Puppies pee. A lot. But how much is too much? If you find yourself cleaning up after your brand new, absolutely adorable puppy (lucky she’s so adorable!) far too often, how do you know that this is normal? We’re here to help you figure out if there’s a problem and how to best deal with it.
Puppies and Pee
When you think about puppies, usually the first thing that probably springs to mind is a ball of fluffy cuteness. But the reality also includes lots of mess. Lots.
So, yes, puppies pee quite a lot, but why exactly is this?
First of all, puppies have pretty tiny bladders, and it’s much more difficult for them to hold it in. Particularly when they haven’t actually learned the rules of peeing outside yet. Puppies just pee when they have the urge as they just don’t have that kind of control yet, and they don’t understand your rules.
Puppies typically start urine marking their territory when they are about 3 months old. It essentially acts as a message to other dogs, so it doesn’t usually happen inside the house, but puppies are still learning. Urine marking is usually found on vertical surfaces but does sometimes occur on the floor.
Excitement and Submissiveness
Puppies will sometimes pee when they are super excited and happy. They might pee during playtime or when you walk in the door after being away for part of the day. It could also be a submissive gesture, which can occur when you’re saying hello or by just approaching them.
- You might also like: 10 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Excitement or Submissive Peeing
Stress and Anxiety
Submissive urination is a part of this category as well. When being scolded (a daily occurrence with a puppy) or if there are loud noises (thunderstorms or sirens), it can create anxiety in the puppy, who might piddle out of fear.
Anxiety can also occur through separation anxiety. A new puppy becomes very attached to her owner quite quickly, and if left alone, she might pee from the stress of separation.
How Much is Normal?
Okay, so we’ve established that puppies do pee a lot but how much is normal? Generally speaking, puppies under 6 months old need to be taken outside to urinate about once every hour. The general rule of thumb is that a puppy can control her bladder for one hour in relation to how many months old she is (so a 3-month-old puppy can hold it for about 3 hours, etc.).
However, after drinking a lot of water, most puppies will need to urinate approximately 10 to 30 minutes afterward.
So, all of this is considered normal urination behavior in most puppies, but if your 6-month-old puppy is peeing every 1–2 hours, there could be something wrong.
Possible Medical Issues
If you’re concerned about how often your puppy seems to urinate, then bring him to the vet to help rule out any medical problems. They will need to run a variety of tests that will include a urinalysis and possibly x-rays and blood work.
Some of the medical issues that might contribute to frequent urination can include:
All of these medical conditions require a vet’s assistance as they can be very painful and potentially life-threatening for your puppy.
Possible Behavioral Problems
If medical issues are ruled out, you’re potentially looking at a behavioral problem.
While a certain amount of anxiety and fear can be expected from most puppies, you also want to ensure it doesn’t turn into a lifelong condition. Nervous peeing every time your pup gets stressed is something you’ll want to work on.
Start by providing your puppy with lots of socialization and exercise. The more she is introduced to new people, dogs, and places, the less she will feel anxious about new situations. Taking her to puppy obedience classes is a great first step.
You should also provide your puppy with a place where she can feel safe and secure. This could be her dog crate with a cover or something like a cave bed. If you hear a thunderstorm coming on, your pup could go to her safe spot and feel a little less anxious and hopefully won’t urinate.
Lastly, you might need to take on a dog behaviorist or trainer if you suspect your puppy’s nervous nature isn’t going away anytime soon. They can help you figure out ways to make your dog feel more secure.
As your puppy’s owner, it’s up to you to ensure you’re giving her the best training methods. Positive and consistent housebreaking training will help your puppy to learn to do her business outside. This also means you should develop a training schedule, which will help your puppy have a consistent and stable routine.
If your puppy has just had a nice long drink of water, you need to take her outside about half an hour later. And then, for the rest of the day, follow the dog’s age in the months to hours rule mentioned earlier.
However, do not take your puppy out too frequently. If you take her outside every 10 to 15 minutes, she won’t be able to connect urinating with specific activities, or if she doesn’t have the urge to go.
Looking for Attention
Some puppies might just pee to get your attention. It doesn’t matter if the attention is negative—any attention is better than no attention at all! You can fix this by giving your puppy lots of your time and focus. This should include exercise and playtime. Take your puppy to the park so she can make new friends and get her exercise in for the day.
You should also ensure that she has plenty of toys that work best for her breed. For example, if she’s a retriever or has retriever blood, she’ll respond well to playing fetch, or a terrier will appreciate a good tug toy.
Some Extra Suggestions
We’ve already given a few suggestions in relation to certain behavioral issues, but we’ll go over some other tips as long as the urinating problem isn’t medical in nature.
Other than using a regular schedule to get your puppy accustomed to peeing at designated times, you’ll want to provide a consistent area for your puppy to urinate in. Try to find a specific spot in your yard so your puppy will associate urinating with that part of your yard.
Your puppy should have access to lots of fresh water but not 24 hours a day. Once your puppy stops drinking, take the bowl away. Again, you’ll want to set up a schedule for when your puppy has water, and keep in mind that your puppy needs about ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound she weighs.
So, for example, if your puppy is 20 pounds, she will need about 10 to 20 ounces of water each day (1¼ cups to 2½ cups). Just spread out the water throughout the day, and don’t give her water at least 2½ hours before bed.
If you leave the water bowl out at all times, she will drink far more than what she needs, which, of course, will lead to a lot of pee.
Most puppies might be able to go as long as 7 hours before they need to pee, so you will need to organize your own sleep cycle to sync up with your puppy’s. If your puppy is still quite young, it will take some time for her bladder to develop the proper muscle control, so she might need to go out in the middle of the night.
Don’t make a fuss—just take her out, praise her when she urinates and bring her back in so you can both go back to sleep. Most definitely do not engage in any kind of play with her.
Excited to See You
If your puppy tends to pee when you get home, or even first thing in the morning when you get up, try to get her outside as quickly as possible. You can try to not make a fuss over your puppy, essentially be as blasé as possible, and she’ll eventually not place quite as much importance upon your appearance.
You should keep an eye on your puppy when you see her urinate. Was there anything leading up to the event that might have triggered it? If you can’t determine a specific pattern, it could be behavioral, and you’ll need to ramp up the training. Again, this is when your vet has confirmed that it is not a medical problem.
Crate training is an excellent method that can aid in housebreaking. Puppies don’t like to urinate or defecate near where they sleep, so if you place your puppy in the crate when you aren’t able to directly supervise her, she’s much less likely to pee.
You can also use a belly band for male puppies or diapers for males or females, as well as pee pads. These should be more of a last resort as the goal is to have your puppy associate going outside with urinating. These devices can sometimes create a confusing scenario for your puppy.
Be sure to use the right products to clean up the mess. Using a black light in addition to using products like this can help reduce the scent of the urine as your puppy might be drawn to the smell and thinks it’s where she’s supposed to go.
Lastly, if you take your puppy out and she pees the moment you step inside, you might need to extend the length of time you have her outside. This way, she might not be able to wait, and it gives her more time to eliminate before heading back inside.
Stick with the training, create a schedule, and be sure to spend lots of quality time with your new puppy. Don’t forget that puppies absolutely do not pee out of some kind of spite, even if it feels that way. They are still learning how to be a dog!
So, hopefully, you’ve figured out the problem and the next step is to show your puppy lots of love and patience while you go through this rather challenging aspect of puppy ownership. It’s lucky they are so cute!
Featured Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock