Why Is 12-Week Old Puppy Still Not Potty Trained? (What To Do?)

“If your 12-week-old puppy is still not potty trained, there is nothing to worry about because he is not even supposed to be trained at this age. Instead, it is the time to start his potty training.”

Say, if you got your puppy at 8-weeks old and started potty training him right away and expected that he would be fully potty trained in a few more weeks, you are wrong.

Potty training an 8-week-old puppy is actually just setting good habits, while the right age to consciously start housebreaking a puppy is anywhere around 12-14 weeks.

At this age, a puppy’s brain is expected to be developed by more than 70%, and its muscles are strong enough to start holding it. WebMD recommends starting potty training a puppy between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Things To Know About A 12-Week Old Puppy Before Potty Training Him

So, you’ve got a 12-week-old puppy who is still peeing in the house, and now you know that this is the time to start; here are a few things you should know before starting the training.

1- Should A 12-Week Old Puppy Be Potty Trained?

12 weeks is a perfect age to start potty training your puppy. He should be able to hold his bladder to some extent. By this time, he should understand basic commands like go potty, and he should be able to walk on a leash.

2- How often do puppies pee at 12 weeks?

Your puppy can hold his bladder for one hour for every month of his age.

So a 12-week-old puppy should be able to hold it for 3 hours, ideally but that doesn’t mean that if he peed at 1 p.m., he would suddenly pee at 4 p.m.

3 hours represents an average number that varies from dog to dog and what and how much they have eaten and drunk. 

When you notice and write down the schedule, you will know what your puppy is capable of. 

He may pee after 5-30 minutes of drinking the water, and they will pee every 3-4 hours.

3- How Often And How Much does He Needs Water?

Ideally, you should give your puppy half-one ounce of water per pound of their body weight and split this quantity for every 3-4 hours. 

Whatever the time and quantity you choose, make sure to follow a fixed schedule and stick with it. While making sure to remove his water bowel 2 hours before nighttime sleep. 

(it is best to ask the vet how much water does your puppy needs? He should be able to tell you more precisely according to the breed, weight, and physical condition of the puppy.)

4- How Often Does He Needs To Eat?

A puppy at this age needs at least 3-4 meals a day. 

5- How Often Does He Poop?

Puppies are potty machines, so expect him to poop after every meal and sometimes more than that. 

Again, after noticing his schedule, you should be able to tell how many times a day and after how much time of eats he poops. 

6- Can He Go Overnight Without Peeing?

A 12-week-old puppy is not able to hold the bladder overnight. He will need to pee according to his age and daily schedule, so you need to set his nighttime potty schedule too. 

How To Potty Train A 12-Week Old Puppy?

We have a complete guide to potty-train a puppy where we have walked the readers from start to end, step-by-step.

However, let us just summarize the process specific to the 12-week-old puppy. 

1- Get Prepared

  • Gather the supplies; you can find the checklist in the printable bundle ( or the shopping list here).
  • Writing down everything is a crucial step in your puppy’s potty training; this way, you can prevent accidents before they even happen.
    Notice and write down his schedule, like after how much time of eating and drinking he pees and poops, what cues he shows before going potty, and everything like that. There is no benchmark schedule you have to follow for your canine. Make a routine that suits you, write it down and then stick to it. This is how I wrote my puppy’s schedule when we first started potty training him; it really helped us.
  • Fix one command to tell him to “go potty,” fix one potty spot and fix one way to the potty spot. Write down the potty command you are going to use with your puppy and note down what cues he shows before peeing or pooping. As I noted in this sheet.
  • Make sure he is leash trained. 
  • Stock up treats in your pocket.

2- Start Training

  • Be with your puppy every time, and don’t let him relieve in the house; keep a hawk’s eye. 
  • According to his schedule, carry him to the potty spot. (this schedule is also recommended by akc) 
    • Immediately after he wakes up
    • 5-30 minutes after drinking water and meal according to his schedule (you must have written down). A 12-week-old puppy should go after 10-15 minutes ideally. 
    • Right before nap time and bedtime
    • After every play session
    • When you are leaving home.
    • Whenever he shows cues that he needs to go (you must notice that what cues he shows like sniffing, circling, barking, staring, etc. Every dog has specific cues)
  • Keep him on the leash to keep him on track because puppies get distracted so easily.
  • When taking him outside for a toilet break, stand boring there and repeat your very own potty command (should always be the same and specific to potty). Do not let him play.
  • As soon as he finishes peeing or poops outside, reward him immediately by praising and treating him. 

Get A similar Puppy potty training tracker by filling the form below:

    3- 12- Week Old Puppy Night Time Potty Schedule

    At this age, puppies are not able to hold it overnight. So, you need to set their nighttime schedule too. 

    • Remove his water bowl 2 hours before bed.
    • Take him to the potty spot right before bed and when you are there, give him at least 2 chances to relieve himself completely. 
    • Wake him up 2-2.5 hours after he goes to sleep to give him the first potty break and carry him to pee outside. The early potty break is to be on the safe side; the puppy should never soil his crate. 
    • When he finishes, immediately treat him and put him back to bed. He should not think that it is playtime, so be quiet and stand boring; just repeat your potty command and do not turn on the lights. 
    • Give him another potty break after 3-4 hours. If needed, another potty break after another 3-4 hours. 

    4- If You Find An Accident:

    We asked you not to let him pee or poop inside the house, and you can do this only by keeping a hawk-eye on him, understanding his cues and timings, and setting a fixed schedule for him.

    If he had an accident, he is not a criminal; you need to do a better job. 

    If you catch him doing the deed, clap loudly and immediately stop him (until he is a puppy mill dog or stray dog, because they may get scared), carrying him to go outside

    • Clean up the mess perfectly.
    • Always use a good enzyme cleaner to clean it that suits the surface you are using it on. 
    • Note down when and why he had an accident.
      • Was there something wrong with the schedule?
      • Did he eat or drink more than usual?
      • He was more physically active?
      • You were lazy and didn’t take him on time?
      • At what time he peed or pooped and where he did
    • Even after cleaning, restrict his access to that area for a few days. 

    You MUST write down the details of every potty accident, then notice the common places and times. Like this:

    When I noted every accident, I realized that most potty accidents happened in the playpen. With proper tracking, I further realized that my puppy becomes a peeper when he gets physically active.

    Find out the list of essential supplies you must have in your hands when potty training your puppy

    Printable Tracker Free Download
    LeashCheck price on Amazon
    Enzyme cleanerCheck price on Amazon
    Training TreatsCheck price on Amazon
    Poop bagsCheck price on Amazon
    Paper towelsCheck price on Amazon
    UV flashlightCheck price on Amazon
    Potty bellsCheck price on Amazon
    Potty training sprayCheck price on Amazon
    Pee pads (optional)Check price on Amazon
    Pooper scooper (optional)Check price on Amazon

    How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A 12 Week Old Puppy?

    12 week old puppy not potty trained

    It typically takes 4-12 weeks (2-4 months to potty train a puppy), so if you started training at 12 weeks old, you could expect him to be fully potty trained by the age of 7-9 months, and the great thing is, at 7-9 months old, the puppy should be able to hold his bladder for a longer time and may no longer need nighttime potty breaks.

    Here’s complete information about how long it takes to potty train a puppy.

    How To Know When Your Puppy Is Fully Potty Trained?

    Your puppy will show signs that he is fully potty trained; you can read this article here to check out the complete answer to this question. 

    How to know if your puppy is fully potty trained?

    Mistakes While Potty Training A 12-Week Old Puppy?

    1. People think that 12-week-old puppies are old enough to understand things. 
    2. They yell at the animal, which makes the process even longer
    3. People don’t understand the importance of setting up and writing a schedule. 
    4. Dog urine or poop is not cleaned up with an enzyme cleaner
    5. They don’t check the house with a UV flashlight
    6. They don’t understand the difference between urine marking and house-soiling
    7. People don’t set up realistic expectations. 
    8. Not understanding that puppies and dogs also regress in their potty training, and they need regular follow-ups. 
    9. People don’t understand that puppies and dogs don’t relieve themselves fully in one go, most of the time.

    Why is my 12-week-old puppy still peeing in the house?

    Your 12-week-old puppy is still peeing in the house because he cannot understand how to hold his bladder and where he has to relieve himself at this age. This age is the right age to start potty training.

    12-week old puppy peeing in the crate

    Crate training is an important part of potty training because dogs naturally don’t urinate where they go to sleep. If your 12-week-old puppy peed in the crate, you need to double-check the crate training.

    • Does your dog identify his crate as a den?
    • Was the confinement time too long?
    • Is your puppy well?


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      Why is your 12-week old puppy still not potty trained?

      A 12-week-old puppy is too little to be potty trained. However, it is the perfect age to start his training now. So gather all your supplies, fix his command, potty spot, and schedule. Take him to the potty spot at regular intervals and clean up the mess with an enzyme cleaner. It will take around 2-4 months to be potty trained, and you can expect him to go on his own after he is 9 months old.”

      How to know that your puppy is fully potty trained?
      taking puppy outside to pee

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