The Best Way to Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy

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Alas! You finally brought home the pet of your dreams, the German Shepherd puppy. You bought every little thing that your puppy needed. You even brought home the best puppy food. Everything is set, except that your beloved GSD puppy just peed on your sofa. Ooppss!!!! There goes an accident.

How To Potty Train A German Shepherd

Expect more “accidents” like this to happen when you have a puppy. Lucky for you, German Shepherds are the third most intelligent dog breed in the world next to the Border Collie and the Poodle. Which means it is the most intelligent large dog breed. Being obedient is natural for them. They can learn tricks in a snap of a finger. Plus, their character trait of being a pleaser makes them highly trainable. So, that makes German Shepherd puppies one of the easiest dog breeds to potty train.

When is the Best time to Potty-Train your GSD Puppy

Bringing home a GSD puppy is not only about having a pet. It means having the time and energy to teach them, especially potty-training. Generally, German Shepherd potty-training age or house-breaking age should be as young as possible. Depending on its age, it can hold its bladder from 30 minutes up to 4 hrs. A puppy who’s only a few weeks old can hold its bladder for only up to 30 minutes. When a GSD puppy reaches 8-16 weeks, it has the ability to hold its bladder for up to 2 hours. At 16 weeks, a GSD puppy can hold its bladder from 2 hours up to 4 hours. By the time it is 6 months old, it should be completely potty-trained. Luckily, for owners whose puppies were born in the house, GSD moms will be responsible for cleaning up the mess. But owners are expected to potty-train them before they get used to messing up everywhere. 

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Potty-Training German Shepherd Puppies

If there is a list of what GSDs should learn, potty-training should be on top of the list.  There are many ways of potty-training pets, and the best way to potty-train a German Shepherd puppy depends on which method you will use. What matters is how effective the method is for your GSD puppy and the amount of time and patience that you have.

  • Choosing a suitable spot

One known GSD behavior is dominance. If an owner will let the GSD puppy choose the spot where it wants to relieve itself, chances are, it will always do its business there. So, owners should act as the leader of the pack to avoid disobedience. Before bringing the GSD puppy home, you should choose a suitable spot where your GSD puppy can relieve itself. That spot should be comfortable enough for your GSD puppy and convenient enough for you to clean up.

  • Setting a schedule

GSD puppies’ digestive system is still immature. It can’t hold much food in its stomach. Which means their potty time will depend on their meal times. You should let your GSD puppy go to the designated “potty spot” 10 minutes after every meal. This will avoid “accidents” from happening. 

Meal is not the only reason for relieving themselves. Activities will make them very excited, so be ready to let them relieve right after. 

  • Command

Use one command to signal your GSD puppy to go potty.  For example, “Go potty” or “Go pee.” Then open the door as you use your index finger pointing at the spot you designated for your puppy. This command should be used all throughout the entire potty training period.

  • Rewards

Give your GSD puppy small treats or even toys and praise it for doing such a good job. Positive reinforcement will encourage your puppy to do the same behavior.

Important Things to Consider in Potty-Training GSD Puppies

Effective GSD potty-training will depend on you as the owner. You need patience, time and dedication. Some training methods are quite confusing for owners. Here are a few things that owners might want to consider.

  • To crate or not to crate
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Crate training is a good way to train your puppy not to make a mess in your home. Some owners don’t approve of crate training simply because they think it is inhumane. If you opt to crate train your dog as part of potty-training, make sure that the crate won’t be too large for your puppy where it can sleep on the other end and treat the other end as a toilet. GSDs in general, don’t like doing business where it sleeps, so a large crate will just provide it a space for relieving itself.

For some dedicated pet owners, aside from potty times after meals, they choose to give their puppies early morning and late evening potty time They are also especially alert when their puppies are crying or making sounds at night. This approach might make you feel a little sleepless at first, but consider the benefits you will gain.

  • Dog training pads

Dog training pads can help you prevent your GSD puppy to make a mess in your house. Most potty pads or training pads are made of absorbent materials with odor control that keeps your floor clean and mess-free. The problem is, your puppy might get used to the idea that it can relieve itself in the house anytime it wants to. Plus, it might take time to wean your GSD puppy off from potty pads. But if you need to go to work or you need to leave your GSD puppy at home, you can use potty pads to avoid mess.

  • Leash

It is but natural for GSD puppies to wander around the house and leave traces of their “accidents”. There are a number of pet owners who choose to keep their puppies in their house on a  leash instead of crate training. It might be effective in preventing “accidents” but it might also affect your puppy’s behavior.

  • Time
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One of the questions that comes to mind when potty-training is,“ How long to potty train German Shepherd puppy?”. The best answer will depend on the puppy’s age and the owner’s patience. It usually takes a few weeks to 4 months for puppies to completely learn potty-training. The younger the puppy the better it will adapt to potty-training. The more patient the owner, the faster it will take for the puppy to be fully potty-trained. 

Tips on Potty Training German Shepherds Puppies

Here are some helpful tips to make potty-training effective and easy for your GSD puppies.

  1. Be consistent on the routine that you have set. GSD puppies are known for their obedience. So, being consistent in the routine will result in success.
  2. Apply positive approach in dealing with “little accidents” your puppy might make.
  3. Strictly follow regular feeding and potty time schedules.
  4. Do not overfeed your puppy especially at night.
  5. Observe your puppy before and after going to the loo. This will help you identify when it needs to have a go.
  6. Use potty-training spray to encourage your GSD puppy to relieve in your chosen spot.
  7. Do not play with your puppy when bringing it to the designated potty area. Or else, it will forget the purpose of going out.
  8. Always use commands and hand signals everytime you bring your puppy out for potty time. This is for your puppy to recall the meaning of your command and hand signals.


German Shepherd potty-training might be a little challenging in the beginning, but with your patience and understanding, it will take no time at all before you can successfully potty-train them. There are many techniques that you can choose, the keypoint is it should be according to your capabilities and time. Always remember that GSDs are highly intelligent dogs. If you start potty-training right, it will end in success.

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