How to Potty Train a French Bulldog Puppy: 5 Easy Techniques

how to potty train a french bulldog puppy

Dogs are a man’s best friend, but they sure will test your patience when it comes potty training them. When Claude first came into our life, my wife and I honestly could only compare to having a baby again! Learning how to potty train our French bulldog puppy was hard work, took time, but in end… worked.

In this guide I am going to share the mistakes we made, how we got him toilet trained properly, how long it took, how long it should take, how hard it is, how long they can hold their pee, and what techniques and products we used to get there in the end. Here’s a really short answer to the question on how to potty train a French bulldog puppy, followed by more detailed steps.

How to potty train a French Bulldog? To potty train a French bulldog puppy successfully you need to take him outside or to his mat as soon as you see him starting to pee. As you do this, use a command such as “go toilet”. Once he has finished, give him praise and a treat.

French bulldog potty toilet training techniques

Just like a child (and they are just like naughty kids), potty training your Frenchie involves teaching them the routine of knowing when they need to use the bathroom and toilet.

Whether you have an outdoors area for them to pee in, or use a potty mat, the steps are almost identical – it’s all about location, routine, and reward.

Once these French bulldog puppy training techniques have been repeated enough, the puppy will know what to do when they need the toilet and they will use everything that you have taught them in order to let you know that they are ready to go out.

There are several different methods you can use to make sure you are teaching your dog the absolute right ways to potty train them in the safest and easiest way possible.

The great thing about French bulldogs is that they are a clean breed that does their best to avoid having accidents, so if you have a set training schedule your dog or puppy will be up to date with their training in only the matter of a few short weeks.

The 5 steps and potty-training schedule

The first thing you should do is set a regular schedule for your French bulldog puppy. This will help them know when to expect their time to go out.

Step 1. Schedule regular and consistent potty breaks

You should take your puppy out first in the morning when you both wake up, after playing for a long period of time, and after eating dinner and drinking from their bowl. This is how we did it, and how we got there in the end.

This set schedule will get ingrained into your bulldog’s mind so that they know what to expect on a daily basis from you.

We actually have a dog flap on our back door, so it wasn’t as much of an issue for us, but many of you won’t have that option so need to be prepared to move quickly.

Step 2. Watch for the signs that they need the toilet

Once you get acquainted with your French bulldog, you will be able to see the oncoming signs of them having to go to the bathroom.

Some of these warning signs are fairly obvious, such as pacing around the room in a circle, pacing back and forth from the same rooms, whining at you, barking loudly, sniffing around you, and staring you dead in the eye.

Step 3. Take them to their potty-training pads or outside

If your bulldog is exhibiting any of these signs, then you should immediately assume that going to the bathroom is their top priority and get them to the potty pads or outside.

If you don’t have outdoor access, have an area in your home where they are meant to go. This is where puppy training pads come in – and I recommend the best ones lower down this page.

Step 4. Use a phrase they will learn to identify

One of the most important things you can do is teach your dog to “go toilet.”

State this command as soon as your French bulldog starts peeing or defecating on his pee mat or outside.

It won’t be too long that they learn to identify this phrase with peeing.

Step 5. Reward them for success

Once your puppy has finished going to the toilet, you should reward them with a treat. This will positively reinforce the good behaviour and lead to quicker results.

After practicing this method long enough, as soon as you say the simple words of “go toilet,” your dog will know immediately what to do. 

Items You Will Need for Potty Training

To properly train your French bulldog puppy, there are certain items you should have that will make the process easier.

1. Pet training puppy pads

When we first brought Claude home, we used puppy pads in his crate. This works two-fold. Firstly, they are scented, but secondly you can use them as the area for them to relieve themselves on.

You can buy pet training puppy pads on Amazon. They don’t cost a lot and come in bulk.

If you live in an apartment where you don’t have easy access to the outside, you might have to keep these in your home for much longer.

2. Decent dog leash

It almost goes without saying but will obviously need a leash so that you can walk the dog to the proper toilet location if going into an unsecured outdoor area.

cute claude
Claude didn’t need a leash as a puppy in our yard and garden.

3. Dog treats for rewards

You will also need treats to positively reinforce your puppy for going to the bathroom when you tell them to.

Toys will also help to positively reinforce your puppy into thinking that they are doing good with their potty training.

4. Puppy crate

When Claude was a puppy and going through his “peeing on the floor” phase we kept him in his crate at night. In the crate we placed the training pads in one half, with his bed to sleep on in the other half.

We bought a larger crate (view which crate we recommend) that we needed for his size at the time, as knew we would need it still on certain occasions as he grew older.

I would also recommend you equip yourself with cleaning rags and an enzymatic cleaner to rid your house of the unpleasant aroma.

Further tips on potty training including the psychology!

You really need to know your dog on a personal level and understand their mindset.

For example, if your puppy loves being outside, you shouldn’t bring them back inside the house right away after they are done going to the bathroom.

The puppy may learn to hold their defecation in for a longer period of time so they can squeeze some more outdoors time with you.

Claude is now successfully trained to go to the toilet outside.

If you bring them in when this is the case, they will most likely end up going to the bathroom inside your home, which is definitely a bad habit that you don’t want your French bulldog puppy to pick up.

If you are not home with your puppy at points during the potty-training phase, it would be a good idea to make sure your French bulldog is put into a restricted area, but also making sure that they are comfortable and have enough room to move around freely.

If you don’t want to put your dog into a small crate or cage, you can put them inside a blocked-off area where they won’t be able to get out.

Like previously mentioned, French bulldogs are a mostly clean breed that will avoid going to the bathroom in certain areas, such as where they sleep every night. They don’t want to stain your house with distinct smells and unsatisfactory aromas any more than you want them to.

If you find that your new Frenchie has had an accident inside the house, make sure you clean the area fiercely and thoroughly to get the smell out.

If the dog continues to smell that smell, they might think it is okay to go in that same spot in the future.

If you find that your Frenchie has unleashed one of his loads inside your house, you should gather the poop up in a small bag and deposit it in the part of the yard that you want your dog to go in.

Their nose will become accustomed to the smell in that particular area and they will have an instinct to go to the bathroom in that spot of the yard.

To make sure your French bulldog knows which areas are acceptable for going to the bathroom and which ones are not, be sure to take your puppy to the same area for a significant length of time.

Once your bulldog learns that said area is acceptable for going to the bathroom, you can move on to a different area.

Your bulldog will learn to remember which areas area acceptable bathroom spots and which ones they should steer clear from.

What not to do during French bulldog potty training

Even if you think it would be a good French bulldog potty-training technique, you should never rub your puppy’s nose in their own waste as a form of punishment.

Please also don’t shout at them if they make a mistake. This can actually make them more nervous, and lead to even more mess.

Claude potty training as a puppy
It might be tempting, but don’t shout at them – how could you shout at this face?

Not only will these behaviours scare your dog and ruin their relationship with you, but they will also hinder the potty-training process and they could be aggressive towards you.

You should also avoid using any cleaners that come with a scent of ammonia. Urine contains high acidic amount of ammonia. If your puppy smells this, they will most likely use this area in the house as a spot for going to the bathroom.

How long to potty train a French bulldog?

This is where I want to set you some realistic expectation.

Whilst we started training Claude to go outside to the toilet from day 1, it took us 6 months until he stopped having accidents inside.

Yes, he was stilling using the training mats regularly indoors, but to be honest, I think we should have just avoided using those altogether, and just focussed on his outdoor routine.

potty training
It took us around 6 months to potty train Claude the Frenchie puppy.

So, if you have ever wondered how long it should take to potty train a French bulldog puppy, all I can do is give you our personal experience.

It took him 6 months (so up to his 9-month birthday) before he was fully trained.

Are French bulldog easy to potty train?

Are French Bulldogs hard to potty train? French Bulldog potty training isn’t easy. It can be hard and will take time. However with perseverance and commitment you will be able to fully toilet train your Frenchie.

Our personal experience of toilet training

I remember taking Claude to puppy socialisation training at 8 months old, and him peeing on the floor in front of all the other puppies. I was like an embarrassed parent!

And this was despite the fact all the other puppy breeds were the same age as him.

My take out from this is that Frenchies aren’t as easy to toilet train as other dog breeds, as we’d been working so hard on it.

He got there in the end though!

How long can a French bulldog hold its pee?

How long a Frenchie can hold its pee and bladder will very much depend on their age. For example, a fully-grown French Bulldog can hold its pee for around 8 to 10 hours.

French Bulldog puppies can hold their pee for a maximum of 4 hours. They will be peeing a lot in your house until completely toilet trained.

My French Bulldog is still not toilet trained

This is a common problem by owners of adult French Bulldogs who are not toilet trained. If you cannot get your adult Frenchie to hold their pee and stop peeing indoors and have exhausted all of the advice in this guide, I would recommend you seek the support of a pet behaviour specialist.


If you and your Frenchie pup have a strong enough level of respect and trust, this can go a long way, and the process will be loads quicker and easier than you ever even imagined.

French Bulldog potty training can be achieved by reinforcing good behaviour and setting up routines and rewards you can minimize the amount of accidents that are going to happen on your brand-new rug.

By following these techniques and steps and knowing your puppy’s signs for when they have to go outside, it should be able to do it.

Just be patient with him and in no time at all you will know how to potty train a French bulldog and get the results you (and him) want.

Marc Aaron

I am one of Claude the French Bulldog's human parents. I write about all the things we've learned about owning a Frenchie, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way. Read more about Marc Aaron.

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