How to Potty Train a Poodle (Easy Steps)

If you just brought home a Poodle puppy or an untrained adopted adult, potty accidents will likely happen in your house. But here’s the good news—Poodles are highly intelligent, originally trained as hunting dogs.

Therefore, despite there being a learning curve when potty training your Poodle, most of them will catch on quickly.

Are you ready to end accidents in your home? I’ll give you the low-down on how to potty train a Poodle quickly and effectively.

a happy poodle is being potty trained

Determining When Your Poodle Is Ready for Potty Training

When it comes to potty training a Poodle, you likely think they can’t be ready soon enough. However, you’ll be doing a disservice to your puppy if you put them outside before they have their complete set of vaccinations, which is around four months of age.

Poodle puppies that aren’t fully vaccinated have a high chance of contracting deadly diseases, including parvovirus.

So, make sure to get your vet’s approval for your puppy to go outdoors before you start potty training them.

In the meantime, you can use a crate, dog pen, or puppy pads to help manage where your puppy goes to the bathroom in the house. Of course, if you have an adult Poodle that needs potty training, you can start right off with training them outside.

a red poodle on toilet

Preparing To Potty Train Your Poodle

Before I talk about how to potty train a Poodle, it’s essential to do some preparations first. These include:

  1. Choosing suitable treats.
  2. Having a plan for when you are and aren’t home.

When selecting a potty training treat for your Poodle, make it unique from anything you’ve ever given them. That way, they’ll associate the treat with going to the bathroom and have it to look forward to.

Now isn’t the time to get healthy on your Poodle. So, make sure to select a treat that they enjoy. Finally, you should ensure the treat is small to avoid your puppy putting on the pounds.

Having a plan for how you’ll approach potty training your Poodle when you are and aren’t home is also crucial. When you’re home, and you first start training your Poodle, keep them on a leash and harness.

That way, you can catch your pup from going to the bathroom in the house before it happens or reprimand them right away if you’re not paying attention.

When you’re not home, using a dog playpen or crate is an opportunity to contain the accidents in your home. If possible, try to return home before your Poodle should have to go to the bathroom to avoid forcing them to go inside.

A Step-by-Step Guide on Potty Training

Potty training your Poodle involves consistency and patience. Below are the tried and proven steps I’ve taken to potty train my dogs.

potty training takes time
Potty training takes time and PATIENCE

Step 1: Teach Them a Potty Phrase

According to the American Psychological Association, dogs can learn at least 165 words, making them as intelligent as a two-year-old human.

So, whenever you take your Poodle outside for potty training, teach them a command to encourage them to go. The phrase “Go potty” is a popular choice, but you can also use something more discrete—your Poodle won’t know the difference if you tell them to smell flowers as long as you’re consistent.

Step 2: Choose a Relief Area

To help your Poodle connect “go potty” with going to the restroom, say your chosen phrase as you lead them around the specific part of your yard where you want them to go to the bathroom. 

Then, let them sniff around the area. Don’t expect your Poodle to pee on demand—it’s possible they might not have to go at all. So, wait 10 – 15 minutes before bringing them back into the house if they don’t go to the bathroom.

Step 3: Praise Your Poodle

If your Poodle ends up peeing or pooping, gently say a word or phrase in a positive, upbeat voice that you want them to associate with the action.

Just make sure not to get too excited when you praise them. Dogs, especially puppies, can get distracted, so you don’t want your Poodle to stop going mid-pee.

Step 4: Offer a Treat

You’ll need to balance this step carefully because if you pull out a treat in plain sight while your Poodle is going to the bathroom, they’ll likely stop what they’re doing to eat it.

So, the moment your Poodle finishes, praise them with lots of pets and a treat.

Step 5: Spend More Time Outside

An outdoor-loving Poodle will soon catch on if you bring them back into the house the moment they finish peeing or pooping. So, avoid this situation by playing with them outside after they go to the bathroom.

That way, you won’t inadvertently train your puppy to wait until the last minute to use the restroom.

5 Strategies for Effective Poodle Potty Training

Now that you have the gist of how to potty train your Poodle, below are some strategies I recommend you to implement to help you and your pooch have a positive and fast learning experience.

1. Take Them Outside Often

No one ever said potty training is convenient since you should take your Poodle puppy outside every two hours during the day until they get older and develop a stronger bladder.

Furthermore, you should take them to their designated potty area as soon as they wake up, after eating, and before you go to bed.

2. Keep Your Poodle on a Feeding Schedule

Poodles love routine, and their bowel movements do too. Puppies need to eat two or three times per day, and they’ll defecate more consistently if you keep them on a feeding schedule.

So, try your best to feed your Poodle at the same time every day to avoid accidents in your house.

3. Handle Accidents With Grace

Accidents in the house are a natural part of potty training. So, when it happens, the worst thing you can do is point to the mess and yell at your Poodle. Pushing their nose into the accident as you’re doing it is also ineffective. On the contrary, it’ll make them afraid of you.

Instead, show your dog to their outdoor relief area and clean up the mess with a cleaner made to hide dog scents.

Using a scent hiding product is crucial, given that Poodles are more likely to pee or poop in places that smell as such. That’s also why using a designated outdoor bathroom area is so helpful for training your dog.

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4. Don’t Rush Them

Some Poodles will start peeing on everything in sight the moment they step their paw out the door (I’m looking at you, male Poodles). Others will get distracted easily by the sights and sounds of the outdoors, requiring more time.

The important thing is to give your Poodle time to muster up peeing or pooping. Ideally, you should wait 15 minutes. However, if you know your Poodle probably needs to poop, waiting up to 20 minutes is reasonable.

why do poodles shake
Why do Poodles shake?

5. Manage Nighttime Requests Wisely

The inevitable moment will come when your Poodle whines at night. In some cases, it might be a legitimate call because they have to go to the bathroom. In other cases, they might want food or cuddles.

If your Poodle whines in the middle of the night, you should take them outside to go to the bathroom. However, unlike during the day when you should play with them after they go, you should bring them into the house immediately after they relieve themselves.

If they don’t go to the bathroom, it’s even more reason not to play or spend time with them outside. That way, they don’t associate nighttime potty outings with a time to play and get attention from you.

How Long Does It Take To Potty Train a Poodle?

The amount of time it takes to potty train your Poodle depends on their age. The older the puppy, the faster they’ll likely learn. A part of this is because they have a stronger bladder, so they can go for longer periods without having an accident.

You, as a dog owner, also have a lot to do with how long it takes your Poodle to learn to use the outdoors as their restroom. Kindness and consistency are key to success.

Since Poodles are intelligent dogs, it’s possible to potty train them in as little as a few days to a week. However, don’t get frustrated if it takes longer than that. As long as they don’t have a medical issue getting in the way, they’ll eventually catch on.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to potty train a Poodle isn’t hard, but it requires patience and a dose of humor, given that accidents will happen.

Using positive reinforcement techniques is one of the best things you can do for your Poodle during the training process. With lots of kind words and tasty treats as an incentive, you can expect your Poodle to soon start using the outdoors as their permanent restroom.

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