Are Pugs Hard To Potty Train? How to Potty Train a Pug Puppy With Tips

pug potty train
Male pug dog is pissing on the wall of red bricks

If you’ve just brought home a Pug pup or are thinking about adopting one in the near future, then you’ve probably heard rumors about the breed’s notorious stubborn streak. 

Pugs are often reputed as a difficult dog to train, but is this true? 

In this article, we’ll be answering the question ‘are Pugs hard to potty train?’ once and for all. 

We’ll also talk about the all too common stubborn streak and how to potty train a Pug puppy with tips. 

Are Pugs hard to potty train?

Every Pug is different. But let’s be honest. The Pug’s reputation exists for a reason. These cute little fellas do have a stubborn streak. And sometimes that makes them a little bit harder to train than other canines. 

However, don’t let this put you off. Just because Pugs are little divas at heart, doesn’t mean that they’re a lost cause. It absolutely is possible to train a Pug – especially if you start early. 

With a bit of patience and a lot of positive reinforcement, even the most stubborn Pugs can make progress. 

By putting in the hard work with your puppy, you’ll be rewarded with a loving, super cute, and obedient pet. 

Prioritizing potty training as early as possible increases your chances of success and makes life far easier for you and your pet. 

Older Pugs tend to be set in their ways, and are often much more difficult to train. 

But be prepared to invest your time and effort into the process. Full potty training can take up to three months. 

Before you get started, we recommend watching this informative video about how to potty train your Pug at home. 

Why are Pugs so hard to potty train?

Okay. So we know that some Pugs can be a little bit difficult at times. 

But why is this? 

Why are Pugs so hard to potty train? 

Let’s take a look at some common reasons why your current potty training routine might not be working so well. 

Your Pug is more stubborn than most 

Every Pug is different. Each pooch has its own unique personality. If you’ve come up trumps with the stubbornest Pug on the block, then potty training might take time. 

Don’t be surprised if potty training takes up to a year. We promise you it’s worth it in the end. Try to make training fun and enjoyable for your Pug. Positive reinforcement works wonders.

Your Pug ain’t no puppy

If you wait too long to start potty training, the process will be much harder. Just like us, Pugs get set in their ways and older animals are always more difficult to train. 

If your Pug has been with you a long time, or you’re bringing home a senior Pug from a rescue, you’ll need a lot of time and patience in order to achieve the desired results.

However, if you’re planning on bringing home a Pug puppy soon, make sure to prioritize potty training immediately. The sooner the better to get those good habits set in motion.

Your Pug is feeling stressed or scared

Pugs are an anxious breed – especially when left alone. They are prone to separation anxiety when away from their owners. 

Because of this propensity for anxiety, the training process can be somewhat arduous. But with plenty of love and patience, you’ll get there. 

If your Pug is of a particularly nervous disposition (this is particularly common in rescues) you might want to visit your vet for some additional support. Be prepared to invest a lot of patience into your little pup. 

Pugs hate cold weather

Pugs absolutely hate adverse weather conditions. And can you blame them? 

If you’re trying to potty train your Pug outside during the colder, wetter, more miserable months, then don’t be surprised if they throw a bit of a fuss. 

Try to make the experience as painless for them as possible. A dog jacket to keep them warm is a great idea. 

How to potty train a Pug

We won’t keep you waiting any longer. It’s time to let you into our Pug potty training secrets. 

Follow these top tips and you’ll be well on your way to owning the best Pug pooper and ‘pee’er in town. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Training treats
  • Wipes
  • Puppy pads 
  • Training crate 

Remember, it could take months for your Pug to reach your potty-training goal.

The important thing is to remain calm at all times, observe patience, and be prepared for some slightly messy accidents along the way.

Rest assured it’s completely normal. 

Top tip #1- have a schedule

First things first, don’t overlook the importance of a regular feeding schedule. 

By feeding your Pug at the same time every day, you’ll help them establish regular bowel movements. This will then help you devise an appropriate potty schedule. 

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • Start by taking your pup outside at the same time each morning and again in the evening before they go to sleep. 
  • Take your pup to the toilet every 30 minutes throughout the day. As they get older you can reduce this to once every hour (it’s particularly important to take them outside to do their business after eating and after they take a nap). 

Helpful hack!

Young pups may not be able to hold their bladders through the night. They won’t necessarily know when they need to let nature call.

If you don’t take them out to pee then they’ll just do it in their bed or crate. So try to wake them up every 2-4 hours for a toilet break. 

Top tip #2 – limit exposure to the home

Cordon your puppy off to one area of the home whilst potty training. You can do this by using baby gates to restrict your pup’s access to certain areas.

By doing this you can keep an eye on your pup easily whilst they are still learning about their new environment.

Supervise your puppy really closely whilst they are going through the potty training phase. 

You’ll learn a lot about your pet in the process and notice the behaviors that they display before needing to go potty.

Once you know the cues, you can limit any future accidents. When your pup wants to go outside, walk them directly to the area where you want them to go potty.

Once your pup does their business give them a little treat to reinforce the behavior. 

Top tip #3- use cue words

Start using the same cue word every time you take your pup outside to do their business. Keep it simple. Something along the lines of ‘time to pee’ or ‘go potty’ is perfect. 

Of course, your Pug doesn’t understand what you’re saying, but with time and consistency, they will start to associate the command with the act of going to the bathroom. 

Top tip #4- offer rewards

A reward-based system is the best way to keep your Pug on the ball and motivated. 

When you take your Pug outside to relieve themselves, use your new command, and offer a small treat and some praise when they use the bathroom in the correct location. 

This is positive reinforcement done right and offers your Pug motivation for good behavior in the future. 

Top-tip: make sure the reward you choose is something that they do not eat every day.

Have a special treat reserved for this purpose and this purpose only. That way you’ll further reinforce these positive potty training behaviors.

Remember, consistency is key. 

Helpful hack!

When you want to schedule a potty break, try not to stimulate or engage your pup too much. Playtime and potty time should have a clear distinction.

Otherwise, your pup might learn to ask to be let outside even if they don’t need a bathroom break and slow down the potty training in the process. Keep things clear for your Pug!

Top tip #4- puppy pad training 

Many new Pug parents start by introducing their pets to puppy pad training.

This can be super effective for teaching your Pug to go to the toilet in a specific location, but shouldn’t be continued as a long term solution to potty training.

Eventually, you want your Pug to go outside to do their business, right?

A great way to move on from pad training is to start establishing a schedule as soon as possible and to be aware of your pup’s accident triggers.

If your pup is going to have an accident it will probably be in one of these five situations. 

  1. Going into and out of their crate
  2. After a meal
  3. After a nap
  4. Before and after play

If you’re not sure whether your pup needs to pee then take them outside anyway.

Eventually, you and your pup will learn each other’s cues and get into a sustainable routine. 

Top tip #5- supervise 

Last but not least, be ready to supervise. A lot. Once you start your desired training method, you’ll need to be on the ball.

If, at any time, you notice your pup about to poop or pee indoors (or any undesirable location for that matter) you need to be ready to step in.

To start with, it can help to keep your Pug on a harness each time you take them outside for a bathroom break. 

Focus on quality time with your pup. The moment your Pug’s behavior changes and they show signs that they need to go to the bathroom, use your cue word and take them outside to go pee. Once you’re outside, keep up the supervision. 

A pup outside is a distracted pup. Once your Pug starts getting excited about their surroundings they might completely forget that they needed to go to the toilet.

Keep your pup on the leash so that you can redirect them and ensure that they do their business before going back inside. 

Top tip # 6- Learn to pick up on the signs

Finally, we’ve already spoken about picking up on your pup’s signs. But what should you actually be looking out for?

Each dog is different but there are some common behaviors that canines may display before they go potty. Knowing these signs can help you avoid accidents and reinforce positive behaviors. 

When a dog needs to go to the toilet they might display the following behaviors:

  • Becoming restless or anxious
  • Going to their designated toilet area or pad
  • Sniffing around the room 
  • Walking in circular motions 

Be super vigilant and supervise your pup as much as possible. As soon as you notice any of these behaviors, take your puppy outside and supervise them as they go to the bathroom.

Once they’ve done their business, give them a little reward. And remember, supervision is also very important when going outside.

The do’s and don’ts of potty training your Pug

We’re almost there. Before you start the potty training process yourself it can help to brush up on some do’s and don’ts. Here’s a list that you can refer back to as you start potty training with your own Pug puppy. 

DO – Stay outside with your puppy until you’re sure that they’ve finished doing their business. This will help avoid unnecessary accidents. 

DON’T – Punish your puppy if they have an accident. This doesn’t teach them anything and will make them feel fearful of you. Never yell or rub their nose in pee (these methods do not work). 

DO – Use cue words or actions (e.g. the word YES, or a clap). Use these words to divert your pup’s attention just before they show signs of peeing inside. Then take your pup outside to do their business and reward them with a treat and some praise. 

DO – Clean up any accidents with an enzyme based cleaning product to minimize smells. If your pup can smell where they last went to the toilet they will be more likely to do it again in the same place. 

Stay calm and carry on

Are Pugs hard to potty train?

At the end of the day, even though Pugs are notoriously stubborn, that shouldn’t stop you from achieving the desired training results.

Just remember to stay calm and never scold your pug. Consistency is the key to success.