How Long Does It Take To Potty Train a Puppy

I sometimes get the impression that I’m writing a blog about pee and poop. It makes my head spin to get so many questions about potty training puppies.

This message was sent to me a few days ago.

“I’ve had my eight-week-old puppy for four days and she’s still peeing and pooping in the house!” How long will potty training my puppy take? ”

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How Long Does Potty Training A Puppy Take?

New puppy owners can be a fickle bunch.

  • Learning when and where a puppy needs to go potty takes time.
  • A puppy’s bladder takes time to develop.
  • Learning when our puppy needs to go potty takes time.

“You must have patience, my young Padawan,” Yoda says.

I’ve been training service dog puppies for 15 years. I’ve potty trained well over a dozen puppies in that time. I think I’ve finally figured out how long it takes to potty train a puppy.

One thing to remember is that, just like people, each puppy is unique. Some people learn quickly, while others take longer to grasp basic concepts (like when and where to pee).

After all of that, here’s my answer to the age-old question:

How Long Does Potty Training A Puppy Take?

This question has a short and long answer for me. Let’s start with a quick response:

QUESTION: How long does it take to train a puppy to go potty?

ANSWER: It takes us about 4-8 weeks to potty train a puppy on average. We’ve raised over a dozen puppies, so it may take a little longer for you to get used to your new puppy’s potty routine and schedule if you’re a first-time puppy owner.

Now for the long response…

While we’ve had our puppies potty trained in 4-8 weeks, there are other factors to consider when potty training could lengthen or shorten the time it takes you to get your puppy accident free.

  • Your Previous Potty Training Experience: If you’ve previously potty trained a puppy, this time should be easier. Keep in mind that each puppy is unique, and your current puppy may take longer than your previous puppy.
  • When training your puppy, three pillars are essential: patience, persistence, and consistency. Your puppy will learn faster if you master these pillars of puppy training.
  • Routine: establishing good routines with your puppy will help them (and you) learn when pee and poop will occur more quickly.
  • Time: I had a lot more time to train my puppy 15 years ago. Learning takes longer when there is less time to train.
  • Family: training your puppy with multiple people slows down the process. When training your puppy, try to get everyone in your family on the same page. Even when we all know what to do, we all do it slightly differently, which makes learning more difficult for your puppy.

QUICK TIP: If your puppy is taking longer than expected to master potty training, you should see your veterinarian. It’s possible that your puppy has a UTI or other health issues that are preventing her from becoming a fully potty-trained puppy.

When you consider all of the puppies we’ve raised, there are some outliers.

By the time he was ten weeks old, Linus had figured out that he needed to go potty outside on the grass. Potty training took him two weeks to master.

There was, on the other hand, Stetson. Stetson, like every other puppy, seemed to understand the concept of potty training by the time he was four months old, but I recall him having a few accidents after that.

While I may have thought he was potty trained at 4 months, I was always unsure if he truly understood not to go potty in the house after having random accidents for no apparent reason.

This continued until he was approximately 9 months old. In retrospect, I believe he still had a small bladder that was slow to develop.

This brings us back to something I say frequently on my blog: “Every puppy is unique.”

Linus had an iron bladder and held his pee/poop for more than 24 hours when we took him camping in the case of Linus vs. Stetson! (He refused to go to the bathroom in the dirt.)

Stetson, on the other hand, had a hard time keeping his pee contained. He had trouble holding it for more than 4 hours during the day, even as an adult.

Training Your Puppy to Use the Potty

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Elsa, our happy black Lab, takes a potty break.  

Let’s go over some quick tips on how to potty train your puppy before we talk about how long it takes to potty train your puppy.

It’s simple to potty train a puppy. The key is to avoid having any accidents in the house with your puppy. The fewer accidents your puppy has, the faster he will learn.

It’s true that it’s easier said than done.

To get you started, here are some puppy potty training tips:

1. Plan ahead of time when your puppy will need to go potty and take him to the same location each time:

  • When you first wake up in the morning,
  • After your puppy has finished eating a meal,
  • As soon as your puppy awakens from his or her nap.
  • Prior to, during, and the following playtime. When your puppy is playing, expect him to pee about every 10 minutes (or less).
  • Right before you and your pup retire for the night.

2. Keep a consistent potty schedule.

  • Take your puppy out the same door every time to the same spot.

3. When taking your puppy out to the potty, use your leash to keep her from becoming distracted.

  • Make sure your puppy has access to her regular potty spot. Allow her to only go as far as your leash will allow.
  • Don’t let her rummage through the yard, sniffing for the ideal spot.
  • Do not allow her to play with leaves, dirt, flowers, gravel, or anything else.

4. Teach your puppy to go potty on various surfaces.

We’ve known dogs who would only pee in their own backyard grass. This makes going on walks with your dog difficult and limits what you can do with your dog. Teach your puppy where to go potty:

  • Grass
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Concrete
  • Chips de Bois
  • Sand

5. Give your puppy a bit of praise and a high-value treat when she goes potty on her own.

  • When training our pups, we use positive reinforcement. When your puppy goes potty in the appropriate spot, make sure she knows she did something good.

6. If your puppy has an accident, don’t scold her.

If she has an accident, the following will happen:

  • Take your puppy home.
  • Take her to her designated potty spot.
  • If she uses her potty spot, praise and rewards her.

7. If your puppy is unable to go outside, carry her to her designated potty spot.

  • The bladder control of young puppies is often lacking. You may need to carry your puppy to her potty spot at first.
  • We had to carry Linus to his potty spot when he was a puppy because he refused to go outside when it was raining. It never rains in California, but it rained for two weeks straight the day we brought Linus home!

8. Puppy crate train

  • If your puppy has been properly crate trained, he or she will not go potty in the crate.
  • When you are unable to supervise your puppy, you can use your crate to manage her.

9. Constant Monitoring

  • Supervise your puppy at all times while she is in the house until she is potty trained.
  • Look for sniffing, circling, squatting, and other pre-potty behaviors.
  • If you notice any pre-potty behaviors, immediately take your puppy to her potty spot and praise/treat her if she uses it.
  • Use your crate to manage your puppy’s behavior if you can’t supervise her.

10. Use an enzymatic cleaner to thoroughly clean up any accidents.

  • If your puppy detects the odor of urine from a previous accident, she will be compelled to eliminate it in the same location.
  • We use enzymatic cleaners, which we’ve found to be the most effective at completely eliminating the odor of urine. We’ve been using Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Remover for our puppy potty accidents for the past 5 years.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: For more information, see our more detailed article on How To Potty Train A Puppy.

How Long Does Potty Training A Golden Retriever Puppy Take?

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Charlie Bear, a Golden Retriever puppy,!

I recently raised a litter of Golden Retriever puppies, and three of them went to live with friends and family by chance. That means I’ll have more information to share with you soon.

I’ll figure out how long it takes to potty train these three Golden pups and report back here:

Puppy Name Age Potty Trained How Long It Took
Charlie 17 weeks old 9 weeks
Bear 15 weeks old 7 weeks
Mochi n/a n/a
Cabo 21 weeks old 13 weeks

How Long Did It Take to Potty Train Golden Retriever Puppies?

When Potty Training A Labrador Retriever Puppy, How Long Does It Take?

We have a lot of experience with Labrador Retrievers, just like we do with Golden Retrievers. We’ve raised several Labs as service dogs over the years.

Unfortunately, we did not keep precise potty training records with our early puppies, but we do know how long it took Elsa to potty train.

We also have two friends who just got Lab puppies, and we’ll let you know when they’re potty trained.

We’ll keep track of future Lab puppies and when they’re potty trained on this page.

Puppy Name Age Potty Trained How Long It Took
Elsa 12 weeks old 4 weeks
Linus (lab mix) 12 weeks old 2 weeks
Link 17 weeks old 8 weeks
June 19 weeks old 10 weeks

How Long Did It Take to Potty Train Golden Retriever Puppies?

A word about our Golden and Lab puppy potty training tables. It’s difficult to say when a puppy is fully potty trained. Is your puppy potty trained when she’s eighty percent, ninety percent, or one hundred percent? That brings us to our next query…

How Long Does Potty Training A Goldador Puppy Take?

What is a Goldador, exactly? A Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever mix!

Anna, our first Golden Lab mix puppy, arrived in January. She took a little longer to potty train, but I blame it on her having an upset stomach for the first month we were home with her. That’s right, dreaded diarrhea!

We had Anna checked for illness or parasites, but the results were all negative. Veterinarians and trainers at the school thought she was worried about going from the nursery to her new home.

Our Goldador puppy, Anna’s potty training chart is as follows:

Puppy Name Age Potty Trained How Long It Took
Anna 19 weeks old 10 weeks

How Long Did Goldador’s Puppy Take to Potty Train?

When Is A Puppy Trained To Use The Potty?

As I previously stated, I believe this is a subjective question.

Why is it a personal question? because we don’t always know when our puppy is completely potty trained (or at least 99.99 percent).

When deciding whether or not your puppy is potty trained, consider the following questions:

  • When she knows to go to the door and wait for you to let her out, is she potty trained? What if she has an accident while you’re still on your way out the door?
  • After she learns to ring the doorbells to let you know she needs to go out, is she potty trained?
  • Is she potty trained if she hasn’t had an accident in two weeks and then has an accident one day?
  • Does she qualify as potty trained if she doesn’t have accidents 80%, 90%, or 100% of the time?

The thing is, you’ll notice your puppy understands she needs to go potty outside pretty quickly, probably within the first week or so.

However, it is your responsibility to teach her that she needs to go potty outside and to take her to her supposed potty spot.

A potty-trained puppy, in my definition, is:

  • I don’t have to worry about potty accidents when I give my puppy free reign in the house.
  • When my puppy needs to go potty, she will go to the back door and wait (at least 30 seconds) for me to let her out.

This definition, however, does not rule out all accidents. Potty accidents only happen when I don’t get to the back door in time to let my puppy out to her designated potty spot.

Elsa has been potty trained since she was six months old (by my definition). She was waiting to go outside a few weeks ago, but I wouldn’t let her out because the back gate was open, I didn’t have her leash, and I didn’t want to let her out into the yard with the back gate open.

I went into the backyard to close the back gate, and Elsa had gone into another room and peed on the floor by the time I returned (probably about 60 seconds).

Elsa didn’t do anything wrong, and even though she had an accident in the house recently, I still think she’s potty trained.

If I hadn’t taught my dogs to ring bells to be let out, I might add that to my list of requirements.

Stetson used to walk to the backdoor, find me, poke me with his nose, and then walk back to the backdoor if I didn’t notice. It was not something I taught him, but it was something he picked up on his own and found to be very effective.

I’d like to say one more thing about potty training a puppy. While your puppy may be potty trained and perfect at home, this may not be the case elsewhere.

If you leave your puppy with a friend, she may not be aware of where she should go potty in her new surroundings.

Keep in mind, and inform any new puppy sitters, that your puppy may require assistance in learning where to go potty.

It’s usually a quick procedure, but it could prevent future pet sitters from staining their new carpet.

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Potty break for the golden puppy

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most common questions we get on the blog is how long it take to potty train a puppy, but as I previously stated, it feels like we’re a blog about pee and poop.

So here are some pee and poop-related questions we decided to answer today:

Is it possible to potty train an 8-week-old puppy?

QUESTION: Is it possible to potty train an 8-week-old puppy?

ANSWER: Yes, but it’s highly unlikely that an 8-week-old puppy will be potty trained.

I’ve raised over a dozen service dog puppies and have yet to have a puppy potty trained by the age of eight weeks.

However, I was speaking with a colleague who had worked with hundreds of puppies before. He claims that out of all the puppies he’s worked with, only one was potty trained by the age of eight weeks.

So, the answer to the question of whether or not an 8-week-old puppy can be potty trained is yes, but it happens very rarely.

The majority of puppies do not go to their forever homes until they are eight weeks old. They would have to be trained by their previous caregivers in order to be fully potty trained by 8 weeks old.

Elsa, our most recent puppy, is a black Labrador Retriever who came home to us at the age of 8 weeks. Her breeder started potty training her by teaching her to relieve herself on a piece of synthetic turf.

Elsa had accidents in the house when she came home to us at 8 weeks old. Even though she knew where to go potty, I believe she lacked bladder control at the age of eight weeks.

While it is possible to potty train an 8-week-old puppy, I believe your puppy, its upbringing, previous caretaker, and you as the trainer would all have to be exceptional in many ways.

In 7 Days, How Do You House Train A Puppy?

QUESTION: In seven days, how do you house train a puppy?

ANSWER: Puppy training. Always keep an eye on your puppy’s behavior and don’t let her have any accidents in the house. Your puppy will learn to potty outside sooner if she has fewer accidents in the house.

Many books and blog posts claim that you can potty train a puppy in just seven days. While it is possible, I believe it is unlikely for most puppies.

To begin with, most 8–10-week old puppies lack bladder control and are unable to hold their urine. They don’t always realize they have to leave until it’s too late.

Second, most of the puppies we’ve raised take 4-8 weeks (28-56 days) to learn to potty train, and we’ve been potty training service dog puppies for over 15 years.

Third, most people are potty training their first puppy or haven’t done so in a long time, so you’re bound to make mistakes. As I previously stated, I’ve been doing this for 15 years and still make numerous errors.

Potty training a puppy in seven days would be difficult, but not impossible. Raven was just over a year old when we brought her home, and she had not yet been potty trained.

In less than seven days, we were able to potty train her. We had potty trained many puppies before her and understood how to potty train a puppy because she was older and could control her bladder.

Finally, I believe her previous caregiver began her training before coming to our home.

How Long Does It Take To Crate Potty Train A Puppy?

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Elsa, our black lab puppy, is being crate trained.  

QUESTION: How long does potty training a puppy in a crate take?

4–8 weeks is the answer.

We crate train all of our puppies, so our response to this question is the same as before.

Of course, our answer is not without nuance.

I believe that new puppy owners who properly use their crates to potty train their puppies will be accident-free sooner than those who do not.

Why?

Preventing your puppy from having accidents in the house is the key to potty training. A crate is an excellent tool for preventing house accidents.

A puppy who has been properly crating trained will not pee or poop in the crate. As a result, you should not have to worry about accidents in the house when you go to bed at night.

When you need a puppy break during the day, you can create your puppy and not have to worry about accidents.

For more information on crate training, see our blog post on how to crate train a puppy.

Which Dog Is Easiest to Potty Train?

QUESTION: Which dog is the easiest to housetrain?

The Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher are the most common breeds.

Our list is based on a blog post by Stanley Coren about the smartest dog breeds.

I am not knowledgeable about all dog breeds. However, while working as a trainer at our local doggie daycare, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of breeds.

That said, I’ve had a lot of experience working with Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, and I’ve learned a lot from them.

I have talked to many trainers and, in general, the more trainable breeds tend to learn potty training more quickly.

Which dog is the most difficult to potty train?

QUESTION: Which dog is the most difficult to potty train?

ANSWER: Borzoi, Chow Chow, Bulldog, Basenji, and Afghan Hound are all breeds of dogs.

Our list is based on a blog post by Stanley Coren about the smartest dog breeds.

As I previously stated, I am not an expert on all dog breeds, and our list is based on Stanley Coren’s post and his list of low-intelligence dog breeds.

One thing to keep in mind is that, based on our experience training puppies and what other trainers have told us, toy and smaller breeds take longer to potty train than larger breeds.

I’ve heard that smaller breeds take longer to potty train because their bladders are smaller, their bladders take longer to develop, and they have a higher metabolism.

If it’s any consolation, these tiny pups have minor accidents. When our adult lab, Stetson, had an accident in the house, I honestly believe it was more than a Super Big Gulp (44 oz for the uninitiated).

Last Thoughts

Every puppy is unique.

Every puppy is unique.

Every puppy is unique.

Now that you’ve heard that, let me tell you that every puppy is different. We’ve raised more than a dozen puppies, and no two are alike.

We primarily raise Golden and Labrador Retrievers. In our experience, potty training takes 4–8 weeks for our puppies.

While we’ve had success potty training our puppies in 4–8 weeks, your results will most likely vary due to a variety of factors such as your experience, personality, time constraints, and family dynamics.

That’s all for now, folks. Now it’s your turn!

How long did it take you to potty train your puppy and be accident-free?

Did potty training your puppy take you longer or shorter than 4-8 weeks?

Please share your stories in the comments section below.

As I previously stated, we’ve answered a lot of your pee and poop-related questions over the years. Here are a few more questions you’ve sent us over the years that we’ve answered:

  • My Puppy Pees Outside And Inside!? What am I supposed to do?
  • How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Eating Poop?
  • How Can I Get My Puppy To Stop Peeing In Her Crate?
  • How Come My Puppy Pees A Lot? Is that typical?
  • If I live in an apartment, how do I potty train a puppy?

Please leave a comment if you have a pee or poop question that we haven’t addressed yet, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll write a blog post to address your question.