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Top 10 Dog Breeds Hardest to Potty Train

Potty training is often one of the most challenging aspects of raising a dog.

Most breeds can be successfully housetrained with patience and consistency.

Still, certain dog breeds tend to be harder to potty train.

potty training

In this list, we'll explore the top 10 dog breeds often considered the most challenging to potty train.

These breeds might need extra time and training sessions to master their potty breaks.

Let’s start the year right and learn about potty training!

Is Potty Training Difficult?

potty training


The short answer is not really.

The potty training process is almost similar to any training.

A lot of patience and consistency are vital to every dog training, including potty training.

While it’s not difficult, it might be challenging sometimes,  especially when pet owners don’t have the time to train their dogs.

Additionally, potty training may be unpleasant with difficult dog breeds or dogs with strong personalities or unusual body types.

For example, an Alaskan Malamute won’t hesitate to relieve themselves anywhere!

Smaller breeds have smaller bladders, which means they’ll have to urinate more and could often have potty accidents.

Here are more reasons why some breeds are harder to potty train:

  1. Breed & Size

Some dog breeds are stubborn, have a limited IQ, or have demanding behaviour, making them relatively difficult to toilet train.

As mentioned earlier, the dog's small size is a factor.

  1. Age & Gender

Because of their young age, puppies require more potties than adults.

Conversely, training an older dog isn’t easy because their muscles begin to weaken.

Also, older dog breeds are a little more difficult to “reprogram” as they’re used to certain behaviours like when and where to go potty.

  1. Habits & Traits

Potty training dogs can be challenging due to their acquired bad habits and traits.

Territorial behaviours, nervous dispositions, and past experiences complicate the training process.

While these traits can pose difficulties, positive reinforcement training can help!

  1. Medical Condition or Disability

Potty training an ill dog can be difficult.

Health issues such as kidney disorders, diabetes, Cushing's disease, constipation, or UTIs can complicate your training.

Pups with disabilities may also be more challenging to train.

For instance, blind, deaf, or immobile dogs may not follow your instructions as well as you hope.

Related: 5 Reasons To Make New Year's Resolution With Pets

10 Dog Breeds Hardest to Potty Train

Here’s our list of the 10 hardest dog breeds to potty train:

1. Afghan Hound

potty training


Potty training an Afghan Hound can be challenging due to their independent and free-spirited nature.

This regal but stubborn dog has a strong sense of autonomy.

This makes them resistant to following strict training routines.

Afghan Hounds prefer doing things at their own pace, so it’s hard for them to understand rules.


2. American Foxhound

potty training


An American Foxhound has strong hunting instincts and high energy levels.

These dogs have an innate drive to follow scents and explore their environment.

They’re easily distracted, and their boundless energy prevents them from focusing on the task.

Additionally, their independent nature means that they might resist a regular schedule.


3. Basset Hound

potty training


It’s tough to teach scent hounds like the Basset Hound to go potty because they’re also a stubborn breed.

They can easily be distracted by their amazing sense of smell.

Thus, they’d rather follow their noses over listening to your bathroom rules.

You need extra patience and perseverance to help them understand where and when to do their business.


4. Bichon Frise

potty training


Small dog breeds like the Bichon Frise are smart, and they might think they're smarter than you!

This very intelligent breed may not listen to your commands and do as they like.

Plus, their tiny bladder means they need frequent bathroom breaks.

You need to be consistent and patient in training these beautiful dogs.


5. Boston Terrier

potty training


Popular dog breeds like the Boston Terriers can be headstrong.

If you don’t consistently train them, they’ll be confused and could resist potty training.

They’re relatively easy to train, so you must show them who’s boss.

Their smaller bladders and high metabolisms also require frequent bathroom breaks.


6. Chow Chow

potty training


Chow Chows are famous for their aloof and independent nature.

These traits make them difficult dogs to potty train.

Their strong-willed temperament may hinder a consistent potty training routine.

Chow Chows tend to be clean dogs and may prefer to hold it for a long time than eliminate indoors.

These dogs are territorial, and they may mark their territory frequently.

This makes it harder to establish clear bathroom boundaries.


7. Cocker Spaniel

potty training


A Cocker Spaniel has high energy levels, which can lead to a potty accident.

Their excitable nature makes it difficult for them to control their bladder.

These sensitive dogs don’t respond well to harsh training methods.

Be very patient when training them because you wouldn’t want them to develop anxiety.


8. Jack Russel Terrier

potty training


Jack Russell Terriers are highly energetic and can become easily distracted.

Because of these, they might be unable to focus very well on their potty training.

Their strong hunting instincts may lead them to explore scents and chase after small animals.

These may cause them to forget that they need a bathroom break.


9. Shih Tzu

potty training


Shih Tzus feel like they’re the boss, making them resistant to potty training efforts.

Since they have long hair, they can be easily soiled.

This will make them averse to eliminating in wet or dirty conditions.

Don’t forget to grab your paw cleaner whenever your pup needs to go.

Shih Tzus are sensitive to changes in their routine.

Thus, disruptions can lead to confusion and difficulties establishing good potty habits.


10. Yorkshire Terrier

potty training


Yorkshire Terriers are pretty wilful and independent.

They’ll think you’re bossing them around with your strict training and would likely ignore you.

Yorkshire Terriers can be easily stressed or anxious, and stress-related accidents can occur.

Related: Best Cat Breeds for First-Time Owners


Potty Training Tips

Now that you know what breeds are most challenging to potty train, let’s check out the top tips for potty training your Fluffy Friend:

  1. Consistency is Key:

Maintain a consistent schedule for potty breaks to establish a routine for your dog.

  1. Positive Reinforcement:

Reward your dog with praise and treats when they pee or poo in the designated spot to reinforce good behaviour.

  1. Watch for Signs:

Be attentive to your dog's cues, like sniffing, circling, or whining.

These may indicate they need to go out.

  1. Supervision:

Keep an eye on your dog, especially during the early stages of training, to prevent accidents.

  1. Patience and Persistence:
    potty training

Understand that accidents will happen, so remain patient and persistent in your training efforts.

  1. Limit Freedom:

Initially, restrict your dog's access to areas where accidents can occur.

After a while, gradually expand their freedom as they progress in training.

  1. Clean Thoroughly:

Use pet-specific cleaners to remove the accidents, discouraging your dog from repeating the behaviour in the same spot.

  1. Consult a Professional:

Ask a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for advice if you face persistent challenges.

  1. Adapt to Your Dog:

Each dog has a unique personality.

You must tailor your training approach to your dog's traits and needs.

  1. Celebrate Small Wins:

Acknowledge and celebrate your dog's successes to reinforce positive behaviour!

Related: 15 Fluffy Dog Breeds You’ll Want to Cuddle

potty training



Potty training can be a challenging endeavour, especially with certain dog breeds.

Understanding these breeds' unique traits and tendencies is crucial for successful training.

Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement can help overcome the challenges associated with potty training.

With the right approach and understanding of your dog's needs, any breed can become a well-trained and well-behaved companion.



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1 comment

  • How to control water intake when training. B
    MrFluffyFriend™ replied:
    Hey Judy,

    Thanks for your question. A word of caution though… it may be dangerous to restrict your pup’s water intake because you wouldn’t know how much your specific pet requires. Puppies and kittens are prone to dehydration. Our pets only drink what they need. However, we understand that you might want to restrict water intake before your pet goes to bed. In this case, you might need to remove your fur baby’s bowl about 2-3 hours before bedtime so you still have time to give them a potty break before they settle for the night. Another word of caution… you need to have a consistent schedule for this to work. Also, water restriction may lead to resource guarding.

    Lots of luck!

    Judy Ekiert

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