How Long Can Small Dogs Hold Their Pee and Poop?

Small dogs are adorable companions that bring immense joy to our lives. Whether you have a Chihuahua, a Yorkshire Terrier, or a Pomeranian, these tiny furballs hold a special place in our hearts. 

However, being responsible pet owners means understanding their needs and quirks, including their bathroom habits. In this article, we will delve into a crucial aspect of small dog care: How long can small dogs hold their pee and poop? 

We’ll provide you with essential information and tips to ensure your furry friend remains happy and comfortable.

Understanding Small Dog Anatomy

Before we dive into the specifics of how long small dogs can hold their bladder and bowels, it’s important to understand their unique anatomy. 

Smaller dogs have smaller organs, including a smaller bladder and shorter intestines. This means they have less storage capacity for waste compared to larger breeds.

Additionally, small dogs have a faster metabolism, which can lead to more frequent bathroom breaks. Understanding these factors is essential for gauging your small dog’s bathroom needs accurately.

Factors Influencing How Long Small Dogs Can Hold It

Several factors come into play when determining how long your small dog can hold their pee and poop. Here are the primary factors to consider:

Age: Young puppies have less bladder and bowel control than adult dogs. As a rule of thumb, puppies can typically hold it for about one hour per month of age, up to a maximum of 8 hours. So, a two-month-old puppy may need a bathroom break every two hours.

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Breed: Some small breeds have better bladder control than others. For instance, a Miniature Dachshund may have a stronger bladder than a toy breed like a Maltese.

Size: Even within the category of small dogs, size matters. A larger small dog may have better bladder and bowel control than a tiny teacup-sized dog.

Health: A dog’s health can greatly affect their bathroom habits. Certain medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal issues, can lead to more frequent urination and defecation.

Diet: What your dog eats also plays a role. A high-fiber diet can lead to more frequent bowel movements, while excessive water intake can result in more frequent urination.

Activity Level: Active dogs may need more frequent bathroom breaks than sedentary ones, as physical activity can stimulate bowel movements.

Now, let’s discuss some general guidelines on how long small dogs can hold it under normal circumstances.

General Guidelines for Small Dogs

Potty Breaks for Puppies: As mentioned earlier, puppies have limited bladder and bowel control. Be prepared to take your puppy out every 1 to 2 hours, especially after eating, drinking, or waking up from a nap. Gradually increase the time between breaks as your puppy gets older and gains more control.

Adult Small Dogs: Adult small dogs can typically hold it for about 4 to 8 hours, depending on the factors mentioned above. It’s crucial to observe your dog’s individual needs and adjust accordingly.

Senior Small Dogs: Older dogs may have reduced bladder and bowel control due to age-related issues. Be attentive to their needs and consider more frequent bathroom breaks.

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Tips for Managing Small Dog Bathroom Needs

Establish a Routine: Consistency is key. Set a regular schedule for bathroom breaks, including morning, afternoon, and evening outings. This helps your dog anticipate when it’s time to go.

Monitor Water Intake: Pay attention to how much your dog drinks, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. Limiting water intake a couple of hours before bedtime can reduce nighttime accidents.

Reward and Praise: Positive reinforcement goes a long way in potty training. Reward your dog with treats and praise when they do their business outside.

Use Crate Training: Crate training can be a valuable tool for housebreaking small dogs. Dogs tend to avoid soiling their living space, so a properly sized crate can help with training.

Watch for Signs: Learn to recognize your dog’s cues when they need to go. Whining, circling, sniffing, or scratching at the door are common signs.

Consult a Veterinarian: If you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s bathroom habits, consult your vet. Health issues could be the underlying cause.


In conclusion, small dogs, like all dogs, have individual bathroom needs influenced by various factors. Understanding your small dog’s unique requirements and providing them with a consistent routine is essential for their comfort and well-being. 

By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your small canine companion remains happy and healthy while minimizing accidents in your home. 

Remember that patience, positive reinforcement, and regular veterinary check-ups are key to successful potty training and maintaining your small dog’s overall health.