How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Pee?

dog peeing to a tree

After you bring home your puppy, the first couple of months will involve quite some sleepless nights and some little yellow puddles here and there. You might wonder how long it will take before your puppy can hold its pee.

How Long Can Puppies Hold their Pee?

In general, a puppy can control its bladder for one hour for every month of age plus one. For example, if your puppy is two months, he can hold his pee for about 3 hours. 

Nevertheless, waiting for longer hours than this estimated time will put you at the risk of having accidents, which are typically part of the house-training process.

How Often Should A Puppy Urinate?

From my personal experience, the general rule of thumb, which is somewhat realistic. A puppy can hold its bladder one hour for one month of age plus one, which means that a puppy of two months of age can hold its bladder for 3 hours and so on.

If you are not following this estimated bathroom break time, be sure to expect a few accidents around the house.

However, the good news is, some house-training guidelines can help minimize the number of accidents that you will be cleaning up around your home.

What Are The Steps To Minimize The Number Of Pee Accidents In Your House?

House-training your a puppy requires a lot of commitment, patience, and consistency; well, nobody says that being a pet parent is an easy job!

What usually happens is that your puppy is playing and running. Suddenly, you find yourself facing a little yellow stain on your favorite carpet and a tiny guilty-looking puppy standing over it.

Accordingly, a good training plan must be carried out to keep your house as pee-free as possible. I have crafted a good potty training plan, you can read it here.

If you manage to follow these basic house-training steps, you will be able to put your new family member on the right track in a few weeks.

I personally potty trained my dog in a week. I did it by following these tips. I didn’t mean she could hold her pee longer than average, but she preferred to urinate outside.

House-Training tips:

Minimum days needed 7

House-Training your puppy:

  1. Take your puppy outside frequently:
    According to the rule of thumb, it’s always wise to take your puppy out for peeing at least every two hours additionally, after they wake up, while and after playing, and after their meal or drinking.

  2. Assign a bathroom spot outside:
    Make sure to take your puppy to that spot on a leash, using a specific word or a phrase, which you can use eventually to remind your puppy of his bathroom break.
    This should be done while the puppy is relieving itself. The long walk and playtime should be done after they finish their bathroom process.

  3. Your puppy should be rewarded every time he eliminates outdoors:
    it is essential to reward your puppy with treats or words of praise immediately after it finishes. Because they can be easily distracted, if you start praising them during the bathroom process, they may forget to finish peeing until they return home.
    Make sure to wait until the puppy finishes to reward him and not after he gets back home. This will teach him that he has achieved what you want him to do.

  4. A regular feeding schedule is essential:
    Basically, what goes into your puppy on a schedule, comes out of his system on a schedule. Usually, puppies are fed between three to four times a day.
    Accordingly, feeding your puppy at the same time daily will make him eliminate at a scheduled time daily, which makes the house training process much more relaxed and successful for both of you.

  5. Set- up a night routine:
    Well, the night routine is a bit different.

    Pick up your puppy’s eating and drinking dish: If you drink a large glass of water before sleeping, you will wake up in the middle of the night only to use the bathroom.

    The same happens with your puppy, so make sure to stop eating or drinking activities about two and a half or two hours before your puppy’s bedtime to reduce their need to have a bathroom break at midnight.

    Of course, you have to ensure that your puppy had a good meal and drank the right quantity of water; otherwise, you will have to deal with a hungry and thirsty puppy all night.

    Most puppies can sleep around seven hours without the need for a bathroom break.

    However, until your puppy is potty trained, he will most likely wake up in the middle of the night to go outside. When that happens, do not make a big deal out of it; be as neutral as possible. Don’t let your puppy think it is playtime, and will not go back to sleep quickly.

    Talk in a gentle tone; try to be as dull as you can. Stand in one spot and wait until your puppy pees, then give him a quiet “good boy” encouragement, don’t make it fun or cheerful.

    Just turn on a few lights, and avoid talking or playing with your puppy, take him outside and then put him back to bed.

    If you give your puppy much attention in the middle of the night, your dog might make it a habit of waking you up just for attention, even if he doesn’t want to pee.

    By the time the puppy will understand that if it’s dark, this means straight to pee and get back to bed. He will build bladder control and can sleep through the night without the need for bathroom breaks.

  6. Make him ready and take him out before bedtime:
    If you want to have a possibly pee-free night, make sure to exhaust your puppy from playtime and much running around before bedtime.

    During house- training, exercising your dog in the evening, a few hours before bedtime, is highly recommended.

    I am sure that your puppy will fall asleep before you; he is a baby after all.

    Therefore, taking him out for a bathroom break right before going to sleep will decrease the possibility of the puppy waking up during the night or you trying to wake him up for a bathroom break. He will be ready for a long, good snooze if you tire him out before bedtime.

    This step is quite essential if you don’t want to get up in the middle of the night.

  7. Make sure to wake your puppy before they wake you:
    I don’t think you want your puppy to start whining, making a fuss, or scratching his crate in the middle of the night to get him out to pee.

    By the time, he will be associating this with you getting up and giving him attention. You should get to your puppy before starting this behavior.

    You may even set the alarm in the middle of the night, for the first month or two, to get up and let him out to pee. It is more disruptive to your sleep to listen to a crying puppy all night.

  8. Be a morning person:
    Your dog’s brain is just like a little kid. Dogs need to pee after they wake up, and since most puppies are early risers (they wake up around 5:30), you may have to adapt yourself to that.

    Most pet owners say it is one of the hardest adjustments any pet owner can face. Again, puppies are like children; they usually tend to wake up early. You just have to get up, let him out, feed him, and play with him; then he would go back to sleep.

How To Handle Your Puppy’s Mistakes

Mistakes are a normal part of your puppy’s house training. Your puppy is expected to have a few accidents during the training process. Here are some tips for handling those accidents:

  • If you catch your puppy in the act, you can interrupt him:

    You can make an interrupting noise (not a scary one), and take him immediately to his bathroom spot to finish it. Don’t forget to give him praise or a treat once he finishes.
  • Avoid punishing your puppy for eliminating inside the house:

    It will be too late to run a correction anyway. If you rub the puppy’s nose in it or take him to the spot and scold him, any kind of punishment will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence.

    In this case, punishment will only make things worse.
  • Make sure to clean the area very thoroughly:

    Your puppy will be highly motivated to continue eliminating in areas with urine and feces smell.

    Accordingly, it is crucial to keep an eye on your puppy to minimize the number of accidents that you are liable to face. The house training process will take a longer time.

Your Puppy Holding His Pee Depends On Several Factors:

The puppy’s bladder is a reservoir for collecting and holding urine until it is expelled.

However, just as it is with humans, although the process of emptying the bladder is a reflex reaction, yet having full control of the bladder takes some time to develop.

Few factors affecting how long can your puppy hold his pee:

The age:

It is the most popular variable in how long your dog can wait between bathroom breaks. Puppies, especially those who are not fully potty trained, cannot hold their pee like adult dogs.

This is partly because their bladder and urinary tract system are not yet fully developed.

Additionally, the muscles responsible for holding and releasing the bladder contents take time to develop. That is why we find some puppies need more bathroom breaks than others. So, potty training helps them to develop those muscles and learn how to control their bladder.

To determine approximately how long can your puppy hold his pee:

puppies less than six months can hold their pee between one to three hours. However, puppies more than six months can hold their pee between two to 6 hours.

It is also worth mentioning that senior dogs start to lose control of that muscle by age.

The size:

It is also an important factor. A toy breed dog would have a tiny bladder if compared to a large dog. This only helps in the potty and house-training process.

These guidelines are only general estimates because every dog has his own bathroom habits, so the best thing to do is make a bathroom schedule that best suits your puppy.


Some health issues can come up with more frequent urination: like kidney problems, diabetes, or urinary tract problems. Also, some medications have a diuretic effect.

Therefore, if you notice that your puppy is peeing more frequently than usual, it is recommended to talk to your vet, it might be a symptom of a health issue that needs to be taken care of.


The type of food your puppy takes plays an integral part in his urinary health. Food rich in moisture like raw and wet food may increase the frequency of their pee.

Although, it helps digestion and flushes out toxins and bacteria that may build up in their body.

The color of their pee can give a signal for dehydration, just like humans. The dark yellow pee is not a good indication.

If you notice the very dark color of your puppy’s urine, make sure to increase the level of moisture with water, wet food, and raw bones.

However, some dogs can face a medullary washout condition when they drink plenty of water, and it messes up the electrolytes in their kidneys. In that case, the urine is very dilute, they urinate a lot, and then they have to replace the urine with water making them urinate even more.

Some Potty Training Issues

If you see that your puppy is consistently having accidents inside the house, you should talk to your vet to make sure it is not out of medical issues. But, if your puppy turns out to be healthy, then there is a behavior problem.

Some of the problems are:

  • Puppy piddles:

    This excitement peeing is quite common in puppies and young adult dogs. If you walk in the house after a few hours of work, your dog is likely to pee on seeing you.

    This doesn’t mean that he can’t hold it; it means that he is overwhelmed with excitement on seeing you.

    This behavior can be treated by ignoring the puppy until he is calm and rewarded for his attention. Of course, this will need consistency, patience, and time to be treated.
  • Marking:

    Territory marking is one of the dog’s natural instincts. It’s a game of control. It often happens when a new pet is introduced to the house, which makes your dog feel threatened. They typically do so out of anxiety.

    Keep your pet stimulated mentally and physically; this will relieve the stress, fear, and anxiety.

What Happens If You Force Your Puppy To Hold His Pee For A Longer Time?

As we mentioned earlier, the frequency of the dog’s urination depends on their water intake. But, they cannot hold their pee as long as we can.

It is not healthy for dogs to hold their bladder for excessive periods on a regular basis. On average, adult dogs can hold their pee for 10-12 hours if they have to; however, asking them to do this regularly may have some negative consequences.

Some risks may arise when forcing your dog to hold their bladder:

  • Infections related to the Urinary tract:

    One of the functions of the urination cycle is to help the dog’s/human’s body flush out toxins and bacteria built up in the kidney, bladder, and urethra.

    Accordingly, holding the pee allows these bacteria to continue growing in the urinary tract, which leads to stone or crystal formation or blockages that can be life-threatening to the dog.
  • Urinary cancer:

    The longer the carcinogens (substances that are capable of causing cancer in living tissue) stays in contact with the bladder, the more opportunity they have to interact with cells.

    It is not a common issue, but we have to consider when we decide to ask the dog to hold his pee for more extended periods.
  • Incontinence:

    (The lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation) is more common in aging dogs. However, it can happen to dogs at any age when they are repeatedly forced to hold their pee for too long.

    Bladder over- swelling may occur. This would damage the muscles and the surrounding tissues leading to leaks, which can be irreversible.

Some other signs may be a warning for much more significant issues, like straining to pee, no peeing, peeing excessively often, leaking, and blood in the urine.

Therefore, if you notice that your dog has an unusual issue regarding the bathroom need, you need to talk to your vet immediately.

To Sum Things Up:

The topic of bathroom need pops up when we discuss the reasonable period that your dog can hold his pee.

Puppies usually may hold their pee by calculating their age in months, adding one to it, and converting it to hours, which means that a three-month-old puppy can generally stay for 4 hours without urinating.

We have discussed essential tips to help you shorten the house training period and the best way to deal with urination accidents that are likely to happen in your house.

However, suppose you haven’t had any urination accidents in your home or frequently have these accidents. In that case, this article will help you understand and support your dog’s urinary health.

Let us know in the comments if you have faced any issues during potty training your dog!

Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

Recent Posts