How To Potty Train A Boxer Puppy

Boxers are great learners and can be easily house trained, as long as you anticipate their needs and establish a consistent routine.

Most importantly, don’t expect your puppy to hold his bladder for more than an hour or two at first. He just can’t.

No dog wants to sully his own living space so, as long as you give him enough opportunities to pee and poop in the right place, he will take that option.

There’ll be a few accidents, but make sure you never scold your dog for this. He’s not doing it to be naughty. He’s learning and he’ll get it right soon.

Basic House Training For A Boxer Pup

In his 1939 bible of the breed, The Boxer, John Wagner writes that “Boxer puppies are notoriously easy to housebreak.”

When toilet training your puppy, follow these simple steps:

  1. Decide where you want your puppy to go potty and always take him to that same spot
  2. Choose a command like “Do a wee!” or “Do your business!” and say it in a bright, expectant tone every time you take your pup to go potty, repeating it when he actually produces a pee or poop to help cement the connection in his mind
  3. Plonk your pup in the designated spot frequently — straight after every meal, drink, nap and play session. Also pop him there after any excitement (like someone arriving home), first thing in the morning, last thing at night and every hour or two during the day. Think of peeing as punctuation. Your pup will mark the start and end of every activity with a pee
  4. Praise your pup lavishly every time he pees or poops in the right spot. In the very beginning, give a treat as a reward too, to accelerate the process
  5. Never punish your pup if he goes in the wrong place. Simply pick him up and deliver him to the right spot and say the command, “Do a wee!” — and praise if it happens. If not, just be more vigilant next time so you can get him to the right spot before he needs to go, not after the fact.

How Often Does A Boxer Puppy Need To Pee?

All the time!

Some people have formulas for how long a puppy can hold his bladder, adding 1 hour for every month of age. By this theory, an eight-week-old puppy needs to pee every two hours, a 12-week-old puppy needs to pee every three hours, and so on.

There’s no hard and fast rule, but you get the principle: the older a puppy gets, the more control he’ll have of his bladder and the longer he’ll be able to go between bathroom breaks. Just like a human child.

He’ll also get better at knowing the signs in his own body and more able to communicate his needs to you. At the same time, YOU will get better at reading your Boxer’s body language and anticipating his needs.

Obviously if it’s hot and he drinks more water, that will translate into needing to go sooner. Be adaptable.

Pay attention to your pup’s water intake and make sure you’re giving him the chance to pee before he actually needs to desperately go. Better to offer a toilet break too soon than too late.

Set your watch for every hour and a half to two hours if you’re likely to forget.

Don’t wake your puppy up to pee though. Unless you’re about to go out or it’s last thing at night and this will be his last chance to go for a while. Otherwise, let sleeping dogs lie!

What To Do When Your Boxer Puppy Has An Accident

Opinions differ on how to handle it when your Boxer pup pees in the wrong spot.

There’s no consensus on whether you should pick up your pup mid-pee and deliver him to the correct spot.

Some think this interference could give a puppy some anxiety around peeing. They say you should let him finish and then take him to the right spot.

Others reckon it’s worth catching the mistake as it happens so you can redirect in the moment.

Decide on what you think is most appropriate for your pup’s temperament and judging by his reactions.

What works for a confident pup might be counterproductive for a more timid character.

Always be willing to recalibrate and change your approach to suit your particular Boxer’s needs.

Never Scold

What you definitely must not do is get angry with your pup or punish him for having a toileting accident.

This is a normal part of the process.

Just clean it up and learn from it about how to do things differently next time.

If You Come Home To Pee On The Floor

It’s especially pointless to react to a toileting accident that’s already happened.

Your puppy won’t be able to make the connection between something that happened an hour ago while you were out and your displeasure upon discovering the puddle on the floor right now.

Clean it up and move on.

Reevaluate Your Approach

You want to make sure your pup is succeeding more than he’s failing.

If he’s not, take another look at what you’re doing and make a few tweaks.

You might:

  • Offer him the chance to pee more often, so he doesn’t get the chance to have an accident
  • If you’re not already, use treats to reward him for going in the right place. This will motivate him to get it right
  • Confine your pup to a smaller area so you can supervise him better and prevent him wandering off and having accidents in other parts of the house when you’re not looking. You can close doors or use baby gates or pens
  • Use puppy pads if outside is too far away for a small puppy bladder

How To Use Pee Pads

Pee pads are essential if you’re bringing up a Boxer puppy in an apartment or anywhere that it takes more than 30 seconds to get outside.

Your pup simply won’t be able to hold it long enough to allow for the time it takes between deciding he needs to go and you getting the two of you into the lift and downstairs, through the lobby and out onto the sidewalk etc.

Start by covering quite a large area with the pee pads, so there’s a lot of room for error. You might put down four to six big squares.

As the weeks pass and your pup is consistently going on the pee pads, you can gradually reduce the area.

Take away one pee pad at a time as he learns to cope with a smaller and smaller target.

Stay at each size area for a week or so before reducing again.

Only increase the degree of difficulty once your pup has mastered the previous size potty zone.

If accidents increase, go back a step.

Always pick up and dispose of the pads once they’ve been used.

Your dog will not want to walk on soiled pee pads.

If you’re forcing him to, that could be the cause of accidents.

How To Transition To Peeing Only Outside

Eventually your dog will begin choosing to wait until he can pee outside instead of on the pee pads.

This is much more fun because then he gets to leave his scent on the fire hydrant or the trash can.

However, if you’re living in an house and you do have a backyard that you want to transition to using, you can gradually move the pee pads closer to the door.

Only move them an inch at a time and leave them there for a few days so it doesn’t confuse your pup.

Finally the pee pads will be right inside the door.

From there it’s only a tiny step to make it completely outside before peeing.

Once you’ve graduated to outdoors, take the same approach in the yard as you did inside. If you want your Boxer to always potty in one spot, decide in advance and always take him there, and reward for successful execution.

Pee Pads Throughout Life

You will never regret having taught your dog to use pee pads.

You can bring them back into play to make life easier if your dog is ever sick, injured or otherwise immobilized and unable to make the trip outside.

Keep some in a cupboard for emergencies.

Pee Off Products

Avoid the various products sold as deterrents to peeing.

They are unnecessary and all contain chemicals you don’t want your pup breathing in.

Simply clean with warm soapy water or a homemade spray of vinegar, or vinegar and citrus. This is much safer for your Boxer.

The only product you might need to buy for toilet training is a box of pee pads.

Nighttimes

Your pup’s metabolism slows at night once he settles down for a long sleep.

This means he’ll need to pee a lot less overnight than during the day when he’s more awake and active.

Some trainers advise to withhold water from a puppy late at night to avoid accidents. However, you must always consider your dog’s health needs above his training needs. It’s best to always have fresh, clean water freely available to your dog, regardless of his age.

A toilet break last thing at night and very first thing in the early morning should do the trick.

How Long Does It Take To House Break A Boxer Puppy?

How long house breaking takes depends largely on how much time you have to devote to it and how diligent you can be.

Most puppies will understand pretty quickly if you’re able to be with them basically 24/7 for the first week or so, or if you’re at least not leaving them alone for stretches longer than a few hours.

If things are chaotic and your pup gets forgotten in the life of the household, he will get confused and it will show up in his potty training.

If there’s a clear, regular routine, things will fall into place more quickly.

Even the fastest trained pups though will still have accidents during the first six months or so.

They are guaranteed to have accidents if you leave them for too long without a toilet break.

While your puppy is young you may well need to get up a little earlier.

If he wakes up before you and is left to his own devices he’ll struggle to get it right in the beginning.

So, put in the time initially, be mindful of your dog’s needs and your Boxer — and your floors — will thank you.

While you’re in the learning phase it’s smart to close off parts of the house that are carpeted (if you can) so that there’s no damage or staining.

Tiles, linoleum, vinyl and most floorboards can be easily wiped and mopped.

Boxer puppy pees on grass during potty training

Other Things To Know About Your Boxer’s Pee And Poop

As a dog owner, you will become an aficionado in dog pee and poop.

And with good reason — it’s a barometer of your dog’s health.

Potty time will either assure you all is well, or alert you to something going on with your dog’s body.

UTIs

A change in peeing habits is generally regarded as one of the earliest signs of a UTI, or urinary tract infection. If your dog is needing to pee urgently that’s a red flag, as is needing to go much more often than usual, or straining but nothing coming out.

Blood in the urine or a slight pink tinge is also a classic sign of UTI, but can also be caused by irritation/inflammation from toxins as they’re excreted, as opposed to “infection” as such.

Pain on urination is clearly something to pay attention to.

To avoid UTIs, make sure your dog always has the chance to empty his bladder frequently — regardless of his age.

The longer urine sits in the bladder, the more likely it is to cause problems.

Constant flushing out of the bladder helps avoid irritation of the tissues or any accumulation of bacteria.

An effective first response to UTI symptoms in an adult Boxer is to temporarily avoid meat and feed a day or two of fruits to hydrate and flush the kidneys and urinary tract.

Fasting can also accelerate healing of all kinds.

If it’s Friday and you have a vet appointment on Monday, try these strategies in the meantime and the symptoms may well resolve over the weekend.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is not uncommon in dogs.

It is defined not only by liquid poop but by an urgent need to go, and often the need to go many times.

Providing your dog is otherwise acting normally, and still drinking water, it’s not reason to panic.

Diarrhea is the body’s mechanism for rapidly ridding the gut of its contents.

So the last thing you want to do for a dog with diarrhea is feed him. That just counteracts what the body is trying to do.

Fast an adult dog for 24 hours at least — ideally for 24 hours once the diarrhea has stopped.

This will give the gut time to rest and clear whatever has caused the upset.

Marking In Male Boxers

It is normal for male Boxers to pee on things around the neighborhood as a way of marking their territory.

This usually doesn’t start until a Boxer reaches around 18 months of age.

Reading the “pee mail” is a source of pleasure for most dogs and particularly so for males, and double again for unneutered males.

When dogs sniff a scent they are reading a whole story. They can tell all sorts of things about the dog who left the mark — age, health status, whether the female is in heat, how long ago they were there.

However, it is not normal behavior for a male dog to mark inside the house.

If this is happening with your adult male Boxer, it’s time for a considered evaluation of what might be going on for your dog psychologically that he feels the need to do this.

Why Doesn’t My Male Boxer Lift His Leg To Pee?

Male Boxers generally start to lift their leg to pee around 18 months to two years of age.

They will often continue to squat to pee throughout their lives.

Whether a male squats or lifts his leg at any given moment tends to depend on what exactly he is trying to pee on and whether he’s trying to scent mark or just purely relieving himself.

When An Older Boxer Starts Peeing In The House

If a previously house trained Boxer starts having accidents inside the house it’s usually an indication of:

  • ageing
  • a health issue, or possibly
  • a psychological disturbance.

Female dogs — even quite young ones — can suffer from “spay incontinence”. This is caused by of lack of muscle tone in the urethral sphincter due to the removal of the estrogen-producing ovaries.

Medication like the steroid prednisone can also cause urine leakage. Often this happens while the dog is asleep and totally unaware.

There are nappies designed for dogs, complete with holes for the tail, that can help.

These are also good for managing female heat cycles.

Conclusion

Potty training begins the moment you bring your Boxer puppy home.

As long as you keep in mind that your puppy will need to pee every few hours and don’t ask him to hold it longer, you should have it down pat within a few weeks to a month.

Puppy pads are your friend, especially if you live in an apartment.

Patience, and a sense of humor, is essential.

You might need to be a little less precious about the cleanliness of your home. But — welcome to having a dog. We all know it’s worth it.

Expect occasional accidents during the first six months and possibly until your dog is as much as one year old.

A lot will depend on how consistent you are in your approach, and how attentive.

Before you know it, your Boxer will be peeing and pooping like a pro.

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