When bringing a dog into your home for the first time, there’s no doubt you’ll have one dominant thought in mind – Potty training AKA teaching your dog to not poo or pee indoors.
Boston Terrier potty training is necessary to have a well-behaved pooch and accident-free home!
Heads up: your Boston Terrier puppy won’t be fully housetrained, including potty trained, before he’s six months old.
Now that you know what to expect…
You should also know that a great deal is determined by the efforts you put into house-training him.
Having to train a little pup is similar to taking care of a baby – they both totally depend on you until they “learn”. I think it’s very important to know what you are facing, so you can put your efforts on effective training steps.
With that said, let’s dive into housebreaking your Boston Terrier!
Where should your puppy eliminate or relief himself?
Choosing your dog’s toilet spot is one of the first things you can do to establish a routine.
Ideally, choose a place that is easily accessible and relatively quiet and that won’t get too muddy.
For example, choose a corner in the garden that isn’t too close to the streets so your dog won’t get distracted when it’s time for him to do his business.
For city dogs, choose a convenient spot near where you live.
Insider Tip: There’s also the option for puppy pads or choosing a potty spot inside the house, but the drawback to this is that your dog won’t recognize the spot by odour since you will be placing a clean pad after he eliminates.
But no matter which spot you decide on, it’s important that you train your dog to be comfortable in it. This is actually not a hard thing to accomplish since canines have an extremely powerful sense of smell.
It only takes peeing and pooping once for your doggy to recognize the spot after that. The smell of his pee and poop will trigger your dog’s desire to eliminate and speed-up the whole process.
Especially when starting out with toilet training, it is very important to reward him immediately after eliminating on the chosen spot. This way you are encouraging him to repeat good behaviour.
Although it might seem more convenient to let your dog go and eliminate by himself in the garden, it becomes a problem when you are taking him outside on a lead (he will eliminate wherever or not at all).
Training your furry friend to eliminate using a lead will help you take your dog to his potty spot (reinforcing the toilet spot routine) and he will be comfortable going to the toilet wearing a lead (i.e. when going for walks).
When starting to potty train your Boston, it makes a difference if you keep an eye on your dog so that you can pick up on pre-potty signals.
Most puppies follow a routine just before eliminating. Here are the signs to look for:
As soon as you see any of these signs, stop whatever you’re doing, put his leash on and take him to his potty spot. If you arrive too late, don’t punish him. Instead, try to anticipate his needs by following a schedule.
Following a schedule breeds good behaviour and teaches your doggie that there is a time for everything: eating, playing, walking, napping, even peeing and pooping! Also, a consistent feeding schedule will lead to a consistent elimination routine.
Apart from looking for the potty signs or clues, your Boston Terrier is likely to need to relieve himself in the following situations:
As you see, your dog needs to go out frequently. But don’t worry, as he gets older he’ll need to be taken outdoor less often.
Your puppy won’t have bladder and bowel control before he’s 16 weeks old. So, he won’t be able to “hold it” for extended periods of time.
That’s why spotting the signs and following a schedule are key when potty training your Boston Terrier, and any other dog for that matter!
Insider Tip: As a general rule of thumb, puppies can hold their bladder one hour for every month of life. But avoid getting him too close to his limit in the beginning, until you are more familiar with his elimination needs.
On average, here’s how often your pup will need a potty break:
|Dog’s age||Potty break every|
|8-10 weeks||30-60 minutes|
|2-3 months||2 hours|
|4 months||4 hours|
|18 months||6 hours|
|Adult healthy dogs||6-8 hours|
With a bit of practice, you will be able to anticipate your pup’s potty needs and reduce accidents indoors. However, you should also expect your puppy to have a handful of accidents.
Don’t be upset when these happen. Your dog just needs a bit more time to learn. Remember that dogs learn with repetition. Each time your pooch relieves himself on his potty spot and gets rewarded for it, you are reinforcing good practice.
Refer to the “Because Accidents Will Happen…” section below for more tips and cleaning tricks.
Note: These steps work for both puppy and adult Boston Terriers. There’s no difference between their potty training process. The only variation is that an adult dog can hold it a lot longer than a pup.
Like I mentioned before, potty training starts by picking a spot for your dog to pee and poo.
Depending on your situation and preference, decide if you intend to train your pup to potty outdoors or indoors. I went for a corner of my garden because I find this option more hygienic and it’s convenient enough.
If outdoors is not an option for you, use a specific spot of your house in the bathroom or balcony, for instance.
Using a leash, take your dog to his potty spot immediately after you let him go outside or if you think he might need to potty according to his schedule.
Stand silently until he potties. When he’s done, reward him immediately to reinforce this behaviour. You can give him a treat, caress him or do something fun. I usually say “good boy” with a positive tone of voice and caress his head.
Just be cautious you don’t distract him from finishing, making sure that he’s really finished. Also, don’t rush back inside afterwards. Otherwise, he may consider it as a punishment and will quickly learn how to hold it in instead of letting it out.
If after a few minutes, he hasn’t potty, go back inside and try again in (say) 10 minutes time.
Insider Tip: Using a leash allows you to guide your Boston to the his spot, without him having to stop in-between places, avoiding the chance to potty before getting to his spot.
Also, whilst on a leash, your pooch cannot wander around and there are less chances for him to get distracted.
Finally, you can keep an eye on him, making sure he potties.
Don’t try to use your word as a command when you’ve just started potty training. Wait until you are sure your dog has made the connection between the word and the deed.
Once your pooch is comfortable with his potty spot and eliminates when you take him there, you can practice the “potty” command.
I usually use “pee”, regardless of what he’s doing. You can use “potty” or a more subtle command, just make sure you (and everyone else) always use the same one.
Wait until he’s squatting to say the command. this way, your Boston Terrier will associate the command with the action.
To level up your training, you can send your pooch to potty at his spot. Use the cue word just once – “go potty” or “go pee” – in a clear, motivating voice. At the same time, point with your finger to his potty spot.
At first, you can practice this closer to his spot and then stand a step further from it. By the end of the training, your pooch will be going to his spot on command.
Insider Tip: Refrain from saying the cue again and again, or it’ll just turn into noise for him. Granted this is easier said than done, as I still sometimes struggle to hold my tongue back! It’s something to keep in mind and remember, and also to keep practising!
Until you’re convinced that your BT is reliable, he should be directly monitored or next to you rather than left alone to wander around the house without supervision.
This is when crate training comes in handy. Not only to teach your dog to be okay by himself for a while, but also to keep an eye on him. Plus, you will minimize potty accidents.
Also, dog-proofing your home and garden will make sure to keep him safe and out of trouble.
When you cannot actively keep an eye on him, you can keep your Boston limited to his crate, playpen or gated safe zone (dog room) for a while.
However, remember to take him to potty according to the potty schedule guideline I mentioned above.
Using our “Potty Training Chart” will make it easier for you (and everyone in your household) to track your Boston Terrier’s potty deeds.
You can make a note of the time he is fed and roughly what time he goes for a pee and poop. This will give you a rough guide of when he is likely to need to go out next.
In order to maximize potty training, stick to this routine every time and every day. The more consistent you are in implementing this method, the faster your Boston Terrier pup will learn where to potty. Consistency and repetition are key for him to learn.
Also, rewarding his actions will encourage him to repeat this behaviour. You want your dog to make the association that going outside is THE BEST thing EVER!
Plus, a routine teaches your Boston what to expect!
When you are confident his training is complete, you can begin to (very) gradually reduce the amount of praise you give him, and then to let him go out alone, praising him when he comes back in.
You don’t need much.
But, it’s important to keep your dog’s potty spot clean. Because if the area becomes too soiled, your Boston may check out another place to relieve himself.
This is what I use:
After your dog uses his potty spot, make sure to clean up his poop. Personally, I use a pooper scooper (Amazon link). I prefer a two-piece pooper scooper; it comes with a rake and bin/tray. It’s long-lasting, hygienic and comfortable to use.
Also, I keep it in a corner of my garden, where I also have a bin that comes in very handy.
You can use the poop bags with the pooper scooper (I personally don’t). However, I found these poop bags very useful to clean up home accidents and to take during walks or when we leave the house.
During potty training, home accidents are inevitable; however, how you respond to them will prevent future accidents.
These are the three scenarios you can find yourself in:
And here is what you can do when you find yourself in each situation:
If you catch your dog toileting indoors or you think they are about to go, try and interrupt them by calling them in an excited tone and get them into the garden.
It’s important NOT to punish your dog because he may come to associate going to the toilet in front of you with punishment. In the future, your dog may worry about going to the toilet in front of you and wait until you get home to sneak off into a hidden place.
Even if your Boston Terrier initially makes a mistake, make sure you give lots of praise when he goes to his potty spot.
If you don’t catch your dog in the act because you weren’t present, there is nothing you can do. Reprimanding your Boston after the act will have no effect. He will not associate the punishment with the earlier action.
So, it’s best to clean up accidents without comment. This can be difficult when it’s your carpet – yet again – don’t shout, smack, rub his nose in it, or point to the spot and snarl. He won’t know why you are angry.
When cleaning up after your dog, avoid any household detergents that contain ammonia. This is a natural chemical that occurs in your dog’s urine and will encourage them to mark the area again.
As well as not being housetrained, there are many other reasons why a Boston will relief himself in the house. For example, he might do it because he’s stressed about being left alone.
Dogs are social creatures who get lonely and bored when forced to stay alone for long stretches. If you are concerned about your dog being alone at home, check out the 10 Steps to Dog Home Alone Safety and How to Keep My Dog Entertained While at Work blog posts.
Your dog might still soil indoors due to:
However, if you suspect there is an underlying problem and the steps above are not working, you can:
Are you finding potty training hard? You are not alone! Potty training is one of the 3 most common challenges dog parents face alongside:
I may be able to help you further down this challenging training process. Click here to visit our Better Dog Behaviour JumpStart, where you will get a 3-part mini audio series + the everyday resource used by a well-known dog trainer.
You can also get this using the button below. Happy training! 😉