Let’s face it, housebreaking is one of the least glamorous realities of adopting a dog. But every dog, no matter its intelligence level or temperament, must be taught not to do its business indoors. Luckily for prospective dog owners who don’t want to clean up messes constantly, some dog breeds are easier to train than others.
If the description above applies to you, consider following along as we introduce and discuss the easiest dogs to potty train.
Your Job as a Potential Dog Owner
All dog parents must first accept that you have as much to do with your dog’s potty training success as it does. It’s impossible to know how every individual dog will respond to training, and no dog, no matter the breed, is magically born potty trained—that part is up to you.
But don’t worry, there are a few ways to figure out if a dog will be easy to train:
- They’ve had previous experience living in a home environment.
- They’re eager to spend time with you.
- They’re receptive to instructions.
- They’re intelligent.
In addition to these tips, it’s essential to consider if a dog would feel comfortable in your home. For example, you could buy the most obedient breed in the world, but if you don’t have the proper environment to raise them in, there is no telling how their training will go. Dogs need more than just a place to use the bathroom.
They need a home where they can be themselves.
Easiest Breeds to Potty Train
Different dog breeds have different reputations. Even though dogs of the same breed can take different amounts of time to be fully potty trained, taking a dog’s breed into consideration is essential when looking for a furry companion who can be taught not to do their business on the carpet.
So, here is a list of the 16 dog breeds that won’t drive you crazy with their refusal to go to the bathroom anywhere other than beneath your dining room table.
Irish Water Spaniel
Classified as “working dogs,” Irish Water Spaniels are intelligent, obedient, and eager to please. “Working Dogs” is a classification assigned to dog breeds originally bred to perform tasks such as pulling carts and sleds, and herding and protecting livestock, making it easy to potty train them using a rewards-based system.
Portuguese Water Dogs
Originally bred to be a fisherman’s companion, the Portuguese Water Dog is an athletic, intelligent, and easily biddable medium-sized dog. They are quick to trust and respond well to commands. Potty training them is easy for an owner who takes the time to connect with them and make them feel safe.
These dogs are overly-friendly and take well to strangers but they do not do as well with other dogs. However, this stubborn streak is easily broken with positive reinforcement, making them one of the dog breeds most receptive to potty training.
Originally bred to be herders, Border Collies are intelligent dogs that quickly recognize patterns, making them susceptible to suggestion. As such, they are easily potty trained by creating designated spaces outside where they are allowed to use the restroom.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, beautiful dogs that are extremely affectionate. This kind disposition makes them naturally inclined to obey orders. Additionally, they are extremely clever, and once praised for using the bathroom outside, they will quickly learn to repeat the action to make their owners happy.
A versatile “working dog,” the Australian Shepherd was originally bred to herd sheep but is now a common competitor in agility trials at dog sports competitions. They are strong-willed but are also eager to learn, so framing potty training as a challenge that they must solve will make it a quick affair.
Not only are German Shepherds extremely intelligent, but they are also very adept at retaining information. Their long-term memory makes them one of the easiest dogs to potty train, as they will remember when and where their owners want them to use the restroom. However, it is important to remember that they are strong-willed dogs.
Irish Red and White Setter
What makes Irish Red and White Setters so easy to train is their status as natural “pointers.” “Pointers” are dogs used by hunters to track birds and other game and are good at taking orders. To train an Irish Red and White Setter, their owners must take control and be authoritative without resorting to intimidation.
Newfoundlands are a laid-back dog breed that responds well to affection and positive reinforcement. Their easy disposition makes them eager to please, ensuring that their owners will have an easy time training them to respond to orders as well as creating positive bathroom habits.
Doberman Pinschers are intelligent dogs that have a knack for retaining information. This makes them easy to train using treats, positive reinforcement, and structured schedules. They are also well-mannered dogs that live to please their owners and connect with other dogs.
Regarded as “America’s Favorite Dog,” Labrador Retrievers were originally bred as “working dogs” and have a mild disposition and an innate work ethic. This, and the ease with which they interact with people and other dogs, makes them very responsive to training of all types.
Another “working dog,” Icelandic Sheepdogs are great with children. Their easy disposition and eagerness to please make them easy to train, and their intelligence and ability to retain information ensure that their training will stick. They are also hard-working dogs, who respond best to positive reinforcement.
Small dogs often have issues holding their bladders, but once trained, Boston Terriers will very rarely go to the restroom inside. They are hyper-intelligent dogs, making it easy for them to retain information, and while they can be willful, making it harder to train them, they respond very well to patience and a firm hand.
Beautiful, intelligent dogs, Standard Poodles are adept at taking orders. They respond well to structured routines, and once introduced to a specific bathroom regimen—they will stick to it. An owner with patience and a firm hand will love this breed.
Norwegian Elkhounds are bold, protective dogs that make for excellent companions. Their intelligence makes them well suited for learning and retaining commands, as does their eagerness to please. An owner will have to deal with their high energy and the frequency with which they shed.
Naturally clean, Shiba Inus respond extremely well to potty training. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t require the same care and attention to detail as other breeds. Keeping them on a consistent schedule that works with their natural tendencies will make potty training an easy yet patient process.
Potty Training Your Dog
Picking a breed that’s easy to train is only half the battle. Once you’ve brought your dog home, you need to put in the work to ensure that they understand where and when to use the restroom.
When training a dog, consistency is key. Taking them for walks, dedicating time for them to eat, and having them use the bathroom at the same time every day creates a system that is easy for them to follow. Over time, this routine will become a habit and they’ll begin to keep track of the bathroom schedule on their own.
Have a Designated Bathroom Spot
Like people, dogs are creatures of habit. Not only is it important to have them on a consistent bathroom schedule, but it also helps to have them use the same spot outside every day. This creates an association with outside and the need to go to the bathroom, and, as time progresses, they will eventually stop trying to go to the bathroom anywhere else.
Tailor Your Methods
Dogs breeds are not a monolith. While we can use intelligence and personality to narrow down which breeds are easiest to train, they all respond differently to various types of training. Some respond better to positive reinforcement, and others need a firmer—yet still gentle—hand.
Doing your research to figure out which type of training your dog needs is key.
Have the Right Equipment
Everything, including potty training your dog, is easier when you have the right gear for the job. Crates are a popular dog training tool because dogs are animals that don’t like to do their business in the place where they sleep. It teaches them to associate different areas with different functions like sleeping, eating, and using the restroom.
Trust the Process
Potty training, no matter the breed, is something that takes time. Picking the right dog, and doing all the right things is sure to speed the process, but there are bound to be setbacks. The best thing you can do as a dog parent is take a deep breath and remember that you and your dog are in this together.