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To Pee or not to Pee: Understanding the Frequency of Potty Breaks Necessary for Your Dog

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potty breaks

One question I deal with often when meeting with new pet sitting clients is frequency of potty breaks for their dog. While your dog may not necessarily have to go as frequently as you do, he still has to go. Have you ever wondered how often your dog should go out?

How Many Potty Breaks Do Dogs Need Per Day?

It depends on many things….age, breed, when the dog last ate or drank. Typically an adult dog that's potty-trained does well with 4 potty breaks daily, as suggested by the ASPCA Share on X.

When potty training a puppy, take them out every 1-2 hours.  A puppy can typically wait one hour per months of age, plus one.  So a three month old puppy should be able to wait 4 hours between potty breaks.

What Are Best Times For Potty Breaks?

For those who work outside the home, for example, this typically breaks down to first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, upon coming home from work and then once before bedtime. Smaller dogs have tiny bladders that tend to be a bit more active and require a few more potty breaks.

Remember, too, dogs that eat and drink frequently have to go potty frequently. No surprise there! If you keep track of his/her input, you will soon be able to figure out a viable schedule for your dog. Dogs typically need to go outside to do their business within 30 minutes of eating or drinking.

If your dog is taking steroid medication to clear up a temporary condition, he will be drinking more and so will need more potty breaks.

How Do I Know When My Dog Needs To Go Out?

Be sure to keep an eye out for behavioral clues. When your dog stands by the door, sniffing around, he means business!  Get to it! Some dogs may paw at their leash or even stare at you (this is what my dogs do) and bark for no apparent reason. When you figure out these signals, take action.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Needing More Potty Breaks?

Do keep an eye on any changes in bathroom behavior in your dog. For example, if he/she seems to have to go all the time, it could signal a urinary tract infection.  Examine those stools, too. (Gross, I know, but they do provide clues to your dog’s health.) If they are watery, perhaps something in his/her diet is causing an illness. Conversely, if he/she does not poop for several days, there could be a blockage. In any questionable case, please seek veterinary care immediately.


As stated above, a minimum of four potty breaks a day works for many dogs.  Yes, your dog may be able to “hold it” all day, but it’s not good for his kidneys or bladder.  We don’t typically go that long between potty breaks, why should our dogs? If it isn’t possible for you to be home during the day to give your dog potty breaks, hire a dog walker/pet sitter.  Your dog will appreciate the company, exercise, and opportunity for a potty break.  Learn more about the services we offer here.





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