How to Train a French Bulldog to Poop Outside

Medium
2-12 Weeks
General

Introduction

If there is one thing French Bulldog owners can tell you about this popular breed, it is that these cute pups are highly intelligent, but can be a mixed bag when it comes to training them. The biggest problem most owners seem to have with potty training a Frenchie is that they don't seem to be in much of a hurry. You can expect to go the full 6 months or close to it before your pup can say he is fully potty trained and even then, you may still have a few accidents past the six-month point. 

Defining Tasks

The task at hand is a simple as it gets, or at least it should be. Your job is to replace your pup's mom who would teach him to go potty outside the den and teach him to go potty in a specific area of the yard. While your Frenchie may be a bit on the stubborn side, as long as you are both patient and consistent when working together, he can figure this out. Repetition builds a routine that leads to the final result of your pup no longer leaving you those lovely little surprises. 

Getting Started

You can begin training your pup as soon as you bring him home. Start by taking him from the car to the spot you have picked out for him in your yard. When he pees or poops, praise him and give him a treat. Beyond this, you need to be able to recognize your pup's signs that he is getting ready to pee or poop. These may include circling, sniffing around one spot, scratching at the floor or door, or whining. You will find a few supplies like these can come in handy.

  • Crate – For training and when you can't be there
  • Leash – To take him outside on
  • Treats – For rewards

With this, you need plenty of time working with your pup as often as you can. The more you work with him, the faster he will figure it out. Be patient with your pup and he will eventually get this down.

The Crate Training Method

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Step
1
One pup, one crate
Set your pup's crate in a spot where you can keep an eye him. Add toys, a bed, and a water bowl and, of course, your pup.
Step
2
Cue and out
Set your timer for 30 minutes and then open the crate, take your dog out, put him on his leash, and take him to the area you wish for him to use as his potty.
Step
3
To go or not to go
That may be the question, but the answer lies in your pup's paws. He may go and if he does praise him and give him a treat. If he doesn't, take him back inside and put him back in his crate.
Step
4
Set the timer
Reset the timer back to 30 minutes and start all over again. If at any time, your pup starts to fuss and whine like he needs to go potty, take him outside using a verbal cue, such as "potty time" and be sure to give him a treat and praise when he goes.
Step
5
More time
Start slowly and add time in five-minute increments to the timer until your pup can go for two hours without needing to go potty. You will need to wait until his bladder has fully developed for him to be able to hold for longer.
Step
6
No door
Start leaving the crate door open and keeping an eye on your pup. Stick to your schedule and if your pooch looks like he needs to go, be sure to take him out. In time, he will figure it all out and the number of messes you have to clean up will dwindle to none.
Recommend training method?

The Hawkeye Method

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Step
1
You need a treat
Or at least your pup will when he goes potty outside where you want him to. Stock up on them and keep some in your pocket.
Step
2
Hawkeye
This is the point at which you need to be able to keep your eyes glued to your pup. If he starts whining, circling, sniffing/scratching at the floor, these are all indicators that he needs to go potty. When you see this, say "NO!" in a firm voice. Be loud enough to startle him, but do not use an angry voice.
Step
3
Hey, ho, let's go
Pick your pup up and take him straight outside so he can go potty. When he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
Give him some time
Startling him may slow down his ability to go potty right away. Be sure to give him some time before you take him back inside.
Step
5
And ever on
Now that your pup understands the basics, it's all about timing. Keep an eye on him for signs of needed to go, but be sure to take him out at regular intervals as well. Most puppies can last up to an hour per month of their age between potty breaks. Gradually extend the time between trips outside. The more you practice, the easier it will be for him to wait longer to go potty. Keep working at it until he masters this skill.
Recommend training method?

The Pee on Schedule Method

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Step
1
Clear your schedule
If you are going to successfully potty train your pup, you need to make sure you have enough time to do so. The one thing that will make the job go faster is consistency. The more you repeat the training, the easier it will be for your pup to figure it out.
Step
2
By the 20s
Set a timer for 20 minutes. When it goes off, hook your pup up to his leash and take him out to his "private potty", better known as the one spot you want him to use in your yard.
Step
3
Ah, sweet relief
When your pup goes potty, be sure to give him lots of praise and a treat or two.
Step
4
Heck no, I won't go
If he doesn't go, take him back inside, reset the timer and wait.
Step
5
The next 20 minutes
During the next 20 minutes, keep a close eye on your pup. If he looks like he might be getting ready to go potty, take him straight outside. When he goes, give him a treat and lots of praise.
Step
6
Repeat after me
The rest is all about repeating the training and extending the time between potty breaks. The more you work with your pup, the faster he will learn. Keep up the good work.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
O
French Bulldog
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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O
French Bulldog
7 Months

My boss' dog is having trouble with holding it overnight. My boss now wants to keep him outside in a dog house. I read this is bad for the breed can you explain why so I can share the knowledge with him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
306 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natalie, French Bulldogs have a hard time regulating temperature because of how short their noses are. If you live in a hot or a cold climate currently, then he will be more prone to overheating or being cold. When a dog's nose is long, the air passes through it like a climate controlled passageway and the air is cooled or warmed by the dog's body to the appropriate temperature before it reaches his lungs. Short nosed breeds have a harder time doing this. If your boss lives somewhere that is in the 60s and 70s at night, then his dog should be fine sleeping outside at night. Also, many breeds need close human interaction, so being kept outside, away from humans during the day deprives them of human interaction. Being outside just during sleeping times should not be an issue though, as long as he is receives human interaction during the day. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Minnie
French Bulldog
6 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Minnie
French Bulldog
6 Months

We purchased a French bulldog from a pet store one week ago. She had an illness and a kennel cough that caused the Petland Vet to keep her in the back away from selling her. She had to get cleared which was at about 3 months but they realized her cough hadn’t gone away. She was under medication and then cleared to be sold at about 5 months and 2 weeks of age. With her being at petland for 5 months, we feel she has gotten used to pottying in her kennel. Now we are trying to crate train her and she pees and poops in there. She gives us no signs of wanting to go outside.
When we do catch her, she doesn’t want to potty. Every little noise outside she focuses on. The air, car noise, dogs barking, wind chimes... anything! She will not focus on sniffing around at all. We took her outside after her being in her kennel for 2 hours and drinking lots of water. We waited 45 minutes and nothing. We put her back in her kennel and in 2 minutes she pees on her blanket! What do we do?? :(

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
306 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cindy, This is a very common problem for Petstore puppies and some shelter dogs. To start, you will need to use the "Tethering" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Also, when you do need to leave the house, because you cannot crate her, you will need to set up an indoor toilet area. This can be done by setting up an exercise pen somewhere that she will not be allowed to go as an adult, like an unused basement bathroom, laundry room, heated garage, or a room with hardwoods that is normally closed off. Purchase a piece of grass sod or several disposable REAL grass pads and cover the ground of the exercise pen with the grass. You will want to put something waterproof like plastic storage bin lids underneath the pieces of grass. You can leave a small area uncovered with grass to give her one spot that's not toilet-ish if you wish, but knowing her history, she might choose that one spot to pee on - in which case you will need to cover it too. Whenever you cannot watch her, put her in the exercise pen with a food-stuffed chew toy to keep her busy. When you are home, keep her attached to yourself with the leash and follow the "Tethering" method from the article that I have linked above. Getting her used to the grass in the exercise pen should help her learn to pee on grass. Supervising her closely while she is on the leash should keep her from wandering off to pee and help you catch her when she starts sniffing or circling, and give you more opportunities to take her outside to go potty and reward her if she does go. If you don't see progress doing that, then you will have to do a modified version of crate training - using the grass exercise pen like a crate and follow the "Crate Training" method from the same article that I have linked above. Whenever the method says to put her into a crate, put her into the exercise pen instead. If she never gets used to peeing outside, but learns to only pee on the grass, then you can gradually move the exercise pen grass outside and take her to the grass outside to pee instead being inside. Real grass pad link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EQJ7I7Y/ref=psdc_3024225011_t3_B00761ZXQW Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
French Bulldog
5 Months
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Bella
French Bulldog
5 Months

Hi I was just wondering if you know anything I can do to help Bella do the toilet outside she only poo out side one time and she pee a couple of time but now she will not do the toilet out side out Shen will actually run home then do it I. The house not even on her pads just on my floor

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
306 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephanie, Check out the "Crate Training" method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside She needs to be in the crate unless you has gone potty outside recently, so that her only option is to go potty outside. When she does go potty outside, give her five small treats, like freeze dried liver, one treat at a time, every time she goes potty outside to help her learn to want to go potty outside every time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oscar
French Bulldog
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Oscar
French Bulldog
5 Months

Hello. Our 5 months french bulldog denies to do toilet outside the house. We tried do to the Crate Training but he was preferring dirty the crate than do anything outside. Most times in the house he uses the diaper. How can we convince him to do his toilet outside the house? The difficult is that we are living in an apartment. Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
306 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andria, Does he seem nervous outside? Distracted? If he is afraid, then he is likely holding it while out there because going potty puts him in a vulnerable position. If that's the case, I suggest spending time outside with him simply hanging out and helping him overcome fears. Spend regular time outside rewarding him for doing tricks and obedience commands he knows, playing games he likes, hanging out with people or other dogs he likes, and simply relaxing outside. Bring a book and expect to stay outside for a long time when you do this. Practice this often. He needs time to get familiar with the outside world and do it gradually. The goal is to make outside pleasant and peaceful for him so that the strange novelty of it wears off and he becomes familiar enough with it to be comfortable enough to go potty. If he is too distracted and excited to go potty, then work on calming obedience commands outside. Work on commands like "Watch Me", Sit, Down, Stay, and Heel. Be patient since he is young. You are trying to build his focus and self-control but that will be a process. Finally, having addressed his fear or over-excitement also take an entire day to stay outside if weather allows it. The goal here is to stay outside long enough that he has to go potty so bad that he has no choice but to go potty there. Whenever he goes potty outside, give him ten small treats, one treat at a time, and praise him, to help him connect going potty outside with good things. Stay outside as long as you can that day (bring food and water, shade, and stuff to do like books). You want to have the chance to reward him as many times as you can. If you have two days off in a row, then do this two days back to back. Crate him at night without anything absorbent in the crate - including a bed or towel. If you need to give him a bed, check out www.primopads.com Also, make sure his crate is only big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lay down, and not big enough that he can go potty in one end and stand in the other end away from the accident - a crate that is too big won't encourage him to hold it. Once he has gone potty successfully outside, use the Tethering method from the article linked below for potty training. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cooper
French Bulldog
8 Months
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Question
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Cooper
French Bulldog
8 Months

I can’t potty train this dog to SAVE MY LIFE. I’ve tried the treat method I’ve tried crating him (he just pees in his crate no matter how small I make it) I’ve tried the bell method I’ve tried puppy pads (now he just relieves himself on anything that slightly resembles a pee pad) he has an accident in the house DAILY It seems like he won’t hold his pee in the house and he runs away to poop so I don’t know when he’s doing it. I fear that the problem lies with the construction of our our downstairs. The whole place is in shambles and he can’t or won’t go down stairs to be by the door that would lead him outside. I don’t know what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
306 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicole, The first step is stopping the accidents - which I know you are trying so hard to do. I suggest using the Tethering method from the article linked below for this. It will keep him from sneaking away from you. Take him out frequently (give treats if he goes potty outside), and also watch carefully for signs that he needs to go potty. Take him before he has a chance to go, but if he starts to squat before you realize he needed to go, then clap loudly a couple of times to interrupt him (don't sound angry or punish him - but simply surprise him enough to interrupt him), then rush him outside (he will already be on the leash). Tethering method (leash): https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Use a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes to clean where he has had accidents - you may even want to rent a carpet cleaner and use an enzymatic based cleaner to clean carpet if he soiled all over it. You need to remove as much of the pee and poop smell in your house as possible because the remaining smell will simply encourage him to go potty in those spots again - dog's noses are more sensitive than ours. Enzymes break down pee and poop to the point where a dog cannot still smell it. Other cleaners leave scent behind that many dogs can still smell. When you have to leave, confine him in a room he normally cannot access in an exercise pen covered with real grass pads (you want real grass so he doesn't confuse it with carpet even more) - he will learn to pee in this room by doing this so make sure it is an area where he will not be allowed later when you no longer need the pads. Real grass pads: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4628430177348674255&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 Real grass pads: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K3WS97D/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1 You can try having him wear a male belly band (like a dog diaper) in addition to doing the tethering. The feeling of it will encourage some dogs to hold their pee as long as they are not forced to go potty in it because they are not taken outside frequently enough - if they do pee in it they get used to going in it and that doesn't work anymore. Based on what you have told me he may have no issues peeing it in, but it may be worth a try to speed up the process if it does help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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