How to Potty Train a Mastiff Puppy

How to Potty Train a Mastiff Puppy
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-6 Months
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Potty training a Mastiff puppy is not much different than potty training any other puppy. You're going to need to show your puppy where he should be eliminating and reward him for recognizing it and then doing so. Mastiffs are eager to please. So your Mastiff puppy is eager to learn from you. Approach potty training with enthusiasm and high energy so it's a task he's happy to do. 

Having a large Mastiff in your house also means potentially having large amounts of urine in your home. Potty training him early on through positive reinforcement and reminders while building this new habit will be imperative to keep a clean house and having a well-trained dog. 

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Defining Tasks

Your Mastiff puppy will love the idea of going outside to go potty because he gets to get some exercise while he's out there. End this outdoor time rewarding him with a little bit of play time so he can burn off some of that excess energy he has. Potty training your Mastiff puppy will take some time and commitment. But most of all, potty training is about repetition and knowing the right times to show your Mastiff where he should be going potty. Potty training your Mastiff is certainly easier if you can be home a lot during the day, especially during these early times in your relationship with your Mastiff. House training may take up to 6 months to perfect, but you can start expecting your Mastiff puppy to begin learning as early as 8 to 12 weeks of age.

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Getting Started

Potty training your Mastiff puppy will require lots of tasty treats to keep him motivated and remind him to make good choices when he needs to go. You will also need to be cognizant of his schedule and the signs, and cues he gives to let you know he needs to go potty. If it all possible, having someone around during the day certainly helps. If not, keep in mind a puppy can typically only hold his bladder for about 1 hour for every month he is old. So your 4-month-old Mastiff could probably hold it for about 4 hours if you're out of the house. You can also teach your Mastiff puppy to tell you he needs to go potty using a bell or a knock on the door. Make potty training fun and rewarding. 

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The Potty Yard Method

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1

Same place each time

Train your Mastiff puppy to go potty in the same spot each time he needs to go. This protects your yard from urine stains and poop all over the place. Choose those space wisely within your yard. Keep it free from distractions and family play areas.

2

Know Your Mastiff

Your Mastiff puppy is a player. He will want to play more than worry about going potty. This is true for when he’s inside as well as outside. Keep him focused during training and be sure to stop his playtime while inside in order to go outside. He should be able to hold his bladder for an hour for every month of age.

3

Outside

When it’s time to go potty, take your Mastiff puppy to the same place each time. Stop him during play time to go, pay attention to signals that he needs to go such as slowing down and sniffing or circling during play. Also, be sure to take him outside five to ten minutes after his meals and upon waking.

4

No play

Do not let your Mastiff puppy play when he is outside in his potty area. Stand quietly nearby. When you speak to him, use encouraging words he’ll recognize later as his cue to go such ag ‘go potty.’ Keep your Mastiff puppy in that area until he goes.

5

Reward

Once your Mastiff puppy goes potty, give him a treat. Be sure to only treat your puppy when he uses the area you’d like him to use. Otherwise, he may use other areas without learning he has a special place to go.

6

Repeat

Repeat this often. Your Mastiff puppy will need to go potty several times throughout the day and night. Be sure you are setting him up for success by taking him outside often instead of only catching him in the act.

The Potty Bell Method

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Introduce a bell

Sit on the floor with your Mastiff puppy and show him the bell he will be using to tell you he needs to go potty. Let him sniff it and make it ring. Each time the bell rings, give your Mastiff puppy a treat. Play with the bell for a bit, letting him get used to the sound it makes.

2

Hang a bell

Hang a bell near the door your Mastiff puppy will most often use to go outside to go potty. Hang the bell at a level for him to touch it with his nose or ring it with his paw. Be prepared to move this bell higher as he grows if you’d like him to ring it with his nose.

3

Ring the bell

Encourage your Mastiff puppy to ring the bell as it hangs in its special spot. You may need to touch the bell or place a treat next to the bell to get his attention and get him to ring the bell. Practice this for a while and give your puppy a treat each time he causes the bell to ring.

4

Before outside

Pay attention to your puppy and the signs he may need to go outside. He might be sniffing or circling if he is ready to go. Anytime he wakes from sleep and within ten minutes of eating, he should be ready to head outside. Before you take your Mastiff puppy out to go potty, make him ring the bell. If he’s been circling and may have an accident, you might want to help him ring it the first few times.

5

Outside

Once your Mastiff rings the bell, take him outside to go potty.

6

Reward

Once your pup goes potty, be sure to give him a reward. This is the same reward you were giving him for ringing the bell earlier.

7

Practice

Encourage your Mastiff puppy to ring the bell anytime he needs to go outside. While he is potty training, be sure you are taking him out often enough, so he does not have an accident in the house. Be patient and take your Mastiff puppy outside with lots of time to spare so there is time to ring the bell. With lots of practice, your Mastiff will eventually know when he needs to go outside on his own and let you know by ringing the bell.

The Potty, Reward, Repeat Method

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Morning

As soon as your Mastiff puppy wakes for the day, take him outside to go potty.

2

Reward

Always give your pup a treat for going potty. Cheer and tell him what a good boy he is each time he makes it outside to go.

3

One hour

Your Mastiff puppy shouldn’t have to go potty for about one hour for every month he’s been alive. So if he is four months old, he might be able to hold it for about four hours. This isn’t always true, especially if your puppy us under three months old, so be sure you are taking him out often to have a chance to go while outside rather than having accidents inside.

4

Meals

Between five and ten minutes after eating a meal, your Mastiff puppy will need to go outside. Pay close attention to him after meals and keep taking him out to go. Be sure to reward him once he goes.

5

Sleep

Whether your Mastiff puppy is taking a nap or sleeping during the night, he’ll need to go potty as soon as he wakes up. Be sure to take him out once he is awake, so he has the chance to go without having an accident.

6

Repeat

Be sure you are taking your puppy out each time you notice him sniffing around your home, especially while playing, after sleep and after meals, and on regular intervals. Ultimately, potty training your Mastiff will be about how dedicated you are to watching the time and keeping a close eye on your Mastiff. Be patient, but know it may take several weeks for him to tell you on his own he needs to go.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Ellie

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English Mastiff

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Six Months

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I have two siblings and one is house train but one is not I've tried everything and she will still will pee and poop in the house or the cage how can I fix the problem

Aug. 30, 2022

Ellie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. Check out the Crate Training article linked below for tips on how to get pup to go potty while outside - which makes accidents in the crate less likely. Also, be aware that a 6 month old puppy cannot hold her bladder for longer than about 5-7 hours during the day even in a crate. Any longer and she will be forced to have an accident - enough accidents and she will loose her desire to keep even the right size crate without something absorbent in it clean. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are still struggling after applying the above suggestions, then unfortunately pup may have already lost her desire to hold it while in a confined space. This commonly happens when someone accidentally teaches pup to do so by placing something like a puppy pad on one end of a larger crate or confining a puppy in a cage where they are forced to pee through wired flooring - like at a pet store and some shelters. There are rare puppies who simply do it anyway, even though nothing happened to teach that. In those cases you can try feeding pup her meals in there to discourage it but most of the time you simply have to switch potty training methods until she is fully potty trained - at which point you might be able to use a crate for travel again later in life. Check out the Tethering method from the article linked below. Whenever you are home use the Tethering method. Also, set up an exercise pen (the study thick kind that pet stores often use for hosting classes due to pup's size, then tether is to something secure like the corner of the wall in the room where its located) in a room that you can close off access to later on (pup will learn it's okay to potty in this room so choose accordingly), or choose a small room without any rugs and carpet that you can use in place of the exercise pen, that can be a temporary "potty room". For a dog her size, if you happen to have a walk in shower that's very large that you don't use often, like in a guest bathroom, you might could even open the door and gate off that doorway with something that allows more ventilation and set her up an area in the walk in shower area, with the water fully off and the shower dry of course. Sometimes a mud room, laundry room with appliances turned off, or small bathroom can work - if pup is a chewer, choose accordingly. Don't set the exercise up in a main area of the house like the den or kitchen. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below, and instead of a litter box like the article mentions, use real grass pads to stay consistent with teaching pup to potty on grass outside - which is far less confusing than pee pads (Don't use pee pads if the end goal is pottying outside!). Since your goal is pottying outside only use the Exercise Pen at night and when you are not home, and tether when you are home. When pup will hold her bladder while in the rest of the house consistently and can hold it for as long as you are gone for during the day and overnight, then remove the exercise pen and grass pad completely, close off access to the room that the pen was in so she won't go into there looking to pee, and take her potty outside only. Since she may still chew longer even after potty training, when you leave her alone, be sure to leave her in a safe area that's been puppy proofed, like a cordoned off area of the kitchen with chew toys - until she is out of the destructive chewing phases too - which typically happens between 1-2 years for most dogs with the right training. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - Also found on Amazon www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com You can also make your own out of a piece of grass sod cut up and a large, shallow plastic storage container. Since you say you have tried everything; if you have already tried this or you try it and pup isn't improving, I would consider a trip to your vet to see if something is causing incontinence. If pup is healthy and there is not incontinence, then I would work in person with a private trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has a lot of puppy experience and rescue experience (this is often an issue with rescues even if your dogs aren't rescues) so they can ask more questions and do a bit of trial and error to help you make progress. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 31, 2022

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Meech

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Bullmastiff

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6 Months

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Potty training inside cage

April 20, 2022

Meech's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Angelo, Could you please explain your question in more detail? Are you trying to teach pup to go potty in a confined crate? If so, I absolutely do NOT recommend doing that because it goes against pup's natural desire to keep a confined space clean, will make potty training to keep your home clean extremely difficult by forcing pup to ignore their natural desire to keep a confined space clean and utilize a crate to prevent accidents for potty training, and because it's unfair to pup to make them stay in such a confined space with their own pee and poop. If you are wanting to teach pup to keep your home clean using a crate, and pup is currently going potty in the crate, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel, otherwise that may be why pup is going potty in there. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. Pay attention to the frequency of potty trips in the method below. If pup is having to hold it too long between potty trips, pup will be forced to go potty in the crate, and the more that happens the less motivated they will be to hold it in there. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are still struggling after applying the above suggestions, then unfortunately pup may have already lost his desire to hold it while in a confined space. This commonly happens when someone accidentally teaches pup to do so by placing something like a puppy pad on one end of a larger crate or confining a puppy in cage where they are forced to pee through wired flooring - like at a pet store and some shelters. There are rare puppies who simply do it anyway, even though nothing happened to teach that. In those cases you can try feeding pup his meals in there to discourage it but most of the time you simply have to switch potty training methods until he is fully potty trained - at which point you might be able to use a crate for travel again later in life. Check out the Tethering method from the article linked below. Whenever you are home, use the Tethering method. Also, set up an exercise pen in a room that you can close off access to later on (pup will learn it's okay to potty in this room so choose accordingly). A guest bathroom, laundry room, or master closet with good ventilation are a few options. Don't set the exercise up in a main area of the house like the den or kitchen if you have other options. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below, and instead of a litter box like the article mentions, use a real grass pad to stay consistent with teaching pup to potty on grass outside - which is far less confusing than pee pads (Don't use pee pads if the end goal is pottying outside!). Since your goal is pottying outside only use the Exercise Pen at night and when you are not home. When pup will hold his bladder while in the rest of the house consistently and can hold it for as long as you are gone for during the day and overnight, then remove the exercise pen and grass pad completely, close off access to the room that the pen was in so he won't go into there looking to pee, and take him potty outside only. Since he may still chew longer even after potty training, when you leave him alone, be sure to leave him in a safe area that's been puppy proofed, like a cordoned off area of the kitchen with chew toys - until he is out of the destructive chewing phases too - which typically happens between 1-2 years for most dogs with the right training. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - Also found on Amazon www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com You can also make your own out of a piece of grass sod cut up and a large, shallow plastic storage container. If you are wanting to teach pup to use a inside potty while in a larger kennel space, check out the article I have linked below. Since pup is older, I recommend adding two hours to the times listed in the puppy article. Pup will likely also have an easier time learning to go potty on a grass pad rather than a pee pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 21, 2022


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