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How Often Do Puppies Poop? A Guide to Puppy Potty Schedules - PawSafe

How Often Do Puppies Poop? A Guide to Puppy Potty Schedules

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

how often do puppies poop

It’s natural to be curious about how often puppies should be pooping as it can be a sign of their health and well-being. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we can provide some general guidelines to help you understand what to expect.

As a dog behaviorist and trainer, I’ve navigated the rewarding journey of raising and training many young dogs, including my own little guy, Arthur. Understanding the nuances of a puppy’s habits, particularly their bathroom schedule, is a crucial part of successful potty training. A puppy potties a lot because their digestive systems are still developing, and they are not yet able to hold their bowel movements for extended periods.

Luckily, a pup’s bowel movements stabilize with age, so you won’t deal with all these constant potty breaks for too long. In this article, we will delve into the typical frequency of puppy bathroom breaks, drawing from expert sources like Dr. Clare Hemmings and Dr. Aurélien Grellet,  DMV, PhD to offer the best advice for new pet parents.

When I brought Arthur home at eight weeks old, I quickly learned that he needed to go roughly every three to four hours during the day, and even had a predictable 2 am bathroom break during his first month with me. However, things took a turn when Arthur developed colitis, requiring us to adjust and increase his outings to every two hours.

When Arthur experienced colitis, an inflammation of the colon, it was necessary to increase the frequency of his bathroom breaks. This change highlights how health conditions can impact a puppy’s bathroom habits, requiring pet parents to be adaptable and responsive to their puppy’s needs. As we explore further, we’ll discuss how to identify and adapt to the varying needs of your puppy, ensuring their comfort and aiding in effective potty training.

By now, you know that when a pup eats and when they need to potty is inextricably linked. So, our article on how long after eating a young dog needs to go outside, is another valuable tool when learning your young dog’s digestive habits.

It’s important to establish a routine for your puppy’s bathroom breaks to help them learn where and when it’s appropriate to go. This can also help prevent accidents in the house. However, this will take some time and a few accidents are expected as the pups learn.   

In addition to age and size, your puppy’s diet can also play a role in their bathroom habits. A PMC study on 12 Beagle dogs showed that a high-fiber diet could lead to pooing far more often, while a low-fiber diet can result in constipation. So it’s important to get the balance right in the diet.

Overall, it’s important to monitor your puppy’s bathroom habits and consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about their frequency or consistency. By providing a balanced diet and establishing a routine, you can help ensure your puppy stays healthy and happy.

Frequency of Puppy Poop By Age

A four-month-old Pomsky puppy pooping

Here’s a breakdown of how often you can expect your puppy to poo based on their age:

Newborn to 4 Weeks Old 

During the first few weeks of life (when they are neonatal), puppies rely solely on their mother’s milk for nutrition and will poop roughly every 30 minutes to an hour. At about two weeks, they will poo roughly every two hours. This is because their digestive system is still developing, and they defecate every time they drink from their mother. 

The stool will be soft and yellow in color. The mothers need to stimulate the puppies’ anal region for them to poo and typically lick off the stool in the process. 

4 to 8 Weeks Old 

As puppies start to transition to solid food, you can expect them to poop every two to four hours, depending on size and age. They rarely go longer than 3 hours without relieving themselves before the age of six weeks. After that, they can start going for slightly longer periods. Their stool may still be soft but will start to take on a more solid form. This is also when the risk of warning diarrhea 

8 to 12 Weeks Old 

At this age, puppies will typically poop after every meal – which can be about 6 times daily. By the time they reach around 12 weeks of age, the frequency of defecation may decrease to around four times a day.  

Their poo should be well-formed and brown in color. Check out our article on when are puppies fully weaned because most of the weaning happens in this age bracket.

3 to 6 Months Old 

By this age, most puppies will start to settle into a regular potty schedule. You can expect them to poo 3 to 6 times a day, depending on factors like their size, age, and health. Small breed puppies may empty their bowels far more often than a large breed like a German Shepherd. However, a German Shepherd puppy may be more prone to sensitive stomachs, which can also cause them to need to potty more than usual if they eat something that does not agree with them.

Their stool  should be well-formed and brown at this age.

6 Months and Older

When puppies grow past the 6-month mark, they start showing bathroom habits more akin to adult dogs. At this stage, they generally need to poo about 2 to 3 times a day. This pattern is subject to their diet, activity level, and overall health.

Remember, every young dog is different, and their schedule may vary based on their diet and exercise routine. If you notice any changes in your puppy’s defecation frequency or consistency, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Frequency of Puppies Pooping By Breed Size

When it comes to puppies and their bathroom habits, it’s important to understand that each breed is unique. This includes how many times they need to go potty. In this section, we’ll take a look at the frequency of puppies pooping by breed size.

Small Breeds

Small breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, tend to have smaller bladders and digestive systems and also need to eat more to prevent rapid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). As a result, they may need to go potty more frequently. On average, small breed puppies may need to poop anywhere from 4 to 6 times per day.

Medium Breeds

Medium breeds, such as Beagles and Bulldogs, tend to have slightly larger bladders and digestive systems than small breeds. As a result, they may not need to go potty as frequently. On average, medium-breed puppies may need to poop anywhere from 3 to 5 times per day.

Large Breeds

Large breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Great Danes, tend to have the largest bladders and digestive systems. As a result, they may not need to go potty as frequently as smaller breeds. On average, large-breed puppies may need to poop anywhere from 3 to 4 times per day.

Fun fact: Larger breed puppies may suffer from diarrhea more easily than smaller ones. This is because their colons are more permeable and sensitive, according to Online Wiley research, resulting in more water retention and watery stool.

When it comes to puppies and their bathroom habits, it’s essential to keep in mind that each young dog is unique. Some may need to go potty more frequently than others, regardless of breed size. It’s important to pay attention to your pup’s individual needs and adjust accordingly.

Puppy Breed SizeAverage Frequency of Pooping
Small4-6 times per day
Medium3-5 times per day
Large3-4 times per day

Understanding the frequency of puppies pooping by breed size can help you better care for your pup. By knowing what to expect, you can ensure that your puppy is staying healthy and happy.

Factors Affecting Poop Frequency

A large breed puppy pooping: breed size influences how long often a young dog may need to defecate

When it comes to how many times a pup excretes, there are several factors to consider. In this section, we will explore the most influential factors that can affect your fur baby’’s stool frequency.

Age

Age plays a critical role in how often a youngster poops. Puppies under six months of age typically poop more frequently than adult dogs. This is because their digestive system is still developing, and they tend to eat more often. As your puppy grows older, they will start to poop less frequently.

Diet

What your fur baby eats can significantly affect their pooping. Puppies that consume a high-fiber diet tend to poop more often than those that eat low-fiber diets. However, feeding puppies fiber is a sensitive game of balance. Too much soluble fiber (psyllium) can lead to nasty constipation, while too much insoluble fiber (cellulose) can cause unexpected diarrhea. Your vet can help you balance the fiber out.

 Feeding young dogs too much food has also been shown to increase stool frequency. Additionally, puppies that eat a lot of table scraps or human food may poop more frequently than those that stick to a strict dog food diet. Low-quality diets can also cause puppies to potty less frequently. Check out our article on what to give dogs for constipation for natural remedies.

Popular to popular belief, starch in the diet is actually good for puppies and dogs, and they’re adapted to it according to research, such as a study by nature. This is in stark contrast to trendy diets that barely incorporate carbs, such as “grain-free” and “only protein” diets.

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can also affect your dog’s poop frequency. For example, if your pup has diarrhea or an upset stomach, they may poop more frequently than usual. On the other hand, if your youngster is constipated, they may poop less frequently.

Physical Activity

Physical activity can also impact your puppy’s poop frequency. Puppies that are more active tend to poop more often than those that are less active. This is because exercise can help stimulate the digestive system and promote bowel movements. 

Parasites and Health Conditions

Intestinal parasites or underlying health conditions can affect a little dog’s digestive system, leading to diarrhea or changes in poop frequency. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to address any health concerns.

Stress and Anxiety

Stressful situations or changes in the environment can impact a young pup’s digestive health, potentially leading to variations in poop frequency. 

Metabolism

Metabolic rates can vary among individual puppies and breeds. Smaller breeds often have faster metabolisms, resulting in quicker digestion and more frequent bowel movements.

Several factors can affect how many times your young fur baby needs a potty break. By understanding these factors, you can better manage your puppy’s poop schedule and keep them healthy and happy.

When to Worry About Your Puppy’s Poop

While it’s normal for puppies to have varying poop schedules and consistencies, there are some signs that may indicate a health issue.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Diarrhea: If your pup has diarrhea for more than a day or two, it’s time to take them to the vet. Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous for puppies.
  • Constipation: If your younger dog is straining to poop or hasn’t helped themselves in a few days, it’s time to take action. You can try adding a small amount of fish oil to their food to help get things moving. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to visit the vet.
  • Blood in the stool: If you notice blood in your puppy’s stool, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible. This can be a sign of a serious health issue, such as parasites or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Abnormal stool color or consistency: If your little one’s poop is consistently a different color or consistency than usual, it’s worth a trip to the vet. This could indicate a variety of health issues, from dietary problems to infections.

It’s important to pay attention to your little guy’s poop and seek veterinary care if you notice any concerning changes. By staying vigilant and proactive, we can help ensure our puppies stay healthy and happy.

How to Maintain Regular Puppy Poop

When it comes to puppies, maintaining regular bowel movements is important for their overall health. Note that you’ll need to take your pup out an ungodly number of times for the first few months. It’s the only way to teach them that outside is where they do their business and to prevent constant poop cleaning.

Here are some tips to help you maintain regular poop:

Establish a Feeding Schedule

Feeding your pooch at the same time every day can help regulate their digestive system. Make sure to feed them high-quality puppy food that is appropriate for their age and breed size.

Provide Plenty of Water

Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Dehydration can lead to constipation, so it’s important to keep them hydrated.

Take Your Pup Outside Frequently

Puppies need to go outside to eliminate more frequently than adult dogs. Take your pooch outside after meals, naps, and playtime to give them the opportunity to go potty.

To potty train your pup:

Take your pup to a designated potty area frequently, particularly after meals and play.  Always keep them leashed when taking them out.
Use a consistent command, such as “Go potty,”  and don’t say anything to the them after that
provide immediate praise and a treat when your dog eliminates in the designated spot
If the puppy doesn’t poop or gets distracted after about 10 minutes, go back to the house and repeat after a couple of minutes to an hour.

Monitor Your Pup’s Poop

Keep an eye on your dog’s stool to make sure it’s regular and consistent. If you notice any changes in color, texture, or frequency, it could be a sign of a health issue.

Consider Adding Fiber to the Diet

If your young dog is having trouble with regular bowel movements, adding a small amount of canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potato to their diet can help. These foods are high in fiber and can help regulate their digestive system.

By following these tips, you can help maintain healthy pooing habits and keep your pup healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I expect my puppy to poop?

As a general rule, puppies should poo at least twice a day, but it’s not uncommon for them to go more often. However, the frequency of bowel movements can vary depending on the puppy’s age, diet, and other factors.

What is the average frequency of a puppy’s bowel movements?

The average frequency of a puppy’s bowel movements is between 1 and 5 per day. However, this can vary depending on the individual puppy and their age and diet.

How many per day should a puppy poop?

A puppy should defecate at least twice a day, but it’s not unusual for them to go more often. If a puppy is going less than once a day, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian.

Is it normal for a puppy to poo after every meal?

It’s normal, even expected, for a puppy to empty their bowels after eating, as this is a natural response to the digestive process. However, if a puppy is pooping excessively after every meal, it could be a sign of a digestive issue and should be checked by a vet.

What factors can affect how often a puppy poops?

Several factors can affect how often a puppy needs to potty, including their age, diet, activity level, and overall health. Puppies that are eating a high-quality diet, getting plenty of exercise, and receiving regular veterinary care are more likely to have regular bowel movements.

How can I tell if my puppy is pooping too much or too little?

If a puppy is pooping more than 5 times daily or less than once a day, it could be a sign of a digestive issue or other health problem. Other signs to watch for include diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, or straining. If you have any concerns about your puppy’s bowel movements, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

We have learned that puppies need to relieve themselves frequently, especially during their first few months of life. It is normal for a puppy to poo anywhere from 1 to 5 times a day, depending on their age, size, and diet. As they grow older, their digestive system becomes more efficient, and they may potty less frequently.

It is important to pay attention to your puppy’s poop habits and make sure they are consistent. Changes in frequency, color, or texture could be a sign of a health issue and should be addressed by a veterinarian. Remember to always clean up after your puppy and dispose of their waste properly to keep your environment clean and healthy for both you and your canine.

Feeding your puppy a healthy diet, providing plenty of exercise, and establishing a regular potty routine can help regulate their poop schedule. Accidents may happen, but with patience and consistency, your puppy will eventually learn where and when to go.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.