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How to Potty Train a Pitbull: 12 Vet-Approved Tips

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on July 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

pitbull puppy sitting on grass

How to Potty Train a Pitbull: 12 Vet-Approved Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSC GPCERT (OPHTHAL) MRCVS

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

Learn more »

Pitbull Terriers are loving, loyal, affectionate, and form strong bonds with their owners, but like with any dog breed, they require potty training. Adding a Pitbull puppy to your home is a rewarding experience, and your new Pit will bring you years of joy and fun. But first, you’ll have to get through the potty-training stage, which can be a challenge.

Potty training a Pitbull puppy takes patience, and you’ll likely get frustrated at some point, but that’s what we’re here for—to give you 12 expert tips on how to potty train your Pitbull for success. Ready? Let’s get to it.

Before You Start

Having essential items on hand before you begin the training process will make everything go smoother, especially in the event of an accident inside the home, which is imminent. Pitbulls are intelligent and eager to please, and your pup will get the hang of it in time.

First, ensure you grab the following items:
  • Cleaning supplies (enzymatic cleaner for urine cleanup)
  • Treats
  • Crate

divider-pawThe 12 Tips to Potty Train Your Pitbull

1. Use Positive Reinforcement

We’ve put this tip first because it is crucial to successful training in all aspects, including potty training. Using positive reinforcement keeps the experience positive, and you’ll have much more success. Never yell or hit your dog, and always reward them with a treat and praise when he goes potty outside.

Pitbulls are eager to please their owners, and they are intelligent to boot, allowing them to be easily trained with proper techniques. Remember to praise praise praise when your puppy goes potty outside.

walking pitbull with petowner
Image Credit: Yvonne Lüneburger, Pixabay

2. Devise a Feeding Schedule

Devising a feeding schedule keeps your Pit’s digestive system running smoothly, as well as establishing a potty routine. By feeding at the same times of day, you’re helping your Pitbull puppy understand when they will normally need to go potty.

This phase is all about routine and repetition, and your Pitbull puppy will get acclimated to eating at the same time daily, along with going potty at the same time of day—this also allows you to take your puppy outside after your pup has had time to digest the food, which is roughly 15–30 minutes. Wait that amount of time, and take your puppy out to potty.


3. Designate a Potty Spot

Again, designating a specific potty spot is all about routine and repetition. If you establish a designated potty spot in your yard, your Pitbull puppy will realize in time that the designated spot is where to go and nowhere else—they’ll especially understand that the spot to go potty is not inside the home and going potty inside is a no-no.

Teaching your Pitbull puppy to go in one spot will also eliminate multiple areas in your yard that may succumb to your puppy’s urine, which will eliminate multiple bare spots.

brand new garden fence in the UK
Image Credit: Paul Briden, Shutterstock

4. Take Your Puppy Out Frequently

Puppies need to go outside to potty multiple times a day, ideally every 3 to 4 hours, depending on their age. Puppies do not know how to control their bladders yet, and taking them out multiple times a day to go potty will increase the likelihood of them going to the toilet where they should.

Be sure you praise your puppy when he goes potty; this is a crucial step in the potty training process. Remember, potty training is about routine and repetition.


5. Adjust Your Schedule Accordingly

This part may be difficult for some depending on your work schedule, but it’s something to consider before bringing a Pitbull puppy into your life. We’ve mentioned your puppy will likely need to potty every 3 to 4 hours, and if your work schedule is demanding and you cannot be there to let your puppy out frequently, you may need to reconsider adding a puppy to your home.

However, if you have a family member, a friend, or a puppy sitter who can pop in when you cannot, that could be an alternative. Note that you cannot expect your puppy to hold their bladder, and if you do, they will have accidents.

pitbull terrier puppy sitting on grass
Image Credit: John Albert Photography, Shutterstock

6. Utilize a Crate

Crate training is useful in any form of puppy training, especially potty training. Your puppy’s crate should be a safe haven for him to retreat to for sleep and also to keep your puppy safe when you’re not home. A crate should never be used as punishment.

That said, dogs do not like to go potty where they sleep, and getting your puppy used to the crate will help with the potty-training process. Ensure you buy a crate that is not too big; if the crate is too big, your puppy will relieve himself in a corner that’s far from his sleeping spot.

Instead, buy a crate that is big enough for your puppy to stand up and move around easily but not so big that they can go potty on the opposite side of the crate. Note you’ll need to recalculate the crate’s size as your Pitbull puppy grows.


7. Use the Same Command

Here we go again with repetition. See how important it is? You don’t want to confuse your puppy with different commands each time he goes potty outside. Keep the command simple, such as “Go potty,” “Do your business,” or “Go.”

Whichever command you choose, ensure you stick with the same verbal command each and every time, and don’t forget to say that command each time your puppy potties outside.

Woman training a pitbull in the park
Image Credit: YouraPechkin, Shutterstock

8. Clean Up Accidents Quickly

Remember the supplies we mentioned to grab before you start? Your puppy will absolutely have accidents, and when they happen, it’s imperative to clean it up right away. If your puppy can smell the location where they peed or pooped, they will likely go to that same spot again.

Using an enzymatic cleaner will not only clean up the mess but will also eliminate the odor, which will deter your puppy from going there again.

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray is our top choice for an all-purpose cleaner for pet messes. It effectively removes even the toughest stains and odors, making clean-up and accident prevention effortless. What's more, Hepper offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is a great bonus! If you're interested in learning more about this product, click here.

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9. Be Quiet as Your Puppy Potties

A mistake new puppy owners often make is talking to their puppy while going potty. It’s important not to distract your puppy while they’re relieving themselves because it takes the focus off the good habit and places it elsewhere.

Wait until your puppy is finished, and then praise with a reward and the command you chose for when your pup potties outside.

american pitbull pooping in grass
Image Credit: LookerStudio, Shutterstock

10. Keep Close Tabs on Your Puppy

When you’re training a Pitbull puppy, or any puppy for that matter, keep an eye on him at all When you’re training a Pitbull puppy, or any puppy for that matter, keep an eye on them at all times if possible. If you notice them sniffing around, this could indicate they need to potty.

You can then immediately take them outside, and when they potty, praise them. Remember to use the verbal command of your choosing and praise, praise, praise!


11. Avoid Potty Pads

Using potty pads may seem like a good option, but we do not recommend them, and here’s why. Potty pads ultimately teach your puppy that going potty inside the house is okay, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.

It’s best to teach your puppy to potty outside and outside only; plus, you don’t want to buy potty pads forever.

a red nose pitbull puppy looking in the camera
Image Credit: A. Laengauer, Shutterstock

12. Always Take Your Puppy Out Before Bedtime

By taking your Pitbull puppy outside to potty before bedtime, you will have a more peaceful sleep because you are less likely to be awakened by a whining puppy, and your puppy will likely sleep through the night and not have an accident.

This step is essential in teaching your puppy to potty outside before bedtime because it drives the point home even further for your puppy to potty outside.

divider-paw

Conclusion

Despite their bad reputation, Pitbulls make excellent family companions, and they are eager to please. These beautiful dogs are intelligent, and potty training will go smoother than you think as long as you follow the steps mentioned above.

Potty training takes patience, but eventually, your Pitbull puppy will catch on. Remember consistency is key—stick to a routine precisely each day, and always use positive reinforcement.


Featured Image Credit: McCann Michelle, Shutterstock

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