Potty Training

24 Dog Breeds That Are Hardest To Potty Train

by Alison Page

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New pet parents want a dog that’s straightforward to train and care for.

Potty training your pet is usually the highest priority for most people. Let’s face it, no one wants a home that reeks of dog pee, and you certainly don’t want to come back to a nasty mess to clean up every time you go out.

But some dog breeds are easier to potty train than others. So, if you’re inexperienced and new to dog ownership, you might want to avoid breeds that are known to be tricky to toilet-train.

Read this guide to find out what dog breeds are notoriously difficult to potty train.

24 Hardest Dog Breeds To Potty Train

In this part of our guide, we bring you 24 dog breeds that are generally regarded as the hardest dogs to potty train.

However, as mentioned above, it’s important to remember that every puppy is different. So, if you’re lucky, you could get a pup that’s a dream to toilet train!

But no matter how challenging training your dog or puppy turns out to be, always use positive reinforcement training methods and never lose your temper.

When training your dog, patience, sympathy, and kindness are the only way to go.

1. American Foxhound

An American Foxhound dog with a head tilt

The American Foxhound is notoriously independent and can be wayward, making this pup one of the hardest breeds to potty train.

2. Beagle

Beagle Dog sits in cage e1647609604108

Although Beagles are working dogs, they are also scent hounds. That means these pups are very easily distracted and have a somewhat short attention span. Beagles can also have a rather selective memory when it comes to learning, making these pups somewhat tricky to housetrain.

3. Biewer Terrier

Biewer Terrier sitting on the grass

The Biewer Terrier is an unusual breed that’s said to have a childlike, fun-loving personality that makes them excellent companions. However, these intelligent little dogs can often take a long time to potty train.

4. Brussels Griffon

Puppy Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon has a reputation for bonding very strongly with their owners. Now, although that makes some aspects of training pretty easy, as with many toy dog breeds, potty training can take more time and effort.

5. Chihuahua

Chihuahua Lion Cut

Chihuahuas might be small, but they can be mighty too! These feisty little pups are renowned for peeing whenever and wherever they want to, purely because they know they’ll probably get away with it!

Chihuahuas also hate getting cold and wet, making potty training a challenge.

6. Chinese Crested

focus shot of Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested is another toy dog breed that often finds housetraining difficult.

Some owners find that crate training their Chinese Crested dogs helps with potty training. However, toilet training is one area that’s widely considered to be challenging with these pups and can take a long time to fully achieve.

7. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker spaniel sitting on the grass

Cocker spaniels are a working breed that was originally bred to work alongside people, hunting game birds, specifically the Woodcock, hence the dog’s name.

These dogs are usually playful, sweet-natured, and gentle. However, they can be defensive and temperamental when faced with a challenge, making potty training difficult. If you get crossed with your dog, you risk him urinating in submission, further complicating your potty training challenge. If your Cocker has an accident, be patient and understanding.

8. Dachshund

Dachshund Puppy Being Measured and Weighed

The Dachshund is a cute breed full of personality, but despite their intelligence, these little dogs can be stubborn to train.

Dachsies can be defensive when pushed, and they need plenty of convincing to go outside when it’s wet or cold.

9. English Bulldog

English Bulldog in Lounge Bed

English Bulldogs are increasingly popular pets. However, these pups have a reputation as being somewhat dim when it comes to basic intelligence!

Some trainers claim that the Bulldog can only learn a few very basic, low-level commands. That makes toilet training a major challenge, although consistent training, patience, and a sympathetic approach will pay off eventually.

10. Italian Greyhound

two Italian Greyhounds

Like many smaller dog breeds, the Italian greyhound can be tricky to housetrain, and you can expect the occasional mishap, even when your pup has undergone potty training.

11. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier sitting on Luxury Dog Bed

Jack Russells are lively, intelligent little dogs that need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive. Unfortunately, the JRT’s stubborn streak makes them one of the most difficult dogs to potty train.

12. Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier in a blurry background

Lakeland Terriers are brave little dogs that very much have their own minds when it comes to proper behavior. That can make it difficult to convince these pups that potty training is high on the behavioral agenda.

13. Lhasa Apso

white Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a puppyish little guy that takes a few years to mature completely.

You need to keep that in mind when you’re housetraining a Lhasa puppy. Most trainers recommend that you crate-train your Lhasa Apso to make potty training easier.

14. Basset Hound

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are reputedly tricky to potty train. Like many scent hounds, Bassets can find it difficult to maintain focus, which can lead to accidents.

That said, provided you take a consistent, patient approach to training, the Basset Hound will eventually come around to your way of thinking and can be successfully toilet trained.

15. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

These delightful little terriers are certainly full of verve and energy, but that can make them a rather stubborn breed that can be difficult to potty train.

16. Norwich Terrier

The typical Norwich Terrier on a green grass lawn

The Norwich Terrier is another terrier breed that’s hard to potty train. These little dogs are definitely eager to please their owners, but toilet training can be challenging when Norwich isn’t motivated.

17. Pekingese


Pekingese are companion breeds that can find learning the basics of the potty training process somewhat tricky. In addition, this petite breed needs to go potty more often than larger dogs, so plenty of reinforcement from you and the chance to go outside frequently will be needed.

18. Pomeranian

Side view full length picture of long haired pomeranian scaled e1643808695191

Pomeranians love to please their owners, but these diminutive companion dogs can find the process of potty training rather a challenge, thanks to their lively personalities.

However, if you take a consistent, patient approach, you can succeed.

19. Pug

pug bites in a leash

Pugs are a brilliant breed for families with children. However, this little dog’s stubborn streak can make them hard to housebreak.

That said, if you use positive reinforcement throughout the potty training process and don’t give up, your Pug will get the gist of what you want eventually.

20. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound portrait

Although giant dog breeds are not generally resistant to potty training, housetraining Irish Wolfhounds can be problematic, as these dogs can be stubborn and rather easily distracted.

However, if you remain vigilant and reward your Wolfhound with plenty of treats when he does his business in the right place, you’ll eventually win!

21. Afghan Hound

Dog Afghan Hound runs

With their flowing coat and huge brown eyes, the Afghan Hound breed is the supermodel of the doggy world.

However, these graceful, good-looking dogs can be difficult to potty train, although positive methods always have the best results.

22. Shi Tzu

Shih Tzu Puppy Cut

The Shi Tzu is one of the hardest-to-train canine breeds. These dogs are charming and amusing, but training them can be frustrating, as these little dogs love to have their own way.

That can lead to a less-than-completely housetrained pup that’s also troublesome to groom.

23. Yorkshire Terrier

Cute Small Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are an intelligent breed that can also be stubborn, which makes it difficult to potty train them. Pet owners will also find it tricky to persuade these little prima donnas to go outside when the weather is cold or wet.

In addition, these little dogs have smaller bladders, so they can’t last as long between potty breaks as larger breeds.

24. Sealyham Terrier

White Sealyham Terrier in the garden

Here’s another terrier breed that can be hard to potty train. Sealyhams are an independent, stubborn breed, and pet owners will need to take a firm, consistent approach to train their dogs to be successful.

Why Are Some Dog Breeds Hard To Potty Train?

No puppy is born already potty trained, and quite a bit of training is required regardless of the pup’s breed. Even if you decide to adopt an adult dog from a rescue or a shelter, you’ll probably still need retraining, which can be hard work.

So, what makes some dog breeds easy to potty train whereas others are much more challenging?

Companion Breeds

Generally, working breeds are easier to train in most aspects of life, including potty training. These pups are also the fastest learners and are usually pretty cooperative.

Companion breeds, in comparison, can be stubborn and lazy, which sometimes makes these types harder to potty train.

Home From Home

Happy couple with labradoodle

Congratulations if you’ve chosen to adopt a dog from a rescue or a shelter; that’s very commendable!

Sometimes, dogs from shelters are already toilet-trained in a previous home. However, many pups that have lived on the streets or are long-term rescue residents will most likely need to be retrained to some degree. That can be challenging, especially if you’re new to dog ownership.

Quick Learners

Some popular dog breeds, such as Labradoodles, Golden retrievers, and Poodles, are intelligent pups that learn quickly.

However, some breeds are not as bright and don’t learn new things easily. That makes toilet training these less intelligent pups more difficult, and the process generally takes longer.

Pay Attention!

Some dog breeds focus all their attention on their human companions. If you own a dog that’s easily distracted by other things going on around him, you’ll probably find him more challenging to potty train than a pup who hangs on your every word.


Purebred puppy Golden Retriever in a cage for potty training

Just like people, every dog has a different personality. Even puppies from the same litter can be completely individual when it comes to their willingness to learn and work with their owners.

So, if you’re unfortunate to get a pup that’s simply not cooperative, that will make potty training him difficult.

Size Matters

Large dogs have larger bladders than toy breeds. So, a tiny pup will not be able to last as long as a larger one. That can make petite pups more difficult to potty train than huge hounds!

Are Male Or Female Dogs Easier To Potty Train?

The urban myth that female dogs are easier to toilet-train than males is generally untrue. It’s no more difficult to potty train a male or a female dog.

That said, after around eight to 12 weeks, male dogs often start scent marking. They do that by cocking a leg and peeing on stuff. That can be trees in your backyard, lamp posts in your street, or even pieces of furniture in your home!

So, if you have a male dog that’s begun scent marking in that way, you’ll probably find housebreaking him pretty difficult.

Will Neutering Help With House Training?

Miniature Golden Doodle Puppy and Potty Training

As mentioned above, male dogs often use pee to scent-mark their territory and communicate with other pups.

That said, scent marking is a learned behavior and can make potty training your dog even more difficult. When your dog is desexed, that can help to reduce scent-marking behavior. In fact, in some cases, spaying or neutering can prevent the behavior altogether.

Are Unvaccinated Dogs Harder To Housetrain?

Whether your puppy is vaccinated or not makes no difference to the difficulty you’ll experience when housetraining him.

We recommend that every dog be vaccinated from eight weeks of age to ensure the pup is protected and safe from the most common dog diseases.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to the 24 hardest dog breeds to potty train? If you found the information helpful, please take a moment to share the article before you leave.

Generally, companion breeds, dogs that are not especially intelligent, and easily distracted pups are the most challenging breeds to train. However, every dog is different, and trainability can simply be down to luck.

What breed of dog do you have? Was your canine companion hard to potty train? Tell us in the comments box below!

11 thoughts on “24 Dog Breeds That Are Hardest To Potty Train”

  1. My puppy is 10 weeks old. Soon to be 11. And I been feeding her three times a day. How much snacks should I feed her? Am I feeding her too much?

  2. I am on Day 1 with a German Shepherd we adopted/rescued. He was found with the litter and their mother in a wooded area where someone dumped them. That’s six pups and one adult. Finding this article today was timely. I have potty trained several dogs and agree that Golden Retrievers are very easy to train and very quick to learn. It helps when there is an adult dog in the house. The pup gets into the rhythm of the trained dog.

  3. I have a Havanese which I adopted from a breeder at age 5 yrs. She wasn’t house broken or neutered. I had her neutered and trained her (in the winter) to go on a pee pad yet she refuses to poop on it. I have put some of her poop on the pad so she knows it’s ok but she still poops on the carpet. I read your previous comments and will try that.Thanks!


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