Puppy Bladder Development

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If you're wondering at what age does a puppy have bladder control and when your puppy will become housebroken, it's up to a combination of you and nature. Puppies' bladders grow and develop as they do, taking about six or seven months to come under full control. It won't take that long to housebreak your puppy, however.

Understanding puppy bladder development will help you be patient as your new dog continues to relieve itself where and when you don't prefer and allow you to speed up the process.

How puppies mature

As puppies grow, their organs, glands, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other body parts mature. This includes organs like the bladder, which strengthen. This allows puppies to develop more self-control over their bladders until they can get outside to relieve themselves.

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While they are growing up, puppies can control their bladders for about one hour for each month of age, according to the Humane Society. This means you'll have to keep an eye on your pet and provide it with a place to relieve itself frequently the first few months after you adopt it. In the beginning, you will want to take your dog outside to relieve itself as many as eight to 10 times each day. You might want to create a puppy bladder control chart on your calendar to remind you of the changes taking place.

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Designate a relief space

If you're away from home during the day and your puppy is alone, you'll need to confine it to a space you can cover with material that can withstand the urine. Make sure the area provides a place for the puppy to pee, and a place for it to rest, eat, and drink away from the urine. After the first time or two that a puppy pees in areas it wants to relax, it will soon learn not to do that, if it has another relief area.

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Follow your vet's advice about the size of space and amount of daily exercise your breed needs and how long you should leave it alone during the day. This will help you determine if you should get a professional pet sitter, neighbor, or friend to take the puppy outside at least once while you're at work.

While you'll want to remove your dog's water bowl at night to decrease the chance it pees indoors, make sure your pet has plenty of water during the day. This will help prevent dehydration which can lead to a variety of health problems for any animal. Don't use a doggie diaper without talking to your vet — a puppy might chew it off and possibly choke on the material.

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Introduce a schedule

To help start the housebreaking process with your puppy, create a routine for eating, playing, and going outside for walks. This will help the puppy learn when that it's time to pee and that it's OK to pee. If possible, try to take the dog to the same area each time so this location also becomes part of the routine and the puppy knows why you've taken it to this spot.

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In addition to creating a routine for your dog, watch for habits it might develop in relation to relieving itself, such as scratching at furniture, circling, sniffing, whining, or barking. The most obvious sign your pet wants to go out will be going to the door and barking. Some dogs will even grab their leash and bring it to you.

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Don't scold a young dog when it pees at the wrong place or wrong time. What the puppy is doing is natural and often involuntary and not disobedient, and you'll stress and confuse the puppy if you try to discipline it for natural behavior.

Instead of scolding a puppy for peeing indoors, make sure to reward a new dog that goes outdoors. Do so right after it relieves itself, not after you're back inside, so the puppy clearly understands that it is being rewarded for doing its duty properly.

Other reasons puppies pee

Just as with humans, puppies (and adult dogs) can experience incontinence, which is an inability to control their bladders, explains the Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Your puppy may also pee in response to stress. Some dogs, especially those that have been abused, will pee as a sign of submission. This is often the case when they meet new people.

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Dogs can also suffer from a variety of medical conditions that cause incontinence, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, infections, or ectopic uterer(s). If your puppy doesn't seem to be taking to housebreaking, contact your vet for an exam.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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