? Sure. But is it likely? No.

However, you can do a lot over 3 days. If you have a long weekend ahead, you can take the opportunity to get your dog on a strict mealtime and potty schedule.

Are Female Dogs Easier to Potty Train?

There is no scientific evidence that female puppies are easier to potty train. You may hear claims from other dog owners, but these are nothing more than personal anecdotes.

A consistent schedule and your dog’s size significantly impact how fast they learn to go outside. Sex is not a factor.

dog poop
Image by: Javier Brosch ,Shutterstock

What Is the Hardest Dog Breed to House Train?

Small breeds may seem like they are difficult to house-train. It’s not a matter of stubbornness but rather their anatomy. Little dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkies have tiny bladders. They need more frequent potty breaks, not just as puppies but throughout their entire lives.

When to See a Veterinarian About Potty Training

Contact your veterinarian if your dog:
  • Is fully housetrained but then starts having accidents in the house
  • Shows signs of pain or discomfort when urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Has blood in its poop or urine
  • Isn’t potty trained by its first birthday, despite consistent training

Occasionally, potty training issues are due to an underlying health condition.

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

Teaching your pup when and where to use the bathroom is more than training. This experience is also a way to bond and connect. Remember to stay patient and maintain a sense of humor. Reward your dog when it eliminates outside, but don’t punish the pup for going in the house.

Featured Image Credit: ABO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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