26 Hardest Dogs to Potty Train – Best Breeds for Patient People

I’ve always thought that there’s no greater reward for a dog owner than to watch their dog successfully potty train, or house train.

As soon as I meet a new client and they tell me that they are in the process of potty training a pet, I am filled with excitement. I give them my two-paws up for having the patience to stick with it!

In this post you’ll get everything you need to know about 26 of the hardest dogs to potty train. The challenge of housebreaking your new puppy can be overwhelming, which is why knowing the smartest ways to tackle it can set you up for success with any breed.

Keep reading for some helpful ideas on why some dogs are more difficult to potty train than others, and what you can do about it.

Why Are Some Dogs More Difficult to Potty Train Than Others?

Some dogs are easier to train than others, and some dogs seem impossible to train at all. You might have experienced this frustration with a dog of your own. What’s going on? What makes some dogs more difficult to potty train? Here are some factors to consider.


Breed is one factor why some dogs are harder to potty-train than other dogs, for example are hounds.

Hounds, like Beagles or Bloodhounds, are bred to hunt for prey and follow their scent. These breeds tend to be more stubborn and independent than other breeds, which means it will take longer for them to learn what you want from them.

It’s also important to keep in mind that every dog is different! Just because one breed is harder to potty-train than others doesn’t mean that all members of that breed will have the same problem; each dog has its own personality and quirks.


If you’re trying to potty train your dog, then the size of your dog may play a role in how difficult it is to teach them to use the bathroom outdoors.

small brown dog raising his right hind leg to pee

Small dogs can be easier to potty train than larger dogs because they tend to be more energetic and easier to keep an eye on during their potty-training process. However, this doesn’t mean that large dogs are impossible to potty train! In fact, many large breeds are quite intelligent and easy to train.

The key is patience—you’ll need it if you’re trying to teach a large breed how to use the bathroom outside instead of inside.


There’s a reason why the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” exists.

Age is another factor why some dogs are harder to potty-train than other dogs.

A puppy’s brain is like a sponge, and they’re constantly learning new things. This means that if you have a puppy, it’s much easier for them to pick up on habits and behaviors—like going potty outside—than it would be with an older dog who may have already established bad habits.

If you have an older dog and are working on training them to use the potty outside, don’t get discouraged. It takes time for any dog to learn a new behavior, but with patience and persistence, your pup will eventually get it!

Old habits

Old habits die hard, and that’s why some dogs are harder to potty-train than others.

For example, stray dogs are difficult to potty train because they’ve had years of practice being potty trained by the streets and other animals. They’ll use whatever is available for them—including your shoes, your rugs, and even your furniture!

This is why it’s important to keep your dog confined when you’re not home so they don’t have access to these things.


Male dogs tend to be more difficult than female dogs because they have a stronger sense of territorial marking and can be aggressive when they feel their space has been violated. Female dogs, on the other hand, are more likely to be accepting of new environments and people.

Dogs belonging to the male gender tend to also be hard-wired with a higher level of energy, which means they need more exercise and attention than their female counterparts. This is why they can be difficult to train when it comes to potty training.

four dogs on leash

For example, if you have a male dog, you should make sure he gets enough exercise on a daily basis so that he does not feel the need to mark his territory in your home.


Dogs with illnesses often have trouble sensing their bodily functions, including when they need to go outside. They may also be in pain or feel too ill to move around, which means they aren’t able to go outside on their own.

In addition, if your dog has a medical condition that causes them to lose their balance, it’s going to be much harder for them to get where they need to go in order to potty. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs so that you can continue working on potty training if necessary.


Nature is yet another factor why some dogs are harder to potty-train than other dogs.

Some breeds of dogs are more intelligent and intuitive than others. This can make it easier for them to learn what you want them to do, which is probably why they’re so popular among dog lovers.

However, because they’re so smart, these dogs will often figure out ways to get around your rules and break the rules on their own accord.

It’s not just a matter of intelligence though; some breeds just aren’t built to be good at following commands or learning new tricks. Their bodies just don’t work that way!

These kinds of dogs are usually very strong-willed and stubborn, but also very loyal and affectionate toward their owners. They’ll always want to please you—it’s just hard for them to do so without getting distracted by something else first!


If you have a disabled dog, or you’re working with a disabled dog, it can be quite difficult to potty train them.

If your dog is having trouble walking because of a hip problem, for example, they might not be able to get where they need to go as easily as other dogs. This can make it much harder for them to learn how to use the bathroom outside.

Hardest Dog Breeds to Potty-Train

Being a dog owner and specifically, a domestic dog owner, is a huge responsibility. Since this is the case, it’s crucial that potential owners be educated beforehand about the kind of pet they are going to bring into their home and how they can adequately care for it.

Together, let’s go through this list of the hardest dog breeds to potty-train.

1 – Pug

Are pugs hard to potty train? They have very small bladders and can only hold their urine for a short period of time, which means they need to go out frequently.

pug lying on the floor

Because they are so small and people often treat them like babies, pugs are used to being carried around and held all day long. This makes it harder for them to learn how to go outside on their own.

Pugs also tend to be very stubborn, which makes it even more difficult for them to learn how to potty train.

2 – Dachshund

Dachshund is one of the hardest dog breeds to potty train. These long, low-slung dogs have a very strong sense of smell, which makes them prone to marking—that is, leaving their scent in a place to mark it as theirs.

This can be a problem for owners who don’t want their house or yard smelling like a dog and/or who are trying to train their dachshunds’ toileting habits.

Because they have such an acute sense of smell, dachshunds will often mark even when they’re outside; this means that they need more supervision than other breeds when it comes to potty training.

Because dachshunds are so small and flexible, they can also squeeze into places where you wouldn’t expect them—like under your bed or behind furniture—so you’ll need to keep an eye on them at all times during the process.

3 – Bichon Frise

Bichons are known for being a little stubborn, and that’s certainly true when it comes to potty training. They’re always looking for ways to get out of taking a bath or going outside, and they can be very vocal about it.

bichon frise dog with a blue background

But don’t let your Bichon’s stubbornness deter you from trying to train him in the first place! With patience, consistency, and lots of treats, you can teach your Bichon to use his potty pad or go outside reliably within a few months—and once he’s learned how it works, he’ll be happy to do it every time!

4 – Dalmatian

Dalmatians are known for their stubbornness. Since they were bred in England as hunting dogs, they tend to be very independent and strong-willed.

They require a lot of patience and consistency while they’re learning how to go outside, so if you’re looking for a dog that will just pick up on potty training right away, then this might not be the right breed for you.

Dalmatians are also very energetic dogs, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation on top of their daily walks. If you don’t have time to give them enough attention and exercise, then they’ll find other ways to entertain themselves—which could mean digging up your yard or chewing furniture!

5 – Jack Russell Terrier

One of the hardest dog breeds to potty train is the Jack Russell Terrier. This breed may be small, but it has a mighty spirit that makes it an incredibly difficult dog to train.

Jack Russell Terriers are known for their stubbornness and ability to think independently. They have a tendency to run off and explore on their own, which makes them difficult to keep track of during walks.

jack russell terrier

They also tend to bark when they’re bored or excited, which can lead to problems with neighbors as well as people who don’t like dogs in general.

The Jack Russell Terrier is also very intelligent—so much so that you’ll need lots of patience when trying to train him.

6 – Afghan Hound

Afghan hounds are a very intelligent and independent breed, which makes them hard to train. They can be stubborn and have a tendency to develop separation anxiety. They don’t like being left alone for long periods of time, and they also have a tendency to be destructive when they’re bored.

Because of their intelligence and independence, Afghan hounds can become bored easily when they don’t have enough stimulation in their environment.

The result is that they will often chew on furniture or other items around the house until they find something more interesting than their chew toys or bones.

7 – Pomeranian

This feisty and energetic breed is a small, active dog that is full of personality. Poms are smart and loyal, but they can be stubborn and independent. A Pomeranian may not want to listen to you, especially when it comes to something like going outside to go potty.

pomeranian sitting on a white chair

Poms are also very clean dogs, which makes them easy to train in other areas, but their desire for cleanliness can make them reluctant to go outside because they don’t want dirty feet or fur on your floor.

They are very fastidious about their coat, so they may try to hold it in until they can get back inside again—and this could lead to an accident!

8 – American Foxhound

The American Foxhounds are highly intelligent and need to be trained with a variety of methods. They are also stubborn and will not be easily persuaded by rewards or punishments.

They can be trained using positive reinforcement, but it’s important to stay consistent with your training methods in order for them to understand what you want from them.

9 – Beagle

Beagles are a hunting breed, so they’re very curious and active, and they love to sniff around and explore. This makes them very difficult to keep confined when you need them to be in one place for any length of time, which is why so many people have trouble housetraining them.

beagle lying on the carpet

On top of that, beagles have a strong sense of smell that makes it hard for them to differentiate between what’s theirs and what’s not. They’ll happily roll in something foul-smelling if it smells interesting, even if it isn’t theirs.

10 – Biewer Terrier

The Biewer Terrier is a tiny, energetic little dog with a huge personality. This breed is extremely intelligent and very stubborn, which can make them hard to train, especially when it comes to potty training.

Because they are so small and very active, it’s easy for them to forget where they’ve been before you pick them up. If you have an accident in the house or outside of the house, you’ll have to be extra patient because this little guy will probably just forget about it!

11 – Brussels Griffon

These feisty little dogs can be stubborn, and they’re not exactly known for their obedience, so it may take some extra time and patience to get them to where you need them to be.

brussels griffon dog breed

They don’t like being told what to do, as they are stubborn, for starters. If you try telling your Brussels Griffon puppy what he should do when it comes to potty training, he’ll probably just ignore you or do something else entirely!

This means that consistency is key when working with this breed—you need to make sure that every day is the same as the one before it so your pup doesn’t get confused about what behavior is acceptable and which isn’t.

12 – Chihuahua

Are chihuahuas hard to housebreak? Chihuahuas are a toy dog and have a very short attention span, which makes them difficult to train.

They will also not just sit there and listen to you tell them what to do all day like some other dogs might.

If you are patient enough and have the time, however, then you can certainly teach them how to go potty outside. They just take longer than most other breeds because they have such a short attention span.

13 – Chinese Crested

This dog has a very strong personality and can be very stubborn. It doesn’t like being told what to do, so it can be difficult to train them on a schedule.

chinese crested dog

The Chinese Crested is also one of the most sensitive dogs, which means that if you try to force them into something they don’t want to do, they’ll do their best to resist and end up being more difficult than ever to train.

Overall, this breed isn’t great for someone who wants an obedient dog who will listen without much effort from them.

14 – Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are very sensitive and intelligent dogs that need constant attention and training. They can be easily distracted, which makes them not so great when it comes to staying focused on the task at hand.

They also have a tendency to bark quite often, which can be frustrating for owners who want quiet dogs.

However, if you’re willing to put in the hard work needed to train this breed, they will reward you with their loyalty and affection in return.

15 – Coton du Tulear

Coton du Tulears are often described as “Royals of Madagascar”, and their size (they can grow up to 14 pounds) belies their true nature: They are incredibly sensitive.

white dog with fluffy coat

If you’re patient and consistent with your training, you’ll be rewarded with an extremely loyal companion who will follow you everywhere—and if you’re not? You’ll get a dog that feels abandoned, and who may act out in ways that make it harder for you to live together peacefully.

Because they’re so sensitive, Coton du Tules don’t respond well to harsh punishment or negative reinforcement. Instead, try positive reinforcement: Give them treats when they go outside or give them praise when they do something right.

16 – English Bulldog

The English Bulldog has a stubborn personality, and it can be hard for the owner to get the dog to do what they want it to do. The English Bulldog will often refuse to go outside when it wants to stay inside and sleep, and this makes training them very difficult.

The English Bulldog also has a short nose, which means that it does not breathe very well and cannot smell things very well either. This means that even if you take your dog outside and tell it where to pee or poop, it might not be able to find the spot because it cannot smell where the scent comes from.

17 – Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are high-strung and very sensitive. They are also very intelligent, which means they pick up on things very fast. This makes them easier to train than other dogs, but it also means that they learn quickly when you mess up and don’t reward them properly.

This makes it difficult to teach them when it’s okay to go potty outside—they pick up on any mistake you make, as well as your moods and feelings about them failing or succeeding at their tasks.

brown italian greyhound

Italians can also be aggressive and territorial if you’re not careful with how you approach training them. They need lots of patience, love, attention and consistency in order to be successful at learning anything new—especially something like potty training.

18 – Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier is one of the hardest dog breeds to potty train, and it’s not just because they’re stubborn. It’s because they tend to be more active than other dogs and don’t want to be cooped up for long periods of time in a crate.

Lakeland Terriers are also very sensitive and can become easily upset when you try to correct them.

It might seem like this would make them harder to train, but in fact it makes them easier! If you’re patient with your Lakeland Terrier and realize that they need more time outside than other breeds, then you’ll have no problems with potty training.

19 – Lhasa Apso

They’re very cautious and careful, which means they’re slow to learn new things. They also tend to be stubborn and have a high sense of self-preservation, so they may resist learning this new skill because it might put them at risk.

Another reason is that Lhasas are known for having strong personalities, which means they can be difficult to train—they have to be trained in a way that respects their individuality and lets them know you care about them as an individual.

20 – Lowchen

The Lowchen is one of the hardest dogs to potty train, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Lowchens are very affectionate, intelligent, and active dogs. They are great for people who want a companion that they can take on daily walks or play games with during their free time.

lowchen dog sitting on a black couch

That said, Lowchens can be difficult to train because they have a stubborn streak and can be hard to motivate. The best way to potty train a Lowchen is by being patient and positive!

21 – Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk Terrier, a dog breed originating in England, is highly intelligent, energetic, and stubborn.

They love to be challenged and enjoy learning new things. Because of this, they have a tendency to be difficult to train if you are not consistent with your methods. However, if you are patient and persistent, you can successfully teach your Norfolk Terrier how to go outside when they need to potty!

22 – Pekingese

If you’re looking for a dog who will be able to hold it in, then this breed might not be the best choice. They are known for being notoriously difficult to train and stubborn, so if you’re looking for a dog who will listen to your commands, this isn’t the right breed for you.

brown pekingese dog walking

Pekingese dogs are also known to bark excessively and have a short attention span, so they can become easily distracted while they’re trying to learn something new. These traits make them more challenging than other breeds when it comes time to potty train them.

23 – Sealyham Terrier

Sealyham Terrier is one of the hardest dog breeds to potty train, and for a few reasons. First and foremost, it’s a terrier breed, which means that it’s very energetic and can be quite stubborn. The second reason is that Sealyham Terriers are very independent dogs, so they don’t always respond well to training.

The other thing to consider is that Sealyham Terriers are not really known as good watchdogs or guard dogs because they’re so friendly with strangers—they’re more likely to run up and lick them than bark at them! But if you’re ready for a challenge, Sealyham Terriers are great pets!

24 – Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are so small, and have such short legs that if you try to put them on a leash and take them outside, they will likely just sit down and refuse to move. This is because it’s extremely hard for them to go outside by themselves.

running shih tzu

Shih Tzus also have a very stubborn personality, so they will often refuse to go outside even when they know there’s an urgent need. This makes training very difficult because you can’t just take them outside yourself—you’ll have to wait until they’re ready.

25 – West Highland Terrier

West Highland Terriers are smart and energetic, but they also have a stubborn streak. This can make them difficult to train.

The Westie is a very small dog, which means that its bladder does not hold as much liquid as larger breeds. The Westie can be trained to go outside every time it needs to relieve itself, but this requires patience and consistency from you.

Because of their stubborn nature, Westies will often practice selective hearing when it comes to commands like “go potty.” They may also try to run away from you when they hear these commands because they don’t want to go outside!

26 – Yorkshire Terrier

This tiny dog with a big personality may be your best friend, but it’s a real challenge to keep him from having accidents in the house.

yorkshire terrier puppy walking on the grass

Yorkshire Terriers are stubborn and energetic, which makes them difficult to train in general. They are also extremely intelligent and love to please their owners, so if you’re patient and consistent, you can teach him right from wrong when he has an accident by taking him outside immediately after he soils his crate or bed.

Picking Up: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Potty Train an Untrainable Dog?

You need to start with a lot of patience and kindness when trying to potty train an untrainable dog. You will also need a lot of time, as well as some toys that are fun for your dog to play with so that he or she is not bored while you’re trying to teach them something new.

You want to make sure that you start off slow when working with an untrainable dog so that they don’t get overwhelmed by what’s going on around them. This will help them learn more quickly than if they were just thrown into something too fast without knowing what was expected from them in terms of behavior.

When you take them for a walk, make sure you bring eco-friendly dog poop bags for easy clean up!

How Long to Housebreak a Puppy

When it comes to how long you should be potty training your puppy, the answer depends on your dog and what kind of resources you have.

dog lying on he grass beside a toilet paper roll

If you’re a patient person who can dedicate lots of time and energy to teaching your pup where to go when it’s time to potty, then you’ll likely be able to accomplish this task in about a month.

If you’re not so patient, or if you don’t have the time or energy to devote to training your puppy, then it might take longer.

Deciding how long it takes to housebreak a puppy depends on your dog, too. Some breeds are easier than others, but all dogs are different! Some dogs learn faster than others and some require more patience than others.

What Dog Breeds Are the Easiest to Potty Train?

The easiest dogs to potty train are all about all about patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement—and there are plenty of dog breeds out there that make perfect candidates for this kind of training.

When choosing a dog breed, it’s important that you find one that will fit into your lifestyle and home environment. When it comes down to it, there really isn’t such thing as an “easy” or “difficult” dog when it comes to training—just different breeds will require different amounts of patience from their owners.


No problem is insurmountable, and even the most stubborn dog can be trained successfully over time. Follow the tips presented above to help you work with your pup and be consistent when it comes to potty training lessons.

With patience and consistency, you’ll break down those barriers and reach your ultimate goal in no time at all!

Keep following my page for more information on how to best take care of your pets, and please do send me a message anytime if you have questions or if you would like to read more about a particular topic. Cheers!

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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