When Can Puppies Control Their Bladder?

puppy looking at a puddle of urine

Most puppies can control their bladder around four to six months of age, although some puppies may gain control as soon as three months, others may take up to nine months. Up to that point, most puppies can “hold it in” for the same amount of months they are. A two-month puppy should be able to hold its bladder for two hours.

It is such an incomparable joy to have a new puppy in the house! Not only are they a great new companion, but they are also adorable! However, they usually demand a lot of time. A puppy is a big commitment because they are so young and need to be taught everything.

A critical skill in your puppy’s development is housebreaking. Your dog has a tiny bladder to start with and needs to be taught not to pee in the house. There will undoubtedly be accidents at one point or another. Still, your dog will eventually learn to hold its bladder longer. As they age, they do not need to pee as often.

Puppies can often be house trained by the time they are six months old. At this age, they can control their bladder very well.

How Long Can a Puppy Hold Their Bladder?

Many factors affect how long a puppy can hold its bladder. This ranges from age, size, and how far along you are in house training your puppy.

Age

The general rule with most puppies is they can hold their bladder depending on their age in months. Add one to their age in months, and that is how many hours they can go between potty breaks. If your dog is two months old, add one. This means they can usually go up to three hours between potty breaks.

This is not an end-all, be-all rule, but can work as a general time frame to determine when to take them out.

Some puppies can go much longer. Others may need more potty breaks. If they have more accidents on a schedule following these guidelines, take them out more often.

House-Breaking

How long puppies hold their bladder also depends on if you are house training them. This has no effect on their bladder function, of course, but will help determine their peeing schedule.

If they have learned they are supposed to only pee outside, they will likely avoid peeing inside and try to hold their bladder longer.

If you have not house trained your puppy, however, they have no such reservations. This means that they’ll pee a lot more in the house because they think it’s ok. If you establish house training early on, you are less likely to have accidents inside.

Size

Size is also an important factor in how long a puppy can hold its pee. Smaller pups usually have smaller bladders, so they need to go outside more often. If your puppy is very large, it can likely go without urinating for a bit longer.

How to Avoid Accidents

If your puppy is having many accidents in the house, you can do a few things. The most important part is establishing a routine, but you can also rely on a pee pad if it becomes a big issue.

Take Your Dog Out Routinely

It is crucial to get your puppy into a routine as soon as possible after bringing them home. If you take them out and feed them at the same time every day, they will adapt to that. They will know when mealtimes or walks are coming and are less likely to work outside of that schedule.

First Thing in the Morning

You should always take your dog out in the morning. For puppies, however, you must take them out first thing. This should be done the second you wake up, before eating breakfast. After being inactive for many hours, your puppy definitely needs to relieve itself.

If you linger too long or decide to brush your teeth before going outside, your dog will likely pee in the house. Taking your puppy out first thing in the morning is a great way to establish a routine. It is also great for your puppy to stretch their legs a bit after a long night!

Last Thing Before Bed

In addition to taking your dog out the second they wake up, take them out before going to bed. It is important to also do this right before you put them to bed. This will hopefully help them sleep longer, as their bladder will hold longer. Additionally, it will prevent them from waking up in the middle of the night and peeing in their bed.

After Meals

Puppy metabolism is quick. While you can wait awhile with older dogs, try to take your puppy out soon after they eat. Depending on your dog’s size and the speed of their metabolism, this can range from five minutes to half an hour after eating.

This also goes for drinking water. If you notice your puppy drinking a lot of water, this is a good sign that they will need to go out to pee soon. Noticing behaviors and patterns of action will help keep your house accident-free. It will also help house train your puppy.

After Play

When your dog plays, its digestion usually kicks up. They burn a lot of energy, which gets their metabolism going. Activity will activate the digestive tract and get things moving. This means that it is likely that they will have to urinate soon after.

Puppies are also likely to drink water after playtime. They have burned all that energy, after all! This is an extra reason to take your pup out soon after play.

After Sleeping

If your dog takes a nap in the middle of the day, give them the chance to relieve themselves right after waking up. Sleeping will often result in a bladder that needs to be emptied.

Pee Pad

This is especially popular for dog owners who live in apartments or those with very small dogs. If a puppy needs to pee eight times a day and you live high up in an apartment building, it might be hard to make that work. That is when a pee pad comes in handy.

Often, for puppies, you can eliminate pee pads when you notice that they no longer need to relieve themselves as often. Most adult dogs need to eliminate waste three to four times a day, which is easier to do than the 10-12 for puppies.

If your dog is very small or has incontinence issues, you may find that using a puppy pad is useful in the long run, too. It is likely to save your rugs from a few accidents.

Keep Your Eyes on Six Months

The time that your dog can control its bladder ranges and relies on many factors. When adequately house-trained, most dogs can get into a more normal dog routine a little after the six-month mark. This is usually the time when they can go for over 5-6 hours between pee breaks.

However, you will probably be able to tell if your dog needs to go out more often. They are likely to have more accidents. An accident in the house usually means that they are not fully housebroken. It could also mean that they need to go out more often!

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