Skip to Content

When To Potty Train A Puppy

White maltese puppy sitting outdoors in grass

It is a task that has to be done. Unfortunately, dogs do not come with the knowledge of where they are supposed to go to the bathroom. Their instincts tell them that they just sniff and squat wherever they are at.

That could mean in the middle of your living room if you haven’t started potty training them yet. The ideal time to start their training is about the time they reach 3 or 4 months of age.

This is when the puppy starts to have real control over their bodily functions to be trained correctly.

Click here to learn 6 Critical Tips for Potty Training Puppy at Night.

At What Age Should A Puppy Be Potty Trained?

Beagle puppy on a white background

This is up to some debate as some puppy experts say that you should wait till the puppy is 3 to 4 months old. Their reasoning is that the puppy is old enough to control their bladder and bowels a lot better.

This control helps make potty training more effective and efficient. However, there are other experts that say you should start sooner than 12 weeks of age. They say you should start the training as soon as you bring them home from the breeders.

You might be lucky if the puppy started to form some good habits while they were still at the breeder’s. A lot will depend on your dog breed, the individual puppy, and so on. All dogs are not the same, and you should pick the time that is best for him or her.

When you train, you have lots of options to use to make sure you can correct any bad habits. Here are a few ideas:

  • Giving them lots of opportunities to pee outdoors
  • Setting up a safe zone
  • Using a crate or puppy pen
  • Watching the puppy like a hawk
  • Ignoring accidents

Need to know How to Train a Puppy on a Pee Pad? Click here to learn more.

Can An 8-Week-Old Puppy Be Potty Trained?

Brown and white puppy laying on a grey and white planket

This is an age where many experts say that you can train your little puppy. So the answer would be yes, an 8-week-old puppy can be potty trained. It may take a little more work at this stage as the little guy or girl may not fully remember all of its training until it gets a bit older.

Those same experts also state that you could wait till they are 10 or 12 weeks old. It is going to be your call on how you train and when you train your new puppy. Some dog breeds can be fairly stubborn and not respond right away to training.

When you are training your puppy to go outside, you should be able to give them the opportunity to pee every 30 minutes to 2 hours. Make sure you take them out after every meal or when they have drunk a lot of water.

Then as they grow older, you can extend the gaps between those opportunities to help them hold it better.

How Long Can An 8-Week Puppy Hold Pee At Night?

The rule of thumb has been that a puppy can hold their pee for one hour for every month they have been alive. This means an 8-week-old puppy should be able to hold their pee for 2 hours at a time.

However, some puppies may surprise you and hold it for three hours at a time. It will depend a lot on your dog’s breed and the type of puppy it is. As your puppy gets older, you can add an hour for every month it ages.

It may be at 8 months before you get a full night’s sleep. Or you may be lucky, and your 8-month-old puppy will hold it for 10 hours. It is recommended that you do not make them wait more than 8 hours, though.

You may have to set up a safe zone for the puppy to pee during the night. This will help your pet gain confidence and not feel like it has done something wrong.

If you use the safe zone idea, make sure the room has a wipeable floor and not a lot of clutter. Most people recommend using your kitchen

Got a puppy, but you have to work? Click here to learn How to Train a Puppy to be Alone.

Some Final Words

close up of a White lab puppy

When you bring your puppy home from the breeders, take your time and let the puppy get used to its new surroundings first. They are going to be a bit afraid, so they may pee more often.

You can start as young as 8 weeks or wait till the puppy has a bit more control at 12 to 16 weeks of age. One thing to remember is that it is never too late to train a puppy. It will just take a little longer with older dogs as you have to correct some bad habits.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.