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How Long to Potty Train a Puppy and 4 Other FAQ?

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy
9 min read

Having a four-legged best friend is one of the best things that could ever happen to a person. However, puppyhood tends to be a bit challenging, especially when it comes to potty training.

That’s why I decided to compile a couple of the most frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

If you have questions like, how long to potty train a puppy and when to start potty training them, then continue reading this blog post.

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy & Other FAQ – Question 1

When to start potty training your puppy?

Potty training, just like any other form of training, should start after the puppy turns eight weeks old. Eight weeks is the recommended age to start potty training your puppy, but what if your puppy is younger than that?

Would training them at a younger age physically hurt them and why? Isn’t potty training based on positive reinforcement methods and there isn’t any sort of violence involved?

First of all, you shouldn’t be able to adopt a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old because it is illegal in many states.

However, the recommended age is not set based on the law. It is actually quite the opposite! Many people are advocating the ban against adopting puppies that are younger than eight weeks old.

Why?

Because if a puppy is separated from their mother and litter box before they turn eight weeks old, they are more prone to developing mental and behavioral issues as they grow up.

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy _ A puppy sitting on the grass

Now, if the act of simply separating a puppy from their mother at such a young age has such detrimental effects, imagine how many folds these negative effects are going to increase when you start training them as well!

Even if the training techniques aren’t violent – they should never be no matter how old a dog is– that doesn’t make it safe enough for a puppy that is still in a very critical state of mental and physical development.

However, if you have rescued a stray puppy, then take them to the vet for a check up and to know their approximate age.

If they turn out to be younger than eight weeks old, then refrain from any sort of puppy training. You should ask the veterinarian for advice on how to handle the situation.

Okay, but what happens when you start training your puppy when they’re older than eight weeks old?

The rule of the thumb is to start as soon as you adopt them, as long as they’re at least eight weeks old. So if you adopt a puppy who is twelve weeks old, then start right away and don’t ponder on any all of the what-ifs.

However, if you are thinking of postponing the training until your puppy gets older, let me try to change your mind.

Like us, a dog’s learning capabilities become weaker as they grow older. Think of it this way. It is easier for a seven years old child to efficiently learn a new language than it is for a twenty-five years old person. Can an adult learn a new language? Absolutely!

However, it is going to take them longer, and the process is going to be harder for them compared to the child’s learning journey. So the bottom line is, the earlier you start, the faster and easier the training is going to be for both of you.

Now that I have mentioned the word faster, let us move on to the next question!

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy & Other FAQ – Question 2

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy

Unfortunately, there isn’t any direct answer for that. There isn’t any specific and universal duration set for all puppies. I have talked a bit about this in my How to Potty Train A Puppy Fast blog post.

For some, it might take them six weeks to become potty trained. Others may take multiple months and even a whole year until they master potty training.

how long to potty train a puppy - A dog in a bathroom

You might wonder why it takes some longer than others, and the answer is not everyone gets to win the first place in a marathon. Again, like us humans, each puppy has their own, individual personality and capabilities.

For some, it takes the puppy less time to master their training. For others, it will take the puppy a longer duration to reach the same goal.

Another way to understand this is by imagining a classroom. All students have received the same lessons via the same teaching methods.

However, not everyone is able to successfully participate in answering the teacher’s questions. Even those who answer correctly take a little bit longer time or less before answering the questions.

Although there isn’t a specified duration for how long it is going to take your puppy to be fully potty trained, I could reassure you that the fastest way would invlove what I mentioned in the previous question, which is to start as early as possible.

I can guarantee that it is going to take your adult dog so much longer to potty train than a puppy would. So if you’re looking for fast and efficient results, avoid looking up how to potty train a puppy in five days cause that is simply impossible.

All you can do is start potty training your puppy as soon as possible and stay consistent with the training. So to sum it up, there is no answer to the “how long to potty train a puppy?” question.

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy & Other FAQ – Question 3

How often should you take your puppy to the bathroom?

Unlike the previous question, there is actually a concrete answer for that. Well, as specific as it could get at least. There is a simple formula that you can use to know how frequently you need to take your puppy outside to the bathroom.

how long to potty train a puppy - A toilet seat in a field

And yes, it is age-dependent! The formula states that you should take your dog’s age in months and use that number as how many hours you can wait before taking your puppy to the bathroom.

I will give you a couple of examples. If your dog is two months old, then you should take them out to the loo every two hours.

You can turn this into a range by adding one to the number of hours you got ( from your puppy’s age in months to puppy’s age in months plus one)

So, if the puppy is six months old, then your frequency range tells you that you should take your puppy outside every six to seven hours. However, the equation wasn’t designed to be used forever.

Once your dog turns eight months old, the frequency becomes set at taking them to the bathroom every eight hours. So if your dog is three years old, you only need to take them out to do their thing every eight hours.

Now that you have a general idea on how often you should take your puppy to the bathroom, let’s talk about other factors that are going to affect the number of bathroom visits throughout the day.

After certain activities, your puppy will need to use the bathroom again even if it is not time yet for them to go outside according to the formula I just explained.

These activities include eating, drinking, playing, exercising,  and sleeping. After your puppy is done with these activities, you must take them outside to the bathroom within five to ten minutes.

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy & Other FAQ – Question 4

What is an important potty training technique?

The most important potty training technique you’re going to use is positive reinforcement. What is positive reinforcement?

It is a process often used in most dog training strategies, were positive behaviors are built by encouraging and rewarding good behavior, and neglecting any unwanted behavior.

So if your dog does something good, acknowledge their efforts and reward them. This will help your puppy understand what is okay to do and what isn’t.

One thing you’ll have to adapt before being able to efficiently practice positive training is mindfulness.

It is going to take a lot of hard work and patience to be able to turn a blind eye to your puppy’s mistakes, so I highly recommend you do some daily meditation or yoga for mindfulness.

To learn more about this, check out my Top 5 Puppy Training Tips You Should Know blog post.

How Long to Potty Train a Puppy & Other FAQ – Question 5

– How to react to and handle potty accidents?

Well, you definitely shouldn’t get angry or even yell at your dog. Recall what’ve previously mentioned on positive reinforcement? You will get to practice and apply this principle a lot during your puppy’s potty training phase.

Two scenarios could happen under the potty accidents umbrella. In the first one, you catch your puppy during the act of going to the bathroom inside the house. In this case, take a deep breath and try to go into a mindful headspace.

Your dog isn’t peeing on your kitchen floor to piss you off; they just still don’t comprehend or know the house rules yet.

Immediately, pick them up and take them outside to finish their business. After they’re done, use the positive reinforcement tactic by petting them and offering them some treats because they went to the bathroom outside.

Yes, they started peeing inside the house, but they finished outside. With time, they’ll understand that they’re only allowed to pee outside the house.

The second scenario is when you find poop around the house, but you didn’t catch the puppy while doing the act.

In this case, don’t even confront the puppy in any way! If you yell at them, they won’t understand why you’re doing so and will grow to be wary and scared of you. Just clean the mess and try to stay in a mindful state of mind.

That’s it for today’s post. I hope that you now understand why there isn’t an answer to the “how long to potty train a puppy?” question.

Let me know in the comments down below if you have more puppy potty training questions. If you already have an adult dog, feel free to share with us how long it took you to potty train them.

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