How to Train a Pug to Pee Outside

How to Train a Pug to Pee Outside
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-12 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

There is arguably no cuter dog than the pug. That adorably wrinkled face and huge brown eyes make him an adorable dog, and with a sunny character to go with that sweet expression, it's no surprise the breed is so popular. 

However, it should not be overlooked that he is still very much a living breathing animal, rather than a cuddly toy. As such it requires time and effort to train him to toilet in the right place (outdoors.) To assume that because he looks cute he has cute habits is setting yourself up to fail. Just as much work is required to housebreak a pug as a Rottweiler or Doberman. 

Right from the beginning, start as you mean to go on. Show the pug where the toilet spot is, stay with him, and praise him when he goes. This is balanced against keeping him supervised while indoors so that he doesn't get a chance to get into bad habits. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

Training a pug to pee outside is part of his basic potty training. The idea is to have him associate a particular place outdoors with relieving himself, so he chooses this area as his default toilet. When the dog understands this is what's required of him then he will start asking to go outside when he needs to go. 

Until he reaches this happy state you need to put plenty of effort into making 'the penny drop'. This includes giving him ample opportunity to go outside, but this must always be under supervision. It's an essential part of training that you are with him so that you can praise that magical moment when he urinates outside. 

If you merely put him outside to leave him to his own devices for half an hour, the pug isn't going to realize this is his chance to toilet and at best won't learn anything but at worst he'll play for 30 minutes and then return inside to pee... much to everyone's frustration. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

All dogs learn at their own rate and this is especially true of the pug. Be prepared for training to take as long as it takes. For some dogs, this will be a few days but for others, it can be weeks or even months--it all depends on how ingrained any bad habits are. 

The important thing is to apply the rules consistently and to keep going... you will get there in the end if you keep plugging away. 

To teach a pug to pee outside you need: 

  • A sheltered spot for him to use as a toilet 
  • A collar and leash
  • A crate 
  • Treats
  • A treat bag or pouch so as to keep the rewards handy
  • Time and patience
  • Cleaning supplies including an enzymatic cleaner, disposable cloths, and waterproof gloves. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Praise the Pee Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Understand the idea

You pug needs to pee sooner or later. Make this work in your favor by rewarding him when he pees in the right spot, outside. Especially when there's a food reward involved (pugs are sooooo food motivated) he'll soon start saving up his pee in order to spend it for a treat. After all, it's 'money for nothing' when he has to relieve himself anyway, so he'll soon start to learn to hold on for the high stakes puddles that earn him a tasty tidbit.

2

Choose a toilet spot

Choose the ideal spot where you want the pug to go potty. Look for somewhere that is close to the house, but relatively sheltered. (Remember, you'll both be spending time outdoors together during training, and neither of you want to get too wet or blown about). It's also good if the spot is near a landmark such as a recognizable bush or post, so the dog can find it easily.

3

Take the dog out on a leash

When it's bathroom break time, take the dog out on a collar and leash. This is so that you have him under control and he doesn't go running after a squirrel and get distracted from the task in hand.

4

Praise the pee

When the dog raises his leg or squats, say "Yes" in a happy voice. Then when he's finished give him a big fuss and a reward.

5

Put peeing on command

The final step is to add a cue word such as "Get busy" or "Toilet". Say this while he's relieving himself and he'll start to understand what the action is that earned the treat. This will enable you to put peeing on command so that when you say "Get busy", he realizes you want him to pee and for this he gets a treat. What's not to like?

The Do's and Don'ts Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Do: Ignore the dog until he toilets

When outside, avoid the temptation to chat or play with the dog. Instead, leave him to sniff and realize his bladder needs relieving. The less distraction he has, the more successful you'll be at getting him to pee outside.

2

Don't: Leave the dog to his own devices

Stay with the dog while outdoors, then you can be sure of being there to praise him when he pees. If you leave him outside by himself, he's more likely to get distracted and play, and then come indoors still with a full bladder.

3

Don't: Punish the Pug if he pees indoors

Punishment doesn't work. If you shout at him for doing a puddle on the carpet, the dog associates the punishment with you rather than the act of toileting indoors. This will make him shy about relieving himself when you're about, which makes toilet training harder still.

4

Do: Deodorize thoroughly

Pee has potent scent signals in it that will attract the dog back to the same spot to toilet. If he goes indoors, be sure to thoroughly wash, clean, and deodorize the spot so that it doesn't call him back to use it again.

5

Do: Shout "No!"

If you catch the pug in the act of peeing indoors, it's OK to say a short sharp "No", so as to interupt the flow. Then pick the dog up and whisk him straight outside to the right spot. Wait for him to toilet, and then give him lots of praise.

The Time and Opportunity Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Understand the idea

Teaching a pug to pee outside also requires you to break the habit of toileting indoors. To do this you must supervise the dog at all times and spot telltale signs he needs to toilet, plus you must remove scent markers that might draw him back to the same scene of the crime.

2

Plenty of opportunity

Decrease the chance of the pug peeing in the wrong place (indoors) by giving lots of opportunity for him to go in the right place (outdoors) A young pug puppy needs to be offered an outdoor toilet stop every 20-30 minutes when he's awake. Plus, take him out shortly after he eats and immediately he wakes. These all increase the chances of catching him with a full bladder and going outdoors.

3

Strict supervision

Supervise the pug during training, at all times. If necessary, keep him on a leash in the house and attach the leash to your wrist. If you notice signs such as sidling up to furniture or sniffing, which could indicate he's seeking a toilet, take him outdoors immediately.

4

Crate train

For the times you can't be there to watch him, then crate train the pug. This provides him with a safe space, which becomes his den. A dog's natural instinct is not to soil his den, and so he will cross his legs while inside the crate. When you return, pop him straight outside to relieve himself.

5

Deodorize accidents

Many household cleaners contain bleach or ammonia, which have a similar scent signature to urine. These types of cleaners are best avoided as they can amplify urine-smells, rather than remove them. Instead, use an enzymatic cleaner or a solution of biological washing powder to get rid of 'spills'.

By Pippa Elliott

Published: 03/19/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Phoebe

Dog breed icon

Pug

Dog age icon

7 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

User generated photo

Hi I need help. I have a 7 month old female french bulldog/pug who still pees and poos in the house. I put her in a crate at night but she will still pee and poo on her bed. She has always done this since she was a pup. If she sneaks in the bedrooms she will jump up on my bed and/or the kids bed and pee. I'm very frustrated and don't know what to do anymore.

Jan. 23, 2022

Phoebe's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chantelle, I would start by teaching the Off command with beds and other furniture she tends to have accidents on, then booby trap the beds during the day when they aren't being used, with something like scat mats or a pet barrier, to enforce she isn't allowed on them at all. You need to remove her ability to have an accident in the areas she is in the habit of having accidents in for a few months to see progress with potty training. If you use a pet barrier device, I would purchase one that has one collar but several barriers that can be used with the same collar, so each barrier can be placed under each bed or piece of furniture pup is jumping on and peeing on. Additionally, 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. Since she is older, and the article was written for puppies, you can add two hours to the potty times listed there, and she should be able to hold it in the crate for up to 6-7 hours during the day once trained while crated. 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 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 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 enclosed balcony - once weather is a safe temperature are a few options. 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 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 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 24, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Charlie

Dog breed icon

Pug

Dog age icon

4 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

We live in a one bedroom apartment on the 15th floor, we are using a wewe pad like grass for training to pee and poop, my wife cleans and disinfects the pad with Clorox bleach, should we use another disinfectant? I read that bleach is similar to urine?

Oct. 27, 2021

Charlie's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mike, Ammonia can smell like urine to a dog. It's the ammonia in bleach that you probably read about, so you will want a disinfectant that doesn't contain ammonia if you are trying to avoid that. Since it's actually pup's pee pad that's being cleaned, having it smell like ammonia actually isn't a bad thing from a training stand point, since any remaining smell smell in an area tends to encourage a pup to go potty there and you want pup to go potty in that location. When cleaning up accidents, that's when you want to remove the pee smell well - so that pup isn't encouraged to go potty in the wrong location. For locations where you want to remove pee smells, like accidents, I would use a cleaner that is pet safe and contains enzymes. Enzymes will break down the pee at a molecular level to thoroughly remove the smell to the level a dog needs to not still smell it. You could in theory still clean your pee pad with diluted bleach regularly to disinfect, then use something enzymatic for any accidents, or to give the pee pad the occasional smell refresh between the bleach. You could also find a disinfectant that is ammonia free, which wouldn't remove pee smells as well as the enzyme, but would be neutral in the smell department, and not make the pad smell like ammonia, while still killing bacteria. For that, I would look into what cleaners pet stores tend to use. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 28, 2021


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.