Skip to main content

These dog breeds are the easiest to potty-train

Potty training dogs is the first big hurdle for new puppy parents, who often want to know how long the process will take. Training experts say there’s no easy answer to that question. It can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the individual dog, the training method, and the commitment on the part of family members. Smaller dogs typically take longer to train than larger breeds. There are many reasons for this, including that smaller dogs have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms, meaning they require more trips to the wee-wee pad or the yard. Owners need to be even more diligent in supervising small dogs to avoid accidents that can prolong housebreaking. Here are some dogs that are easy to potty-train.

Large breeds

Labrador retrievers

There’s a reason that Labradors have topped the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dogs in the U.S. for the past 30 years. Originally bred as bird dogs, Labs are friendly, active, and outgoing. They make terrific companions and enjoy being included in all family activities. These dogs are people-pleasers and quick learners, making housebreaking easy as long as owners are consistent with the training, say American Kennel Club (AKC) experts.

Black Labrador retriever puppy laying on rug.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bernese mountain dogs

Sweet and affectionate, Bernese mountain dogs were bred in Switzerland to move cattle, guard the farmyard against predators, and serve as companions to family members at the end of a hard day’s work. They are playful and get along great with children and other dogs, making them a wonderful choice for families. Because they are intelligent and eager to please, this breed is typically easy to train. They are sensitive dogs whose “feelings are easily hurt,” according to AKC experts. They don’t respond well to harsh corrections, so the focus should be on rewarding and praising for good behavior.

Medium breeds


According to the Collie Club of America (CCA), this breed hails from Scotland, where they were bred as herding dogs. Their popularity grew during the 1860s when Queen Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with the breed. Collies are intelligent, friendly, loving, and playful. They are also easy to train and naturally clean, which makes them one of the easiest breeds to housebreak, say CCA experts.

Shiba inus

This ancient Japanese breed was originally bred as a hunting dog and today is the most popular companion dog in Japan. According to the AKC, this breed first came to the U.S. in the 1950s and is gaining in popularity. They are high-spirited, alert, independent, and confident dogs described by breed experts as more like cats than canines. They can be challenging to train, but this doesn’t extend to housebreaking. According to the AKC, shiba inus are “practically born housebroken,” with a 4-week-old puppy trying to get as far away from his sleeping area as possible to do his business. At 5 weeks old, a shiba inu puppy can make it through the night without needing to eliminate.

Small breeds


Gentle, playful, and charming, this toy breed is also intelligent and outgoing, making them a popular choice for pet parents looking for a small dog. According to the American Maltese Association (AMA), these dogs are happy to play, walk, or curl up on a warm lap for a snooze. They live to please, which makes potty training easier. Crating between pee breaks or when the dog is unsupervised helps avoid accidents around the house, according to AMA experts.

Happy Maltese dog out for a walk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder


According to the Havanese Club of America, the Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and the country’s only native breed. These cute dogs are outgoing, funny, and affectionate and get along well with children and other pets, making them popular family companions. Experts at the AKC describe the Havanese as highly intelligent people pleasers who are easily trained with positive motivation.

Patience is key when it comes to succeeding at potty-training a puppy. Pet parents need to understand that accidents are part of the process, and getting angry at a puppy when it happens scares and confuses the dog and slows down the process. Faithfully follow basic house-training guidelines, and your dog will eventually get it right, and you can relax knowing your best friend will alert you when he needs to go outside.

Editors' Recommendations

Vera Lawlor
Vera was the pet columnist for 201 Family magazine and has contributed pet and animal welfare articles to Bone-A-Fide Mutts…
Why do cats hate dogs? The answer isn’t all that simple
This is why your dog and cat may not be best friends
A cat and Yorkie playing

"They’re fighting like cats and dogs" is a euphemism often used to describe sibling rivalries, marital strife, or disagreements among company executives. However, it stems from the idea that two of the world’s most popular companion animals, dogs and cats, prefer to feud with one another over forming friendships.

For folks who are distinctly "dog people," "cat people," or "not-into-either people," whether this idea is accurate or not is irrelevant. For those who love — or have — both dogs and cats, it’s essential to determine: Why do cats hate dogs? Better question: Do cats truly hate dogs, or is this cliche a rumor?

Read more
Why do dogs’ anal glands fill up? Here’s what to know
How often you may need to take your pup to the vet to relieve this issue
A small dog sits on the table at a vet office

In pet ownership, as in all life, you run into hurdles. Some dogs never have an issue with their anal glands, but they can come as a surprise to even veteran owners who suddenly see or smell something off. Unfortunately, you'll quickly discover how difficult (and gross) these little sacs can be. But dogs with particularly tricky bathroom issues will require a little maintenance and extra attention to the butt area.
What are anal glands?
There's no delicate way to say this: They're two smallish glands on either side of your pet's butthole. From an evolutionary perspective, the anal glands give off a unique scent, and the idea is that it acts as a canine's signature. Anal glands aren't analogous to anything we have as humans, so definitely don't worry about your own body expressing anything like this. However, many pups wind up having issues in this department and find themselves unable to empty them on their own.
Why do dogs' anal glands fill up?
Certain underlying problems, like obesity and poor diet, might make a dog more susceptible to gland issues. Smaller breeds also tend to struggle a bit more since their whole area is more compact. You may find your pooch expressing their own glands, licking the area, or scooting. That means it's time for an inspection.

How do you prevent anal gland issues?
Talk to your vet about what could be causing Fido's difficulties, as it can vary, but generally, you'll want to look at how much food and exercise they're getting. Additionally, a supplement, like a probiotic, will frequently take care of the issue. This works mostly by firming up the poop but can also introduce good bacteria to his gut.

Read more
Wondering how to keep cat warm in cold weather – here are 9 effective ways to help your pet stay toasty
Try these tricks to keep your cat from being cold
A Maine Coon cat reaches his snow-covered paw toward the camera.

There are many reasons why your feline fur baby should remain exclusively indoors, but it's all the more important to keep your cat inside during the winter months. A blanket of snow may look stunning, but it makes it difficult for outdoor kitties to find their way home. The potential for accidents also increases due to decreased visibility and the presence of black ice.

Even if your cat stays indoors all the time, you'll still need to take extra steps to keep her warm during the cool weather. Some homes are naturally drafty, and with snow and ice accumulating on utility lines, the chance of power outages increases as well. Wondering how to keep cats warm in cold weather? Here are nine useful tips to get you started. 

Read more