Bowel & Bladder Training for Puppies

Help your puppy learn the right place to
german shepherd puppy image by Jeff from

Puppies are babies, so set your expectations accordingly. Train your puppy for bowel and bladder control using patience, consistency and positive reinforcement. A short investment of time and effort will pay off for years.

Puppy Physiology

According to The Humane Society, a puppy’s bladder capacity is approximately one hour for every month of age. Doctors Foster & Smith note that dogs use scent to choose places to eliminate, which is how puppy pads work, and that puppies require three to four feedings a day. Defecation often occurs within 30 minutes of eating.

Training Techniques

Teach the puppy what you want him to do and where. Supervise him inside, take him outside frequently--immediately after he wakes in the morning and from naps, after eating and drinking and every two hours--and feed him on a schedule. Watch for sniffing, restlessness and circling, and take him outside to the spot you’ve chosen. Promptly praise him when he eliminates in the right place. A key phrase, such as “Outside?” or “Go potty,” speeds your puppy’s connection between your wishes and his behavior.


Unless you catch your puppy eliminating in the house, don’t punish her. Just clean up accidents thoroughly, using an odor-neutralizing product and continue positive training methods. The Humane Society suggests not feeding and limiting water intake close to bedtime.