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The Puppy Water Schedule and More: A Guide to Successful Housebreaking

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

fluffy white puppy is outside on the grass on a hot pink leash.
Puppy water schedule

Setting up a puppy water schedule and housebreaking can be a challenge. Fortunately, our experts at CanineJulz put together this blog to help!

In this guide, we'll discuss:

  • How to implement a puppy water schedule

  • Why water intake is so important

  • When to withhold your pup's water supply

And other key elements to successful housebreaking, so you know the best way to keep your new best friend happy and healthy for life!

Table of Contents

  1. Implementing A Water Schedule for Your Puppy

  2. Why Do Puppies Need A Water Schedule?

  3. Housebreaking Puppies: Getting Started in 3 Steps

  4. Creating Safe Spaces: The Den and The Crate

  5. The Den

  6. The Crate

  7. Housebreaking 101: Supervision and Prevention

  8. Daytime Supervision and Prevention

  9. Nighttime Supervision and Prevention

  10. It’s All About Balance!

  11. One More Quick Tip for Housebreaking Success

  12. Conclusion

People Also Ask:

How much water should a puppy drink during potty training?

Growing puppies often require about 2 cups of water after several hours, especially while potty training.

The exact amount of water given can vary depending on their:

  • Size

  • Breed

  • Age

When should you give puppies water?

Start introducing water and food around 3 to 4 weeks of age.

This is the best time to start slowly wean your puppy from their mother's milk and care, so they learn to become more independent.

Should puppies have free water access?

Julie and our team recommend providing clean water and free access to your puppy throughout the day to keep them hydrated. However, you'll need to supervise their water intake.

Can a puppy go 8 hours without water?

Most adults dogs can go up to 8 hours without water. Puppies often need water throughout the day.

You also can help your pup stay hydrated by adding more moisture to their food.

Should you leave water out all day for a puppy?

Be sure to keep up the puppy water schedule and give them regular access to fresh water during the day with supervision.

Can you give a puppy too much water?

Supervising your pup's water intake is vital because not enough could lead to:

  • Dehydration

  • Kidney stones

  • Organ failure

Drinking too much can also be toxic. Setting up a water schedule for your puppy is essential for their health and happiness.

How long does it take to potty-train a puppy?

It often takes 4 to 6 months for most puppies to be fully housebroken, but some pups may need up to 12 months. The size and breed can be the main contributing factors.

Implementing A Water Schedule for Your Puppy

Just like people, puppies do well when they follow a set schedule that includes their water intake.

Having a water schedule for your pup is especially helpful in the first few weeks when their life involves:

  • Meeting the family

  • Training

  • Vaccinations

When implementing a water intake schedule, it’s best to follow this general rule: give your puppy about one-half cup of water every 2 hours.

Why Do Puppies Need A Water Schedule?

Dogs and puppies don’t come into a new home for the first time knowing where to go or what to do. They need time and guidance to understand how to adapt to their new family and environment!

Establishing a schedule that monitors their water, food, play and sleep helps establish consistency.

This consistency is essential when housebreaking and also helps promote:

  • Proper potty training

  • Good eating habits

  • Healthy confidence and bonding

Something as simple as a water schedule can create a routine that helps make your puppy less stressed and prevent bad habits and behaviors.

Housebreaking Puppies: Getting Started in 3 Steps

It's important to realize that when getting a new puppy the first few days are often the hardest. Change for any animal, especially young puppies is always an adjustment.

Step 1: Where Will the Puppy Sleep at Night?

Dogs are den animals by nature. Creating a space that represents a “den”, such a crate is a great starting point.

Step 2: Where Will Your Pup Stay During the Day When You Aren’t Home?

This depends on where you're the most comfortable having your new family member stay when you’re gone during the day.

Some examples of areas can include:

  • A secure dog run

  • Puppy play pen

  • A proper-sized crate

Once you’ve established a spot, we don’t recommend having newspaper or puppy pads in this area. These can actually encourage your puppy to go potty indoors if their area is inside.

Step 3: Where Will They Be When You Are Home?

When housebreaking, balance is key.

As a certified dog trainer, Julie recommends alternating between:

  • Having your dog on a leash attached to you

  • Tethered close to you inside for short time periods

  • In their crate and only for a reasonable period of time.

Be sure to provide consistent potty breaks as well!

Creating Safe Spaces: The Den and The Crate

Dogs are den animals by nature and teaching them to go where their safe space or “den” goes against their natural instincts.

Potty training and teaching your pup to hold their bowel movements first requires you to understand their nature.

Creating safe spaces with a den or crate helps them learn:

  • Proper bladder control

  • Schedule consistency

  • Overall confidence

The Den

The “Den” is the space where you allow your pup to be when inside the house while housebreaking.

Surprisingly, dogs by nature don’t like to go to the bathroom where their den is. Because there is a designated den area for your pup, they’re often drawn to potty in spaces they don’t see as their den.

The common areas can include:

  • The dining room

  • Living room

  • Other, less used spaces

Teaching them how to let you know when they need a bathroom break is essential. Since young dogs have not yet been taught the proper signals, supervision is vital.

Quick tip: Never correct or scold your pup for accidents. Nose rubbing techniques will only confuse and upset them!

The Crate

While crate training is a simple yet effective to housebreak puppies, it doesn't teach them where the bathroom is.

Creating a safe space for your puppy does help them learn to hold their bladder and bowels by confining them comfortably.

Remember, dogs don’t like to potty where they drink, eat, and sleep. Puppy crates should only be large enough for them to:

  • Stand up

  • Lay down

  • Turn around

Quick tip: Never leave your dog in their crate longer than a couple of hours, especially when potty training puppies.

Housebreaking 101: Supervision and Prevention

Setting your puppy up for success is the foundation of proper housebreaking.

The two keys of successful housebreaking are:

  1. Supervision

  2. Prevention

We at CanineJulz cannot stress this enough.

Fortunately, our certified dog trainer, Julie, provides classes that teach both puppy and owner the fundamentals of successful housebreaking!

Daytime Prevention and Supervision

If a puppy relieves itself in the house, it’s not their fault. Taking the time to train your pup to go outside helps condition them to go potty outside.

The more they make outside, the fewer accidents happen inside. This is known as housebreaking prevention.

Daytime housebreaking prevention should include:

  • Frequent potty breaks

  • Free access to water

  • Short, frequent nap times in their crate

Our team recommends implementing crate time when you're participating in activities where you cannot supervise your pup.

Young dogs need constant supervision, especially when potty training.

When inside and not in their crate, daytime housebreaking supervision should include:

  • Having your puppy on a leash tied to you

  • Have them on a leash close to you

  • Have your pup’s leash attached to a heavy piece of furniture near you

Nighttime Supervision and Prevention

Follow your puppy water schedule and remove all water sources from their crate at night. You’ll need to decide what time to put your pup to bed.

Provide them with and then restrict water about 2 to 3 hours before bed to prevent accidents during nighttime.

If you have a very young puppy, our team advises that you implement proper nighttime supervision by:

  • Crating them in the same room where you sleep

  • Tethering them if uncomfortable in their crate

  • Remaining close to help them feel secure

Remember, bonding is essential for you and your pup at this age. Supervision also makes nighttime potty time and training easier.

Quick tip: Don’t mistake whining and crying for your puppy’s need to go to the bathroom. If you took them outside, and they went potty, they want attention!

It’s All About Balance!

Dogs younger than 12 weeks of age are more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and bathroom accidents. The earlier dogs learn to be comfortable when left alone, the better.

Establishing balance when housebreaking your puppy is key. Achieving balanced housebreaking often includes:

  • Leaving your pup alone for short periods of time

  • Not allowing them to whine or cry for long periods of time

  • Take your puppy out when they do whine or cry

We recommend seeking the guidance of a trainer if your potty training efforts aren’t successful.

At CanineJulz, proper housebreaking is a top priority to us. Contact our team to learn how we can help you create balance for a healthy and happy dog!

One More Quick Tip for Housebreaking Success

Dogs have a habit of finding places throughout the home to go to the bathroom.

Common spots include:

  • Rarely used rooms

  • Behind furniture

  • Out of the way places

Tip: The next time you feed your puppy, try giving them food in places where they had an accident. This will help establish these rooms or spots as their den, not a bathroom!


While new puppies bring a lot of joy, they’re also a lot of work.

To ensure their overall health and well-being, you’ll need to set a puppy water schedule and much more.

Do you need help housebreaking your new pup?

99,270 views4 comments

4 comentarios

This article is very contradictory, first you say to only give them a little water every couple hours, and make sure to have a strict water schedule.. then, you say to make sure they have free access to water.

Also, when they whine and you just took them out, they just want attention, but then you say to make sure you always take them out every time they whine or cry.

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Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
29 dic 2023

This article is confusing. how are free access to water and a water schedule (detailing how many cups per hour etc) compatible?

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I remember reading this article a while back, and I'm glad I did because she would easily drink 4x this amount if I let her. She adjusted to the new water schedule pretty quickly, and her behavior has improved a tonne. By the way if anyone is experiencing puppy behavioral issue's. there are some really effective emotional control exercises you can do at home. A trainer called Dan has a bunch of really helpful video's on literally all puppy problems. There's a good post on this here Probably talking to myself as I'm the only commenter, but might help somebody else. - Kacey

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Contestando a

Thank you! I'm raising an orphaned baby (I think chihauhau), now. He just opened his eyes, two days ago! He's getting stronger each day.

Thank you for your post, I'll look up videos on Dan.

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