When you decide on getting a German Shepherd, you need to know that it is a magical experience, but there are a lot of things that you need to do. One of the things that you might be asking yourself is, How do I potty train German Shepherd puppy?
It is a known fact that a German Shepherd dog is one of the most intelligent dog breeds within the dog kingdom. These dogs will learn anything very fast, but this does not mean that you do not have to put in any effort.
There are some things that we will list that you can do to speed up the process of your GSD puppy’s potty training. There are quite a lot of things that we will mention so let us start with the article.
18 Tips On How To Potty Train German Shepherd Puppy
Dog training is never an easy task. It can be turned into a fun bonding experience, but it can also cause a lot of overwhelming emotions. Sometimes, you might even think that your puppy will never learn a certain thing that you are teaching it.
This is completely normal, and don’t worry – you are not going through this alone. The more things you teach your GSD pup, the adult dog will be better behaved.
German Shepherds are truly amazing dogs, and they are considered to be great family members. This is true for any type of German Shepherd.
Even though these dogs are extremely intelligent, you need to know that puppies of any dog breed, including the German Shepherd, are easily distracted.
Whether or not your puppy is curious, likes to explore, loves to play, or will just wander around depends on how long it takes for it to get potty trained.
There are some step-by-step lists of what you can do, but we decided not to put this. We believe that every dog and dog owner is different. Different people have different schedules and different environments that they live in.
Giving this type of list can only confuse the dog owner. For some people, it might work, while for others… not so much, so we decided to generally list all the things that can help you. It is up to you to decide what will work best for you and your dog.
Here are some potty training tips that will help out with the potty training process.
1. Crate To The Rescue
Crate training is one of the things that a dog owner will most likely start with as soon as the puppy comes to their home. Making your dog love the crate is amazing for multiple reasons.
The main thing is that it provides the dog with a safe space where it can go and feel relaxed and unbothered. Owning a big dog can sometimes be too much if they decide to sleep everywhere, and if they are not crate trained.
An adult German Shepherd takes up a lot of space so if they get used to the crate, you will have it a lot easier.
The crate is also amazing for house training or housebreaking your dog.
It is a known thing that dogs, even when they are puppies, do not like to make a mess of a place that they love and spend a lot of time in. When they fall in love with their crate or kennel, they will never pee or poop inside it.
If you decide that you don’t want your GSD to sleep in the crate, but rather, in a bed, we prepared for you the best beds for German Shepherds.
What To Do To Make Your Pup Fall In Love With The Crate
There are some things that you need to know in order to successfully make your dog fall in love with the crate and consider it a safe space.
– Forcing your puppy to spend time in the crate is never a good idea. If you do this, they might end up hating the crate instead of loving it.
– Place the crate somewhere where they will be able to see you at all times. This will make them more comfortable.
– The crate should also be placed in a room that is warm and cozy.
– At first, let your pup explore the crate. Do not close the door the first time the pup is seeing the crate.
– You can put one meal in there so they know that being in the crate is a good thing.
– Always reward them with a treat, and use a lot of positive reinforcement when they are being calm in the crate.
– Fill the crate with toys and blankets to make it as comfortable as possible.
– Whenever you are placing your GSD puppy in the crate, use one word or phrase that will later on associate them with the crate. This way, when they get older, you will only need to say that word or phrase, and the dog will know that it needs to go in the crate.
Your puppy might cry in the crate at night until it gets used to it, but do not get too overwhelmed. This is completely normal, and it will pass over time.
2. Don’t Pick Up Your Dog Before It Turns 8 Weeks Old
This might sound strange, and you might think that this has nothing to do with potty training, but we are here to assure you that it does.
It is a known fact that the mother of the puppy has a lot of natural instincts. These instincts will teach the puppy a lot of things.
One of the things she does is keep the place where she and the puppy are spending a lot of time clean. After a while, she will be the one that will naturally start teaching it to go potty in certain areas, like grass, for example.
If you take your dog too soon from the breeder, the mother will not have the chance to teach the puppy to potty outside. Because of this, you will probably have a lot more work on your hands.
RELATED: 13 Best German Shepherd Breeders In Washington
3. Make A Feeding Schedule
This is good for two things:
– Your dog will learn when to expect the food.
– You will be able to predict when your puppy will poop and pee.
After your puppy eats a meal, you probably have around 20 minutes before it will decide that it needs to poop. This time period from mealtime to pooping varies from dog to dog, and it will be your job to get to know that.
If you make a feeding schedule, you will not only establish their eating time, but their pooping time as well.
Before they are 6 months of age, they will need to eat three times a day, or even more depending on how you decide on distributing the dog food. A 6-month-old puppy or older might eat two times a day.
Make sure to give them meals when you are free, and able to be in the house and follow their bowel movement. Don’t give them food, then go to work, for example. You always need to be present until they get potty trained.
You can always check out our German Shepherd feeding chart to know how much this pooch can eat.
4. Learn Your Puppy’s Body Language
A lot of people like to call this type of body language a potty dance. Every puppy will have a certain behavior that they will showcase right before they go potty.
Yes, there will be moments when they just decide to squat and potty, but the majority of the puppies will be showing you that they need to relieve themselves.
When it comes to this type of body language, it is not like knowing their ear position chart or what a certain tail position means. This is a bit more complex, but when you get a hold of it, you will be able to notice it easily.
Here are some of the things that your puppy might do:
– The puppy will sniff the floor intensely
– The puppy might sniff the floor and go in circles while sniffing
– All of a sudden, it will stop playing and start roaming around the house
– Your puppy might start digging the carpet or wooden floor
– The puppy might look like it is nervous and pace around the house
– The puppy might run to the door
Whatever the case might be, it is up to you to learn the signals that your pooch is giving you. This way, you can avoid potty accidents, and you may even teach your dog quicker where to potty.
By avoiding potty accidents, your dog will figure out faster that they need to pee outside, and they will give clearer signs like running to the door when they get ahold of this.
5. Keep An Eye On Their Water Intake
The best thing you can do is keep the water bowl somewhere where you will be able to easily notice when your puppy is drinking water. Puppies do not have the ability to hold in their pee for a long time.
Their bladder control is not that good. Because of that, you will have only moments after they drink water to take them outside to pee.
Puppies pee a lot so you will need to take them out frequently.
If you do not notice when they are drinking water, you will not be able to take them out in time, and accidents will probably happen.
6. Teach Them The Correct Potty Surface
German Shepherds are dogs that love to have habits. They strive when they have a routine, but they also love to know things like where they are supposed to go potty.
This is great news for German Shepherd owners. But, what does all of this mean? Well, when you take your dog out to do its business, you should always place him on one certain surface, like grass, for example.
This way, the pooch will know that every time it sees grass, it needs to pee or poop there. If you sometimes let it on grass, and other times, on concrete, it will think that it can potty wherever it wants, including in the house.
7. Get To Know Your Dog’s Ability To Hold It In
We already mentioned that puppies will poop soon after a meal, and pee even sooner after they drink water.
This is only in the beginning stages of their life. After some time, they will be able to hold it in for longer, and the routine will have to change up a bit.
A 16-week-old German Shepherd puppy will for sure have the ability to hold it in longer than a puppy that is 8 weeks old.
Accordingly, you need to assess the time. As the time goes, they will hold it in for longer, and you will need to make bigger pauses between the potties. Eventually, they will be able to keep it in for long periods of time, and this is the routine they will keep throughout their adulthood.
RELATED: German Shepherd Growth Chart: How Big Will Your GSD Be?
8. Thoroughly Clean Up The Potty Accidents
German Shepherds are dogs that have amazing smelling abilities, even when they are puppies.
If they have an accident in the house, and you do not clean it properly, they will for sure find the spot again by smelling and probably have an accident again in the same spot.
Some cleaners that you have in your home might not cut it. There are a lot of cleaners that are specifically made for these things. You can also try some home remedies.
Enzyme cleaners are popular, and often used to clean the results of bodily functions.
The most important thing is to make sure that these cleaners are not toxic and dangerous to your doggy. If you are not sure, you can always ask the vet.
RELATED: How To Clean Diarrhea Out Of Carpet? No Mess In A Few Steps
9. Your Attitude Can Help A Lot
This can mean a lot of things, but we will describe it briefly. For example, if you notice your dog starting to pee on the carpet, the first instinct is to get up and say a little louder to your dog to stop.
At this moment, the puppy will probably stop doing what it is doing, which will give you time to react and take it outside.
This can be a good thing at the moment, but you need to make sure that your dog is not feeling nervous around you. The main thing is to always stay calm, and address the situation in a way that will not make your dog stressed.
If you are persistent, the potty training will end sooner. If you are also nervous and are willing to let things slide by, your puppy will sense that and the potty training can go on forever.
10. Make Sure Your Puppy Doesn’t Get Distracted
Puppies are known to play a lot, and easily get distracted by anything that is surrounding them. They can be a true menace, and you may ask yourself, when will they get easier?
To avoid them getting distracted, you need to use a leash and lead your pooch. Some dog owners use short leashes so they can easily lead their puppy to the potty area.
Your puppy will most likely play outside. The interesting thing is that they might even forget that they need to pee or poop while playing outside.
If this happens, you can be out with your pup for hours, but they will potty as soon as they come home. This is really upsetting, and we understand that.
To avoid this, make sure that you distract your dog from playing, and give them a potty break. When they have done everything that they needed, you can let them have their playtime.
This way, they will learn that the main thing they need to do when they go outside is pee and poop, and after that comes the fun activities.
11. Rewards, Rewards, A Lot Of Rewards
Every dog trainer in any dog training program will use a lot of rewards to make sure that the dog is feeling great about learning new things.
This is something that you need to do as well, and it is the fun part of training. Seeing your dog get excited when you give them a treat because they know that they did something right is priceless.
This is also the way for them to learn anything, including going potty in the right places, much quicker.
Some dogs will love treats… well, every dog will for sure love treats. Others will prefer positive reinforcement. The best thing is to combine the two.
Try not to go overboard with the treats.
12. Use A Word, Phrase, Or A Sound
It is a good idea to teach your dog that by hearing a certain word, phrase, or sound, it will associate this with going outside to go potty in their potty spot.
For example, if you say “let’s go outside”, your dog will know that this is the time when you will be taking your leash, and taking it out to go potty.
Using a word or a phrase is also good while they are doing their business. Right before you see them squat to either pee or poop, use a certain word or phrase like ˝go potty˝. After that, give them a reward.
This way, when you go outside and tell them to go potty, they will immediately do what they need to do.
13. Give Your Puppy A Proper Diet
Most dog owners decide on giving their puppies kibble. This is the safest option, and also, it is the easiest to give to your dog. The most important thing is to stick to the diet and the food that you decide on giving your puppy.
You should not give your puppy one type of food for a couple of weeks, and then switch to another.
Also, keep in mind that you should not give your puppy human food for a long time. If you mix a lot of different food, or give them human foods like fish sticks, cheese, spicy food, etc., your dog can develop diarrhea.
This will make potty training a lot harder, and it will take your puppy longer than normal to learn where they can and can’t go potty.
14. Don’t Give Them Water At Night
This might not sound like the best idea, but your puppy will most likely be active at night during its first month of arriving at your home.
While they are awake, they will most likely drink a lot of water simply because they are bored, and the water bowl is right there next to them.
This will result in them peeing a lot during the night while you are asleep. By preventing water consumption during the night, puppy pees will be a lot less frequent.
15. Don’t Punish Your Puppy
You need to be prepared that accidents will happen, and yes… it can get frustrating at times, but never react to your puppy in an angry way.
The puppy probably doesn’t know that it did something wrong because it is still in the learning process. If you shout at it. it could get nervous, and in the worst-case scenario, it could start being scared of you.
The last thing you want to do is hit your dog because there is a chance that it will not forgive you.
Verbal encouragement is the best thing you can do, and it will make your puppy calm, willing to listen to you, and learn the thing that you are trying to teach him.
16. Check Your Pooch During The Night
This will probably take a toll on dog owners because you will not be getting a lot of sleep in the beginning stages of potty training.
It is important to know what your dog is doing during the night, and whether they have a lot of accidents. You should make a schedule, set an alarm clock to check on them, and take them out every night at the same time.
This way, your dog will understand that it is not okay to potty inside the house at night.
17. Pee Pads
When it comes to pee pads, some people agree with them while others think that they do not work, and will make the dog take longer to go through potty training. “Do pee pads actually work?” is one of those training questions that don’t come with a certain answer.
This works in a way where you put pee pads in a certain part of the house. The puppy will first learn to pee in that area, and afterward, you will be switching them to going outside.
Pee pads are thought to be great training tools for people who live in an apartment, especially for people who live on a high floor.
You can check this video to learn about potty training with pee pads:
18. Use Only One Door
This is, of course, for people who live in a house or an apartment that has multiple doors to go outside. It can get confusing for the puppy if they go outside through a different door every time.
By using the same door, the puppy will be able to associate that this door is used when it is time to go outside. They will make a habit out of it, and they will be able to learn all of the rules of potty training faster.
This is also good because they might use those doors to show you that they need to go potty. They will most likely come to the door and wait until you notice.
When Should You Start Potty Training Your German Shepherd?
We already mentioned that some type of potty training starts with the puppy’s mother. This is when it is 5 and 6 weeks of age. The 8-week mark is when the puppy will be arriving in your home.
This is the moment when you need to start. In other words, as soon as you bring the puppy home, you should start with the training.
The sooner you start, the sooner your pooch will learn when and where it should go potty. If you wait for some time for the puppy to get used to the new environment, it will develop more bad habits, which will make the training much more difficult later on.
This is also the period when they are the most influential so you should take advantage of that.
What Happens If You Start Late?
There is a saying that old habits die hard, and this is also the case with dogs. The longer you wait to start potty training, the more bad habits they will develop.
This does not mean that they will never learn, but it will be much harder for sure.
Another thing is that as they get bigger, the mess that they make will become a lot bigger and harder to clean and maintain.
Do not worry – it will come naturally to you to start with the training. No one likes that their dog is pooping and peeing everywhere around the house, especially if you have kids around.
How Long Does It Take For A German Shepherd To Get Potty Trained?
When puppies are really young, they have very little control of their bladder. This means that they can not hold it in for a long time, and because of that, you will need to take them out a lot.
After some time, their bladder control will increase, and it will be a lot easier for both you and them. They will be able to hold it in for longer periods of time, and this way, the number of accidents will decrease.
When they know to hold it in, they will keep up with the rules that you have set. Because of this, you need to know that a puppy at a young age can never be completely potty trained.
When they get to the age where they can hold it in is when you can expect your pooch to get potty trained. However, this depends from dog to dog.
If you set all the rules, and you are persistent, you will get the results a lot quicker. German Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs so you do not have to worry.
There is no exact time frame that we can say when you can expect your dog to be fully trained. It depends on a lot of factors.
When Is The Best Time to Take Your Puppy Out?
Making a potty schedule is very important, but it depends on a lot of factors like when your dog eats, when you are out of the house, when and how much they sleep, etc.
You need to assess your situation, the habits that your dog naturally has, and the habits that you made for him.
We will list the times when you should take your German Shepherd puppy out, which can also make it easier for you to make a schedule.
– As soon as they wake up in the morning
– Right before going to bed
– After a longer playtime
– When you notice that your dog gets excited
– After mealtime
– After drinking water (every time while they are really young)
– After every nap
The thing we want to emphasize is that even when you see that your dog is able to hold it in, and that it has gotten ahold of the rules, you should never make it wait for a long time to go outside.
If they keep it in for a long time, they can develop urinary tract infections, which can cause them a lot of problems.
To Sum It All Up
How to potty train German Shepherd puppy is one of those questions that does not have one answer. There are a lot of things that go into training a dog when and where to potty.
There are definitely things that you can do to speed up the process, but there are also things that can make the process last longer.
We made a list of things that can help both you and your dog go through potty training as quickly as possible. Some people might use a couple of things we listed while others might use only one.
It depends on the preference of the dog owner, and also the type of dog that you have.Whatever the case is, and whatever tactic you decide on, the most important thing is to stay calm and collected. Use a lot of positive reinforcement, a nice tone, and a lot of treats and praise to motivate your dog.