How to Potty Train a German Shepherd?

Pet Training


November 30, 2022

Having a puppy presents a few different challenges. One of the most common problems involves getting them potty trained. After all, no one wants to have to contend with accidents in their home if they are avoidable.

For German shepherds, you can have confidence knowing that you will get them trained. They are extremely smart, very loyal, and highly trainable, which means that you can get them potty trained before you know it.

Know the Signs

One of the first things to consider when you learn how to potty train a German shepherd is how to recognize the signs that they have to go. There are a few common signs that give you an indication that it is potty time.

The most common signs include circling around one spot, sniffing the floor, going into an area where the puppy may have had a prior accident, and looking anxious or restless. Should the dog show any of these signs, take it out immediately.

There are plenty of times when it is a false alarm, or the dog isn’t quite comfortable with going. Be patient with the dog and keep it up. Before long, it will find confidence in going in its designated potty spot.

Routines are Your Friend

Without a doubt, the most important thing that you can do to help your German shepherd learn to potty is to develop a routine. The key for how to potty train a German shepherd is to get them used to going outside at certain intervals.

The good news is that dogs’ bladders and bowels can be somewhat predictable. They have sleeping schedules, so why not established potty patterns? Make sure that your German shepherd goes out first thing in the morning and when it wakes up from naps. The dog should be used to going out the minute it wakes up.

Make sure that you take the dog out right before bedtime, too. If you plan on leaving the pup alone for an extended period of time, make sure that it goes out before you leave. If you can, get your puppy to go at least once per hour. The dog won’t go each and every time, but it will get used to going out and heading to the potty spot.

Consistency is key. Don’t let hours at a time pass before you take them out. Puppies need that regular schedule to get familiar with when and where they should go. Before long, they will pick up on the schedule and even whine to go out when they need to go.

Puppy Pads

The puppy pad method can be effective, particularly if you live in a big metropolitan area that doesn’t have a plethora of good potty spots. That said, it isn’t meant to be a long-term solution because it will cause dogs to get used to going inside.

Basically, you want to get dogs used to doing their business in a specific spot. Eventually, they will get the idea of where to go, thanks to the puppy pad. When they go to the pad on their own, you can move it outside and have them continuously go on the pad outside.

Crate Training

There is some debate about crate training. Some owners don’t like to keep their dogs penned up in a kennel, but that all depends on the type of crate that you get. You want something that is just big enough to allow them to turn around comfortably but not cavernous in size.

The idea here is simple. Whenever you cannot keep your dog under your supervision, it goes into the crate. Over time, the crate can become a haven for the dog. If it wants to get some space or quiet time, it will go into the crate. Your dog should sleep there as well.

Let your dog out roughly once per hour or as long as you can keep an eye on it. Take the dog to the designated potty spot and let it become familiar with it. The dog might not go right then and there, but it will at least get familiar with where it should be going.

Pick a Phrase

There is also the need to use a phrase that the dog understands easily. Eventually, you will need to create a cue word that the dog recognizes. Doing this tells your dog that it is time to go outside and to use its potty spot.

Pick something relatively easy. You can say “potty,” “go pee pee,” “outside,” or something that will tell the dog it is time to go. There will be no mistaking what is happening because the cue word will tell the pup exactly what to expect.

Don’t get too complicated here because it can lead to miscommunication. A simple phrase or word, something you are confident with, can go a long way.


As is the case with any kind of puppy out there, you can potty train your German shepherd with just a few simple steps. It definitely takes persistence and consistency to ensure that your dog understands the directions.

Before long, you will have the confidence of knowing that your dog is ready to do its business outside. No matter what method you use, your German shepherd puppy can be on its way to being a good listener in no time.