If you have acquired a new puppy, you’ll need to become quickly accustomed to their toileting behaviors and preferences. Pooping is one thing, but what about peeing? How long can, and should, they hold it before going? Can they hold their pee for too long? Well, I’m here to help answer all of those questions. And more.
So, how long can a puppy hold its pee? A puppy can typically hold its pee for one hour for every month of age. For instance, a 3-month-old puppy should be able to hold his pee for about 3 hours. However, factors such as their age, their size, how healthy they are, their diet, and the amount of water drunk can influence this time.
While I can give you general timeframes, in reality, this is something that is going to be highly contextual.
There are just too many factors to consider here that make an exact time impossible.
Nor would it even be that practical, anyway.
What is essential, is that you give your puppy ample opportunity (and time) to go as and when they need to.
Or, make other arrangements (such as getting them an indoor doggie lawn – this is the one I recommend, by the way).
Nevertheless, let us continue to explore those questions you likely still have about your cute little puppy and its urination needs!
What Happens If Puppies Hold Their Pee?
If young puppies hold their pee too long, they are likely to urinate themselves. Wherever they are. However, if this becomes a continued practice it can lead to health complications, which can be fatal if not addressed.
If your puppy is often forced to hold his bladder for too long, he is at increased risk of:
- Incontinence. Although this is more common in aging dogs, incontinence can happen at any age. If your puppy has to hold his pee for too long, his bladder can become too distended. The muscle that holds the bladder closed, as well as the surrounding tissues, can become damaged. Leaks can result, and this may be irreversible.
- Urinary cancer. The longer any carcinogens that are in your puppy’s urine are in contact with his bladder, the more opportunity the cells have to influence the health of the bladder. This is less common than other problems but is still something to consider when asking your puppy to hold his bladder for too long on a regular basis.
- Urinary tract infections. These infections are the most common when your puppy can’t flush out toxins and bacteria through frequent urination. These harmful substances build up in the urethra, bladder, and kidneys, leading potentially to stones or other blockages. Blockages such as these can be life-threatening.
Some signs of a urinary tract problem include:
- Not peeing
- Peeing way too often
- Leaks of pee
- Straining to pee
- Blood in the urine
Get your puppy to the vet immediately if you see any of the above signs.
Can Puppies Hold Their Pee Too Long?
Puppies can’t hold their pee for too long, as the muscles, they need to hold and contract the bladder aren’t fully developed until they’re 6 to 8 months old.
Your young puppy won’t be able to hold his pee for too long when he’s small.
However, if you have forced him to hold his pee for longer than he’s comfortable with, this can cause serious problems over time (see above.)
Young puppies are more likely to let out any excess pee in times of excitement than hold it in for too long.
Excitement peeing (puppy piddles) is common in young puppies.
When your puppy sees you after you’ve been out, he can get so excited that he wees on the floor.
It doesn’t mean he can’t hold his bladder: he’s just very excited to see you.
Note: To untrain this behavior, ignore your puppy until he is calm enough to reward him with attention. This will require you to be patient and consistent, but it can be done.
How Often Should Puppies Pee?
Puppies should pee every few hours, depending on their age. If a puppy is 2 months old, he’ll most likely pee every 2 hours. However, factors such as the amount of hydration, how much exercise he does, any health problems he might have, and his usual diet will all influence how often he pees.
The Amount of Hydration
The more your puppy drinks, the more often he’ll need to pee.
In hot weather, your puppy will drink more than in the middle of winter.
If your puppy is happily running around and playing, he’ll be more likely to drink a lot. Therefore, he may pee several times in one hour – which would be perfectly normal.
Check the color of your puppy’s pee to make sure he isn’t dehydrated. If his pee is dark yellow, this isn’t a good sign. Increase your dog’s levels of hydration with:
- More water
- Raw bones (yes, these provide hydration!)
- Wet food (you can mix this with kibble if you like)
The more active your puppy is, the more often he’ll need to pee. Exercise helps move food and liquids through the digestive tract, so he’ll need to pee after a long run.
Equally, he’ll need to pee after sleeping, as he’s been busy absorbing all those nutrients!
When A Puppy Pees Too Often (Health Problems)
It’s possible for puppies (and adult dogs) to pee too often. Some health conditions can cause more frequent peeing, such as:
- Weight problems
- Kidney problems
- Urinary tract infections
- Medications (some medications have a diuretic effect)
If you think your puppy is suddenly peeing more than normal, speak to your vet right away. If there’s a health issue, the sooner you address it, the happier and healthier your pup will be.
His Usual Diet
Foods that contain more moisture, such as wet or raw food, will increase the amount as well as the frequency of your puppy’s pee.
A diet that’s rich in moisture is advantageous for your puppy, as frequent urination can help flush out toxins and bacteria.
Having said that, if your puppy eats a dry diet like kibble, he may pee less, but he won’t necessarily be less healthy.
How To Ensure Your Puppy Pees Enough
There are several things you can do to make sure your puppy pees enough. Make it as easy as possible for him to pee when he needs to by setting up your home appropriately and taking him out to pee on a regular basis.
In addition to taking your puppy out to pee regularly (see below for tips on a schedule for your puppy), you can also try:
- An indoor potty system – like a litter box but for dogs. Doggielawn is my recommendation of choice here.
- A doggie door – if your backyard is fenced and secure, you can install a dog door. Your puppy will then be able to go out to the toilet whenever he needs to.
- Pee pads – these are very good for young puppies as they’re learning to control their bladders.
- Your young puppy shouldn’t be left alone for long, so if you have to be away and can’t take him with you, consider:
- Doggy daycare – your puppy will have lots of fun making new friends while under the care of professionals
- A dog sitter or dog walker – have someone who can take your puppy out or be at home to care for him while you’re not there
- Bringing your puppy to work – not everyone can do this, but you and your puppy may make lots of new friends if you do!
Give Your Dog A Place ‘To Go’ Inside
Make you and your dog’s life considerably easier by getting an indoor dog lawn.
It sets up, and can be cleaned, in minutes.
It’s odor minimizing, cost-effective and enables your dog to go whenever they need to.
Other Puppy Peeing Best Practices
Consider your puppy’s age and size while you’re potty training him. Establish a schedule for eating, drinking, and going outside to the toilet so that your puppy knows what’s expected of him.
Consider Your Puppy’s Age
Remember that the younger your puppy, the shorter amount of time he’ll be able to control his bladder.
Young puppies have smaller and less-developed bladders and urinary tract systems. If your puppy has accidents, it usually isn’t his fault.
While potty training your puppy, consider that you are helping them build the muscles they need to develop in order to contract to hold the bladder.
Some puppies need bathroom breaks more than others, as puppies develop at their own pace. Some will grow faster than others, even if they are of the same breed.
You may wish to get an indoor lawn to help you through the toilet training stage. An indoor lawn is no substitute for going outside to pee, but it can help your puppy learn to at least have his accidents on grass!
Consider Your Puppy’s Size
Generally speaking, the smaller your puppy, the less amount of time he’ll be able to hold his pee.
Toy breeds have very tiny bladders compared to larger dogs. This doesn’t mean larger dogs can hold their bladders for longer, but it could mean your smaller dog may take longer to potty train.
It’s estimated that dogs pee approximately 10 to 20 ml per pound of their body weight. Therefore, a dog that weighs 5 pounds will pee between 1.7 to 3.5 oz per day. This amount may not seem like a lot but consider that a puppy’s bladder can hold at best an ounce and more likely half an ounce.
Stick To A Schedule
You can help your puppy by establishing a schedule for bathroom breaks so that he knows what to expect. Take him out at the same times each day – after meals, for sure, as well as at other times.
Remember to establish a nighttime routine, too, as your puppy won’t be able to hold his bladder all night long.
Make sure you don’t give your puppy too much water in one go. He’ll need to stay hydrated, but if you give him a big drink of water, be prepared to take him out immediately afterward.
Generally speaking, puppies can hold their pee a surprisingly long amount of time.
That being said, they should never be forced to beyond what is comfortable.
Chances are, they won’t be able to anyway – and if you fail to let them out (or have alternatives in place), they’ll go where they are – wherever this may be.
So to avoid indoor instances, make sure you, a neighbor, family member or friend can let them out regularly.
Or do what I do and invest in a product like Doggielawn.
It’s much easier. I promise.
- Should I Carry My Puppy Out To Pee?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
- How Long After a Puppy Eats Do They Poop?
- Puppy Won’t Drink Water
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.