French Bulldogs are some of the most popular and widely loved dog breeds around the world, thanks to their stubby legs, smiling faces, and those adorable, iconic wrinkles.
Bulldog puppies are even cuter still, and French Bulldogs at any age are some of the most friendly, even-tempered dogs available as pets today!
As cute as they are, however, they're still a pretty big commitment to house-train, potty train, and overall train for life indoors, especially if they're puppies.
If you've just added a French Bulldog of any age to your family, or if you've had a French Bulldog in the family for a while, but are getting pretty tired of cleaning up accidents, there's no need to panic!
Potty training a French Bulldog is a simple, ten-step process that will take all of the stress of constantly worrying about your four-legged friend out of your life for good!
French Bulldog Potty Training Process
In general, the steps you'll need to take to potty train your French Bulldog is pretty much the same as the step you would need to potty train any other type of dog.
According to PetMD, The only real difference is that French Bulldogs can sometimes have a bit of a stubborn streak when it comes to training, so make sure you take the time to work with your pup to ensure that they really understand everything.
According to PetMD, Other than that, following the same basic principles that pet lovers have used for years is almost guaranteed to give you a good head start!
1. Know Your Pooch
When it comes to potty training, different dogs have different needs. Because French Bulldogs are smaller dogs, they have smaller bladders and will probably need to go to the bathroom more frequently than bigger dog breeds.
On an individual level, pay close attention to how often your puppy is having accidents or showing signs that they need to go to the bathroom. Some dogs have to go to the bathroom more frequently than others, which is perfectly normal.
Finally, take your dog's preferences into account and make sure that their designated potty area is somewhere where they feel comfortable, not somewhere where they seem to be uneasy or nervous!
Once you've got a handle on your dog's habits, you should be ready to move directly into the next potty-training stage!
2. Set Up Boundaries
Whether you live in a small apartment or a spacious house, limiting the areas that your dog can access will go a long way towards helping you identify, control, and then ultimately correct their bathroom habits.
If you work from home or are able to spend time at home with your puppy, keep the dog in a smaller space by closing doors that give them access to a larger area. French Bulldogs are naturally sociable animals, so they'll love this quality time with you!
By limiting their range, you'll be able to keep a closer eye on your dog's habits and preferences. You'll also be able to catch them having an accident, which will make correcting this behavior easier than if they were on the other side of the house.
3. Stick to a Schedule (Part I)
When it comes to learning habits, the routine is as important for dogs as it is for humans! If you can't seem to pick out a routine in your dog's bathroom habits, you may want to first take a look at their eating habits.
French Bulldogs are known to overeat if their owners indulge them, and it may seem like your Frenchie just can't get enough at chow time! However, most French Bulldogs only need between 1.5 and 2.5 cups per day, and anything else is overfeeding.
Stick to a strict schedule when feeding your dog, and try to avoid giving them treats between mealtimes. This will help your dog establish a daily routine of when they need to eliminate waste and will help you manage their bathroom habits.
4. Stick to a Schedule (Part II)
The second part of scheduling is your French Bulldog's bathroom schedule. Try to establish a routine of certain times per day where your dog knows that you're going to take them outside.
Even on those days when you take your Frenchie outside and they don't seem like they want to do anything, this routine is still good to establish and will help your dog develop good bathroom habits.
If your dog knows that they're getting a bathroom break at the same time each day, they're less likely to panic and have an accident. Once the routine is in place, French Bulldogs are smart enough to identify the pattern and adjust their behavior.
The routine is also a good way to guarantee yourself some quality time with your Frenchie!
5. Pick a Spot
This point is related to the previous two entries in that it's an important part of helping your French Bulldog establish a routine. Pick a single spot for your dog to go to the bathroom and stick to that spot as much as possible.
French Bulldogs, like all other dogs, have a keen sense of smell, and they will recognize a spot as "their" designated bathroom area pretty quickly. Once they've established space as theirs, they'll feel more comfortable returning in the future!
If your dog has an established potty spot and is used to visiting it on a regular basis, they should be able to develop better bathroom habits in a short amount of times, especially when it comes to a breed as intelligent as the French Bulldog.
6. Praise Your Puppy
As with any other training process, it's important to always praise your dog for developing a good habit! Dogs naturally respond to positive feedback better than they do to negative feedback, and French Bulldogs are no exception!
It may feel silly, but praise your puppy for going to the bathroom! Use the same phrases or encouragements each time, and find a quick reward that you can give your dog for a job well done!
If you have the time, you can take your dog for a quick walk just around the block as a reward, or even just give them a treat or a pat on the head. In general, try to avoid giving out too many treats.
No matter which method you prefer, the important thing is that your dog learns to associate good behavior with some sort of reward.
7. Keep an Eye on the Signs
According to WebMD, If you're at home all the time while you're potty-training your French Bulldog, this may be a lot easier. If not, as much as possible, keep an eye on your dog and learn to identify their warning signs so that you can take them outside immediately.
One of the biggest clues that your puppy has to go to the bathroom is sniffing around on the ground for no apparent reason. If you notice your dog trotting around with their nose glued to the floor, it's a pretty good sign that they've got to go.
Other warning signs may include restless pacing, whining, or standing by the door, especially as they start to understand that outside is their bathroom space.
8. Break Bad Habits
If you notice your French Bulldog is returning to certain spots inside your home to relieve themselves, it's important to break those habits. This is especially important with French Bulldogs, who are renowned for their stubbornness.
The easiest way to break bad habits is to disrupt routines. If you catch your dog about to have an accident, shout or clap to startle them, and then rush them outside to their designated bathroom spot.
You are not shouting to scare your dog. Your aim should only ever be to startle them, so some increased volume is normal, but just remember that you are not trying to frighten or punish your puppy, only startle them out of their immediate behavior.
Stick to your routines, and you should be able to train your dog out of those nasty old habits.
9. Use Your Words
This is sort of related to point #6, but it applies to both before and after the bathroom process. Develop some sort of keyword or prompt that your dog can recognize as a command for when to go to the bathroom.
If, for example, your key phrase is "go potty", you're going to have to get used to sound like a broken record. Before you take your dog outside, say things like "time to go potty" or "do you need to go potty?" when you notice them acting restless.
Once outside, encourage the dog using the same keywords, and then praise them using the same language. Again, you may feel kind of silly talking to your dog like this, but it's important to help them associate commands with actions!
10. Keep it Clean
Like so many other entries on this list, this last point is important because it helps to establish a routine. As mentioned earlier, French Bulldogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, and that sense of smell plays a big role in marking territory.
If your dog has had an accident inside the house, make sure you thoroughly clean the affected area. Any lingering smells could mark that spot as a designated bathroom is in your dog's mind, which can be frustrating during the potty-training process.
According to ChicagoTribune, In addition to standard cleaning supplies, there are a lot of products that are specifically designed to counteract the compounds found in dog urine or waste so that your dog will have a much harder time picking up the scent when they've got to go.
- The more exercise, the better! Frequent and regular exercise will not only give your dog more opportunities to relieve themselves but will also help with inner motility.
- Keep an eye out for the warning signs after playing with your puppy or letting them chew on a bone or toy, as this usually precedes a necessary bathroom break.
- Always remember, prevention and praise are the two big keys to helping your French Bulldog figure this whole thing out!
- If you can't catch your dog in time, it's okay! A few accidents are to be expected, especially when you're first starting out, but the important thing is just to keep working with your dog!
- Be patient! Potty training can take between four and six months.
- If your dog has had an accident, do not try and "rub their nose in it". Not only can this injure your dog, but it is more likely to confuse and frighten them than it is to have any real benefits!
- Do not yell at or hit your dog to "punish" them for having an accident. Negative reinforcement will only lead to your dog being too frightened to "ask" to go outside, and they will often resort to hiding their accidents more carefully.
- Don't let your dog wander once you're outside. Once you've found your spot, just stand there until your dog takes care of business. This will help your dog establish a single spot as theirs.
As mentioned earlier, dog lovers around the world have been using the same basic methods to train their dogs for centuries.
If you're feeling frustrated with your Frenchie's progress, there's absolutely no shame at all in reaching out to your personal veterinarian or a doggie daycare center near you for a little bit of extra help.
If you still have questions about the process, try checking out this video! Watching a visual demonstration of how to train your dog can go a long way towards helping you understand your objectives, and it's always good to get advice from the experts!
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.