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How to Potty Train Australian Shepherds in 4 Simple Steps

Cassidy Sutton

By Cassidy Sutton

Puppy Toy Australian Shepherd sitting

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

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Potty training is something all dog owners must endure. It’s a simple skill to teach your dog, but it can also be one of the most frustrating parts of pet ownership. Not every breed is easy to train, and you can only keep your cool for so long before feeling overwhelmed. Luckily, Aussies are eager to please.

In this post, our goal is for you to avoid frustration by training fast and effectively. By 6 months old, your Australian Shepherd should be fully potty trained. Let’s begin!

What You Will Need

Since potty training is the first thing to tackle when your Aussie comes home, you want to ensure you have all the necessary supplies ready.

To potty train your Aussie, you will need the following:

Owning most of these items helps the process run smoother, but you’ll still have success with just a crate and treats. You can start potty training right away and buy the other materials later.

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Indoor Potty Training

Teaching your Aussie to potty outside is always the ideal way to train, but some dog owners don’t have that option. Some people are gone for several hours at work, some live in skyscraper apartments, and some elderly dogs have difficulty hobbling outside. The weather can also prevent your dog from doing its business.

Indoor potty training is a band-aid for this problem. There are several options for indoor training, like potty pads, doggy litter boxes, and pee turf pads.

If you decide to indoor potty train first, follow the same steps we’re listing below. Just know that indoor potty training may take a little longer since the concept is foreign to dogs.

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How to Potty Train Your Australian Shepherd

1. Buy a Crate

an empty dog crate
Image Credit: Yakov Oskanov, Shutterstock

Crate training provides a comfortable, enclosed space for your dog to relax while you’re away from home. The idea is to offer ample enough room for your dog to rest but small enough so it won’t soil the space where it sleeps. This encourages your dog to hold its bladder and wait for the appropriate time to potty.

Some owners choose not to use a crate and instead put their puppy away in a small, closed-off room. This can work, but your dog may have too much roaming space and select a designated potty area. We recommend closing off a space to discourage this behavior.

2. Create a Potty Schedule

Female with two dogs focus on the happy Australian Shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Suzanna Bunch, Shutterstock

A potty schedule is vital to your dog’s success. A schedule offers consistency for your dog and helps you not to forget.

Every schedule will look different based on your lifestyle and your dog’s age and size. Australian Shepherds don’t have tiny bladders like smaller breeds, so they shouldn’t require as many frequent potty breaks.

Try to start taking your puppy out every 45 minutes during waking hours (remember to honor puppy naps). As your puppy grows, you can increase the time intervals. With young puppies, you should expect to take your puppy out:

  • In the morning
  • In the evening
  • After every meal
  • After every play session
  • After every nap
  • After crate time

3. Practice

australian shepherd dog and female owner are walking together
Image Credit: Anna Pozzi – Zoophotos, Shutterstock

Now it’s time to put that potty schedule into effect. With Aussies, you need to keep your dog’s focus on going potty when you’re outside. Australian Shepherds are highly active dogs and can easily get distracted, forgetting to go to the bathroom. It’s okay if your Aussie wants to sniff around for 10–15 minutes, but don’t let it get distracted by toys and other dogs. To prevent your dog from lengthening the time before doing its business, avoid bringing them back inside right after they finish.

When your Aussie goes potty, give the verbal cue, “Go potty!” as your puppy goes. Praise them and offer a treat when finished.

4. Clean Messes Quickly

cleaning floor carpet with spray rubber gloves
Image redit: Syda Productions, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, you’ll have some potty accidents from time to time, but this is part of the process. Don’t punish your Aussie for the accident.

Clean the mess quickly with an enzymatic cleaner to discourage your Aussie from returning to the spot, and keep practicing outside. Your dog will get the hang of it eventually.

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How Long Does It Take Training an Aussie?

How long it takes to potty train your Aussie depends on consistency, your dog’s personality, size, and prior training and upbringing.

Ideally, your puppy should be fully potty trained by 6 months old. It could take less time, or it could take more time. The important thing is to be consistent and not give up on your Aussie.

Additional Tips for Potty Training

1. Consider Your Dog’s Previous Training

Some dogs come into their new homes with a basic understanding of potty training. They just need to revisit training to adjust to their new home. Consider what your dog knows and build off this knowledge.

2. Control Diet

How much you feed your Aussie will determine how many potty breaks it will need. Likewise, the quality of the food can dictate how often your Aussie needs to go. Offer your puppy smaller meals throughout the day and feed them the best food you can afford.

3. Observe

It may seem gross, but observe your dog as they go to the bathroom. A healthy bathroom break is a sign of good health.

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Wrapping it Up

Potty training can be difficult, but it shouldn’t be too challenging with Australian Shepherds. These dogs are brilliant and active. They’ll enjoy frequent bathroom breaks. Remember to stay consistent, offer rewards, and stick to the puppy schedule. Your Aussie will be trained in no time.

Featured Image Credit: Fluff Media, Shutterstock

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