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10 Ultimate Tips to Potty Training your Pug

10 Ultimate Tips to Potty Training your Pug

Potty training your Pug can be one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever have as a Pug parent.

Once your Pug is house trained, living the Pug life will get much easier! Coming home to messes or not being able to turn your back on your Pug can be stressful.

In an ideal world, potty training your Pug should be the first thing to teach when bringing him
home. This lesson may take a bit of patience and dedication, but you will see the rewards as soon as it’s done.

But many Pug owners struggle. I’ve seen some of my friends fail in getting their Pugs to “do their business” in the right way.

Don’t worry. I’ve got experience with this, and I’ll help you.  Whether it’s a puppy, well-behaved dogs, stubborn dogs, or senior dogs, I’ve down the tips for you.

When to Start Potty Training your Pug?

Puppy Looking

Since baby Pugs cannot control their bladder, you have to wait for the dogs until they are around 12 to 16 weeks old.

Ideally, Pugs at 14 weeks are shaping their skills and being more aware of their behavior.

This is the best time to let the pup know the right place to pooh.  Of course, you probably won’t be picking your Pug puppy from your breeder before that.
Merely speaking, start potty training your Pug when you first get him home.

How Long does it Take for Potty Training your Pug?

Magic is not going to happen in the first week. Does potty training your Pug take longer than other breeds? Some say yes, and some say no. Leave a comment below on this long-debated subject. I say Pugs take longer to potty train than other breeds.

Sometimes it is a Pug’s refusal to go outside in any kind of inclement weather.
Some have to do with a Pug’s stubbornness.

Older dogs take more time to pick up the behavior if not trained before. However, if they’ve already received training, you just need to get them familiar with the new home.

If you are adopting an older Pug that has not been potty trained, just be persistent. It’s worth it to you and your Pug. It seems Pugs have a reputation for being “half-trained.”  Yes, you might say “fair-weather” trained.

Nonetheless, I’ve never seen any Pug that takes more than six months to learn to potty in the right place.

So, jump into potty training your Pugs. 

Warning: Prepare for accidents and get paper towels ready. 

Tips for Potty Training your Pug

Potty training your Pug takes a lot of patience for consistent training.  It doesn’t matter where you live, in an apartment or a house; my potty training methods are

Young Pugs can easily pick up a new behavior.  As I mentioned, a puppy Pug should wait until he’s at least 12 weeks old to be able to hold their bladder.

More senior Pugs can get trained even when they haven’t been potty trained or fully potty trained. It just takes more time and patience.

Remind yourself you are giving an older Pug a forever home. Both you and your older Pug will be proud when he is entirely potty trained.

Pug on Pink Bed

1. Know When it’s Time

There are signs you can read when your Pug is looking for a place to go potty:

  • Sniffing around
  • Circling while sniffing
  • Whining
  • Returning to the previous toileting place
  • Scratching the door to go out

Mimi runs around in large circles in the living room and kitchen. Then she sits by the door.  The minute I get up to let her out, she runs towards me. Pugs are quirky. You’ll have to learn their oddities.

2. Have the Right Items for Potty Training your Pug

It doesn’t require much gear to potty train your Pug, but there are a few essential items:

  • Crate
  • Wipes and tissue paper (a lot)
  • Dog pads
  • Trigger spray (optional)
  • Little litter box (optional)

3. Set Up a Schedule for Potty Training your Pug

Timing is critical at first, even for toileting needs. Having a bladder routine makes it easier for your Pug to be successful. 

Dog bladders are predictable. Pugs usually have to go after mealtime and sleep. 

That said, you should take your Pug out first thing in the morning to eliminate. 

Typically, a puppy pees and poohs after they first wake up and before going to bed. After each meal, take your Pug puppy outside. When your puppy is very small, you may be feeding him three times per day. This is an opportunity to have three successful potty times. 

Throughout the day, schedule your Pug puppy and take them outside every thirty minutes or an hour. If you are not home, use pads. 

Later, you can extend the time as the puppy gets older. That is when Pug puppies can hold their bowel movement better. 

At the end of the day, take your Pug pup out again before bedtime. 

As this pattern continues, the pup will soon realize when to relieve and let you know when he has to go. 

4. Control your Pug’s Diet

Puppy Pugs with an immature digestive system tend to consume less food at a time. That leads to multiple feeding a day. 

In general, young Pugs urinate 15 minutes after their meal, followed by pooping within an hour. 

That means if you can control their feeding schedule, you’ll have a sense of when the dog needs to bladder. 

Managing the food is also crucial as you need to give your Pug puppy the right amount at a time. It’s best to break into three meals a day. Feed baby Pugs on this schedule. It helps their digestion. 

Besides, you want to make sure the food source is quality enough not to harm the puppy’s digestive system. Avoid food that contains artificial colors and preservatives. Too many processed ingredients may cause severe health problems.

5. Practice Confinement for Potty Training your Pugs

It makes sense to confine your puppy to a small space to give him the idea that it’s not the time to go.   

Instinctively, canines will not go to the bathroom where they sleep. It would leave the scent that triggers predators in the wild. So, they will hold it until you let them out to go to the bathroom.  

In this case, you can use a crate and house the pup at night.

Even put your puppy in a crate when you have to leave the room for a few minutes. Not only does it help with potty training your Pug, but it also teaches them the crate is not a bad thing. Once in the crate, it does not mean they will be in there for long periods of time. 

6. Give Commands when Potty Training your Pug

potty training your pug

It helps to have cues for your Pug.  

First, pick up an easy word or phrase. It’s ideally a single-sound word such as “pee,” “poop,” or “pee-pee.” 

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not too long. That’d make the dog confused. 

Then, whenever your Pug dog goes out preparing to relieve, you say the word repeatedly. 

Soon before you know it, your Pug pup will react to the cue and get the point. 

As your Pug gets older, he will be able to pick those words out of a sentence.  

Because I talk to my Pugs like they understand every word I’m saying (and who doesn’t), they can pick out phrases such as “pee-pee” from my sentence.

7. Use Treats when Potty Training your Pugs

Nothing is more effective than giving rewards. Tasty food always makes any challenge worth trying. 

This means you should take treats with you when you take your Pug puppy outside. Give your Pug a treat right and a lot of praise after a successful elimination. 

Eventually, your Pug will get the idea that a good potty means delicious food. They will keep this habit consistent for the rewards, and that creates a pattern. 

My Pug Mimi used to squat and do a “fake pee” just to get a treat.  

Once I caught on to her deception, she did not get treats for “fake pees.” Who said Pugs aren’t intelligent? 

When your Pug gets accustomed to getting a treat, you can stop giving food and give verbal praise instead. Things like “good girl” or “good boy” in an incentive voice make a significant impact. 

If you feel like you are cheating your Pug out of his treat, switch to a small piece of kibble. He can get his treat, and you will know you are not adding to his tendency to become overweight.

8. Do Not use Punishment when Potty Training your Pug 

Pugs are stubborn dogs, and they can be tenacious sometimes. And that may lead to some accidents. 

The point is you don’t get angry or punish your furball. What you want to use is positive reinforcement training. Your Pug puppy only wants to please you; they’ll know when they are wrong, and you’re not happy. 

Accidents might be your Pug’s fault, but it could also be something you are missing.  

Or it could be simply that your Pug is still learning.   

Our Pugs are our babies. Sometimes we think they are more human than dog. For example, “he knows what he’s doing.” This often is not the case. 

So, stay calm when your Pug pup makes a mistake. Just make sure you have a cleaner to get rid of the urine or stool smell. This way, he won’t mistake this for his pee and pooh area in the future.  

Another necessary reinforcement is your heart-warming reaction. When your Pug has a success, praise your Pug puppy or dog. Give your Pug puppy a kiss. 

When your Pug fails, don’t punish. Again, our Pugs are not tiny humans. The next time he has the urge to pee on the carpet, he will not remember the punishment and change his mind. Avoiding punishment is necessary for successfully potty training your Pug. 

9. Be Consistent when Potty Training your Pug

The best way to teach your pup a new habit is to develop a regular routine. 

Consistency helps your Pug pick up the lesson faster. In most cases, repeating a routine will make it natural.  

This is one time when our Pugs are similar to us humans. We both respond well to creating routines. 

How long for the lesson to be accomplished depends on many factors.  

These include personality, maturity, and response to positive reinforcement. But with enough time, you will no longer have to worry about accidents around your home anymore. 

10. Be Patient when Potty Training your Pug

Umberlla Black Pug cropped

Potty training your Pug may not be successful on day one or even month one. You should know that your Pug needs time. 

Averagely, a puppy Pug picks up this potty habit in the first month with minor accidents. As he makes progress, the next potty time will be better.  

Keep rewarding and keep a watchful eye that your Pug needs to go. 

*Bonus: Your Love is Key

Pugs are lovable dogs. Wait. Let me change that. They are the most lovable dogs of all! They are sensitive and full-of-affection creatures that deserve all the love you have. 

No matter how old the dog is, consistent training and your utmost patience will make it happen. 

Also, be aware that there will be accidents in the early stages of the training. You may step in a wet spot on the carpet and fret. But don’t scold your Pug. Clean the area well and consider a product that will diminish the smell. Otherwise, that spot on the carpet may become a target destination for pee-pee. 

Detailed Steps to Potty Training your Pug

Step 1: Set a Time

Pick specific times to take your Pug outside. You should also schedule the feeding time. When very young, take your Pug puppy out to potty every 30 to 60 minutes.   

I recommend doing the potty in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime at a minimum.

Step 2: Pick a Place

If you live in an apartment, you can walk the dog to a nearby park. Make sure you have bags for disposal.  

You can select a bush or one location to eliminate if you live in a house or townhouse with a backyard. As odd as it sounds, some of my Pugs like to do their business in an area of long grass or weeds. It seems they have to walk back and forth over the grass. The grass is just long enough to tickle their belly. If you know why Pugs do this odd behavior, leave your answers in the comments below

Step 3: Bring the Pug Pup

When the time comes, let your Pug out to the chosen place and wait for him to go potty. Most likely, your Pug will look at you when he or she is ready.  

So, be there for him. 

The instinct will tell the Pug to go back to this place in his next toilet section. The scent will draw him there.  Also, your pleasant attitude will acknowledge this correct behavior. 

Step 4: Praise

Give them compliments and treats when your Pug pees or poohs. And do it with love in your voice. 


How do I Use Potty Training Spray? 

A: It’s common to use an artificial spray (external link here –  

to trigger your Pug if potty training your Pug is difficult. A potty spray bottle is super helpful in potty training baby Pugs and elder dogs. 

Using it is also simple and easy. Just spray one or two circles around the designated area. The attractant scent helps Pugs, and other dogs know that this is the right place. 

Why my Pugs can’t go potty in the right place? 

A: There are many reasons for potty failure in Pugs. However, you should know that different dogs learn in different ways.  

In most cases, it could be your Pug getting the wrong idea. In other words, the way you are communicating is not the way that your Pug learns. It may be necessary to try different things. 

It’s even harder to get the habit unlearned; yet, it’s still possible.  

If you are taking in a more senior rescue Pug, it may be a challenge. He may have learned some bad habits at his last home. This is when consistency is even more important for potty training your Pug. 

If you can nail down the problem from the start, there is still a chance to fix it. You may have a vet to give more advice on potty training your Pug. 

Nevertheless, it’s hard to fail if you are consistent.

Pug in Fall

Final Thoughts

Pugs are amazing dogs. They do everything to make you happy. That’s why potty training your Pug costs infinite love and patience. 

If the Pug pup ever fails sometimes, don’t get angry. Just give your Pug puppy or adult dog time. 

In case you are training an old Pug, be even more patient and consistent. Talk to your vet and rule out that he is suffering from any medical issues. These problems could be in their digestive system, bladder, or other parts of the body. 

Potty training your Pug can be challenging.  But once mastered, your Pug life will become so much more enjoyable. 

If you are going through any other struggle, let me know in the comment. 

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