Basenji Potty Training – Are Basenjis Easy to Potty Train?

Having a new Basenji puppy or a full-grown one for that matter has to be one of the most exciting things that you can experience. Are Basenjis easy to potty train though? We’ll explore that in this article.

Basenjis are generally known to be harder to train than most dogs. This is, more or less, the case when training them to potty. Where it’s a puppy or older dog that you are retraining, Basenjis can be potty trained but you will need to be a bit patient with them.

Housebreaking your Basenji will be one of many challenging feats you will have to conquer if you have a Basenji. Even though they are generally harder to train than most dog breeds, the process of training them to potty is, more or less, the same.

A red and white Basenji wearing a snow coat.
A red and white Basenji wearing a snow coat.

You will just need to expect a bit more resistance with Basenjis than with other dog breeds. In light of that, you must also realize that individual Basenjis possess different personalities. The results you get with each one will vary from another.

There are general behavioural traits that you can expect from Basenjis but these are not set in stone. Study your own B and take action based solely on that individuality. Just like human beings, some Basenjis will be more temperamental than others.

When Can You Start Potty Training Your Basenji?

If you have a Basenji pup, you can begin the potty training process as early as 6 weeks old. The generally accepted stage where you can start potty training them is 8 weeks. This is because they would have most likely completed the weaning process.

Potty training will require that they be separated from their mothers at times and the 7 to 8-week mark is where this can be done without any issues from either the mother or the puppies.

Some are led to believe that training them at 6 weeks won’t work because they won’t have developed the necessary mental capacity for learning complex commands. This may be true for some bigger dog breeds but Basenjis are quite intelligent dogs.

Are Basenjis Esy to Potty Train

If you recently got an older Basenji that’s not housebroken, the steps you implement will generally be the same as with a younger puppy. The difference is……well, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (insert goofy laugh here).

It’s not necessarily that you can’t teach them new tricks as it is that you need to be that extra bit more patient with them because you are dealing with long seated behavior patterns. These will take a bit more time and effort to overcome in older dogs.

How to Potty Train Your Basenji

When you are potty training your Basenji pup, start off by taking them out 5 to 15 minutes after mealtime. This is the time period in which they usually go after meals or taking a drink. They will usually go about 2 hours after that as well.

A full grown Black and White Basenji sits on the grass
A full grown Black and White Basenji sits on the grass

Puppies generally tend to nap a lot, much like human babies. You will need to take them out to potty after every nap. Take them out at regular 2-hour intervals until they establish a routine of going out to potty.

When dealing with larger Basenjis which are not housebroken or have relapsed, you need to follow pretty much the same pattern. As stated before, you will need to show more patience with older dogs than puppies.

If it’s a relapse, they may be dealing with psychological or health issues so you may need to contact your vet or a behavioural expert to take a closer look at them. Only do this though, after you have tried and not succeeded with regular training methods.

Are Puppy Pads a Good Idea?

If you live on the upper floor of a tall apartment building or your living conditions makes it difficult for you to take your Basenji out to potty on a regular basis, you may consider using puppy pads If you don’t know what these are, they are basically disposable pads which you can place in specific spots in the house and your B can potty there.

Puppy pads are treated with a coating that attracts your Basenji so that they want to potty there. They can also be used in situations where your dog is ill and cannot go outside or is too old to do so regularly. This is common for dogs with arthritis.

Puppy pads should be used in the most necessary situations in our opinion. They should never be used as the primary option when it comes to potty training. They should never be used as a stop-gap either if you want to potty train your Basenji later on. You are only setting yourself up for failure if you do that.

training a tricolor Basenji puppy
In the process of training a tricolor Basenji puppy

Never Punish Your Basenji When Potty Training

Never punish your puppy or full-grown Basenji whenever they go inside the house. Whenever this happens, take them outside then clean up the mess. Punishing them whenever they have an accident is retrogressive. It will only put them on edge and dogs that are on edge cannot learn anything.

In the case of a full-grown B, you don’t want to have a situation where you make any acquired psychological issues worse by punishing them. The best thing you can do is be the adult that you are and exercise loving patience as you get your Basenji to a place where they are fully potty trained.

While we are on the issue of patience, be prepared for relapse. You may have them trained for a while then they have a relapse further down the road.  When this happens, simply get back on the horse and start the training all over again. They’ll eventually get the hang of it.


When it comes to any kind of training, Basenjis are not the easiest dogs to deal with. They are just blessed with a higher level of intelligence which makes them analyze the situation first to see whether it is to their benefit that they comply or not. You will have to be that extra bit more patient with them.

More Reading:
Are Basenjis Good with Other Dogs
Do Basenji Dogs Smell – The Good, The Bad & The Awful
Are Basenjis Dangerous – Are They Aggressive Dogs?
Are Basenjis Good with Babies