Are you in a hurry? Or do you want to read distraction free?
Learning how to potty train a German Shepherd puppy does not have to be stressful or worrisome but it does take time and persistence.
When you bring your puppy home the first house rule she should learn is not to poop and pee in the house. If you do it right you’ll see it’s easier than you think.
I’ve had the pleasure of potty training many German Shepherd pups. Today I’d like to share my techniques and tips with you…
The key is to teach your puppy that eliminating inside is out of bounds. If you don’t do this, you’ll have a half-trained dog that will eliminate inside when it’s convenient.
Learn exactly how to do this! Get your hands on my Flawless Potty Training Guide. Just click the purple button below.
8 Tips 12 Tips on How to Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy
As luck would have it, you have some awesome benefits working in your favor…
When pups are born they eat, poop and pee in the den. Thanks to mom the den is never smelly or unhygienic. Part of mom’s job is to clean up the mess.
The benefit of this is conditioning to keep ‘clean living quarters’ has already begun.
One downside of owners taking pups at 6 or 8 weeks is they never learn from mom to ‘do their business outside’.
But it’s not a train smash, it’s just up to you to teach your new German Shepherd puppy where the appropriate place is to relieve herself.
Dogs are context bound. This means once they learn a habit they’ll keep doing it.
For example: if a puppy learns to poop and pee on the grass instead of your paved driveway she’ll always go on the grass.
#3. Reliable Digestive Tract
Your German Shepherd’s tummy is ‘well-oiled’ and efficient.
This is great news for you!
Anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes after eating your pup will want to go to the loo.
All you have to do is feed at regular times and clock-watch.
#4. Reliable Bladder
At approximately 20 days your German Shepherd puppy is able to control her bodily functions. In other words she’ll eliminate when necessary.
At 8 to 16 weeks your pup can only hold her pee for approximately 2 hours. Take her out every hour to be safe.
By the time your pup is 16 weeks she’ll be able to hold her pee for at least 4 hours.
From 6 months she’ll hold her pee for up to 4 hours.
Get Access to My Daily Schedule and I’ll show you how to potty train a German Shepherd puppy quickly and successfully. Using only positive methods and never punishment.
#5. Your Attitude
How to potty train a German Shepherd puppy is influenced by your attitude in a BIG way. Attitude will influence on how long it takes and how successful the training will be.
Puppies and adult dogs take a lot of cues from our voice and body language. Rushing your puppy or distracting her with your voice could make her nervous and prevent her from ‘doing her business’.
Stay relaxed and avoid verbal encouragement.
Check out this ultimate guide on How do you crate train a German Shepherd?
Your German Shepherd puppy will need to ‘go potty’ first thing in the morning, after eating, when waking up from a nap and usually after playing.
Set a routine according to these needs and she’ll learn the process in no time.
#7. Rewarding Correct Behavior
Rewarding your puppy each time she gets it right will encourage her to keep doing the right thing.
You can reward with a treat or affection. This depends on which your pup wants more of.
I use a mixture to avoid my pup from becoming too attached to treats.
#8. Positive Reinforcement
If your puppy has an accident inside don’t punish her.
So no raised voice or shouting. Punishment will cause negative feelings towards natural body functions. She might even find sneaky places inside to use as her toilet, which you want to avoid at all costs.
- If you catch her in the act the trick is to interrupt her ‘flow’ by saying the word ‘outside’ (or any word you like). Just keep in consistent.
- Then pick her up and take her to where you want her to go.
#9. Pee Pads or Paper are NOT helpful
Although you can easily teach your German Shepherd puppy to use pee pads or paper, it only complicates potty training.
Well, because at some point they will need to be transitioned from pee pads or paper to outside. So essentially you’re adding an extra step to potty training. This can cause confusion and potty training accidents.
Rather go for gold and get your pup conditioned to using their toilet outside!
#10. Make Peace with Lack of Sleep (for a while)
You will need to sacrifice some sleep for a while. We can’t expect our pups to ‘keep it in’ for longer than they can. If accidents are happening at night, you should take your pup out more often.
Accidents will happen, but the more your pup has potty accidents in her personal space, the more comfortable she’ll become doing it. You really want to avoid this at all costs.
Does your puppy need a comfy, new bed? Check out the best dog beds for German Shepherds.
#11. Access to New Spaces
Access to new spaces depends on whether your pup is performing well with potty training. If she’s having accidents around the house, allowing her more access is setting her and yourself up for failure.
If you want to learn how I manage this without isolating my pup, get your hands on my Flawless Potty Training Guide.
In general, with training, if a puppy makes a mistake it’s an opportunity to learn. But with potty training you really want to avoid giving your puppy the opportunity to eliminate inside.
You can find out exactly how to do this inside The Flawless Potty Training Guide.
#12. Common Mistakes You Should Avoid
There are some common mistakes that could make potty training your German Shepherd puppy go less smoothly than you intend. Watch out for these little things…
- Feeding your pup too many different foods in a given day.
- Overfeeding or allowing free feeding and watering.
- Feeding too close to bedtime.
- Feeding salty foods like processed meats.
- Feeding too many treats in one go.
- Expecting your GSD pup to know instinctively how to let you know she needs to go on a potty run.
- Leaving your pup alone for too long, which will force her to eliminate inside.
- Not teaching your puppy a specific cue so she’ll understand she’s here to take care of ‘business’ not for play.
- Allowing access to lovely, soft absorbent rugs – which are very comfortable to pee on.
- Not being around when your pup does eliminate outside. You are responsible for teaching her that you like what she just did. You must be there to reward her.
Potty training should not be stressful, it is a time of bonding. Your pup is learning house rules to ensure happy co-existence of you and pup for a long time to come.
She’s also learning to trust you, an important foundation for further training.
The key take aways here are:
- Work with nature and build on the conditioning your puppy has already begun to learn from mom.
- Be consistent and rely on your pups natural context bound nature. Teach her where her toilet is. She’ll learn fast and make the connection.
- Rely on your German Shepherd pup’s predictable digestive tract and bladder by setting a routine.
- Reward your pup when she gets it right. This will encourage her to do it again and again.
- Remember that a mistake is a learning opportunity for your German Shepherd puppy. So stay positive and relaxed.
For the most positive way on how to potty train a German Shepherd puppy get access to the exact method I’ve used for years and my daily schedule click on the purple link just below…
Want to read this again later? Download a copy of these 12 tips by
If you’re struggling with your puppy’s biting, here’s an article to teach your pup not to be a land shark!