Are Boston’s Easy To Potty Train? How To Do It In 5 Steps


Do boston terriers smell?
Bella being cute next to a fire hydrant.

We all love puppies….especially Boston Terrier puppies! Looking at their big eyes and cute ears, it’s all fun and games until you realize they need to be potty trained. 

Potty training is essential for all dog owners. Whether you live in an apartment or house, your Boston Terrier needs to be trained where to go potty, or you’ll be stuck with a lot of unfortunate messes. 

Let’s break down how to potty train a Boston Terrier!

Boston Terriers And Potty Training

According to the American Kennel Club, small dog breeds tend to have a faster metabolism, which leads to more potty breaks. 

Boston Terriers are also well-known mischief-makers. They can be very sneaky and disappear before you’re even aware. 

When you’re potty training your Boston Terrier, keep a constant eye on them so that they cannot wander off and relieve themselves in the wrong area. 

How easy is it to train a Boston Terrier? How to train a boston terrier to go potty.
So easy a two-year-old can do it.

Are Boston Terriers Easy To Potty Train?

Yes, Boston Terriers are an intelligent breed who are also eager to please. This makes them the perfect trainable breed.

I also asked hundreds of other Boston Terrier owners whether or not their Boston was easy to potty train. The overwhelming response was yes.

Here are the results from a survey I did on the Boston Terrier Society’s Facebook community.

Facebook

My question on Facebook was, “Would you consider Boston Terriers hard to house train or potty train?” 

Would you consider Boston Terriers hard to house train or potty train?

Posted by Boston Terrier Society on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

With 285 votes, the overwhelming reply was, NO! Boston Terriers are easy to potty train.

5 Steps To Potty Training A Boston Terrier

Here is how you can potty train your Boston Terrier in five simple steps.

In my opinion, the three most important things to successful potty training are patience, consistency, and supervision. 

Let’s break this down!

Potty Training Step #1 – Finding A Location

You need to decide where your Boston Terrier is going to go potty. This can be outdoors, this is what I prefer. Or it can be inside on a puppy pad.

Once you choose this location, it is permanent. You will be taking your Boston to this spot every time they need to go to the restroom.

Ideally, this bathroom location will be chosen before you ever bring your Boston Terrier home. This is important because you need this spot located before step two.

Potty Training Step #2 – Take Your Boston To This Spot Often

When you first arrive home with your new Boston Terrier, you need to take them immediately to the potty area. 

Chances are you drove, so this is the perfect transition to allow your dog to potty.

When does a boston terrier need to go outside to go potty. Sign my dog wants to go potty.
Bella wanting to go outside.

When to take your Boston Terrier to their potty spot?

Just like training a toddler to go potty, you need to take your Boston to its potty after every transition. What is a transition? Basically, after any of these events…

  • Every hour
  • Eating
  • Sleeping/ Napping
  • Car Ride
  • Playing

If you take your Boston to its spot after these transitions and it does not go potty, take her back in for 15 minutes and then try again.

Remember, this is going to be a little time-consuming in the beginning. 

However, the pay off is great when you have a fully potty trained Boston.

Do I really need to take my Boston to its potty spot every hour?

Yes, when you are potty training your Boston Terrier, you must take them out regularly.

Keep in mind this is more to help you learn how long your Boston can hold its bladder.

Over time you’ll learn when your Boston goes to the restroom as well as its signs. 

By taking your Boston out every hour, you are also providing your dog with an opportunity to receive some praise when it does go potty in the correct place.

Potty Training Step #3 – Supervise

When taking your Boston Terrier potty, you will always want to supervise them. You want to ensure when you take them potty that they actually go to the restroom.

If you do not watch them, there is a chance they didn’t go, and you are going to find a mess somewhere in the house later on.

Always ensure your Boston has gone to the restroom before bringing them back in.

However, like in step two. If they have not gone after a transition, go inside for 15 minutes and then try again.

Talk to your Boston when they are going potty (Potty Cue)

Any dog trainer will tell you that having a cue for potty helps your Boston know when it is time to go. With Bella, my Boston Terrier, I simply tell her, “go potty Bella.” 

While I did not internationally do this, I think it does help motivate her to go when we are outside, trying to go to the restroom.

You can come up with whatever cue or statement you would like, but make sure it is the same cue every time.

How to reward your Boston Terrier without treats.
Bella getting some love and affection.

Potty Training Step #4 – Reward Your Boston For Going Potty

Ok, if you have taken your Boston to its spot and it goes potty, it is time to celebrate. You want to give your dog praise when it does what you have asked of them.

This gives your dog positive reinforcement. Your Boston now knows when she goes potty in her spot, she will get words of affection and rubbed down.

Should you use food as a reward?

I personally would not. And the reason being is you do not want to associate getting food for going to the bathroom. 

Boston’s are really smart, and soon they will be trying to go to the restroom for a treat.

Potty Training Step #5 – Consistency

Potty training your Boston is only going to work if you are patient and consistent.

You only need to be stringent on the transitions as well as every hour until you learn your dog’s bathroom patterns.

Once you learn your dog’s cues for needing to go potty, you no longer will need to take them out during every transition or every hour.

Old boston terrier photo.
Old Boston Terrier

Things To Consider When Potty Training An Adult Boston Terrier

When you bring home a Boston Terrier, there are a few things to note: 

  • According to American Humane, it’s not instinctive for dogs to go outside to relieve themselves. Other than the area they sleep, dogs view anywhere else as fair game!
  • Any new dog to your home will also be thrown off by the new routine. Even if they were previously potty trained, being in a new environment with a new location to go potty is a new challenge. Be patient and kind with them as they learn your routine.
  • Don’t punish your Boston Terrier for having an accident. Punishing them harshly will only lead them to fear you rather than obey you. They may even be afraid to go potty or hide when they do to avoid you if they fear punishment. 
boston terrier playing on puppy pad.
Cute puppy.

Things To Consider When Potty Training A Boston Terrier Puppy

Boston Terrier puppies will need even more attention than their adult counterparts. When potty training a Boston Terrier puppy, keep these things in mind:

  • According to the American Kennel Club, puppies are unable to control their bladders until around 16 weeks of age. This can be a very trying during those first few months, but try to remember that they cannot help this yet.
  • All puppies are different, so even if your previous Boston Terrier learned in weeks, your latest Boston Terrier might need a little more patience and time, and that’s okay!
  • The American Kennel Club recommends using puppy pads instead of exposing your Boston Terrier puppy to a public place if they have not completed their vaccinations.
  • Puppies can only hold their bladder for approximately their age in months plus one hour (source). For example, a three-month-old Boston Terrier puppy would be able to “hold it” for around four hours.
  • Nighttime does not extend the number of hours a puppy can hold it. Keep this in mind so that you can plan accordingly.

Why Neutering And Spaying Are Important To Potty Training

Dogs naturally mark their things with urine. This is why an unneutered dog, who is already more aggressive and prone to marking their territory with urine, will be much harder to potty train. 

The Humane Society estimates that marking behavior goes down 90% after a dog is neutered.

The sooner you have your Boston Terrier spayed or neutered, the less risk there is that they will retain marking habits. 

This will help you in potty training your Boston Terrier, but it’s crucial to their long term health and longevity!

boston terrier waiting by the door to go outside and potty.
Bella waiting to go out side.

How To Tell When My Boston Terrier Needs To Go Potty?

Before beginning potty training, it’s crucial to identify the signs that your particular Boston Terrier has before they need to go potty. 

Typical signs that a dog needs to go potty include (source):

  • Circling or pacing around
  • Trying to squat
  • Whining or trying to get your attention 
  • Becoming very fidgety
  • Losing interest in their toy or chewie suddenly
  • Sniffing Around

Keep an eye out for these signs so that you can find the best potty schedule for your Boston Terrier!

Boston Terrier Potty Schedule

Keeping your Boston Terrier on a strict potty schedule while they are undergoing potty training is crucial. 

This keeps your Boston Terrier from having more accidents, but they will fall into a rhythm that will help them learn faster. 

With a very young puppy, you could be taking them out as often as every 30 minutes. Be sure to write down when your Boston goes potty and what type.

Watch your Boston Terrier for signs that they need to go potty and base your timing on this estimation. 

Setting a timer on your phone will help you to remember this schedule as time can fly when you’re in the middle of something. 

It’s prudent to consider the times of day your Boston Terrier will most likely need to relieve themselves:

  • Waking up in the morning or after a nap
  • Eating – because of this, feeding our Boston Terriers at the same time of day is also very important for potty training!
  • Playing

Items To Have When Potty Training A Boston Terrier

Puppy Pads

Puppy pads are handy when you are leaving your Boston Terrier home for the day while you are at work.

I personally use them when Emily and I leave Bella home for the day. It has changed over the years, but we currently leave Bella in the bathroom with a puppy pad in case she needs to go. 

Bella knows that the puppy pad is where she needs to go to the restroom.

Carpet Cleaning Spray 

Carpet cleaning spray is crucial during the training phase. 

If your Boston has an accident, you need to clean it up immediately to remove the scent. This will help stop your Boston from wanting to go in the same place.

“Potty Cue” Bells or Door Bells

Yes, this is a real thing. I have not personally used this for Bella, but I think it is genius. One of Petco’s suggestions is to train your dog to ring a bell when it needs to go outside. 

Boston Terriers are super bright dogs, so this could be an excellent option. 

Many dog bell manufacturers have the bell hung on a thick and durable material.

Final thoughts…

Through the ups and downs of potty training, remember to be patient, consistent, and watchful of your Boston Terrier! 

They are a sharp but stubborn breed who will ultimately pick up on your patient training. 

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Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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