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How To Potty Train A Pit Bull

Housetraining your new pit bull puppy or rescued adult doesn’t have to be a long, arduous process.

Due to their high intelligence and a strong desire to please, pit bulls are easier to housetrain than many other breeds.

Following the advice and tips outlined below, adult pits and older puppies can be housetrained in as little as a week or two.

Younger puppies may take a little longer, if only because an 8-12 week-old is physically not able to hold it as long.

The Canine Den Method Principle

In the wild, dogs and wolves live in packs, and the pack resides in a den, usually an underground burrow.

Imagine what would happen if all pack members used the bathroom inside the den. Right. It would become filthy and intolerable very quickly.

Consequently canines are naturally inclined not to soil their sleeping area, a trait you can use to your advantage when housetraining your pit bull.

Of course, the average person’s house is substantially more significant than the typical canine den, so parts of your home may strike your dog as a fabulous toilet.

Your challenge will be to teach your pit bull to think of the entire house as the den.

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What You Will Need

A crate: It doesn’t matter what type of crate you select–wire, aluminum, and solid plastic crates will all work fine–what is important is picking the correct size. Choose a crate just big enough for your dog to lie down and turn around comfortably.

Putting a puppy in an adult-sized crate could result in the pup using one side of the crate as his sleeping area and the other as his bathroom area, which would defeat the point of what we’re trying to accomplish. If you’ve already purchased an adult-sized wire crate for your pit bull puppy, you can buy a divider to make the crate smaller during the housetraining phase. Check dog crates prices here.

A crate pad or mat: Your dog will be much happier in her new crate if you provide her with comfortable bedding. Check crate pads prices here.

A bottle of natural enzyme pet odor and stain remover: If you follow the steps outlined below, you’ll have minimal occasion to use this cleaner, perhaps none at all. However, it’s essential to be prepared, and if your dog does have an accident in the house, it’s critical to get rid of the odor entirely, not just the stain. Check pet odor removers prices here.

One or more safe chew toys: Particularly important for teething puppies, but older dogs will also enjoy having a chew toy while crated. Check the best chew toys here.

Some delicious treats: You will use these to encourage your dog to enter his crate as well as possibly as a reward for using the bathroom outdoors. Check the best treats here.

7 Tips On How To Potty Train A Pit Bull Puppy

1. Choose The Right Crate

How To Potty Train A Pitbull Puppy

You’re at the pet store, looking for a crate for your new puppy. You browse through shelves, looking at all the options and think “Should I get a bigger crate instead, that my puppy can grow into?”.

Well, drop that idea because the answer is absolutely NO. It can be tempting to want to save money by choosing a crate your puppy can grow into. However, doing so wastes more time and creates more frustration when giving a potty train to your Pit Bull puppy.

The thing is, when puppies are young, they don’t understand that the only acceptable place to go potty is outside. Hence, when the crate is too big, they tend to use one corner for eating, playing, and sleeping; and another corner for potty.

With that being said, you’re creating a bad habit for your pit bull, and it will be tough to break. Instead of urinating and pooping outside, your puppy learned that using its crate as a bathroom is acceptable.

The best size crate for your puppy is one that is tall enough for them to stand upright without struggle.

The crate’s width and length should be big enough for the puppy to comfortably circle inside before laying down. Additionally, the crate should also have some room for their arms and legs to extend when lying down, but not more than that.

All in all, if your dog’s crate looks like a puppy penthouse, then you know it is too big.

2. Delegating Responsibility

Raising a puppy is a huge responsibility. Everyone in the family should take it seriously. If you still need to, it’s a good idea to gather everyone and discuss who takes care of tasks like feeding, walking, showering, etc.

After delegating the responsibility, next, make sure everyone in the family commits to it. Remember, your end goal is to create a routine for your puppy.

With a daily static routine that follows the same schedule every day, you create predictability for your puppy, and fewer accidents for you. Ultimately, you can ensure your pit bull’s potty training mission is successful.

So when to bring your pit bull puppy out for urination and defecation? Well, the general rule of thumb is every 2 hours. Lead your puppy to their designated potty area, then praise them heavily when they use it.

Mind you, a young pit bull usually has smaller bladders. In fact, any puppy younger than 12 weeks old needs to be taken outside every 2 hours for potty.

Only when they get older, they can hold their bladder longer. Still, when in doubt, take your puppy out right away! After all, that’s the golden rule of every puppy potty training.

3. Routine And Schedules

The better your puppy can predict how their day will go, the more compliant they will be. This means fewer piles of poo or urine you’ll see on your floor daily.

It’s alright to train your pit bull to walk on a loose leash when they’re out for potty, but never let them walk without one.

How To Potty Train A Pitbull Puppy

This prevents their active brain from getting distracted by all the enticing smells around or floating butterflies. In other words, everything that is happening around him.

When a puppy gets distracted, they won’t focus on relieving themselves. Consequently, they will do it inside the house instead since they didn’t do it outside in the first place.

During the nighttime, your puppy should be sleeping in the crate. This is to keep your puppy safe while everyone else is asleep. In addition, it teaches them to have a positive association with the crate, while reducing those pesky early morning accidents.

Another thing to take note of is your pit bull puppy diet. Always feed and give water to your puppy at the same time each day. Doing this allows you to predict when they’ll need to go outside to relieve.

Also, pull up their food and water at least 4 hours before bedtime. If they go to sleep with a full stomach, they will likely have an accident in the middle of the night or early morning.

4. Giving Praises And Rewards

Whenever your pit bull puppy successfully uses the bathroom outside, don’t forget to give lots of praise. Of course, you can also use treats, although we don’t really recommend it.

This is because many puppies will learn that simply going outside means getting treats. In other words, it distracts them from the more important task — relieving themselves.

A better way to reward them is to have some playtime with your pup after their potty training. With this method, they will learn that potty is equal to play, and all puppies love some playtime.

If your pit bull pup refuses to use the bathroom while outside, bring them back in and put them in their crate with a toy. This toy will keep the puppy occupied; while you can keep an eye on the sign of them ready for a potty break again.

Additionally, this method also teaches your puppy that no pee/poo equals no play. Soon after, your pit bull puppy will do their potty right away whenever they’re outside. They will pick up this signal in no time.

5. Disciplinary Action For Accidents

Never HIT, YELL or RUB your puppy’s nose on their filth as a punishment for relieving inside the house.

Remember, your pit bull puppy is still a baby that requires constant supervision. Hence, their accidents are your accidents.

Instead, you can have your puppy drag their leash around the house or create a designated spot where they are tethered to a leash during free time.

Do not think this is cruel, it’s not. You give your puppy the structure they need to thrive in your family as they grow. If anything, you’re house training your pit bull puppy, teach them the boundaries of where they can wander while inside the house.

Besides, tethering keeps you from losing track of your pit bull pup and lets you catch him in the middle of accidents. Plus, it also prevents your puppy from chewing or playing with things they shouldn’t.

In the event you catch your pit bull pup getting ready to pee, distract them by clapping your hands while saying “No, no, no, no” in a stern voice.

Continue doing this until the command reaches your puppy. Then, with their leash still attached to them, lead them outside.

However, if you did not catch your puppy in the act and found a surprise on the floor, the best is to just clean it up without punishing your dog.

6. Reviewing Training Method

It’s essential to constantly review your training method or behavior portrayed when you give potty training to your Pit Bull puppy.

This is especially if you still find surprises around the house despite the fact that you have trained them for a while now.

Instead of getting frustrated and punishing them, take the accident as an opportunity for you to establish the weak areas of your training.

You can start by asking yourself questions like:

“How was he able to have an accident without me knowing?”

“Does he have too much free reign in the house?”

“Am I not restricting him to an area where I can see him at all times?”

It’s crucial to ask yourself to know where you’re going wrong. Be honest with yourself and answer the questions to help you determine what additional steps you need to take.

Remember, your puppy is not naughty, they are just doing what puppies do.

7. The Secret To Potty Training Any Pit Bull Puppy

How To Potty Train A Pitbull Puppy

The secret to successfully potty training a Pit Bull puppy is really no secret. Like achieving other things in life, you need commitment, discipline, time and effort, and patience.

For starters, before your puppy learns about boundaries and starts their potty training, it’s best to avoid them soiling in the house at all costs. Granted, there will be accidents here and there.

Once you start their potty training, be sure to let your puppy out often enough. Needless to say, it should be done routinely, followed by a fixed schedule.

Next, whenever you let them be free inside the house, teach them to only roam in a designated area to be able to keep an eye on them. In case you’re unable to supervise, keep them in their crate.

All in all, these are the main three components you need to accomplish quickly when you train a pit bull pup. Along with hawk-like supervision, your pup for sure can be potty trained with flying color in no time.

Housetraining Advice

Until your pit bull is reliably housetrained, she will always be in one of three places:

  • In the house with you watching her closely.
  • In her crate when you can’t watch her.
  • Outside.

The goal is to help your dog do the right thing from the start and prevent accidents from happening.

You will accomplish this by starting your new companion on a potty training schedule as soon as she arrives in your home and never leaving her to explore your house unsupervised.

If you can’t watch her–even if it’s only for a few minutes–she needs to be in her crate or in the yard.

The other critical part of the equation involves praising your pit bull for doing the right thing. Walk outside with her and take her to the part of the yard you’ve designated as her bathroom area. As soon as she has urinated or defecated, tell her what a good dog she’s for going outside. Don’t stand in the doorway and praise her when she comes back in; by that time she’ll have no idea what you’re praising her for.

Praise her lavishly. You can even start jumping up and down and do a little celebratory dance. Do this every time she eliminates outdoors.

If you’re clicker training, the time to click is right at the tail end of her urine stream. It would be best if you captured the behavior as it occurs, but since the click ends the behavior, clicking when she’s almost done is the way to go.

After you’ve clicked, offer an exceptionally delicious treat and erupt into praise.

TIP: When you see that she’s about to relieve herself, say something like, “Do your thing.” You can use any phrase you like, but try to pick something you don’t use in everyday conversation and will be comfortable saying in public. If you wish, you can use different commands for urination and defecation. Do this every time she uses the bathroom, and she’ll soon associate the phrase with the act of relieving herself. This can come in very handy on walks or when she’s older and you’re traveling together, as anyone who’s ever waited impatiently for their dog to eliminate at a rest area can attest.

Tips On Establishing A Potty Training Routine

Dogs thrive on routines, so get one started as soon as you bring home your furry companion. Here are some key points to keep in mind when setting up your pit bull’s potty training schedule:

1. 8-12 week old puppies have limited bowel and bladder control and will need to be taken out at least once an hour when they’re awake and active. An 8-10 week-old who’s busy exercising and playing may need to go out every 20-30 minutes!

2. Let your puppy out of his crate as soon as he wakes up in the morning or after a nap. For the first week or two, carrying him outside is a good idea to prevent accidents on the way to the door. If you’ve adopted an older puppy or adult pit bull, you can put him on a short leash and take him straight outside, but make sure you observe him on the way there.

3. Young puppies will need to use the bathroom within 15-30 minutes of drinking or eating anything of substance. Feed your pit bull in her crate, wait 10-15 minutes, then take her back outside to relieve herself. Don’t free feed and don’t leave a water bowl in the crate.

4. Allow your pit bull to play in the yard after being eliminated. You don’t want him to get the idea that the fun of being outdoors comes to an end as soon as he has used the bathroom. Better yet, pick up his favorite toy and play tug or fetch with him. To ensure you’re sending the right messages, act nonchalantly and even slightly disinterested as you’re standing in your yard’s “doggy bathroom area,” waiting for him to go. Once he has been eliminated, the fun begins! Praise, hugs, happy dances, treats, play–whatever you can think of to let him know how absolutely thrilled you are that he used the bathroom outdoors.

5. Schedule plenty of indoor and outdoor play and fun training time with your new companion. When indoors, carefully watch her for signs that she might need to go (e.g., sniffing and circling), and take her outside immediately when you spot these signs. When outdoors, remember to praise her every time she uses the bathroom.

6. Feed young puppies their dinner and take up their water bowl no later than three hours before your bedtime. Just before you go to bed, let your puppy outside one more time. Put your puppy’s crate in your bedroom, so you can hear his whining if he needs to go in the middle of the night.

7. If you’ve adopted an 8-10 week old puppy, you’ll need to get up once in the middle of the night to let him out. Young puppies don’t have the bladder control to hold it for 7-8 hours at a time. Set your alarm for four hours after you last let him out. When your alarm goes off, take your puppy outside and praise him for eliminating it. This is the only time you want to take him straight back inside and not make a big production with toys and games. You’ll both have a much easier time getting back to sleep if you keep things low-key. And don’t worry, by the time he’s 11-12 weeks old, your pup should be sleeping through the night.

8. Don’t keep your pit bull crated for more than 6-8 hours at a time. In the case of young puppies, that number drops to just 3-4 hours. If you’re at work during the day and no one is home to let out your puppy, either come home during your lunch break, or, if that isn’t possible, hire a pet sitter or ask a trusted friend or relative to go to your house around lunchtime to let out, feed, and play with your puppy. Sure, you could also put the pup in the laundry room with toys, food, and water and cover the floor with newspapers, but that will only confuse your puppy (“I thought I wasn’t supposed to go in the house”) and prolong the housetraining process. Alternatively, consider adopting a slightly older pit bull who’ll be able to hold it longer.

What To Do When Accidents Happen

Well, they don’t have to if you’re very diligent, though with young puppies, a few accidents are part of the course.

So let’s say you discover a puddle in the kitchen or a wet area on the carpet. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PUNISHING YOUR DOG!

If he had an accident in the house, you either weren’t watching him closely enough or didn’t let him out in time. Neither is his fault. Just clean up the mess without comment using your natural enzyme cleaner.

Even asking your pup to examine the puddle, while demanding “What is this?” in an accusatory tone, is an exercise in futility.

Your pup may well act guilty, but that’s because he realizes you’re unhappy about the mess. He’s not going to connect the puddle on the floor with the act of relieving himself in the kitchen ten minutes ago. Consequently any type of scolding will only confuse him.

But what if you catch him in the act? Let’s assume you’ve been observing him carefully, and you realize he needs to go. You tell him “outside” and start walking toward the door, but he starts urinating on the carpet before you get there.

Firmly tell him “No! Bad!” while you scoop him up and carry him outside to finish. If he urinates more outside, praise him, letting him know how great he is for going out. Then leave him in the yard, while you clean up the mess.

If you’re housetraining an adult dog too big to pick up and carry, clap to (hopefully) interrupt him while saying, “No! Bad!” If you succeeded in interrupting him, tell him “Quick, outside!” while you open the door to let him out. If he finishes urinating outside, praise him profusely.

Follow this method, and you’ll have a reliably housetrained pit bull in no time!

Final Thoughts

Welcoming a new puppy into the family is always an exciting event. They are cute and lovely to snuggle. Moreover, everyone will be eager to bring them out to play and for walks.

What isn’t as fun is potty training them. Just like any young puppies, it’s common for your pit bull puppy to have accidents in the house.

On average, potty training a puppy takes 4 to 8 weeks. Of course, with a correct and excellent technique, and a smart pup, it can be done much sooner.

Despite knowing this fact, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. In addition, only some know the correct methods to potty train a Pit Bull puppy.

In this article, we tried to show you the best potty training tips for your Pit Bull puppy, and hopefully with these tips, you can quickly get through this phase and enjoy a stress free life with your new family member.

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Author: Matthias

Hey all! I’m Matthias and I love Pit Bulls (as you probably can guess lol). Until a couple years ago I had Blaze next to me while writing the articles for this blog and he was my inspiration, he still is but - hopefully - from a better life 🙂

I am not a veterinarian or veterinary health care specialist, so nothing in this blog should be taken or used as a substitute for professional help. Use our content as information to have a basic understanding about Pit Bulls but always look for expert advice, specifically when treating or diagnosing your Pittie.

Hope my articles are of any help to you, your family and especially your Pit Bull. Thanks for stopping by, enjoy!

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19 thoughts on “How To Potty Train A Pit Bull”

  1. I see how this method could
    I see how this method could work but i do have some questions … How would i go about house training several pits at the same time. I have 5 pits that 4 of them are a year old already and and are not even close to being house broken every time i let them out in my house the first thing the males do is mark everything and then the females follow them peeing and pooping all over my house it drives me crazy i also have three kids one of which is a year and a half who is all over the floor i just cant have this mess on my floor with my baby. I have a lot on my plate and i really need some help in getting theses dogs under control because i really dont want to get rid of them so please any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!

  2. Good Morning,
    I have a

    Good Morning,
    I have a question. My boyfriend and I purchased an eleven week old pit yesterday (8-26-10). Capone is very timid and seems to be afraid to be outside. Once he hits the concrete it’s like a deer in headlights (he’s frozen). I’ve had to carry him from the car inside petsmart, our apts, etc. My question is how can I effectively house train him if he doesn’t move when he outside?

    • I have the same problem with
      I have the same problem with my pit only he is 8 weeks old. I f you have found any suggestions useful or helpful lemme know.

      • be diligent take him outside

        be diligent take him outside and be patient dont look back towards him dont warrent that behavior i had the same issue with mine but i used the retractable lease so she could feel like im bout to leave her there and she would run up behind me eventually she started enjoying walks. and when she walks give her immense praise let her know how proud you are  in anyway of training a dog from my experience clam assertive energy and proper rewards at the proper times gets the best results

      • be diligent take him outside

        be diligent take him outside and be patient dont look back towards him dont warrent that behavior i had the same issue with mine but i used the retractable lease so she could feel like im bout to leave her there and she would run up behind me eventually she started enjoying walks. and when she walks give her immense praise let her know how proud you are  in anyway of training a dog from my experience clam assertive energy and proper rewards at the proper times gets the best results

  3. Hey guys i have two pits and
    Hey guys i have two pits and they are so different. the 5 month one learned potty train over night and i got him when he was 10 weeks. but the little one he is now 11 weeks and he still goes in his crate. ive tried the divider leaving him with barely space and now im trying a bigcrate and nothing. what can i do

  4. Anyone on here work night
    Anyone on here work night shift? I am the proud owner of Brody, a 9 week old boy and I am wondering anyone else has any stories or suggestions for how they dealt with the swing shift. I am a nurse and work 12 hours. Fortunately, I get a 45 min and 30 min break each shift and only have to travel 10-15min during daylight hours (I am sure I could get home faster at 1 in the morning). Any comments on how house training and crate training went on this shift?

    • It’s not easy. i work a

      It’s not easy. i work a canadian swing shift. and its hard to work with them like that so i feel you on that one.

  5. I have a 12 week old pit
    I have a 12 week old pit puppy and when I took him to the vet today for his shots she asked me if I wanted to have his ears cropped. Is this something I should do?

    • Absolutely not. There’s no
      Absolutely not. There’s no medical reason to have their ears cropped. That’s my favorite part of my pibble…the big, floppy ears. 🙂

    • I think it’s important to ask

      I think it’s important to ask yourself if you would like your ears cut and then sewed up! My husband wants to do this to our brand new pup, but I told him he would not do such a thing to the poor guy. He said it’s no big deal because he used to do it to his families when he was younger, but I still refuse to put our dog through unintentional pain. Cropping serves no good purpose. Maybe if you are going to raise a show dog.

      Anyways, I hope this helps you with your decision!

  6. I’m in that situation now.

    I’m in that situation now. trying to decide wether to crop or not to crop her ears. i’ve raised pit’s since the 90’s. I grew up with them and would rather no other breed. I’ve cropped some and left the ears on some. i think crop makes them stand out.need input on it.

    • Cropping ears (and, for some

      Cropping ears (and, for some breeds, docking tails) is old school. You’re seeing less of that kind of thing in most breeds these days (pits, danes, schnauzers, etc.) and I think natural is the way to go. Ear cropping is painful and there is no benefit for the dog in it. Your dog will be just as good looking with natural ears.  As I told a friend of mine, “If you’re going to have your dog’s ears cropped, have yours done at the same time, then you guys can heal together”;-)

  7. Hi everyone, I have a 7 week

    Hi everyone, I have a 7 week old pit bull puppy and I`m having troubles getting her ouse trained1 i have been doing the crate training method and it seemed to work then things have been getting bad. she seems to be more worried about everything else when i take her out. today 5-4-11 she has went 3 times inside of the house and just wont go outside and go. can someone please HELP ME??? 





  9. I just recently got a

    I just recently got a pitbull(Bella), she just turned 8 weeks today (7/31/2012) and I also have a shihhzu(don’t know if I spelled that righ-Cody, 9 months). While Cody is potty trained I’m trying to get Bella on the same schedule. However, I work a 9 hr shift and don’t have anyone to watch her during the time I’m at work. Is there anything I can do more? When I come home she has used the bathroom all over the floor. When I’m home I make sure she get the proper training she needs as in when she has to use the bathroom take her out and praise her when she has done just that. Can I please get some feedback?

  10. Hello everyone,
    I am a first

    Hello everyone,

    I am a first time dog owner and I have a few questions….This is also the first time I have read/seen this site and it’s very helpful, however I have not found a few answers for my pit….Here is some history first…..I have a male pitbull who is about 3 years old and I have had him since he was 2. He is house trained (by previous owners..99%) of the time. Most of the time someone is home with him and he gets alot of attention and if we have to go out for a little while like say 2 hours, sometimes he is ok in the house without being crated…other times he runs to the door wanting to go with (which sometimes we can/do take him for car rides) when he has to stay, we will come back to urine on the leg part of the furniture or sometimes both urine and feces even though we let him out before we go. And we are constantly praising him when he does go outside. Is he doing this because he is mad/jealous that he isn’t going with? Or should I crate him (consistantly) even if it’s only a couple hours we are gone? I feel bad crating him b/c he rarely has to be because we are home and more times than not he is good not being crated….Another issue i have, unrelated to accidents, we have a neighbor with 2 dogs he is allowed to go and play with so he usually bolts over their or vice versa, but there is another neighbor with dogs that isn’t fond of pitbulls and he will go over there…how can a prevent him from doing that?





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