Potty Training Pitbull Pups: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Furry Friend Go from Mess to Success!

A new pitbull puppy! Few things can bring pitbull owners more joy. You are probably very excited to bring your new friend home and have likely furnished your home with everything you need for a new dog

But then comes the part nobody wants to talk about…potty training.

Potty training a pitbull puppy can be a hit-and-miss affair. Sometimes literally. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance, especially if the puppy is young. However, with a bit of training, you will be able to keep the mess exactly where it needs to be.

Thankfully, pitbull terriers are smart breeds, so you should be able to potty train them a little easier than most other pups. However, they will still need a lot of attention. 

At What Age Can You Start Potty-training?

A grey pitbull puppy plays with a tupperware on the grass

Pexels/Valeria Boltneva

Generally, a good age to start potty training your pup is around 12-16 weeks old. This way, the puppy is young enough to be trained, setting a good pattern, but old enough to have some control over their bladders and bowels.

You can try encouraging a younger pitbull puppy to start doing their business in a select location, such as by using puppy pads in your ‘puppy nursery,’ but they probably won't get it right very often.

What Are You Going To Need?

  • A training crate or other barrier
  • Puppy pee pads (Optional)
  • A short leash
  • Pet-safe cleaning products
  • A  small tasty treat for a job well done

For a professional trainer’s opinion on which brands are best for the potty training process, you can find their reviews here. [1]

Step 1. Confinement 

This may seem counter-intuitive, but for your own sanity, your pitbull puppy should stay away from certain areas of your home. You can normally achieve this by keeping the door closed, using baby gates, or using a crate. 

It's best you keep them there until you can trust them not to have any little accidents in the rest of the house.

Most trainers agree that crate training is integral to the training process. Dogs instinctively seek out enclosed spaces to create a safe nest to sleep in. It creates a safe haven for your puppy to rest and relax. Having to remain inside this space will get them used to the idea of ‘holding it in' and strengthening the necessary muscles.

If the spot you chose is outside of the designated area, it can help your puppy get used to waiting to do their business. You can then let them outside or take them by leash to the ‘The Spot’ whenever you want them to go.

A very small pitbull puppy on a carpet

Pexels/Jeremy Alford

Step 2. Choose ‘The Spot’

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to potty training. Therefore, before you start, you must plan where you want your pitbull puppy to go. Normally this will be something like your lawn, balcony, or a special pee pad.

Even if you later intend to move towards them only doing their business on walks, having a convenient dedicated spot will get your pitbull puppy used to waiting.

In the same way, pee pads can help a puppy to learn that there is a special place where they must go potty. Pee pads are also handy if you don't have outside space or the weather is terrible. [2] 

Crate training is another beneficial step. Pitbulls do not like to do business where they lie down or sleep.

Getting your puppy used to the idea of going inside, staying, and/or sleeping in a crate will help them learn to hold their bladders. They don't like the idea of going potty where they sleep and will generally try and avoid it. 

Older puppies will also begin to learn your schedule - for example, ‘My owner comes home at this time, they will let me out of the crate, and then I can use the bathroom.’ Most pet trainers recommend some form of crate training, and it's useful for more than just potty training.

Step 3. Routine. Routine. Routine.

As mentioned earlier, the key to successful potty training is consistency. One of the best ways to train a pitbull puppy is getting them to stick to a routine. 

A young pitbull puppy will need to go as soon as they wake up. So this would be first thing in the morning and after every time they wake up from a nap. Taking them before you go to bed or before you go out is a good way to prevent messes.

You will also need to get used to their eating schedule. Most adult pitbulls will go to the bathroom a while after eating, but a small puppy’s immature digestion may make them need to go a lot quicker. 

Normally this means they will pee around fifteen minutes after a meal and poop about thirty minutes after a meal.

Diet Control

Setting a potty training routine will be easier if you know when and what your puppy is eating.

A diet with three smaller meals may be more manageable for pitbull puppies rather than two large meals. You can also have an easier time monitoring how much they eat…which will give you a clue when they’ll need to poop. It will also help them get used to using a schedule.

A brown pitbull puppy waits on the front porch

Unsplash/Jordan Bigelow 

Aside from this, you should take them out to potty every half hour. After they've gotten more used to the idea, you can stretch it out to around every hour.

That's a Lot!

Yes, yes, it is. Remember, though, that a puppy is still just a little baby in the dog world. Their bowels and bladders are still small and can't hold much. Try to be as patient with them as you can. If you become too frustrated, it might make them anxious to use the bathroom, which could hamper their training.

Step 4: Know What To Look For

Your pitbull puppy will start giving you signs when it's potty time. These are important since they will save you from taking them when they don't need to. This will typically include the following -

  • Sniffing around more than usual
  • Restlessness
  • Circling the room
  • Trying to leave the area
  • Returning to a spot they have used before

Step 5: When They’re Ready…

It's good to let your pitbull puppy take some time to relax and sniff around once they’ve arrived at The Spot. They may want to familiarise themselves with the area again to make sure that it's safe for them to go ahead.

A dog naturally feels more vulnerable while they are ‘busy,’ so it's best to keep other dogs away, as well as anything else that may startle or interrupt your potty training.

After one or two successful trips, you may want to teach your pitbull puppy a command. This should be simple, like ‘Wee-wee time’ or ‘Go time.’ It should not take too long for them to start associating this phrase with the needed action.

This training is also beneficial for traveling or in another new and unfamiliar area, as it lets your pitbull know that this area you have chosen is acceptable and safe for them to use.

 A woman kisses a puppy on top of its head in a meadow

Pexels/Laura Stanley

Step 6: A Job Well Done

Potty training can be quite taxing on a little pup, and a key part of training a pitbull puppy is knowing how to reward a good job.

Any time they complete a successful potty training session and go where they need to go, giving them a little positive reinforcement is important. You can give them a bit of fuss, but you don’t want to work them up too much.

A decent treat is also an acceptable reward for a job well done. Ideally, this should be something your pitbull really likes, but it is not too calorie rich (since you will probably have to hand out quite a few of them). 

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Pitbull Puppy?

Unfortunately, potty training is not a quick process. Some puppies can get pretty good at it after a few weeks to months. However, completely training a pitbull can sometimes take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

There will probably be a few setbacks and accidents, but you will see a noticeable improvement before too long. The more consistent and thorough you are, the faster your puppy can learn the ropes.

Accidents Will Happen…

Sparkpaws Official Instagram

Even if you are pretty far along in the potty training process, or if you think that your potty training is about done now, there will probably still be an ‘oopsie’ or two along the way.

Never scold your pitbull puppy!

Puppies will seldom purposely pee or poo somewhere they're not supposed to. Usually when they fail, it is because they get confused or cannot wait any longer. Therefore, it's not misbehavior. Scolding your puppy for an upset will only confuse them more and may make them anxious about using the bathroom around you.

Like humans, excess anxiety and fear will only cause them to need to go to the bathroom more, which makes it more likely that they will make an inappropriate mess again. 

If you discipline them for a mistake they made a while ago, they will not even understand what they did wrong.


The potty training process can be messy and frustrating, but you can make things much easier on yourself if you stick to a routine schedule.

Pitbull puppies need one specific spot to do their business, and you can do your best to make sure that they get used to it by sticking to a feeding routine and taking them out as often as possible, especially after mealtimes and before bed.

Positive reinforcement and a relaxed environment will also help pitbull puppies feel calm and relaxed when doing what they need to do. Training can go much faster if your puppy feels safe and eager to follow your commands. 

It can take quite a while for your pitbull puppy to pick up what it needs to do, but by patiently sticking to the rules you've set out, you can be confident they will get it in time.

Ext Links

[1] https://www.insider.com/guides/pets/best-puppy-potty-training-gear

[2] https://bondvet.com/b/puppy-pee-pads

[3] https://www.preventivevet.com