How To Potty Train an American Bully Puppy (Step by Step)

big american bully breed dog puppy

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The American Bully is a heavyset, intelligent dog breed that loves pleasing its owner. However, these dogs can also be quite willful, especially as puppies, so they need a firm lead to provide consistent training to ensure they grow into healthy, well-rounded adults. Potty training is one of the first important steps in training an American Bully puppy.

Potty train an American Bully puppy early, ideally before it’s twelve weeks old. Feed a healthy, balanced diet, and set scheduled feeding times and potty breaks. Praise the puppy when it potties outside, and don’t scold it for accidents. Crate train for best results and remain consistent.

You can train your American Bully puppy in as little as a few months by following the steps outlined in this article. Read on to get started!

Things To Know About House Training American Bully Puppies

Before house training an American Bully puppy, there are a few things you’ll need to ensure greater success.

  • Well-balanced puppy food
  • Tasty and nutritious treats
  • A properly-sized crate
  • Enzyme-based cleaners
  • Patience

Of all these items, patience is the most valuable tool. Potty training a puppy is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you have an American Bully, a breed known for its stubbornness.  

You’ll undoubtedly have frustrating moments, but you can enjoy greater potty training success if you have a patient, consistent, and loving attitude. 

At What Age Should My American Bully Puppy Be Potty Trained?

An American Bully puppy should be fully potty trained by 4 to 6 months old, assuming training begins between 9 and 12 weeks. Puppies who didn’t start potty training until after 12 weeks or dogs that have established poor potty behaviors early on may take longer to train.

How Long Does It Normally Take To Potty Train an American Bully Puppy?

It can take up to 6 months to completely potty train an American Bully. Some puppies may catch on as early as four months, whereas others may take as long as a year to make the connection. Consistency is key in ensuring your American Bully learns to pee and poop outside as soon as possible.

Below are the steps to follow in potty training your American Bully puppy:

1. Start as Early as Possible

For best results when house training an American Bully puppy, you should start between 9 and 12 weeks of age. Around this age, the American Bully pup has been weaned from its mother and can be taken to a new home. By training your puppy early, you can prevent it from establishing poor house training habits. 

Of course, there are circumstances when it’s impossible to begin training an American Bully puppy at such a young age. If you cannot teach your American Bully until after it’s 12 weeks old, don’t worry. It’s still possible; it just may take some additional time.

If you bring your American Bully home and it has already become accustomed to urinating or defecating in its crate or inside the home, it can take significantly longer to train. The key is to create a schedule, stick to it, and adjust your canine’s behavior by rewarding it when it does the right thing.

2. Feed Your American Bully Puppy a Well-Balanced Diet

You might be surprised to see diet as an essential step in potty training an American Bully puppy, but a dog’s diet plays a significant role in how often it uses the bathroom. As such, you must ensure your puppy has an adequate diet because some animals are allergic to or sensitive to additives in poor-quality dog foods.

Allergies and food sensitivities in canines can lead to diarrhea and other issues that may impede the house training process. Of course, if your American Bully puppy is experiencing any adverse health symptoms, take them to a veterinarian. It’s a good idea to rule out underlying conditions before assuming it’s food allergies.

The American Kennel Club recommends dog food high in protein, with meat as one of the first ingredients. Additional ingredients should include: 

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals 
  • Fiber

Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water.

3. Feed at Scheduled Times

american bully eating his food

In addition to providing your American Bully with a nutritious diet, only offer food at scheduled times. Free-feeding a canine, especially a puppy, is never recommended. This can lead to finicky behavior and an unhealthy appetite. Over time, it can cause slow metabolism and excessive weight gain.

Most varieties of American Bullies are medium breeds. Such puppies should eat a minimum of three meals a day. The amount of food in each meal depends on the brand you’re feeding, so check the instructions on the packaging.

It’s also important to feed your American Bully puppy at designated times, and you should leave the food down for no more than twenty minutes. If your pup doesn’t eat the food within this time frame, pick it up. This trains your American Bully when to eat and helps with its metabolism and the housetraining process.

4. Take Regular “Potty Breaks”

Feeding your American Bully at regular times allows you to more accurately predict when the puppy will need to go outside for a bathroom break. Usually, you can estimate that your puppy needs to go outside within fifteen to thirty minutes after eating or drinking water. By maintaining this routine, you’re more likely to get your American Bully to urinate or defecate outside instead of in the home.

During the potty break, you should always supervise your American Bully puppy. If you’re there, you will see when your pup goes to the bathroom so that you can reward it appropriately. Offer praise and a tasty treat whenever your American Bully uses the bathroom outside.

You should also look for cues your dog needs to urinate or defecate. These cues include:

  • Sniffing around the house
  • Walking in circles
  • Looking for a spot away from people
  • Whimpering or barking

Eventually, your dog may even go to the backdoor to show that it needs to go outside. This is a good sign! It means that your American Bully is finally making the connection between using the bathroom and going outside.

5. Crate Training

In the wild, canines don’t poop or pee where they eat and sleep, and you can use these instincts to your advantage by crate training. Crate training is the easiest way to train dogs not to urinate or defecate in the home. 

To start crate training, you’ll need an adequately-sized crate. These enclosures act as a den for the dog. It should be large enough for your American Bully to sit, lie, and turn around without too much effort. Your pup shouldn’t be hunched over at the neck or shoulders when standing or sitting.

If there is extra space, you may find your American Bully using the bathroom in the crate and lying at the opposite end. This completely defeats the purpose of a crate because there should only be enough room to stand, sit, and lie down comfortably.

Because your American Bully puppy is going to grow, it’s best to opt for a large crate with a divider. That way, you can resize the crate as your dog grows.

Do not add towels, cushions, pillows, or blankets to the crate. These can absorb urine and feces, which your dog can bunch up and push aside. Additionally, American Bullies (and puppies in general) are notorious for chewing things they shouldn’t. Fabric can be torn to shreds and swallowed, causing intestinal blockages, which can be fatal.

American Bully puppies less than 6 months old shouldn’t spend more than 3 consecutive hours in a crate. They are not biologically capable of controlling their bladder or bowels long enough to hold their urine or feces.

Therefore, unless you have the time to dedicate to crate training your American Bully puppy, you may want to invest in doggy daycare or obedience training.

Crate Training Schedule for American Bully Puppy

Consistency is an absolute must when crate training an American Bully puppy. You should not choose this breed if you do not have the time to dedicate to training them consistently and effectively.

To understand the devotion it takes to crate train an American Bully puppy (or any puppy), check out this typical daily crate training schedule:

Upon WakingTake your American Bully puppy outside in the morning. Give them a command, such as “Go pee” or “Go potty,” that tells them to use the bathroom. Wait for your dog to urinate or defecate. Once they go, reward your canine companion heavily with one high-value treat and a lot of praise. Bring your American Bully pup inside.
A.M. FeedingProvide a well-balanced meal. Remember to leave the food on the floor for no more than 20 minutes.
A.M. PlayOnce your furry friend finishes eating (or the 20 minutes ends), take it outside to use the bathroom again. Wait until it goes, and praise heavily.
Return to the house, and allow your puppy to play outside the crate for 45 minutes. This time frame should increase as accidents decrease. Do not allow your American Bully puppy free reign of the house until it is fully house trained; for now, it should have access to one room only and remain supervised at all times.
A.M. Potty/CrateTake your American Bully back outside. Give the potty command. If your dog pees or poos when you’re outside, you can continue letting it out of the crate for more playtime. 
If not, however, place the Bully in the crate. This is not a punishment. Say, “kennel” or “box” or whatever crate command you’re using. Give your pup a treat and lots of praise once inside the crate.
After A.M. Crate TimeWhile your puppy is in its crate, it may give signs that it needs to go outside for a “potty break.” This may come in the form of whimpering, spinning in circles, pawing at the door, panting, or barking. However, sometimes, it can simply mean that your dog wants to come out of the crate. Over time, you’ll know the difference between the two. When your dog cues, take it outside again.
If your dog doesn’t cue after one to two hours of crate time, take it outside, and give the potty command. Praise for using the bathroom. Give your dog time outside of the crate again.
P.M. Feeding(Repeat steps from A.M. Feeding)
P.M. Play(Repeat steps from A.M. Play)
P.M. Potty/Crate(Repeat steps from A.M. Potty/Crate)
After P.M. Crate Time(Repeat steps from After A.M. Crate Time)
Final Feeding(Repeat steps from A.M. Feeding)
Before BedTake your American Bully outside. Give the potty command and praise for a job well done. 
You may choose to play for a while during this time before bed, but be sure to get your puppy to settle at least 20 to 30 minutes before crate time. Reward with praise for going back in the crate.

You absolutely will have to wake up in the middle of the night to take your American Bully outside to use the bathroom. It’s wise to set an alarm for at least every two hours. 

You must repeat this entire process every day. You can slowly increase the time your American Bully stays out of the crate until accidents cease.

5. Catch Them During Accidents

While your American Bully puppy continues having accidents in the house, you must supervise it regularly so you can catch accidents as they happen. This is critical to house training success, as it allows you to correct the behavior.

When you catch your American Bully peeing or pooping inside, don’t scold your puppy or make a big deal of things; calmly pick it up and place it outside while giving the potty command.

Scolding can set you back in your training progress. If you yell at your American Bully while it pees or poops, it associates the shouting with urinating or bowel movement. Your puppy may not understand that it’s in trouble for making a mess inside. As such, you may find your puppy hiding accidents in the future and refusing to pee or poop in front of you when outside. 

So, take your pet outside, give the command, and offer praise if it finishes peeing or pooping outdoors. If it doesn’t go potty outside after giving the command, go indoors and place the dog calmly in its crate with a treat and praise. Your puppy mustn’t associate the crate with punishment. 

6. Clean Up Accidents Immediately

Cleaning up accidents immediately is imperative to the success of your American Bully’s house training. Dogs have extremely sensitive noses, even at a young age. Their noses help them learn about the world around them, including where to urinate or defecate. When they smell urine or feces, they automatically believe this is the “right” place to go potty.

To avoid this, you’ll need to clean these areas as thoroughly as possible. Once you’ve cleaned the stain, I recommend going over it again with an enzymatic cleaner.

Although the space may look clean after using a standard cleaner, dogs have highly-developed olfactory senses. They can often detect urine and fecal enzymes even if the stain and odor are non-existent to human eyes and noses.

I recommend using the Rocco & Roxie Stain/Odor Eliminator (available on This highly-rated enzymatic cleaner can be used on a variety of surfaces, including carpet, upholstery, and hard floors. It gets rid of residue, stains, and foul odors.

How To Clean Up Dog Urine or Feces

Put on a pair of vinyl or nitrile gloves. This protects your hands from the bacteria in the feces.

Here’s how to clean your dog’s mess on the carpet:

  1. Soak up as much urine as possible by blotting with a paper towel, or pick up all pieces of solid poop with toilet paper. Throw away urine-soaked paper towels and flush the poop down the toilet.
  2. Apply a dish soap solution to the remaining stain. Combine a teaspoon (5 ml) of mild, non-bleach dish detergent with a teaspoon (5 ml) of hydrogen peroxide. Mix this solution with one cup (237 ml) of room-temperature water. You can double the ingredients if the stain is large.
  3. Pour about ¼ cup (59 ml) of the solution on the stain. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes for the solution to absorb into the stain.
  4. Blot with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing the carpet, as this will push the stain deep into the fibers, making it more difficult to remove.
  5. Repeat until the stain is gone. Continue the blotting process until the stain is completely gone. You may need to switch to a clean cloth in the middle of the blotting process for best results. Allow the area to dry before moving on to the next step.
  6. Apply an enzyme cleaner. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Ideally, you should let the enzyme cleaner sit for at least 20 minutes. Then, blot the area dry.
  7. Deodorize. If desired, you can deodorize the carpet using baking soda. Sprinkle about a teaspoon (4 g) of baking soda on the stain. Wait about 30 minutes and then vacuum.

If the mess is on hard floors, here’s what you should do:

  1. Soak up the urine with paper towels, or pick up solid feces with toilet paper. Toss the paper towels in the trash or flush the poop down the toilet.
  2. Apply a vinegar solution to the poop or urine spot. Mix 1 cup (237 ml) of white vinegar with ½ cup (170 g) of baking soda, and one tablespoon (15 ml) of mild, non-bleach dish detergent. Put the solution in a spray bottle and shake vigorously.
  3. Spray the stain generously. Do not let it sit. Use a soft cloth to wipe up as much of the stain as possible, and repeat this process until the area appears clean.
  4. Sanitize the area. Use a steam mop or an all-purpose disinfectant to sanitize the hard floor. Let the area dry before moving on to the next step.
  5. Apply an enzyme cleaner. Follow the instructions on the packaging.

8. Remain Consistent

American Bullies can be stubborn creatures, especially when young. This is why owners must maintain a rigid schedule while housebreaking their puppy. Consistency is the key to ensuring the success of your dog’s training.

These cuddly canines are always willing to please, but when they’re young, they’re also eager to test boundaries as they learn about the world. You have to be the leader and teach the dog what’s right and wrong. As long as you maintain rules and boundaries, you should have no issues teaching your American Bully to use the bathroom outside. Remain firm and patient, and don’t let frustration get the best of you.

Final Thoughts

Stubborn puppies? Sure, but don’t let that deter you from training these adorable little canines. With time, patience, and praise, you’ll find that the challenge of potty training an American Bully puppy is absolutely worth the effort. 

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