How To

How to House Train a French Bulldog

While some French Bulldog owners may want to use the breed’s stubborn nature as an excuse give up before trying to house train a French Bulldog puppy, I found quick success by using a consistent routine.

Vince joined me at 10 weeks and the only time he pooped inside the house was his first day. At 11 weeks, he was reliably going outside to eliminate. Read on if you’re interested in how I did it!

House Train a French Bulldog in a week |

Before You Start to House Train

The house training schedule included in this post is one I created from reading other training schedules. Each owner will need to adapt the schedule to their needs, but keep in mind that house training a puppy is as much about the dog as it is the owner.

House Train with a Crate but Not Puppy Pads

This house training schedule makes use of a crate for about 2-3 hours at a time during the day and longer overnight. It is not intended to be a babysitter for long days or a means of punishment. It allowed me to establish a routine and gave Vince a space retreat. You may have an area of your home that can get quartered off and use as the puppy’s safe place.

My house training tips and schedule did not rely on puppy pads because that could have added confusion. I didn’t want Vince to think he can go inside if it’s on the puppy pad and expect him to know that he shouldn’t eliminate on the area rugs. I found it worked best to pick one spot outside for doing business and train him to that area. That said, I had puppy pads before he came home and realized he just thought they were a toy! House Train a French Bulldog

Introducing a Crate

Vince’s crate was setup the moment he came home, the doors were open and bedding and toys that I wasn’t worried about him destroying was placed inside. He happily explored it and each time he went in, I said crate, praised him and he got a tiny treat. He was never forced to go into the crate.

You’ll want to make sure the crate you use is appropriately sized for your French Bulldog puppy – enough to stand up and turn around. If the crate is too generously sized, he will have a place to eliminate while sleeping in another part. You want to avoid that.

Related post: 5 Things to Know Before Getting a French Bulldog

Choose a Command

Choose your potty command and pick something you will want to happily say in public. Some recommend “go potty” but I opted for “pick a spot.”

The first couple of outings, I waited until I saw him start to eliminate and then marked the action with my command and praise. If you wonder why I don’t have many puppy photos it’s because I was playing with him and watching him like a hawk! The payoff is that Vince quickly learned the connection between my command and eliminating. No puppy will inherently know your expectations.

Keep in mind that over-use of the command as soon as you step outside because you’re impatient will not help your puppy. Give your puppy a chance to sniff around and choose his spot.

You may choose to reward your puppy with just praise or use training treats, but each successful elimination is met with praise and a treat.

Those living with fenced in yards may choose to walk the puppy out on a leash and only after a successful elimination, take the leash off so the puppy can play. Teaching the puppy that business happens before play!

Related post: 5 Things to Know Before Getting a French Bulldog

Choose Your Outdoor Area

Taking a puppy to the same general area will introduce him to the idea that this area is his for doing his business. That first poop Vince made inside, I took outside to the spot I wanted him to use.

Until a puppy is up-to-date on vaccinations, your vet will recommend that you not introduce your puppy to areas where other puppies or dogs may be. Each owner will have to figure out what works best for their house and yard situation. Where the schedule suggests a walk, that does not have to mean walking the neighborhood. We took a few laps around our own yard.

House Training Schedule

Mid-morning – puppy wakes from his nap, goes outside for potty command. Bring him inside for supervised play

Lunch – before eating, puppy goes outside for a walk and to eliminate. Come inside, feed the puppy lunch, and play then to the crate to rest.

Mid-afternoon – puppy wakes from his nap, goes outside for potty command. Come inside for supervised play in a playpen or a cornered off area. Puppy can go to crate for a little rest before evening walk.

Dinner – puppy goes outside for a walk and to eliminate. Come inside, feed the puppy and then a little playtime before resting a bit for the night.

Mid-evening – puppy wakes from evening nap and goes outside to eliminate. Come inside and play with your puppy, which may include working on other training commands. After this outside break, you’ll want to remove access to water.

Bedtime – before the owner retires to bed, take the puppy out for a walk and potty command.

Middle of the night – a 8- to 12-week old puppy may need to get up once or twice through the night to eliminate. It is best to wake up, take the puppy outside, give the potty command, reward, come inside, and return to crate. Do not introduce playtime for this is only an all-business wake up.

If you’re able to keep this consistent schedule for about 7 days, you should have a house-trained French Bulldog by the end of the week.

House Train a French Bulldog in a week |

Additional Tips on House Training

A puppy who is 8 to 12 weeks old may only be able to go 2-3 hours without a break outside.

If you spend time outside playing with your puppy who can eliminate whenever, keep in mind that you may have a puppy who gets confused when playing inside and will do the same.  If the puppy eliminates inside, get the puppy’s attention and take him outside immediately. These situations should not result in punishment. Additionally, you can keep an eye on playing inside and after about 15-20 minutes, take the puppy outside for an elimination break.

If your puppy eliminates inside, be sure to use an enzyme destroyer so the puppy is not inclined to use that spot again.

Good Luck!

If this seems like a lot, it is! If this seems like too much to handle, you may not be ready to house train a puppy or rescue an adult French Bulldog who was not previously house trained.

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House Train a French Bulldog in a week |

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8 Comment

  1. Reply
    January 23, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    I have a 15 week old Frenchie, who I have been trying very hard to house break. I follow the crate schedule and after eating. When I take him outside he always eliminates out there, however when I bring him back in for playtime with myself or our other dog he will go in the house again, even as I am looking at him. I just don’t know what else to do. And yes I use an enzyme cleaner every time

    1. Reply
      January 24, 2022 at 1:07 am

      Hey Nancy! If you don’t think it’s health related, like he’s not going one minute after being outside it is probably just he is a 15-week old puppy and he’s learning bladder control but playtime is very stimulating and exciting! Keep cleaning up with enzyme cleaner and give him a couple more weeks, I bet he will stop having as many indoor accidents.

  2. Reply
    January 15, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Our Frenchie is 3 months old. We tried to get him to go outside but it is winter in PA, and he just stands outside shivering. We have a coat for him. So we have given up and put puppy pads in his pen. We have only used the crate at night. I know we are doing it all wrong, but I am not sure what to do. Do we keep trying outside?

    1. Reply
      January 18, 2022 at 3:51 am

      You’re not doing it all wrong! It only takes a couple of days for them to realize the place you want them to eliminate is outside, so despite the cold I would keep taking him outside in his jacket – give the command and big praise and treat when he goes. The issue with potty pads is they truly don’t know the difference between that pad or your yoga mat or area rug.

  3. Reply
    Kim Gray
    August 4, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    What is your suggestion on the kind of food to feed my Frenchie to lessen or eliminate flatulence? I loved your training ideas. How can I stop her from jumping up on people? Kim

  4. Reply
    esther morgan
    January 11, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks alot my puppy hates crates so badly

    1. Reply
      Marlene Zanstra
      January 1, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      I have a 12 week old frenchy, she goes on the pad, but only because It has been raining so hard. Any suggestions

      1. Reply
        January 3, 2021 at 6:18 pm

        I never used puppy pads but I think it’s too confusing for the dog to know this square is okay but that square (rug, blanket) is not okay. I took Vince out in the rain every time, because it rains a lot where were live and he needed to hear and feel it to not be afraid. Put on jacket, get a unbrella and take her out in the rain and then make a big deal when she goes outside, she’ll see you’re so happy with her she’ll want to continue to please you!

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