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Young puppies eliminate much more frequently than adult dogs. While newborn pups tend to go after every meal, older pups may be able to hold their bladders for several hours. When first potty-training your pooch, you'll have to give him plenty of opportunities during the day to eliminate outside so that he won't have accidents indoors instead.
Newborn pups can't actually eliminate on their own without their mother's help. A mother dog stimulates her pups to go potty by licking their backsides. Typically most pups will pee and poo after nursing, approximately every two hours or so, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Occasionally a little pup won't eliminate after a meal, eliminating after his next feeding or nursing session instead, according to Dr. Ron Hines of the 2ndchance.info website. Once a pup reaches between 3 and 4 weeks old, he'll be able to go on his own, at around the same frequency.
Once pups are old enough to eliminate on their own and fully weaned from their mother's milk and care, you can begin to potty-train them to avoid accidents inside your home. This usually occurs between 8 and 10 weeks of age. The average puppy can hold his urine for the number of hours equal to his age in months plus one, according to the Animal Humane Society. Therefore, an 8-week-old puppy will urinate approximately every three hours and a 12-week-old puppy every four hours. Puppies generally defecate within a half hour of a meal, according to Cesar's Way. How often little Fido defecates will depend on how often he eats, usually two to four times a day, states Petfinder.
Housebreaking Your Pup
When first housebreaking your puppy, begin by taking him out every two hours to start with, even if he urinates less frequently, as well as first thing in the morning and right before bed. You also want to take him out about 30 minutes after meals to allow him to defecate. This gives him every opportunity for success with his training, avoiding any accidents in the home. Between bathroom breaks, keep him tethered to you with a long leash to prevent him from sneaking away and eliminating in a corner. Crate him if you aren't around to supervise him, especially at night. Pups usually won't eliminate where they sleep, such as in their crate, according to the ASPCA.
Most pups can usually sleep for around seven hours at night without needing a potty break, according to the Humane Society of the United States. When puppies are first being housebroken, though, you may have to take your pup out at least once during the night until he gets a little older, around 5 to 6 months old. If you are out during the day for more than four hours at a time, have someone stop in and walk your puppy to give him a potty break. Feed your pup on a schedule each day to not only keep track of his appetite but keep his elimination habits predictable, so you'll know when he needs to go.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Newborn Puppy Care
- 2ndchance.info: Bottle Feeding Orphaned Puppies
- Animal Humane Society: Crate Training Your Puppy
- Cesar's Way: Housebreaking Your Puppy: Do's and Don'ts
- Petfinder: How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Weekend Crate Training
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images