How to Potty Train a Great Dane Puppy

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12 mins read

EDITORS NOTE:

We are working to fix coding issues with this blog post. Please visit our other one: Potty Training for Great Danes

Great Dane puppies are the BEST!

That is, until they drop a squat and let loose on your carpet.

Again.

and again.

If you are searching, you may be struggling with this, so here you have it: the ULTIMATE guide to housebreaking your Great Dane puppy!

New puppies have very little bladder control, and no clue they need to pee until the pee is actually coming out. 

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SUPPLIES NEEDED

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RULE OF THUMB

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Expect that your puppy will need a potty break at minimum 1 hour for each month of age. For example an 8 week old puppy cannot be expected to hold their pee for more than 2 hours. At 3 months, 3 hours.

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The BIGGEST secret you need to know for potty training you Great Dane puppy is this nearly impossible task: don’t let your puppy make a mistake.

Consider this a fun game where the loser has to clean up poop: you want to avoid your puppy peeing or pooping in the house and practicing that behavior at all costs.

You can manage this situation and lower the chance of a mistake happening by being diligent.

Here are some ideas:

a. Make sure your puppy is always being supervised. If you have to keep your puppy on a leash near you, that is ok! The puppy should not have much freedom until they demonstrate maturity. If your puppy walks off and is snooping around somewhere, QUICK! Take her out.

b. If your puppy cannot be supervised, they need to be ready for a nap and sent to spend time in a crate or x-pen. Dogs naturally don’t want to pee on their bed! Keep crate time no longer than the recommended age between potty breaks mentioned above.

Skip the expensive and wasteful pee pads. Those literally teach a puppy that peeing indoors is ok, and make potty training take longer. No thanks!

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At first, you need to take your puppy out to pee every 20 minutes. Set a timer if you have to. These short spans between potty breaks will quickly grow longer as you learn how long your new puppy can ‘hold it’.

Get ahead of the curve and take your puppy out BEFORE they show signs that they need to pee! By then it’s probably too late.

It’s also helpful to automatically take the puppy out to pee after:

-a nap

-a meal

-a play session

-a training session

-crate time

There are fun and silly ways to make this a good time for everybody. For example, pick a phrase somebody in the house tends to say a lot, or a common word such as ‘TV’ or ‘dog’. Everytime they say it, they HAVE to take the puppy out to pee!

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Fill your pocket up with treats. Go outside with your puppy. No being lazy here! Get out there, especially if it’s snowing or raining (your puppy will appreciate your confidence!).

Praise when they start to pee and then throw a treat party when they are finished.

Stay outside for a few minutes; chances are your new puppy has to pee again. This too is a quick phase and the puppy will quickly learn to fully empty his bladder.  Until then, be patient.

Treat and praise some more.

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Potty bells are an amazing tool. This inexpensive item from Amazon can be hung from a doorknob.

Everytime you take your puppy out to pee, first ring the bell. Teach the puppy to touch the bell with a nose in exchange for a treat.

Then open the door and go out for the fun pee outside time.

The puppy will learn to use this as a signal to you that they want to go outside.

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Gradually add time between required potty breaks. Continue to treat and praise.

Be consistent. One day, your puppy is literally going to go to the door, ring a bell and ask to be let out. Make a HUGE happy fuss about this and let your puppy out!

That is the beginning of the end. Most puppies round a corner at this point and with increasing reliability they will be able to hold their pee and ask to go out on their own. 

Continue to be diligent, but start offering your puppy a little more freedom each day as they prove that they can do it!

Accidents may still happen, but your puppy has really started to ‘figure it out’. As long as you remain consistent and patient, they will gradually become more and more mature about potty training.

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NEVER EVER…

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People used to advise puppy parents to take their puppy to their mess and rub their nose it. Whack them with a newspaper and tell them exactly what they did wrong.

This kind of ‘training’ makes the trainer feel powerful, which is a terrible reason for using it as a training method.

Shouting, scolding, correcting and scaring a puppy like this will not only erode trust, but may actually backfire on you!

A puppy that has been taught to associate pee smell with punishment is a puppy who may hide pee behind furniture or in laundry. Ooops.

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Puppies have NO idea that pee or poop is ‘gross’, and they have no clue why you’d want them to do that outside. Cut your puppy some slack here.

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CLEAN IT UP

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It’s super important to thoroughly clean any accidents that do happen.

One way to make sure that the pee smell sticks around is to try and bury it with heavily scented carpet cleaners and ‘pet stain’ removers. Those rarely work well and don’t destroy the proteins.

First, clean out as MUCH of the mess as you can. If the area is extra bad, rent a carpet shampooer and rinse the area several times with hot water first.

Once you’ve removed most of the soil, apply a generous amount of Skout’s Honor and allow the flooring to air dry. Re-treat if needed.

I swear by this method and we’ve had some NASTY Dane sized messes on light carpet! Even a blacklight could not find where they had been.

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It’s nearly impossible to potty train without some hiccups. Every dog is different! Some require MUCH more supervision and time than others. It may be helpful to temporarily put away expensive area rugs. Pro tip there!

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TROUBLESHOOTING

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This is actually the second piece of the potty training puzzle. A puppy needs to first learn to pee outdoors for reward. With consistency and praise, they also develop bladder control and learn what it feels like just before they have to pee.

Once they learn that they will begin to alert you. It’s not something you can teach, it comes with maturity, time, and finally understanding that all pee and poop needs to be outdoors.

We highly recommend using potty bells! This gives the dog a very clear way to say ‘let me out’.

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Young puppies dribble more than they pee and will usually have to pee multiple times each time they are taken outside. However, excessive peeing and not being able to hold it are signs of UTI.

Chat with your vet! UTI’s are surprisingly common and need to be treated.

Puppies also poop a lot. Sorry, that’s just a fact. They will regulate themselves more as their digestive system matures.

Do NOT limit water. We will elaborate more on this in the future.

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This can be common with puppies that were raised in a puppy mill or with a breeder that didn’t keep the whelping space clean.

Or, you just have a puppy that doesn’t really care! That can happen too, just as some humans don’t mind mess.

In general, puppies do NOT like to soil their bedding or near where they eat, so try the following to troubleshoot.

1. Make sure the crate is small enough. If the puppy has too much space, they will find room to pee. They should be confined enough that pee would get on the bedding, which they don’t want.

2. Make sure your puppy has had plenty of opportunity to pee before being put in the crate. It may really just be that your puppy had to go. Reference the rule about about appropriate time between potty breaks based on age.

3. Thoroughly clean bedding and around the crate. If it smells like pee, the puppy will resoil it.

4. Feed in the crate. The puppy will not like to pee near his or her food.

5. Address medical reasons such as UTI, loose stools and parasites. Chat with your vet and add a quality probiotic for gut health.

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This is definitely more of a hassle if you don’t have a fenced yard, but there is literally no other problem here.

The same exact rules apply. When potty training puppies, they need to be strictly supervised anyways so the fenced yard is a moot point.

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It’s not uncommon for puppies to dislike cold and wet weather at first. Be positive and KEEP trying. Bundle up. Put puppy in a jacket. Hold an umbrella. Anything to show the puppy that potty training is NOT NEGOTIABLE.

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If you are away from home 8+ hours/day, a puppy may be a difficult choice to have made.

This is the time when it’s worth the expense to hire a dog walker to stop in often, or have your puppy stay with a friend who is home during the day.

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Visit our blog post How to Crate Train a Great Dane Puppy here.

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BAD ADVICE HALL OF SHAME

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Some people may recommend that you limit water intake to make potty training easier. After all, a puppy won’t have to pee as much if they don’t drink so much!  To that, we say YIKES.

Here are reasons you should NOT limit water when potty training. 

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  • The puppy may learn to hoard, gulp, or guard water in the future. Keep in mind that guarding and hoarding is a dangerous behavior, and gulping may contribute to bloat risk.
  • It’s bad for their kidneys and overall gut function and health to not have access to fresh water at all times.

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Seriously. Potty training takes time, patience and consistency. There is NO easy way out, but the more consistent you are the faster your puppy will learn! Hang in there and have fun with your puppy!

Feel free to grab this potty training infographic for your blog and social media!

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The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. We do our best to present the most up-to-date research, however it is up to the reader to make decisions regarding the health and well-being of their dog. We make no claims here to prevent or treat bloat or any other condition related to Great Danes. Find a veterinarian with GIANT breed experience, and chat with them. 

Some of the products we list on our website contain affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, we may receive a small commission for referring you. We only recommend products that we truly believe in. This commission does not affect the price of the product and is used to fund our content and expenses related to operating this website. 

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Hello Danes

Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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