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How to Potty Train a Schnauzer

How to Potty Train a Schnauzer
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-6 Months
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Potty training is one of the most important things you can train your pup to do. Not only will this help keep your home far cleaner and fresher smelling, but it teaches him to respect your home in the same manner as he would his den out in nature. Potty training a Schnauzer can be challenging at times, but just when you think you can't get any more frustrated, your pup will suddenly figure it all out and start begging you to take him outside, so he can take care of "business".

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Defining Tasks

The idea is to teach your pup that at no time is going potty in the house acceptable and that the only place he is allowed to go potty is outside. This might seem like it would be simple, but no matter which method you choose to follow, you should be aware there are going to be accidents. Unless you actually catch your pup in the act, there is no point in punishing him for the mess, he will have no clue why you are upset with him. The best way to succeed with this training is to use positive reinforcement methods. 

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Getting Started

There are several things you can do to help the training process along, starting with carefully planning your training strategy. Proper planning is a vital part of any training program, as are supplying your pup with plenty of love, affection, exercise, and good quality food. Be aware that every dog has his or her own personality and you may have to adjust the training methods to suit. You will also need a few supplies, including:

  • A crate – For when you can't always have eyes on your dog
  • Treats – To reward your pup for getting it right
  • Leash – To take him outside on
  • Patience – You will need plenty of this if you want to succeed
  • Time – You need time to work with your dog every day until he is fully potty trained

In reality, the most important part of potty training your pup is your having enough patience and the willingness to work with your pup until he masters this skill. 

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The Quick and Simple Method

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1

Watch your pup

Keep a very close eye on your pup while he is out and about in your home. If he whines, fusses, starts circling one spot, or gives any indication he needs to go potty, be sure you take him out immediately.

2

If he goes

If you take him outside and he goes potty, be sure you praise him and give him a treat.

3

Make a routine

Be sure to take your puppy out as soon as he wakes up in the morning or after a nap and shortly after he eats and drinks.

4

Keep it real

Realistically, puppies can usually be expected to hold their bladder for about one hour per month of their age. Be sure to schedule potty breaks between meals and sleep times so your pup will be in the right place at the right time.

5

Every day a little longer

Keep working with your pup extending the amount of time between trips outside. It will take a while, but in time your pup will learn to go potty out in the yard where his potty on the lawn happens to be.

The Crate Training Method

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Effective

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1

Buy a crate

Pick up a crate for your pup. It needs to be just big enough for him to stand up in, turn around in, and lie down in, no more. Anything larger will give him enough room to choose a spot to pee or poop in while leaving the rest of the space to nap in.

2

Find a spot

Choose a spot for his kennel that makes it easy for you to keep an eye on him. Find one that is in the same part of the house the family spends the most time in, so he feels like he is part of the family.

3

Add one pooch

Get your pup comfortable in his crate and place him inside it between potty breaks.

4

Get some relief

At first, take your pup outside every 30 minutes to give him a chance to go potty.

5

Praise works

Be sure that every time your puppy goes potty when you take him outside to his spot on the lawn that you give him plenty of praise and a treat.

6

Keep an eye on your pup

While your pup is loose in the house, keep a close eye on him. If he shows any indication that he is thinking about going potty (sniffing, circling, squatting, lifting a leg) take him straight outside. The longer you work with him, the longer he will be able to hold himself. Keep working with him and in no time at all, he will learn where he is expected to go potty.

7

Never punish him

At no time should you punish your pup verbally or physically for making a mess in the house. If you catch him in the act, you can say "NO!" in a firm voice and take him outside to finish. Reward him when he is done.

The Potty Spot Method

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Choose your schedule

Start by setting up a potty break schedule for your pup, he will do much better at potty training if you follow the schedule very carefully and make sure he gets outside every hour or so.

2

Spray the spot

Using puppy potty training spray available at your local pet store, choose a spot in the yard that your pup can use as his personal toilet and spray your chosen "potty spot" liberally with it.

3

Bring on the Schnauzer

Put your pup on his leash and take him out to the spot. Let him have about 15 minutes to wander around on the leash and go potty. If for some reason he doesn't go, don't worry. Take him back inside and wait a little while before trying again.

4

Times to take him straight outside

There are a number of times when you need to take your pup outside, even if he has gone recently. These include when he wakes up in the morning or after a nap, after a meal, after he drinks a lot of water, and right before bed.

5

Work hard

Continue working on this training until your pup starts to let you know when he needs to go potty. It may take a little time, but your pup will learn to master this important skill even if he does it just to make you happy at first.

Written by PB Getz

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/23/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Luna

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mini schnauzer

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Two Months

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Question

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I have been potty training my dog with pee pads since it has been really cold in the east coast. I would really like her to ultimately go outside, but I'm now worries she's too used to pee pads. I've tried to take her outside to the same spot but she refuses to go potty. She'll cry and pee when we get inside. Please help!

Jan. 11, 2024

Luna's Owner

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Bruno

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Miniature Schnauzer

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Seven Months

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Question

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We got Bruno from a breeder when he was 5 months old. He was already crate trained. It has been a challenge with potty training in our home. Bruno knows what “go potty” means. We take him out every two hours or so and tell him to go potty and after he goes he gets praise and treat. If he is in the house with us he has been on a no-hands leash. He does great. However, whenever we decide to “test” Bruno, meaning letting him off the leash in our family room, he has accidents. It’s like he doesn’t know to NOT go in the home. What are we doing wrong!?

July 30, 2023

Bruno's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, know that it takes the average dog around three months of consistent management and strict scheduling before they reach the first stage of potty training where they attempt to hold their pee and poop between scheduled potty trips, then another three months after they reach that first milestone of holding it, before they will generally learn to alert you when they need to go out and not be as dependent on your scheduling. Since your dog started later, you are still within that three month window. I would stop testing him for at least another month, to minimize accidents as much as possible to help you reach that first milestone as quickly as he can to start with. I would also clean any old or new accidents you know of with a cleaner that contains enzymes to remove the pee and poop smell at the molecular level that only an enzymatic based cleaner can do, so that the remaining smell his sensitive nose can detect won't encourage a new accident in the same location as before. If you are using any general cleaners in the area, especially on your floor, that contain ammonia, stop using that - ammonia smells like urine to a dog and can itself encourage accidents. Start with those things and give it another 1-1.5 months of strict crate training and tethering him to yourself. It sounds like you are doing most things right and he needs more time. At the end of that time, if he doesn't seem to be making any progress, try having him wear a belly band in the home - sometimes wearing that will discourage peeing in the home until a dog becomes desensitized to peeing into it. With some dogs it can be used as a bridge between leash and complete freedom. Are you letting him off leash to go potty outside? It could also be that he associates being off leash with peeing, and being on leash with holding it. That's rare, but if that seems to be the case, you can try addressing that by using a long training leash for both scenarios, leashing him on a fifteen foot leash for potty trips, letting it drag behind not a tight retractable leash. In the home, use a similar loose ten to fifteen foot leash, to get rid of the distinction between leashed and off leash signaling peeing and not. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 3, 2023


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