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

Effective
0 Votes
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

Effective
0 Votes
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

Effective
0 Votes
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
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
460 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

Add a comment to Minnie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Bella
French Bulldog
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
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
460 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

Add a comment to Bella's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Oscar
French Bulldog
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
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
460 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

Add a comment to Oscar's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Cooper
French Bulldog
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
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
460 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

Add a comment to Cooper's experience

Was this experience helpful?

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

Hello! Rosie has all the potential in the world to be a great dog in the house. My problem is not that she won't go potty outside, is that she still also wants to potty inside instead of telling me she needs to potty so I can take her out. For instance, in the morning we'll wake up and go straight outside. She'll pee and poop (have to be careful here because the poo is usually in thirds) and then we'll go inside and have breakfast. Without fail 80% of the time she will poo AGAIN 15-30 minutes after breakfast inside on one of the potty pads. She won't do it if I confine her to the bed, but I think that's unfair to her, since she should get a chance to play before I have to leave her when I go to work.

She is taken out twice a day while I'm at the office, and to my knowledge will just go when she needs to go versus waiting to be taken outside. I know she can hold it, because she does it whenever she's sleeping and will sleep through the night without any issues. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lindsey, The issue is your potty training method not her I believe. Most puppies will need to poop within 15-30 minutes of eating even if they just went potty before being fed. This is normal and you need to plan to always take her potty 15-30 minutes after feeding her even if that means waking up a bit earlier and starting your routine earlier, so that you can take her potty a second time. My own dog did this as well as a puppy. If she doesn't go potty when you take her after eating, then you need to crate her for 15 minutes, then try again - even if that means no play time. The accidents need to be prevented. As far as going potty while you are gone, it sounds like she hasn't really been fully potty trained yet. Taking her potty outside is only half the battle, a puppy also has to learn to want to keep inside clean. That happens by preventing accidents inside from happening - after keeping inside clean for a certain amount of time (months), a puppy begins to associate that area with their natural desire to keep a confined space clean and they stop pottying inside because of that cleanliness desire, and they potty outside instead because they are rewarded for going potty there. Since you are gone during the day and cannot prevent all accidents while away if she is free, she needs to be crate trained and crated between dog walker visits. A crate utilizes a dog's natural desire to keep a confined space clean so most dogs will naturally hold their bladder in a confined space such as a crate. This allows you to prevent accidents, and after several months of very few accidents she should start to associate the rest of the house with cleanliness too, but this will only happen if the accidents stop. I suggest removing pee pads for this reason. I don't recommend using pee pads for dogs that are learning to go potty outside. A pee pad resembles carpets and rugs so many dogs confuse them with other fabric and once the pee pads are removed, the dogs go potty on carpet instead. For the same reason, do not put anything absorbent in the crate with her. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for the crate. The crate should also be the right size - big enough for her to turn around, lie down, and stand up, but not so big that she can pee on one end and stand in the other end to avoid it. If you buy a larger crate, many wire crates come with a divider that you can use to temporarily make the crate small enough until she grows into it or is potty trained. Check out the article linked below and follow the Crate Training method and have dog walkers follow it too. Since she is older she should be able to hold her bladder for up to 5 hours in the crate and will probably have a bit less free time after pottying than the method mentions before being put back in the crate since you are not home with her - which is fine. When you are home, you can take her out more often though. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Rosie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
O
French Bulldog
7 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
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
460 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

My Frenchie is now a year old, so far she has been untrainable for going outside to do her business. She doesn’t hold it overnight, she is distracted when she goes out, and it’s a hit or miss if she is going to go, or just get distracted and do nothing which is usually the case. She is using her crate as her bathroom! Very frustrated, and feel defeated.

Add a comment to O's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Cali
French Bulldog
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cali
French Bulldog
12 Weeks

Help Please !
My french bulldog puppy is struggling with potty training, she wont poo outside, only sometimes on our balcony which i reward her for but she keeps pooing on the rugs. i spend hour at a time outside with her, play, toys etc. she may on also wee outside after 30-45mins of walking around and sniffing. mostly she will hold it until we are home. she will also wee or poo when i leave even to have a shower. at night she will sleep in her crate and cry if she needs to go out but most of the time holds it all night! we have tried potty pads, i reward her with praise and food when she goes outside. ive tried the bell also. any advise would be appreciated
what am i doing wrong?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Turner, First, remove any pee pads - they teach her to go potty inside in general which it sounds like you don't really want. Second, use the crate training method from the article linked below - using this method she is only free while her bladder is empty so she won't have opportunities to potty places other than outside. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Don't put anything abosorbent in the crate and make sure it is the right size, just big enough to lie down, turn around, and stand up and not so big she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid the accident - too big or absorbent and may not work. www.primopads.com has good non-absorbent pads for bedding in the crate if she needs something more comfortable than the ground. Third, teach a "Go Potty" command from the article linked above and reward with treats every time she potties outside so that the pottying outside becomes more frequent - which should start happening when you crate train during the day too. Fourth, use a potty encouraging spray, like "Go Here" or "Hurry!" on areas where you take her potty right before you take her so that the smell will encourage her to go potty there. Fifth, when you take her potty, take her on a leash and walk her around slowly - the leash will help her stay focused on pottying and the movement will help get things going. Finally, spend time simply hanging outside doing fun or relaxing things with her, reward her with a treat when she comes across something new and reacts without fear or aggression, or when she comes across something new and hasn't decided how to react yet - respond with confidence, happiness, and enthusiasm to help her see that the new thing isn't scary - refusing to potty outside may be due to distractions or nervousness, or simply a preference for going potty inside. Doing all of the above mentioned things and especially the crate training method should help with all three of those things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Cali's experience

Was this experience helpful?

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

I’m having an extremely hard time trying to potty train my dog, he goes poop outside just fine but when it comes to going pee, it can be a hassle. He will go bathroom outside but once we bring him inside he always, and I mean ALWAYS, goes bathroom inside the house about three to four times a day. I do live with my parents and we also have another dog as well, he’s a Boston terrier and he was so much easier to potty train than Petey. I just don’t know what to do at this point, we have tried the crate method but he just pees in there anyway, and he does try to let us know he needs to go bathroom and we do let him out and praise him when he goes bathroom outside. However, he still pees frequently inside our house. I am in desperate need of help because my dad is on the verge of giving him away. I love this dog to death, is there anything I can do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jazmin, Check out the Tethering method from the article linked below. Also, when you tried the Crate training method did you put anything absorbent in the crate? What size was the crate. For crate training to work the crate needs to be only big enough for pup to stand up, turn around and lie down - if pup can potty on one end and stand in the other end to avoid it, it won't encourage pup to hold it while in there. Also, there cannot be anything absorbent in the crate, like a bed or towel or pup will just pee on that also. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Pup will need to be taken outside to go potty every 1-2 hours using the tethering method during the day. If puppy is peeing more than every 1.5 hours I would have your vet check him for a urinary tract infection or other possible medical cause that would effect his ability to hold it. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean up any accidents because only enzymes will fully remove the smell and any remaining smell will encourage him to just go potty inside in that spot again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Petey's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd