How to Potty Train a Pug Indoors (When It’s Appropriate)

It is not just cats that can learn to go potty indoors. Pug dogs can learn this skill too! But how do you train your Pug puppy or adult dog to do their business indoors?

How to Potty Train a Pug Indoors

The hands-down quickest way to potty train your Pug to pee and poo indoors is to choose one single place inside your home that is the “dog toilet.”

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how to potty train a pug indoors

You will want to put down pee pads or place an indoor dog litter box in the designated dog toilet spot. Like cats, Pugs can be trained to use a litter box. Then you can train your Pug dog to always potty in that same spot.

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There are lots of good dog potty training methods available today but our favorite is clicker training combined with crate training.

Be sure to check out some of our other Potty training Pugs tips to help ensure you raise a well-behaved dog that is properly house trained.

Should You Potty Train Your Pug to Go Indoors?

potty training a pug puppy
learning how to potty train a pug puppy will take time and patience.

You may wonder if it is a good idea to train your Pug dog to potty indoors. This is a great question and you will find dog owners can’t agree on the answer.

As a Pug owner for the last 16 years, I believe that you should make it as easy and stress-free on your Pug to be able to relieve themselves when they need to.

This might mean it is best for your dog to train them to potty outdoors or it might mean indoor potty training is a better choice.

Let’s look at a few scenarios so you can decide what is best for your situation and your Pug dog.

Where Do You Live?

Do you have ready access to a yard? Or do you live in a high-rise or urban location? Is your climate warm, cold or humid?

Many Pug owners live in high-rise apartments and still choose to train their Pugs to potty outdoors.

Pug owners that live in really cold climates might find their Pugs don’t want to go out to do their business in the cold and snow, which is totally understandable.

Maybe you live in a really hot, humid climate and it’s miserable going outside? Pugs are brachycephalic dogs that don’t fare well in extremely hot temperatures. So it’s completely normal for an owner to make a decision to potty train their puppy indoors.

Do You Have More Than One Pet?

If you have another dog or cat, it can make indoor potty training more challenging. Your other pets will naturally become curious of your puppies indoor toilet and may even want to use it.

Indoor potty training will work best if you have two new puppies at the same time. This way they both learn at the same time and you don’t have a dog that is already house trained starts using the bathroom inside.

What Is Your Work Schedule Like?

If someone in your family is home a lot and can let your Pug out every few hours, you may decide to go for outdoor potty training.

But if you are gone for long hours every day, your Pug may get really stressed having to hold it.

If your Pug dog is an adult and you are gone regularly for more than 10 hours at a stretch, indoor potty training is definitely the lowest-stress choice for your Pug.

Can Someone Help You Out?

You may even consider asking a close friend or family member to come over and let your puppy out. I’ve put together a Pug potty training schedule that will help you understand how often to take them outside.

Chances are you’ll have to pay a pet sitter to come over and let your puppy out while you’re at work. This can easily run you about $35-$50 per day depending on how often they have to stop by and let your pup out.

Most people are already living paycheck to paycheck so paying for a pet sitter to come let your puppy out is not even an option.

How Old Is Your Pug?

house training a pug puppy
If your puppy is really young it may be easier to start out with indoor training.

Pug puppies may need to start out using pee pads even while learning to potty indoors. This is especially true if your Pug’s breeder was using pee pads and your Pug puppy has gotten used to them.

Senior Pugs can sometimes develop incontinence or trouble holding it and may need an indoor potty place as they get older and slower.

How Is Your Own Health?

Pugs can be great pet dogs for mature adults who lack the mobility to take a dog for long runs or hikes or engage in vigorous interactive play.

If you have any mobility or health constraints which might make it more challenging to bring your Pug outdoors several times a day to potty, teaching your dog to potty indoors might work best for you both.

When to Train a Pug to Potty Indoors?

toilet training a pug puppy
caring for a new puppy requires a lot of time, especially, when it comes to potty training.

The right time to train a Pug to go potty indoors is always as soon as you bring your Pug home for the first time.

However, even if you start the training right away, you do need to be realistic about how fast your Pug will learn what you are trying to teach. There are a couple key reasons for this.

Puppies Mature Slowly

All puppies need at least 12 months for their digestive and elimination systems to fully mature.

Small breed puppies like Pugs may need even longer for one simple reason: they have smaller holding tanks!

All that to say – until your Pug is all grown up, your dog may continue to have an accident here and there no matter what you try.

Just know that this is a part of the training process and your puppy is trying to learn the new behavior, so don’t punish them and opt for positive reinforcement training.

Pugs Can Be Stubborn

Pug dogs are very loving and loyal “people dogs” which is why they are so popular. Just to see a Pug is to love them.

But Pugs know they are cute. In fact, dogs have evolved special facial muscles just to be able to better mirror and mimic human expressions.

Why might this be? Because it helps dogs communicate more clearly (and cutely) to get what they want from their people!

So if your Pug doesn’t want to do something or learn a new skill, they might dig in their heels. They might flat-out refuse or they might look and act so cute to try to distract you.

As long as you use only the most positive training methods and you are patient, disciplined about daily training sessions and determined, you will eventually teach your Pug to potty indoors.

Your Number One KEY to Indoor Potty Training Success with Pugs

potty training a pug puppy
The most important thing is take your puppy to the pee pads or indoor potty every few hours.

The single most important key factor to successfully training your Pug to potty indoors will be timing your training sessions right.

You only want to train just before your Pug actually has to go!

Otherwise, both you and your Pug will get frustrated during training and you won’t get anywhere.

But before you can figure out when to schedule indoor potty training sessions, you need to stop for a moment and see life through your Pug’s eyes (or rather, through their bladder and bowel needs).

Just like you, your Pug will probably have certain times of day when they need to use the toilet.

After waking up, after eating, before bedtime and anytime they drink a ton of water are common times Pugs may need a potty break.

If it helps, you may want to get a journal and jot down the times you notice your Pug needs to go. Do this for a few days in a row and you will get a good sense of when to schedule potty training sessions for best results.

Keep in mind you will see more erratic potty-ing times when your Pug is a young puppy and this is totally normal. Here, a simple rule of thumb is to never wait more than two hours at a stretch to let your Pug puppy out (or in) to pee.

The biggest mistake new pet owners make is waiting too long before taking their puppy potty!

Your puppy will learn quicker when you stick to a regular potty training schedule. This is why so many experts preach putting your pup on a feeding, and poopy schedule as soon as possible.

How To Choose A Designated Room?

When it comes to choosing a room for your “doggie litter box” you’ll want to choose a room that is free of any distractions and kept clean. This means no hanging carpets, plants, or other temptations they can chew or play with.

Like children, puppies are easily distracted so it’s important to remove everything from their space.

Your puppy is only allowed in this spot when they are relieving themselves.

Handling Overnight Indoor Potty Training for Pugs

If you are like me, you probably don’t think it sounds like fun to get up all night long to do indoor potty training sessions with your Pug.

The good news is you don’t have to.

When your Pug is a puppy, one easy thing you can do is take away water two hours before bedtime. This will cut down the number of times you have to get up at night with your puppy.

You should also stop feeding them any food or treats after they’ve had their dinner. You don’t want to wake up one morning and find a surprise in the middle of your living room floor.

Another option is to use Pug dog diapers for overnight until your dog masters indoor potty time. Most people think that dog diapers are for older dogs, but you can buy them for your puppy while they are being house trained.

If you’d rather not change your doggie’s diapers, you can consider having them sleep in a crate. Both puppies and dog’s don’t like to make a mess where they sleep.

Just know that they can still soil themselves, especially, if you ignore their crying at night.

The Final Word on Indoor Potty Training for Pugs

By pairing a single, simple command with positive training methods and a designated indoor bathroom for your Pug, you can join thousands of other Pug owners who have successfully trained their Pugs to potty indoors.

References And Further Reading

Gibeault, S., MSc, CPDT, “How to Potty Train a Puppy on Pads,” American Kennel Club, 2017.

Kaminski, J., et al, “Evolution of facial muscle anatomy in dogs,” PNAS, 2019.

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