Puppy Training

Potty Train a Puppy, Part 2

February 29, 2024

What potty breaks should look like, how long it takes to potty train a puppy, how long can a puppy hold it’s pee, and how to train a puppy to sleep through the night.

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Addressing some common questions when working to potty train a puppy. What potty breaks should look like, how long it takes to potty train a puppy, how long can a puppy hold it’s pee, and how to train a puppy to sleep through the night.

To Potty Train a Puppy, What Should Potty Breaks Look Like?

Don’t just let your puppy out in the yard. Take them out on a slip lead.

It can be tempting to just let your puppy out in the backyard to do their business and simply let them in when they are done. And while we eventually can expect that from our dogs, it’s not a good idea while potty training.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of just opening the door and letting your puppy run outside to (hopefully) potty in the yard:


  • It doesn’t require a lot of management (your fence does it for you).


  • Poop is left all over the yard
  • Puppies will get into trouble digging, chewing, or eating unsavory things (yes, including eating their own poop).
  • Your puppy won’t learn to potty while on a leash. If you want to take them anywhere outside of your home, that’s something they NEED to learn.
  • You won’t always know for sure if your puppy pooped, peed, or both.
  • Your puppy can get distracted with all the wonderful outside world and not potty at all. At which point, you let him back inside and THEN he relieves himself…right on your new rug.

Your puppy will eventually earn the freedom to go in the backyard on their own, we promise! But when you are potty training, take them out on a leash so you can be sure they are done, and they don’t get distracted.

Keep Potty Breaks Short

Now you know to take your puppy outside on a leash for a potty break, but how long should you spend out there? The answer may surprise you: no more than 3 minutes. Tops. And if your puppy doesn’t potty in those few minutes (but you know it’s time to potty), then put your puppy straight back into the crate. Try again in 10 minutes or so.

And repeat.

I’ve heard many puppy parents say they have walked around with their puppy for 45 minutes, letting their puppy sniff around but the puppy would NOT go potty…until they went inside and the owner let the puppy off leash and he peed on the carpet. You don’t have time for these kind of shinanagins. Let’s avoid that situation!

Keep the time outside for potty breaks short. If your puppy doesn’t potty, go straight back to the crate. Soon your puppy will learn you mean business. When you take your puppy out, the first line of business is to “do their business.” Only then does any additional freedom come, such as a training session or some playtime.

Think of the crate as a potty training tool. Let it help you. Potty training a puppy is better with a crate, I promise!

Wait for your puppy to completely empty before throwing a party

Potty train a puppy

I know it’s so exciting when your puppy finally squats and starts to potty outside, but hold in the excitement. Wait until the job is done. And the second your puppy is done, then reward with words of praise and some food if you have it.

Puppies are so easy to distract. So be cautious to not stop a good thing before your puppy is finished.

How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

Typically, when following a schedule and training with intent, a puppy can pick up potty-training habits in as little as 3 days. Even if your puppy is doing fantastic by day 3, keep up your routine for a full 14 days to ensure your puppy’s habits are rooted deep.

And, let’s face it, some puppies are just plain tricky to potty train. Truly. If that’s your puppy, don’t give up! There’s hope. Stick with it for the full 14 days and you’ll get there.

This is why our Potty and Crate Training course is 14 days.

Imagine, in 14 days you can stop cleaning up so many potty accidents and have the sleep you have been missing out on. It’s well worth the 14-day commitment! Check out the full “Crate and Potty Training Course” here.

How long can a puppy hold it’s pee?

As a rule of thumb, it is good to start by taking your puppy out every 2-3 hours. Then, as you learn their “potty rhythm” you will be able to extend that time out in small increments.

It is true that puppies have smaller bladders, but they also have smaller bodies and take in smaller amounts of water.

If your puppy has an accident in the house or in their crate, evaluate the situation and adjust. Perhaps it was 3 hours since they went out last, so next time try taking them out after 2 hours and 45 minutes.

If you want to see us work through this exact issue with three puppies we had living in our house as we potty trained them, you can see it in our 14 Day Crate and Potty Training Course.

How to Train a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

Start with your daytime routine

Training a puppy to sleep through the night starts with what they do during the day. Puppies need plenty of sleep, mental stimulation, and an appropriate amount of physical exercise to help them sleep through the night. Their feeding schedule can also make-or-break their sleep schedule.

Daytime feeding schedule

Feeding your puppy too late in the evening is one of the biggest reasons they wont be able to make it through the night. To help regulate your puppy, cut the food off by 3:30pm at the latest. This does not mean leave the food out all day (what we call “free feeding”) and put it away at 3:30. That’s difficult to gage what they’ve eaten and when potty breaks need to happen.

Hand feeding a puppy has many benefits.

Hand feeding is best for young puppies. There are so many benefits to hand feeding besides potty training, but one is that you’ll know what time you fed your puppy. This way you know your puppy has eaten their sufficient amount of calories for the day, and also has time to “poop it out” before bedtime!

As for water, we will leave that out a little longer, until about 5:00pm. But monitor how much they are taking in. We don’t want them drinking their weight in water in the evening.

Use the crate for sleeping (at least for now)

Sleep is important, for us and for them. Some puppies, if not acclimated to the crate may struggle, especially at night. Don’t give up!

Being able to sleep the night through in a crate has so many benefits, even through adulthood! Some benefits include: learning to sleep through the night uninterrupted, being able to be babysat while you go on a trip, avoiding seperation anxiety, potty training like we discussed earlier, and learning to be more calm in general. Just to name a few.

Even if you would like your dog to eventually sleep in the bed with you, don’t start there. Make sure they have the skill on sleeping in a crate first!

Practice Crate During the Day

To help a puppy sleep through the night, practice crate time during the day. Lots of interactions with the crate throughout the day can make night time so much easier. Plus you’ll have the physical and mental bandwith to be able to work with your puppy in the crate, instead of only dealing with it at night when you’re already tired.

As you put them down for the night, do so before your own bedtime so you aren’t feeling deprived of sleep. Grab our Quick Start Crate Training Guide for FREE!


Check out our other blog on how to potty train a puppy

If you missed part 1, we go over how to create a puppy schedule and a written tracker to help you potty train your puppy in this blog. And don’t worry, it’s not a minute-by-minute schedule that totally controls your day. Granted, puppies are a lot of work, but we want to make it as simple as possible. There are only a few things that need to be on a set schedule.

We also go over how we use a written tracker to help potty train a puppy. Exactly what to track and the easiest way to do it.

To Potty Train a Puppy is hard- Here are 11 Potty Training Secrets, on us!

Every puppy needs to be potty trained. And the sooner the better! We have met so many dog owners who have been dealing with almost-daily potty accidents for YEARS! We don’t want that to be you. All you need is to stay consistent with a few simple things. We want to share our secrets with you. Here you go!


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