Wondering how to potty train your dog? It can be overwhelming when you get a new dog or puppy and have to accomplish this task. We’re here to help. In this article we have tips and tricks for you to learn out to potty train a dog fast.

Over 60 million American families own at least one dog. While owning a dog can come with a lot of benefits, they can also create a lot of messes, especially if you’re in the middle of potty training. If you’re cleaning up yet another potty puddle, you might be asking yourself, “How long does it take to potty train a dog?”

It does take time, but maybe not as long as you think. Here’s what you need to know about the potty training process. 

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train Your Dog?

You can start potty training your puppy when they are between eight and 12 months old. At this point, they have enough control over their bladders to wait until they’re outside to relieve themselves. 

Most dogs need four to six months to become completely house trained, but the exact amount of time it takes to finish the potty training process can depend on a number of factors. In some cases, you can spend eight to 10 months—or even closer to a year—to potty train your dog. 

But again, it all comes down to your dog and your personal circumstances. 

Here are some of the things than can impact your potty training process. 

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Your Dog’s Age

It can take longer to potty train puppies than full-grown dogs. Since puppies are so young, it can take them longer to grasp the idea, and they might have more accidents inside the house. 

But this isn’t always true. 

Older dogs can sometimes take longer to train than puppies if they have bad habits they learned with a previous owner. 

What Breed is Your Dog?

Smaller dogs don’t have tinier bladders and higher metabolisms than bigger dogs. Because of this, smaller breeds require more frequent potty breaks than bigger breeds. 

dog breeds

It might take longer to fully potty train a small dog because they might have more accidents inside the house. 

Previous Living Situation 

Learning how to potty train a rescue dog is whole new ball game. If you adopt a dog who used to live in a different home, they might not be used to relieving themselves outside. This means you’ll have to work extra hard to break those bad habits, which can slow down the process. 

Some dogs who are used to living outside might be confused by potty training. It can take them longer to grasp the idea since it is so foreign to them. 

Patience and Persistence

One of the biggest factors in determining the time it takes to potty train your dog is your own diligence. 

If you stay on top of the potty training routine, the process might only take a month or two. But if you don’t make it a priority in your daily life, it can take a lot longer. 

How to Potty Train a Dog

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While the exact amount of time it takes to potty train a dog can vary, there are a few tricks that can help you speed up the process. When learning how to potty train a dog fast, it’s important to understand your methods ahead of time and stick to them.

Here are a few techniques that’ll make potty training any dog faster and easier. 

1. Crate Train

Best Indoor and Outdoor Dog Crates

Dogs are den animals. In other words, they instinctually want to keep the place they sleep clean. 

Have your dog sleep in a crate every night and whenever you’re out of the house. Since they don’t want to dirty their “den”, they won’t have accidents during the night or when you’re away. 

But it’s important to get a crate that’s the right size for your dog. Otherwise, your dog can relieve themselves in one side of the crate and still sleep comfortably in the other.  

2. Don’t Use Potty Pads 

Potty Pads can confuse your dog and slow down the process. 

If you use potty pads, you first have to teach your dog to relieve themself in a specific spot in the house. Then you have to teach them to stop going inside the house and to only go outside. 

But that doesn’t mean potty pads don’t have their place in the potty training process. 

If you can’t get your dog outside fast enough when you notice they need to pee—like if you live in a high-rise apartment, potty pads can be a very helpful tool. 

3. Come up with a “Potty Phrase”

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Sometimes dogs can get distracted when you take them outside to do their business. Coming up with a “potty phrase” can help remind your dog it’s time to go potty. 

This phrase can be something simple like “go ahead” or “go potty”. Say it softly as soon as your dog eliminates. Over time, your dog will associate this phrase with going potty, and it can help them learn when and where to go. 

This can also be a helpful tool to potty train your dog outside. If you’re on a walk it can take ages to get your dog to go sometimes. With a phrase cue, it will speed things along.

Here’s a quick list of phrase suggestions:

  1. Go Potty [name of dog]
  2. Hurry Up
  3. Do Your Business
  4. Go Ahead

4. Don’t Punish Your Dog for Accidents 

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When you’re dog has an accident inside the house, your first reaction might be frustration or annoyance. But don’t punish your dog for their mistakes. 

Punishments don’t really do anything. 

Shoving your dog’s face in their puddle and scolding them won’t help them understand that what they did was wrong. In fact, they probably won’t connect your reaction to their accident at all. 

Punishing your dog for mistakes won’t do you any good. In fact, it might make the process take even longer. 

5. Use Positive Reinforcement

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Instead, you should use patience and positive reinforcement. 

Reward your dog every time they go potty in the right place. Give them a treat right after they eliminate. If you wait until you get back inside, your dog won’t connect the reward to their potty behavior. 

If you notice your dog starting to go potty inside the house, make a loud noise that will startle them into stopping. Then take them outside to let them finish. Again, reward them for finishing in the right place. 

6. Train Yourself

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A big part of learning how to potty train a dog is training yourself- or rather learning your dogs cues. If you can recognize signs that your dog has to go, you can essentially teach them how to ask to go.

Here are some common signs from dogs that it’s time to be let out:

  • Pacing and sniffing the floor (at this point it might be too late!)
  • Staring at you- it might seem silly but this one is more common then you’d think!
  • Standing at any door
  • Pacing from you to the door
  • Tapping on the door

Some of those are more advanced signals and could be easier for you to recognize.

Learning How to Potty Train Your Dog 

So how long does it take to potty train your dog?

It depends on both your dog and you. 

You might be able to potty train your dog in just a week or so. But the process might take much longer. 

Be patient. Your dog will have a few setbacks during the training. That’s normal. Stay diligent and make sure you use positive reinforcement to encourage your dog along the way. 

Has your dog had a few accidents already?

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