How To Potty Train A Bernedoodle Ultimate Guide

Bernedoodles are loveable and friendly puppies. They can also be very playful! It can be incredibly cute and exciting to have a new non-shedding Bernedoodle puppy. 

One trouble that new Bernedoodle owners sometimes have is with toilet training. Getting a Bernedoodle house trained does not require complex training, but does take repetition and consistency.

See below for detailed tips on how to potty train a Bernedoodle puppy.

how to potty train a bernedoodle puppy
Modified from CC-by-SA Shelby on Flickr

Why Potty Training A Bernedoodle Early is Important

Setting ground rules is very important for a new puppy. The playful bernedoodle puppy often thinks that you are a littermate rather than a leader of the pack. 

Learning and implementing the correct Bernedoodle potty training early can make becoming fully house trained much easier.

Just like other Poodle Mix breeds, Bernedoodles are very smart dogs. They are intelligent, and will try to outsmart you. Discipline is as important as affection.

The strategies used to teach house training to a puppy will also help set the family dynamic. It will make it easier to advance your Bernedoodles training.

Bernedoodle Potty Training

The key elements of house training a Poodle Mix puppy are patience, and consistency. Your arsenal is consistent messaging and positive reinforcement. More on this below.

House training a Bernedoodle can be a relatively simple task. You will not see overnight results. It is important to remember that all dogs are different and even within each species some puppies will be easier to train than others.

Poodle mix crossbreeds inherit physical and behavioural traits from both parents. Bernedoodles are a mix breed of purebred Poodle and the giant Bernese Mountain Dog. An interesting trait of the Bernese Mountain Dog is that they are strong willed. 

This roughly translates to stubborn. This can mean that potty training a Bernedoodle may be more difficult than training a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle

A Bernedoodle Puppy LOVING the snow! They inherit the love for the cold form the Bernese Mountain Dog – a breed originating in the Swiss mountains. Photo Bernedoodle Dog [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

How To Potty Train A Bernedoodle: 5 Tips

The process of potty training a puppy requires consistency and an understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

Tip 1) Start Early – Even From The First Day Puppy Comes Home

Starting sooner rather than later will result in the easiest house training for your Bernedoodle.

There are two reasons that we begin potty training Bernedoodle puppies as soon as they arrive at your home.

The first reason is to begin to establish boundaries and expectations. Any delay on establishing boundaries means reinforcing them late rid much more difficult. It is not impossible for a Bernedoodle to unlearn bad habits – but it is much easier to avoid this scenario. Fix problems before they even happen.

The second reason that immediately beginning training is useful is due to ENZYMES.

When a dog messes (either urine or poo) in the house we clean it thoroughly. However enzymes and smells are left behind that we cannot detect. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and will identify these odours even if we cannot.

Trainer Tip: The ONLY way to clean urine and poop completely while potty training is to use an enzymatic cleaner. Only a enzymatic cleaner will break down the smell and prevent the dog from returning to the spot and messing again. Enzymatic cleaners are worth every cent as a training tool, and can be used safely on almost all surfaces.

Once a dog messes in an area, there is an extremely high chance it will return to the same spot to mess again. Once it pees or poos in a spot, the smells (that humans can’t recognise) persist. This signals to the puppy that this is the toilet area. Getting in early and stopping your home from becoming a big toilet smelling area will save you and your Bernedoodle a headache.

Tip 2) Pick the Toilet Spot and Stick With It

It is important to decide where the puppy will toilet and stick with it. A toilet area can be as small as a pee pad or litter box, or as broad as “outside”.

Even if you decide that your dog can pee or poo anywhere outside, it makes sense to designate a particular area outside to begin with, Keep it simple for the Bernedoodle puppy so that it can begin to learn what is expected of it.

One of the reasons that clever dogs like the Bernedoodle pick up toilet training so well is because they are naturally inclined to be trained in this way. World famous dog trainer Cesar Milan says that dogs are programmed to learn this kind of behaviour between 2 months and 5 months of age.

Sadie the Bernedoodle by Chris Michel on Flickr. CC-by-SA 2.0

Tip 3) Bernedoodle Pee When Excited

Bernedoodles may pee a little when they are excited. People often wonder why their Bernedoodle pees itself a little when the owners arrive home.

The answer? Bernedoodle puppies are prone to a little spot urination when extra excited (and happy). This is a Poodle trait that is inherited form the parent breed.

It is common for this to continue even after the Bernedoodle is fully potty trained.

This tend to reduces or disappear completely by the time the dog is a year or older. I have spoken to owners who still deal with a little spot peeing when their fully grown Bernedoodle gets super excited.

Tip Four) Reward Instead of Punish For Fast Effective Training

The vast majority of puppy potty training needs to be a positive experience. We take our Bernedoodle to the correct place to go to toilet and the timeframes discussed below. These will vary for apartments, houses and lifestyle. See below for specific instructions.

When the Bernedoodle puppy goes to the toilet in the correct spot, it is time for two types of reward.

The vocal reward is in an excited voice congratulate the dog on going to the toilet correctly. Use the same phrase to praise the dog each time.

People often say Good Potty! or Good toilet!

You might feel silly saying it – but the repeat phrase said each time is very important.

Secondly, bribe the Bernedoodle with a treat when it toilets int he right place. Good old fashioned food rewards will be a vital part of training. Bernedoodle puppies love treats and the stomach is a pathway to the brain and learning.

do bernedoodles swim
So we know now that Bernedoodles can swim, but to they actually enjoy swimming?

Tip Five: If You Can’t Be There, Crate the Puppy

If you cannot be with your new puppy for any extended period of time, it is important to isolate the puppy in a happy place.

If you are crate training your Bernedoodle, you will learn that the puppy treats the crate as a sacred space that is not to be messed up.

You can return the puppy to the crate for the time you are away (which hopefully is not too long). Do not leave food or water during this brief absence. These can trigger the need to toilet.

A gated or isolated area like a corner of a kitchen or bathroom can be other options to crate a temporary safe space when you cannot be with the puppy.

Do not let the dog free-roam while you are distracted – as you will miss the signs of the dog needing to toilet.

Signs Your Bernedoodle Puppy Needs To Potty

There are two different types of signs to watch out for. Physical signs, and temporal (timing) signs. Both behaviours are integral when figuring out how to potty train a Bernedoodle.

Physically, watch for the following behaviours and take he puppy out to the toilet every time you see these. Be diligent and persistent.

Physical Signs

  • Whining
  • Walking in Circles
  • Sniffing
  • Taking self to a corner or isolated area away from crate or owner

There is a chance the puppy can bark. Not all Bernedoodle puppies will bark to indicate they need to use the bathroom. They often learn this will get your attention when they get older.

Temporal (timing) signs – expect to take your Bernedoodle to potty at each of these time intervals

  • After eating, and after drinking (every time()
  • First thing in the morning
  • Last thing at night
  • After playing with toys
  • After spending time in the crate
  • Straight after waking up from a nap

Don’t miss either the physical time cues. Persistence is everything in how to potty train your Bernedoodle puppy. Each of these cues can trigger a bowel movement or pee – so take the opportunity each and eveytime to educate the puppy about your expectations.

Bernedoodles descend from the giant, majestic, and sometimes very stubborn Bernese Mountain Dog!

This Step Shows You How To Potty Train a Bernedoodle Properly

Now that you understand the physical and time cues, plus have an understanding about the importance of consistency and praise – it is time for the most important step.

The key element of potty training a Bernedoodle is creating a schedule and sticking to it.

We are blessed with intelligent puppies like Bernedoodle crosses. Their brains and nature primes them to learn how to be house trained to suit our modern lifestyle. All the elements are there from an early age. We simply need to create a schedule and stick with it to harness the Bernedoodle’s nature and intelligence to become potty trained.

You need to create a schedule and stick to it. Here are the rules on how to potty train a bernedoodle.

  1. We feed on a schedule. There is no grazing or meals on demand for a puppy you want to housetrain.
    • Set a morning and evening meal, and as close as humanly possible stick to this schedule
    • As per the temporal cue list above – after eating and having water it is time to take your Bernedoodle outside to toilet
  2. Bedtime and Wakeup time
    • Stick closely to the schedule if possible.
    • Take the puppy to the toilet straight after retrieving from the sleep area
    • Similarly take the puppy to toilet prior to bedtime as well (this will eliminate unfortunate accidents in the sacred crate space)
  3. Puppies Nap – this cannot be planned in detail
    • You need to be acutely aware of when the nap is happening though, as immediately afterwards the puppy should be taken out to toilet
  4. Plan regular playtimes as part of the routine
    • Stimulation mentally and exertion physically are both triggers that can lead to toilet time
    • Plan these (to keep your puppy entertained) and then maximise on the opportunity to potty train immediately after
  5. Away for a time? Do this.
    • Try not to let the time you are ware interference with the waking or sleeping time for the puppy.
    • Crate or isolate the puppy (see advice above) without food or water
    • Limit to as few hours as possible
    • Remember to toilet immediately on return

I know, such a strict schedule approach can be inconvenient. However a few weeks of strict adherence is a minor inconvenience once the Bernedoodle is successfully toilet trained.

How to Potty Train a Bernedoodle in an Apartment

Toilet training in an apartment can be trickier than in a home. It is often easier in a home to give the dog fast access to the outside to use the bathroom.

If you need to travel down stairs or an elevator – you will need to be more prepared than most. Routine and schedule is everything for your dog.

You are going to need an indoor dog toilet (or a porch potty). Most apartment dwellers choose to stick with this option permanently so their dog has no distress if left alone in the apartment. Life is unpredictable, having a safe option is a good idea.


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You could go for a cheaper plastic option, order real grass every month or two online, or even build a larger DIY Porch Potty.


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We built a DIY self draining porch potty for our dog and it works a treat! Check out the video. It is self draining, we can wash it with a hose, and our dog loves it!

Having a inside or balcony toilet will make apartment potty training your Bernedoodle MUCH easier.

Here we review 7 DIY or affordable porch or indoor dog toilets to consider.

What To Do If You Catch Your Bernedoodle Peeing or Pooing in the Wrong Place

Accidents do happen. Even a well trained Bernedoodle might make a mistake every now and then. It is important to handles these toilet mistakes appropriately.

Managing these unfortunate events is a vital part of how to potty train a Berendoodle. These tips let you know how to approach the stinky problem.

If you catch your Bernedoodle peeing

Act quickly! Move towards the puppy and pick them up. It’s ok to make some noises but do not terrify the dog. We are alerting the dog that something is not right – not yelling at them.

Pick the dog up and move them to the correct spot that you want them to go to toilet. Take the puppy to the toilet area. Even if they finish before you get there – linger at the toilet for some time with the dog.

If the puppy does finish in the correct spot, reward your Berendoodle with both the vocal praise (pick one phrase and stick with it – see above) and also have some treats handy!

If you catch your Bernedoodle mid-poo

This one is much tougher. If you catch the dog early and the toilet is nearby – you might succeed in moving the dog to the correct location.

Usually this is not feasible. Let it happen, then deal with it. Express disappointment in a measured voice. Use the same word when things are not welcome. A sound or consistent word avoids confusion.

There is no merit in scaring the dog mid-poop. There is little merit for most dogs in yelling at them or showing them their mistake.

Do not make a big deal about cleaning up the mess. Get it sorted and go from there.

It can be frustrating, but look for the temporal and physical signs of pooping next time and try to get ahead of the problem.

Cleaning Up Accidents – Use an Enzymatic Cleaner EVERY Time

The ONLY way to clean urine and poop completely while potty training is to use an enzymatic cleaner. Only a enzymatic cleaner will clean up the hidden smells. When you are trying to figure out how to potty train a Bernedoodle, your first step should be to pick up some cleaning goods. There will be some mess.


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These hidden smells must be broken down by specialist cleaner. If not, the dog will return to the same spot and mess there again.

This is the single most important product to make house training your dog possible.

How To Clean Poo Off Bernedoodle

Sometimes accidents are particularly bad. IF there is a lot of poop to clean off your Bernedoodle, start with a thorough clean using water and dog shampoo.

In these circumstances washing the dog in a sink or shower is typically the best bet. Dwelling in a bath is not a great idea!

If it is a once off then your regular dog shampoo should do the trick. We took a deep dive and thoroughly reviewed the 5 Best Shampoo For Bernedoodles here.

The single best shampoo we found for Bernedoodles was the Nootie Pet Shampoo (specifically the Cherry Blossom scent). It has rave reviews from the Bernedoodle owners (and a groomer!) I spoke to. In our test it washed really effectively and lathered up with not too much shampoo required.

Nootie Pet Shampoo (Japanese Cherry Blossom)
4.9
  • Price
  • Gentle to skin
  • Cleaning Power
  • Fragrance

Summary

The exotic scent of Japanese Cherry Blossom combined with Rosemary stimulates the senses while promoting a healthy soft coat. Rosemary stimulates the hair follicles, resulting in a strong healthy coat.

It is made with natural ingredients and is soap and paraben free. No sulfates or harsh chemicals for gentle cleansing

It’s long lasting fragrance remains on your pet for days. Safe to use along with topical flea & tick products

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Pros

  • Natural Ingredients
  • Paraben free
  • Soap free
  • Safe with flea and tick products

Cons

  • Although cost effective, not the cheapest option
  • Popular scent might not be for all

If you are worried about infection, you can chose to use an antibacterial dog shampoo. You should pick a shampoo that kills the most bacteria, while also protecting and repairing the skin. The single best antibacterial shampoo for Bernedoodles is reviewed in depth here. The properties of this particular shampoo match with the luxurious Bernedoodle coat perfectly. It is reasonably priced for medicated shampoo. Check our review of the best antibacterial dog shampoo.

bernedoodle 101 puppy facts
Beautiful Bernedoodle Puppy with Tri-colour markings! Image used with permission from Chris Michel on twitter.

FAQ About How To Potty Train a Bernedoodle

How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Bernedoodle

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to completely potty train a Bernedoodle. The exact time to train a Bernedoodle will depend on the time you have available to supervise and teach. 

The greater your availability, the sooner the training. If you follow the right steps to potty train your Bernedoodle it will speed up the process. 

You need to remember that some Bernedoodles have a slightly stubborn streak which may extend the timeframe. 

Are Bernedoodles Easy To Housetrain

In general the Bernedoodle is an easy to train dog. Bernedoodles are an incredibly clever breed. They can be potty trained effectively. They are however notoriously stubborn and can provide resistance to puppy training.

They inherit this from the parent breed the Bernese Mountain Dog. Consistency and positive reinforcement are vital. Find out how to potty train a Bernedoodle using treats and mental tricks.

Are Bernedoodles Hard To Housetrain

Bernedoodles can sometimes be difficult to housetrain. With that said, in general the Bernedoodle is a easier to train dog that is receptive to positive praise. They are eager to please and learn – but have a stubborn streak. Many owners and breeders compare the stubborn ‘strong will’ to the Bernese Mountain Dog parent breed.

When To Start Potty Training A Bernedoodle Puppy

The earlier the better! Start training your Bernedoodle puppy from the moment you bring it home. Setting boundaries and expectations early for this extremely intelligent breed will result in the best possible outcome. House breaking a Bernedoodle requires patience, consistency, and postive reinforcement.


Conclusions

Bernedoodles are amazing Poodle cross dogs that can make a perfect new family member. They can be toilet trained effectively if you are disciplined and stick with the plan from early days.

Thinking of getting a Bernedoodle? Take our quiz to see if a Bernedoodle is the right breed for you.

Otherwise you can find out more about Bernedoodles

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