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How To Potty Train a Poodle: The Easy & Quick Way

Potty training is a crucial step we must take when welcoming our furry friends into our homes.

Whether you have a young puppy or an adult poodle, this simple potty training routine will be beneficial. The best part is, it’s easy to follow!


How To Potty Train Your Poodle Puppy

The routine below is a proven potty training method that works, it just requires some consistency, to begin with! We also need to be forgiving with our pups as there will be mistakes in the beginning and it’s to be expected.

This training should begin from the first day you get your poodle home, but if you’re reading after, it doesn’t matter! Start asap.

The potty training is comprised of 4 individual steps:

  1. Create a designated area in your backyard
  2. Take your poodle to her spot after key moments
  3. Wait for her to eliminate in the spot, then praise and reward
  4. Remove her from the spot

1. Create a designated area in your backyard

If you don’t have your own yard or a shared yard then this will be the only time that using a potty pad will be ok. But if you do have access to a yard, potty pads are a big no-no (more on that later).

The first step is to create a designed potty spot in your yard that you are willing to sacrifice as your poodle’s personal poop spot. Try to keep the spot in a quiet area of your yard that contains the least distractions. Your poodle will need to feel calm and secure in this spot to learn to use it as her potty place.

The designated area doesn’t need to be overly big, even one square meter is perfect. It’s just for doing her business and nothing else.

If you don’t want to sacrifice your real lawn, invest in a small doggy lawn patch that you can sit over the top of it. Check it out

2. Take your poodle to her spot after key moments

Think of a single command that means it’s potty time… it could even be “potty time” that you will use throughout this step. Constantly.

For this to work, your poodle needs to learn and recognize that this small area in your yard is where she needs to go for a potty. The more times you are successfully able to bring her to that spot, followed by her actually going the more you will solidify her understanding of the training.

So it’s crucial to have as many successful potty runs as possible.

General rule: Puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long. A general rule is that a puppy can hold their bladder for 1 hour, per month of age they have. So at 2 months of age, your puppy can hold it for 2 hours, and so on.

There are certain times throughout each day when it’s almost guaranteed that your poodle puppy will need to eliminate.

These are the key moments:

  • When your puppy wakes up
  • After your puppy eats or drinks anything
  • When your puppy finishes playing or exercising
  • When you arrive home and see your puppy for the first time
  • After your puppy gets excited for any reason
  • Before bedtime

If you get in a good habit of taking your poodle to her spot after EVERY situation described above, you will speed up the entire potty training process as there will be fewer mistakes made.

One of the most common mistakes puppy owners make is assuming their puppy will let them know when they need to use the potty. In the early stages, they do not! So it’s up to us to take them to their spot after key moments.

If you’re lucky enough to have even more spare time, take her periodically to her potty spot every hour, and you will increase your chances of having successful runs.

3. Wait for her to eliminate in the spot, then praise and reward

For your poodle to understand that she’s doing what you want of her, she needs to be rewarded after every time you have a successful run. This also builds a strong positive link between her using the potty in the same spot, to being rewarded.

Use heavy praise and be sure to provide a small treat after every time it goes correctly. Assuming you’re doing this with a puppy, treats are even more important because young puppies have not developed their verbal communication skills, so saying “good girl” to a 3-month-old puppy doesn’t actually mean anything, treats are very necessary.

This is why it’s so important to have many successful trips, because with each trip, and each little treat and praise you give her, it’s strengthening her understanding of where she needs to use the potty.

It’s a very simple concept, but very effective (with some time).

4. Remover her from the spot afterward

The potty spot is for potty purposes only. There should be no extra time spent here because this could confuse what this location is for.

All in all, your time spent in the potty area should be no more than 3-5 minutes. And after having praised it’s time to leave.

In the beginning, you want to make a point of it being YOU to take her to the spot to eliminate. But after some time you can allow her access to that spot on her own. By this time she will know to leave the spot herself after eliminating, and that’s the goal.

By spending no extra time in this spot than completely necessary, it helps to make it clear what this area is for.

Remember that dogs need clear instructions and boundaries in order to understand basic rules.

Extra Tip: Keep Your Pup On The Same Feeding Schedule!

It was pointed out to me by Amber, the qualified veterinarian that works with The Puppy Mag, that keeping your pup on the same daily feeding schedule will also help regulate their bowel movements, or at least, make them more predictable.

This is an excellent tip and is something to take on board! Pups usually get fed 3 or even 4 times per day, whatever your breeder discussed with you, stick to the times rigidly, this way, you will better grasp what moments your pup needs the potty.

This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag |

Recommended Read: Why Isn’t My Poodle Eating? And How To Help

A Common Problem When Potty Training

The next question you may have is “what should I do? I’ve been waiting in the spot for 5 minutes and she doesn’t look like she wants to go”. It’s a great question so let’s run through it.

Whenever you take her to the spot, give her 5 minutes. As standard.

If she doesn’t go within this time, pick her up and remove her from the spot. Now the fun begins. Usually, this whole event in itself is enough to make a very young puppy need the toilet, so there’s a strong chance that when you pick her up and bring her back in the house, she needs to actually go. So (as annoying as it may sound) it’s best to give her 20 or 30 seconds to adjust, then take her back to her spot for another 5 minutes.

Why go through all of this effort?

Well, because the first time you’ve taken her to the spot, she may not be comfortable with it, she may not quite know that she’s required to eliminate there. She could be distracted by outside smells and noises. There are many reasons why the first run will not go to plan. So by taking her back there you’re increasing your chance to have a successful potty run.

Recommended Read: How often should you be bathing your poodle?

How Long Does It Take To Potty Train a Poodle?


In ideal situations (you’re based at home with a brand new puppy) it can be properly understood within 1 month. But it doesn’t always work out so smoothly.

It can depend on how often you are at home to actually implement this routine, because the fewer mistakes and the more successful runs you have, the quicker your poodle will learn.

If you’re constantly out of the house then your poodle is not going to have much exposure to the routine and she’s not going to learn as quickly.

It can also depend on whether or not you’re trying to break old habits. If your poodle isn’t a super young puppy, she may already have established bad potty habits. The routine still works, but it will take much longer. Breaking old habits is very hard and you will need a lot of patience.

Recommended: Signs Your Poodle Is Going Into Heat

Tips To Make Potty Training More Effective

Let’s run through some basic tips that will help to make this training easier and more effective.

1. Keep some old poop there (early days/weeks)

In the very early stages keeping a small amount of poop in her potty spot will instantly remind her exactly what this spot is used for.

Of course, dogs have an extremely strong sense of smell so it’s likely she could still smell it, even if it was removed. But for the sake of early training, keep a small poop there as extra encouragement.

2. Use a leash

Puppies have crazy little minds and get distracted in 1 second flat. It’s important to keep her focused on what she is there for and keeping her on a short leash will give you full control of where she tries to go.

Keeping her in the spot without a leash is difficult and will likely be seen as an attempt to play. Always clip on a leash.

3. Only repeat your single potty command

Again, avoiding distraction is key so try your best not to talk to her. Keep repeating your “potty time” phrase to build a strong link between the command and why she’s there. But limit all other kinds of interaction.

4. Take her to the spot as much as you can

Apart from sticking to the key potty moments, if you’re able to visit the spot extra times, you may get lucky. Remember that the more successful potty runs you have, the quicker she will learn.

5. Never reprimand if she makes a mistake

Reprimanding is completely pointless and is almost never done correctly. Dogs and even more so puppies have no clue between something they did 30 minutes ago, and getting punished now for it.

They just aren’t that smart. Reprimanding only truly works if your dog or puppy is caught doing something IN THE ACT. And even then, reprimanding only needs to be a slight change in your voice.

But honestly, it’s best to just avoid it. Dogs don’t learn from what they get wrong, they learn from what they get right. This is why throughout this entire article I keep saying its crucial to have frequent successful trips.

When a mistake happens, clean it up thoroughly to remove the odor (as this will trigger her to use this spot again in the future) and try your best to avoid it the next time.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Potty Pad With Your Poodle

Potty pads should never be used unless you absolutely have to (you don’t have a yard).

The reason is that we want to train our dogs to use the potty outside of our home from where we eat and sleep. Dogs themselves don’t naturally poop where they sleep and this is just the same principle, but covering the entire house.

Potty pads encourage and allow your dog to poop inside the house. The most common issue seen is dogs confusing their potty pad for something else. To your dog, a potty pad may one day be your expensive rug. Or even a bath towel that fell on the floor on the way to the wash basket.

If you have a yard, potty training outside is the only approach you should be considering. Allowing your poodle to eliminate inside the house is just asking for never-ending problems.

Recommended: Do Poodles Always Have Curly Hair? Poodle Hair FAQs

Last Thoughts

So there you have it, you now know how to potty train your poodle. Remember that this works for puppies and even adults. But for adults, it will likely take longer, especially if you’re trying to break well-established bad habits. Keep consistent and you will see results.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.