If left with their mom for at least 6 to 7 weeks, most GSD puppies will already be partially potty trained in the sense that they’ll know not to pee or poop in their living space.
There isn’t a right age when you should start your puppy’s potty training, but most dog trainers go with 8 weeks as an ideal time to begin the process. Housebreaking is one of the first things you should think about if you’re getting a new puppy.
Right from the get-go, it’s important that you teach your pup that peeing or pooping inside the house is not acceptable. Always outside.
So if you’re serious about housebreaking your German Shepherd puppy, follow along as I’ll try to impart some of my “wisdom” on the best ways to potty train a GSD pup. Here we go.
1. Just watch the clock
Your GSD puppy has a very efficient digestive system.
After your pup has eaten it takes between 10 to 30 minutes for him to need to poop.
If you’re feeding him at regular times all you have to do is watch the clock once he’s finished his meal and take him out.
A good idea is to adjust your puppy’s meals to your own eating schedule, that way you’ll develop the habit to always take your dog outside after he’s eaten.
2. Attitude is everything
Just like with any other dog training routine, your attitude plays a huge role.
Your puppy will immediately observe your behavior, voice, body language, and will act accordingly.
Don’t rush your puppy or shout at him because this not only that it doesn’t help but it will make potty training take a lot longer.
3. About your pup’s body control
It takes about 20 days for your German Shepherd puppy to control his bodily functions.
From 8 to 16 weeks, your pup will be able to hold his pee for almost 2 hours. At this stage, you should probably take him out every 1 or 2 hours just to be safe.
Once he’s 16 weeks old, your GSD can hold his pee for 4 hours, more or less.
4. Rewarding your puppy’s successes
You can reward your puppy with either a treat or a show of affection whenever he get’s it right, meaning peeing or pooping outside.
Just like in any type of dog training technique, rewards play a big a role and can speed the learning process for your pup.
Switch your rewards from time to time so your dog won’t get too used to a certain type of reward.
5. Don’t punish
I’ve already said about you having a positive, relaxed attitude when housebreaking your GSD puppy, which is very important.
What’s equally important is that you do not punish your dog when he accidentally pees or poops in the house.
When it comes to potty training a puppy, no matter how careful and you are, accidents will happen once in a while.
Punishing your puppy will only make things worse. One thing that could happen is that your dog will look for hidden spots where he can pee or poop, which we don’t want him to do.
What you want your puppy to do when he needs to go is to give you a signal that you should take him outside. If when an accident happens you’ll start shouting at your pup, next time instead of letting you know that you should take him out like I said he’ll look for a hidden place where he can go.
6. Developing good habits
If your puppy has already developed a habit of peeing or pooping on the grass, maybe from watching his mother, it will be difficult to change that.
The best thing you can do is reinforce that habit. As long as he’s used to peeing and pooping outside you should be ok with that.
7. Pee pads are just a temporary solution
Potty training your puppy using pee pads and training mats is easier than teaching him to go outside right from the start, but they’re just a temporary or an emergency solution.
Using pee pads can cause confusion when it will be time to train your puppy to do his business outside.
With some puppies, the transition from pee pad to yard will be easy. On the other hand, there are puppies that will give you a hard time, by peeing or pooping only on the training mat.
My advice is to go with outside peeing and pooping route first and after that, if you want you can also train your pup to use the pee pads for nighttime or when you don’t have time to take him out.
8. Be consistent
If you’ll set up a consistent routine for when you’re taking your puppy out to poop or pee he’ll learn the process a lot faster.
Your pup won’t figure it out instantly, that’s why consistency is key and house breaking him.
9. Learn your puppy’s signals
When they need to go, the dog usually behaves in a certain way.
When you see your German Shepherd pup sniffing, circling or walking strangely, he probably needs to go and you should take him outside.
How long does it take to housebreak your GDS puppy?
This is probably one of the most asked questions by dog owners when it comes to potty training.
The truth is that it depends on a lot of factors, but it’s safe to say that most puppies will be fully potty trained in 2 to 6 weeks.
The key things you need to remember is that your GSD puppy’s potty training has been already started by the mom. All you have to do is be consistent with your instructions and he’ll learn in no time where he should pee and poop.