Mission Bladder Control: How to Potty Train a French Bulldog

🦴 Updated on July 16th, 2023

fawn french bulldog dog sitting on toilet and reading magazine good potty trainingit is a potty training

Few things are as exciting as bringing home a new puppy, but the realization that I had to figure out how to potty train my new French Bulldog was sobering. 

Potty training is known to be frustrating and challenging. Messes can lead to impatience and even cost money if the puppy decides to go in the wrong place. 

Fortunately, with some dedication, patience, and planning potty training can become bearable, maybe even fun. Frenchies are a fabulously unique breed that wants to please us, and I’m confident that with these tips and tricks, you will have your new Frenchie trained in no time!

Potty Training a French Bulldog Can Be Easy

Some Frenchies can be an immovable force, but this so-called stubbornness is really just another name for intelligence

French Bulldogs are a breed that wants to make their owners happy, and they love to have a good time. They want to work with their owners to please them and accomplish tasks. This concept should be the center point of a great French Bulldog potty training plan.

Everything You Need to Potty Train a French Bulldog

Training smaller breeds come with specific challenges, in part because of their small bladders. 

These items are based on French Bulldog breed specifications and will help you accommodate your Frenchie’s unique features to bring ease to the training process. 

You’ll need:

  • An appropriately sized crate
  • Puppy pee pads
  • A leash (or a fenced-in backyard)
  • Healthy treats
  • Patience & a positive attitude!

Crate training can be hugely beneficial to potty training. It creates a safe, secure environment for your dog and can help reduce accidents.

5 Steps To Potty Train a French Bulldog

Potty training a French Bulldog has the same basic protocols as training any other breed. However, there are a few specific pointers I’d recommend to make the training process more efficient.

As with any new puppy, it is incredibly important to familiarize yourself with the unique features of the breed. This will help you adjust to your dog’s needs and better understand their actions. 

Remember, above all, perseverance is the ultimate key to potty training!

Use the “Go Potty” Command Immediately and With Confidence

A positive, confident attitude will go a long way in potty training your French Bulldog. Attaching a command to that confidence is essential. 

Of course, you can come up with your own phrase, but start using some variation of this command the day you bring your puppy home. Give this command every time your puppy goes in the correct spot.

Create a Consistent Schedule

I know I said perseverance is the key to potty training a French Bulldog, but consistency is the other key.

A solid puppy bathroom schedule is essential to your potty training regime. When your puppy is small, it may not be able to hold its bladder very long, but getting them on a schedule will begin the process of ingraining “when to go” in their brain.

Experienced Frenchie owners generally recommend bathroom breaks at these times:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After a meal
  • After playing
  • Right before bedtime

Focus on the Reward Instead of Punishment

These days, dog trainers agree that positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog, whether your concern is obedience or potty training. 

Long gone are the days of “tch!” or rubbing a dog’s face in their own mess. Negative reinforcement can actually make the training process more difficult by discouraging your dog, confusing them, and encouraging stress.

Positive reinforcement can be dog toys, pats, or verbal rewards, but what your pup probably wants the most is treats!

Invest in Puppy Pads

Puppy pads can be a point of contention among dog owners and trainers. However, puppy pads can be worthwhile for smaller breeds. 

Best Pads for Potty Training
Leak-proof 5-Layer Pee Pads

Dog Pee Pads are the perfect way to protect your floors from pet accidents. These pads feature a leak-proof design and a quick-dry surface, so you can quickly clean up any messes.

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Puppy pads are a good solution if a dog is repeatedly making messes indoors or if you work long hours away from home. Sometimes the best solution is to get the dog going in one place where they are not messing up any floors or furniture while you continue to work on outdoor potty training.

Respond to the Very First Sign of Your Dog “Having to Go”

Whining, wiggling, scratching at the door–none of these are signals you should ignore, especially during the potty training process. 

As soon as you see your dog enter bathroom mode, hurry to get them outside. Above all, potty training your French Bulldog will be a repetitive process. If you ignore signs that your dog has to pee or poop and they go in the house, it will only reinforce indoors as an okay place to go to the bathroom. 

How Long Does It Take To Potty Train a French Bulldog?

The general answer is up to 6 months. 

This period may be shorter or longer depending on several factors, but the most significant element is your ability to be patient and consistent. 

6 months may sound like a long time, but that doesn’t mean your puppy will be going in the house all the time for six months straight. Potty training a French Bulldog puppy is a non-linear process. 

Troubleshooting French Bulldog Potty Training

I can guarantee that you will run into some obstacles during the potty training process. Here are some common issues and how to face them head-on. 

Your French Bulldog Is Peeing in the House Often

Unfortunately, you should expect this, but if it is happening all the time, you may want to try puppy pads or crate training. Most dogs, including French Bulldogs, don’t like to soil the space they sleep in, so crate training can help them learn to hold it.
Keep in mind that tiny dogs and puppies cannot hold their bladder for more than a few hours!

You Are Being Consistent, but the Training Is Not Working

Remember, it can take more than several months to fully potty train a puppy. If the training is falling flat, re-assess your attitude and be conscious of your mental state when working on potty training. If your pup senses tension or anger, the training will be less effective.

However, if you truly feel that you’re doing everything right and more than 6 months have elapsed, it may be time to contact a professional trainer. 

Training Is Working, but the Puppy Keeps Messing in the Same Spot Indoors

If your Frenchie keeps going pee or pooping in the same place indoors, you may not have cleaned it thoroughly enough to remove all the scent. 

Make sure to use a deodorizing, pet-safe cleaner to get completely rid of the odor. If your pup can smell it, they may keep going back to it. 

If necessary, bar or restrict the pup from that area or get the carpet professionally cleaned.


What kind of treats should I use for training?

Since French Bulldogs are prone to weight gain, use a low-calorie healthy dog treat.

How soon will my French Bulldog be house trained?

The length of potty training can be 6 months or more, but the more committed you are to potty training, the shorter the process will be!

Should I use puppy pads?

Puppy pads should be used as a supplementary tool to make sure your dog is comfortable and always has an appropriate place to go. However, don’t let puppy pads become a lazy crutch, as this will hinder potty training.

Are French Bulldogs hard to train?

French Bulldogs do indeed have a mind of their own, but they are also people-pleasers! The more you show your pup that you are happy with them, the easier training will be. 

Are there health issues I should watch for while potty training?

You should always be on the lookout for any health issues with your pup. Frenchies can be prone to some digestive disorders, so it will be essential for you to become familiar with their habits and the consistency of their feces. 

Are You Ready to Make Potty Training Fun?

French Bulldog potty training works best when it’s made into something enjoyable for you and your dog. Making training into a game of rewards and praise will soften your dog’s stubborn side and make the process much easier for you, too!

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Picture of Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt keeps PawShore.com online and looking great! When he’s not working on our web pages, he’s helping people and their pets as a certified dog trainer. With such a unique combination of skills, it’s easy to see why he’s such a valuable asset to our team.