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How to Potty Train a French Bulldog: 10 Vet-Approved Steps

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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Are you the proud owner of a lovable French Bulldog? If so, you may be wondering how to successfully potty train your furry friend. Potty training is an essential aspect of dog ownership which can be quite a challenge for most owners. With a little patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your French Bulldog to do their business in the right place!

In this simple guide, we will walk you through 10 easy steps to potty train your French Bulldog effectively. Get ready to say goodbye to accidents and hello to a well-trained pup!


The French Bulldog’s Personality and Temperament

Before we discuss the difficulties of the potty training process, let’s take a moment to appreciate the unique personality and temperament of the French Bulldog. These adorable little dogs are known for their affectionate nature, playful demeanor, and intelligence. French Bulldogs are typically eager to please their owners, making them generally receptive to training.

The French Bulldog’s Trainability

French Bulldogs are known to have a moderate level of trainability. While they are intelligent and quick learners, they can also be a bit stubborn at times. This means that consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key when it comes to potty training. Remember, every dog is different, so it’s important to adapt your training approach to suit your individual French Bulldog’s needs.

French Bulldog wearing blue cooling vest harness
Image Credit: Firn, Shutterstock

How Soon Can You Start Potty Training?

The ideal time to start potty training your French Bulldog is as soon as they arrive with you around 8-10 weeks old. This is when to start the foundations of potty training but it can be a long process and not to be disheartened if it takes until around 16 weeks to start seeing results. By this age, they have better bladder control and are more capable of understanding and following instructions. However, it’s never too late to begin the training process, even if your Frenchie is older. With consistent effort, you can still achieve great results.


The 10 Steps on How to Potty Train Your Frenchie

1. Establish a Designated Potty Area

The first step in potty training your French Bulldog is to establish a designated potty area. Choose a spot in your yard or outside area where you want your Frenchie to do their business. The scent left behind by previous eliminations will help reinforce the idea that this is the appropriate place to go. This also helps during clean up and when monitoring their potty progress!

Dog grass pee pads for potty training a puppy at home or apartment
Image Credit: VidaHawaii, Shutterstock

2. Create a Routine

Creating a routine is crucial for successful potty training. Set a regular schedule for everything including feeding, watering, sleeping, and potty breaks. Consistency will help your French Bulldog understand when it’s time to go outside. Keep in mind that puppies have smaller bladders and will need to go more frequently.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in potty training your French Bulldog. When your pup successfully eliminates in the designated potty area, shower them with praise, affection, and rewards. Treats, verbal praise, or a special toy can be excellent forms of positive reinforcement. Even the mere excitement generated can be enough to help your Frenchie understand that they did something desirable. This positive association will encourage your Frenchie to repeat the behavior!

Giving Treat French Bulldog
Image Credit: María Fernanda Pérez, Pixabay

4. Monitor and Familiarize their Behavior

During the initial stages of potty training, it’s crucial to supervise and observe your French Bulldog closely. Watch for signs that indicate that they need to go potty, such as sniffing/snuffling about, circling, or restlessness. When you notice these behaviors, immediately take your Frenchie to the designated potty area. If you can’t keep a constant eye on them, consider using crate training or confining them to a small, easily cleaned area. Remember, not all dogs may exhibit the same behaviors, so it’s important that you familiarize your dog’s specific tendencies!

5. Follow a Feeding and Drinking Schedule

Controlling your French Bulldog’s feeding and drinking schedule plays a significant role in potty training. Feed your Frenchie at the same times each day and monitor their access to water. By establishing a routine, you’ll have a better idea of when they are likely to need a potty break. They should have access to water all day but you can pick it up overnight to reduce night time toilet breaks.

French Bulldog is busy with his meal eating
Image Credit: Tienuskin, Shutterstock

6. Take Your Dog Outside Frequently

During the early stages of potty training, it’s important to take your French Bulldog outside frequently. Aim for every hour or so, especially before and after meals, playtime, or naps. By doing this, you reduce the chances of accidents inside the house and provide more opportunities for your Frenchie to eliminate in the designated potty area.

7. Teach Them a Cue Word

Using a cue word or phrase can help your French Bulldog associate a command with the act of eliminating. Choose a specific word or phrase like “go potty” or “do your business.” Use this cue consistently while your Frenchie is eliminating. Eventually, they will understand what you expect when you give the command.

french bulldog training
Image Credit: Serhii Yushkov, Shutterstock

8. Control Their Environment Indoors

When your French Bulldog is indoors, it’s essential to supervise and control their access to the rest of the house. Keep them in a small, confined area where accidents can be easily cleaned up. Utilize baby gates or crate training to limit their freedom until they have become reliably potty trained.

9. Clean Accidents Immediately and Thoroughly

Accidents are bound to happen during the potty training process. When they do occur, it’s crucial to clean them up immediately and thoroughly. Use an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet accidents. This will eliminate any lingering odors that may attract your Frenchie back to the same spot while also telling your Frenchie that this is not the spot to do their business!

young woman cleaning the carpet
Image Credit: sebra, Shutterstock

10. Be Patient and Consistent

Lastly, be patient and consistent throughout the potty training journey. Remember that accidents are part of the learning process, and scolding or punishing your Frenchie will only hinder their progress. Stick to the routine, provide positive reinforcement, and remain patient. With time, your French Bulldog will become reliably potty trained!


Final Thoughts

Potty training a French Bulldog requires dedication, consistency, and a lot of positivity. By following these easy steps, you can pave the way for your furry friend to become a well-trained and housebroken companion. Remember, every dog is unique, and the process may take longer for some than others. Stay patient, celebrate small victories, and enjoy the journey of bonding with your French Bulldog as you successfully potty train them!

Featured Image Credit: Nannycz, Shutterstock

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