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

ribbon-method-1
Effective
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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

ribbon-method-2
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

ribbon-method-3
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
Milah
French Bulldog
1 Year
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Question
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Milah
French Bulldog
1 Year

To potty train on the pad

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marisol, I recommend following the Exercise Pen method or Crate training method from the article linked below to teach indoor potty training. This method was written about doggie litter box training but the steps apply to pee pads, real grass pads, and other indoor potties. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Since pup is older, you certainly can try a pee pad, but I would recommend a disposable real grass pad for indoor potty training. These can be used similar to pee pads except they cost more but are used for 1-2 weeks at a time, instead of one per day - making the cost more comparable in the end. They tend to be an easier transition for dogs who are used to going potty outside, and often lead to less confusion between rugs and carpet - which are made out of fabric type material like pee pads are. Disposable real grass pad brands - you go this route www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com www.doggielawn.com Many of these brands are also found on Amazon if you are located in the USA. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
French Bulldog
16 Months
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Question
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Bella
French Bulldog
16 Months

Bella was born with Scoliosis and I was wondering if this could have an effect on her bladder control?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paul, I recommend speaking with your vet about this. This would fall under your vet's expertise. Nerve and spinal issues can at times effect older dogs' bladder control, so my opinion would be maybe, but I do not have the medical expertise to advise you on this. I am not a vet. There is also an ask a vet section under the medical artilce's on wagwalking, where you may want to ask one of our vets their opinion. Your own vet that can view pup's x-rays can tell most definitively though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Trixie
French Bulldog
2 Months
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Question
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Trixie
French Bulldog
2 Months

The challenge I have with my puppy is that she will not walk on the leash if it’s cold or raining outside and if I carry her out to the grass area she will not and I mean will NOT use the potty let alone walk what can I do ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lily, First, how cold is it where you live? If the temperatures are below freezing, pup may need a dog jacket that allows for movement. Check out Ruffwear.com for examples of insulated dog jackets that allow for running. Second, when you take pup potty and they do not go, I recommend bringing pup back inside and crating pup for 30-60 minutes, then taking pup back out again to try again, so that pup won't have an accident inside and will be more motivated to go potty outside the next time. With pup warm enough if a jacket is needed, when you do take pup potty outside, tell pup to "Go Potty" and give pup five small treats or pieces of kibble, one piece at a time, after they go, to motivate them to go next time and to teach Go Potty. Check out the Pressure method from the article linked below. Work on that method somewhere warm, like inside or a garage first, to teach pup to come toward you when they feel the leash pressure. Once pup has learned what the leash tug means - come toward you, then you can give gentle tugs while outside with pup when they stop walking. Do not pull continuously, give a gentle, brief tug then give slack in the leash, repeat a couple times in a row until pup begins to take a couple steps - reward with a treat when they step. Once pup is responding well while outside, then wait to give treats until after they go potty, walking them around slowly on leash while telling them to Go Potty, until they go. If they don't go within 15-20 minutes, return inside, crate for 30-45 minutes, then try again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Yoshi
French Bulldog
11 Weeks
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Question
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Yoshi
French Bulldog
11 Weeks

Hi there,
when I take my pup outside for a po, he is just coming back between my legs,and wants me to take him into my arms. I've tried with his favorite threat, but notting. And 5 minutes after, he goes to toilete and take a po. 🙃😂.. He is good learner, we have him 1 week, and I am so proud on him.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use a crate to help with potty training Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Max
French Bulldog
11 Months
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Question
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Max
French Bulldog
11 Months

He won't poo or pee when he goes for a walk. He holds and wants until he gets home

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christ, I recommend crate training pup. When you take pup potty, take them on a leash to a calm area. Tell pup to "Go Potty" and walk them around slowly for 15 minutes, encouraging them to sniff and keeping them slowly moving until they find a spot to go in. If pup goes, praise and give five small treats or pieces of kibble, one piece at a time. If pup doesn't go, return home and crate pup for 1 hour. The crate should only be big enough for pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down - too big and pup won't be encouraged to hold it in there if they can go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Don't put anything absorbent or soft in there with them. You can use something like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics non-absorbent beds/crate pads if you want to. After 1 hour or crating, take pup straight outside to potty again. Walk around for 15 minutes, then return to the crate for another hour if they don't go. Repeat this process each hour until pup finally goes potty and gets the treats. Once pup has done that, you can give one hour of supervised freedom out of the crate before taking potty again. If pup doesn't go potty when you take them, repeat the crating when they come back inside until they finally go. This method limits pup's freedom to only times when they empty, helps motivate pottying outside, and stops the habit of accidents - which is important in order for pup to make progress. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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