Hardest Dogs To Potty Train! – (By Size, Type & Breed)

Well, before getting your new dog, knowing that what is the hardest dog to potty train can be worth it. Because house soiling is one of the most common problems why many dogs end up living in shelters. 

Being hard to potty train doesn’t mean that it is completely impossible to potty train, but they can give you a little more tough time but you can do it with consistency and the use of the right strategy. 

Why are some dogs harder to potty train?

Some dogs are said to be harder to potty train because of the following reasons. 

1- Breeds

Some dog breeds are relatively harder to potty train because of the traits like their stubbornness, low level of intelligence, or bossy behavior. 

2- Size

The size of the dog also matters. Besides being from a smaller breed, some dogs are short and that makes them harder to potty train. Because of less room in their body.

They have to pee every once in a while. 

3- Young Age

Younger dogs (puppies) need to go several times a day. And the owner might think that he is not getting it or it is impossible to train him to go a few times a day. 

But in reality, they are not hard, it’s just their age and they need a little more time. 

4- Old age

If you are trying to potty train an older dog, he might give you a tough time. Because at this age, the dog’s muscles will start becoming weak. And he may also suffer from any illness. 

Because of these factors, older dogs are comparatively harder to potty train. 

5- Old habits

From where your dog belongs! Is a very important factor to determine if yours is one of the hardest dogs to potty train. 

If he has been to a place where he was not exposed to good potty habits like he is from a puppy mill or his mother was not potty trained, he will give you a harder time. 

6- Gender

It has been said that male dogs are harder to potty train as compared to female dogs. Although this should not be true in all cases. But we believe that it has been said for a reason.

If you are owing a male dog, you can expect to put more effort into potty training. 

Read more: Why are male dogs harder to potty train? (How to make them easy?)

7- Illness 

A sick dog will be very hard to potty train. Especially if he has any medical condition that can hinder the process of potty training. Like a UTI, constipation, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or kidney diseases. 

9- Nature

Besides breed, every dog can have its very own personal traits which can make him harder or easier to potty train. 

10- Disability:

If your dog has any disability, it can be harder to potty train him. For example, a blind dog or a dog who can’t walk.

Types of dogs that are harder to potty train:

Following types of dogs are considered relatively harder to potty train. 

1- Small dogs

The small dogs are harder to potty train. Not because they are not capable enough to understand the process but they have small bodies and less room to store the urine. 

Because of that “less room”, small dogs need lots and lots of potty breaks which can be so tiring during the potty training process. 

You can translate this tiredness as being harder to potty train. 

Read More: Small Breed Dogs Potty Training – (Everything You Need To Know)

2- Hunting dogs / Hounds

The dog breeds that are bred mainly for hunting are harder to potty train because of their bossy nature. 

Hounds are basically a type of hunting dog. 

There are mainly 2 types of hounds, sighthounds, and scenthounds. (ref)

Sighthounds help with hunting due to their speed and sight. These types of dogs are harder to potty train because they require so much activity, long walks and all. They could get really distracted when they are out for a potty break.

While on the other hand, scenthounds are those who use the scent of things to help with hunting. They also get distracted very easily by the scent of things when they are out for a potty break. 

3- Toy breeds

Toy breeds are really mollycoddled. They don’t behave the way, their other cousins behave. They are not bred to work. All they require is attention, affection, and love. 

They can really sneak away after having a potty accident and the owners are very resistant to being strict with the schedule because they fall for their cuteness.

4- Terriers

Terriers are said to be the hardest dogs to potty train. This is because of their temperament.

Usually, terriers are highly intelligent but they are bred to hunt small animals so this factor makes them a kind of hunting dog. They are highly energetic. 

These types of dogs are stubborn and love to live independently. This is why they are relatively hard to potty train.

5- Puppy mill dogs

The dogs who have spent their earlier life in a puppy mill are exposed to very bad potty habits. They are forced to pee and poop where they sleep.

Besides, they are exposed to so many illnesses. 

These factors make them very hard to potty train.

Read more: How to potty train a puppy mill dog?

6- Stray dogs

You can’t really say that how a stray dog has been in his previous life. Their past habits may make them hard to potty train. 

What are the hardest dogs to potty train?

Below are the dogs’ breeds that are relatively hard to potty train. 

Hardest dogs to potty train

Hardest large dogs to potty train

1- BloodHounds 


Bloodhounds are large, (giant) dog breeds that are hard to potty train, not because of their body structure but because of their stubbornness.

They are actually hunting dogs that make them bossy and stubborn. 

Bloodhounds are scenthounds, so they get distracted so easily with a minor scent around them. 

2- Irish Wolfhounds

irish wolfhound

Irish wolfhounds are very intelligent and friendly with their owners however, they can become clumsy and stubborn. 

They often become aggressive when they see other animals because of their hunting nature. 

This is why they can give a hard time when they are outside for a potty break. 

3- German shorthaired pointers

German shorthaired pointers

Just like other hounds, german shorthaired pointers are hard to potty train because they can easily get distracted when they are outside for a potty break if they see any animal around. 

They are very powerful and can run miles within a few minutes. So keeping them on a leash and getting them to pee at once is a tough job. 

4- Irish setters

Irish setters

We are not sure if Irish setters are sighthounds or scenthounds but they are hounds. That makes them hard to potty train. They get distracted and it’s harder to keep them in a place. 

5- German Mastiff / Great Dan

German Mastiff

Great Dan is not considered a highly intelligent dog so that is why they take more time to understand the process. That is why they are relatively hard to potty train.

6- American Foxhounds

american foxhounds

Just like other hounds, American foxhounds love to live independently and they are not really into pleasing their owner. 

Their stubbornness and bossy behavior make the housetraining harder. 

Hardest medium dogs to potty train

7- Beagle


Beagles have extremely sensitive noses because they are scenthounds. You cannot get them to pee without them being distracted many times per potty break.

The Reality Of Potty Training A Beagle – (Beagle Potty Training Tips)

8- Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

Afghan hounds are on a very low point of intelligence level. Plus they are hounds (easily distracted).

They take a lot of time to understand what is going on and what they are expected to do. This is why they are hard to potty train.  

9- Dalmatian


Dalmatians are originally bred for guarding horses and owners. They are highly active dogs that can run miles. 

Because of being coach dogs or protective dogs, they can give a hard time when you want to stay and go potty.

Moreover, dalmatians are really prone to being deaf and if they become, it can be challenging to housetrain them.

10- Sealyham Terrier

Sealyham Terrier

Terriers are known for their temperament. They can be really stubborn and when it comes to potty training, they need a strict schedule and consistent training. 

11- Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker spaniels were originally bred for hunting birds, that is why they are super distracted when they are out for a potty break.

You will always find them watching towards the sky, to find a bird. 

12- English Bulldog

English Bulldog

English bulldogs are listed as number 136 out of 138 in the list of smartest dogs. 

They don’t really get it. You need a lot of patience and consistency to potty train these dogs.

13- Whippets


Whippets are hard to potty train. They are a hound breed that was bred to chase rabbits. They are super fast and use their eyesight and speed to chase the prey. 

Generally, they love to live independently. They learn commands very easily but sometimes may give hard time following the commands. 

14- Chinese Sher-pei

Chinese Sher-pei

Chinese sher-pei are very reluctant to soil their crate so the crate training can really help with the potty training. But their nature is to be dominant. 

A dominant dog is usually harder to potty train. Because he won’t bother following the commands. So being strict with the schedule and consistency will help. 

Hardest small dogs to potty train

Small dogs are usually hard to potty train because of their small size. They have less room in the body to hold the urine. For a similar reason, the food and water pass out to the bladder quickly. 

They need very frequent potty breaks so it becomes harder to potty train smaller dogs. 

Many people opt in to use puppy pads to train their puppies because they can’t manage to take them outside all day long. 

15- Pug


Pugs have a tendency to act stubborn at times. Plus they are small in size. These things make a pug hard to housebreak. 

16- Dachshund


Dachshunds are hunting dogs. They really get distracted. Instead of getting his job done, he might be busy chasing birds or sniffing the ground. 

Read more: Why Are Dachshunds Hard To Potty Train? – (How To Make It Easier?)

17- Italian greyhound

italian greyhound

Italian greyhounds are smaller in size plus their body is so thin. That makes very little room for the urine to stay. 

They need very regular potty breaks to get trained. 

18- Lhasa apso

lhasa apso

Lhasa apso is a small and mischievous dog breed that can really sneak away from the “strictness” of the owner. 

These factors make a Lhasa Apso, hard to potty train. 

19- Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise matures slowly and they take more time to understand the process of potty training. 

Their stubbornness and independence may make them difficult to housebreak. 

20- Biewer Terrier

biewer terrier

Just like other terriers, Biewer Terriers can be really hard to potty train because of their temperament. 

They can become really aggressive when they encounter a stranger. And dogs often pee because of the strong emotions. 

Every potty accident in the house is a step back from the potty training. 

21- Shih Tzu

shih tzu

According to petnest, Shih Tzu can be really stubborn. They may take up to 8 months to be fully potty trained. 

Their tiny size also contributes to increasing the difficulty in housebreaking. 

22- Brussels griffon

Brussels griffon

Brussels griffon is highly intelligent but it is a toy breed that always wants that affection and attention. 

As we said earlier, toy breeds can be difficult to potty train. 

23- Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier

Norwich terrier is a very small dog and it is a terrier which is known for its short temper.

When out for a potty break, these cuties don’t behave well. This is why Norwich Terrier is harder to potty train.

24- Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier

Yorkies are very inconsistent in size but mostly they are “TINY”. And one more time “they are terriers”. These factors make it Yorkshire terriers hard to potty train. 

25- West Highland Terrier

West Highland Terrier

Another teeny tiny terrier here. Again, because of the small size and “distracted” nature, west highland terriers are relatively hard to potty train. 

26- Pomeranian


Pomeranians are toy breeds and they are very small in size. So they are relatively harder to potty train. 

27- Pekingese


Pekingese are really stubborn and because of their very small size, they give a hard time to potty train.

28- Chihuahua


Sometimes chihuahua puppies are so small that they fit in a teacup. These puppies are called teacup puppies.

Imagine what will be the size of the bladder of a puppy who is sitting in a cup. 

Chihuahua is a toy breed that was bred only for companionship. They can be really difficult to housetrain. 

29- Chinese crested

Chinese crested

Chinese crested are hard to potty train because of their small size and being a toy breed. 

30- Coton du Tulear

Coton du Tulear

Many people complained that their Coton du Tulear is hard to potty train. Most possibly because of their small size

31- Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell terrier is a “terrier”. Being a hunting dog, he has so much energy and a much lower temperament. So harder to housebreak!

32- Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland terriers can be stubborn and mischievous at times which can contribute to the difficulty in housetraining. 

33- Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk terriers can act very stubborn when it comes to housetraining. 

34- Lowchen


Just like other toy breeds, Lowchen can be difficult to housetrain. They are super cute and usually mollycoddled. 

35- Cairn


Cairn is another terrier on our list. They are small, so they have very little room in their bodies. So they can be relatively harder to potty train.

Read More: Small Breed Dogs Potty Training – (Everything You Need To Know)

Easiest Small Dogs To Potty Train

The ultimate list of easiest dogs to potty train!

Tips to potty train a dog who is very “hard to potty train”?

If a dog falls in the list of “hardest dogs to potty train”, it doesn’t mean that he can’t be potty trained altogether.

Here are a few tips that can really help you to smooth out the potty training process of your favorite dog.

  1. Get your dog from a quality breeder. Make sure that he has been raised while being exposed to good potty habits.
  2. Get you puppy when he is at least 8 week old.
  3. Start setting good potty habits from early on by providing regular bathroom breaks.
  4. Before starting potty training, read our complete guide to potty training and follow the process step-by-step.
  5. Stick to one potty spot.
  6. Stick to one potty command.
  7. NEVER be harsh with your dog in any case, it can do more harm than good.
  8. Understand the breed of your dog and act accordingly.
  9. BE CONSISTENT with the routine and potty breaks schedule.
  10. Don’t forget to use positive reinforcment by giving treats for the good job.


What are the hardest dogs to potty train?

What is the hardest dog to potty train?

Here’s the list of hardest dogs to potty train.

  1. Beagle
  2. Afghan Hound
  3. American foxhounds
  4. Dalmatian
  5. Sealyham Terrier
  6. Cocker Spaniel
  7. English Bulldog
  8. Whippets
  9. Chinese Shar-pie
  10. Irish setters
  11. German shorthaired pointers
  12. Bloodhounds
  13. Irish Wolfhounds
  14. German Mastiff
  15. Pug
  16. Dachshund
  17. Italian greyhound
  18. Lhasa apso
  19. Bichon Frise
  20. Biewer Terrier
  21. Shih Tzu
  22. Brussels griffon
  23. Norwich Terrier
  24. Yorkshire Terrier
  25. West Highland Terrier
  26. Pomeranian
  27. Pekingese
  28. Chihuahua
  29. Chinese crested
  30. Coton du Tulear
  31. Jack Russell Terrier
  32. Lakeland Terrier
  33. Norfolk Terrier
  34. Lowchen
  35. Cairn

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