How to House Train a Staffy

After deciding to bring a staffy puppy (click here for house training an adult dog) into your home, "how to house train a staffy" is usually one of the very first questions you will seek the answer to.

It's a fair question. After all, there are not a lot of things worse than having to constantly clean up after you’re dog.

I’m sure you’re worried about trying to house train your brand new staffy. You may be concerned that you can't do it or it is going to take extreme effort.  

Well, those worries are going to be relieved because this article is packed with advice and tips on how to effectively house train your stubborn, but loveable and loyal staffy.

How to house train a staffy

Things to Remember Before House Training your Staffy

First, we must acknowledge the breed of the dog we are trying to train. Staffies can be extremely energetic and stubborn so trying to train them to do anything may require quite a bit of effort.

In response to your staffy’s stubbornness, it’s important to give them a lot of positive reinforcement when trying to train them.  After all, the goal is to create a fun loving relationship with your staffy.

It’s supposed to be a pleasant experience for both owner and dog. On the other hand, it can take up to 4-6 months too fully house train a dog, which means patience is definitely required. 

Puppy House Training Disclaimer

If you have a puppy, you should wait until they’re at least four months old before house training them.

In the meantime, puppy training pads are a fantastic way to go while waiting for your puppy to become old enough to control their bladders. These puppy pads on Amazon are very popular and reasonably priced.

Now, it’s time to give you the tips needed to make your house training experience a pleasant one.

How to House Train a Staffy - Tips

Tip 1: Keep a Regular Feeding Schedule

Keeping a regular feeding schedule’s extremely important because it allows you to estimate the time your staffy has to go to the bathroom.

Basically, you want to keep your staffy on a regular timed schedule they can get used to so they don’t accidentally go to the bathroom in the house. After all, dog training in any capacity is about being very consistent with your dog.  

Tip 2: Take them out First Thing in the Morning

This will give your staffy an incentive to stop him/her from relieving themselves during the middle of the night. If they do relieve themselves outside, praise and give them a treat; you can also reward them with a nice long walk.

Remember, positive reinforcement is key to house training your staffy. If it’s a puppy you’re house training, make sure to take them out every 30 minutes to an hour. Remember: their bladders are much smaller than a regular dog’s.

Tip 3: Take them to the Same Spot 

Every time you bring your staffy outside, take them to the same spot to relieve themselves. Their scent from past bathroom breaks will remind them what he’s/she’s out there to do.

In addition, it will provide a sense of consistency with the dog training. As a result, your staffy will come to associate going outside with going to the bathroom over time.

At first, It’s important to remain out there with your staffy so you can make sure he/she stays on task; Dogs can be distracted very easily. Once he/she is house trained, you can stop going out there with them.

Tip 4: Use a Crate

Often, dogs will refuse to relieve themselves inside a crate because they’ll see it as a secondary home. This is very useful for house training because it allows you to observe your staffy for the signs they need to go outside.

If you observe things such as whining, circling, sniffing, or barking, it means they need to go outside for a quick bathroom break. In addition, the crate will teach him/her to hold it until you go outside.

Of course, don’t confine your staffy in the crate for longer than they can hold it. If your staffy does relieve himself/herself inside the crate, it obviously has no value for your particular dog. This is more common with staffies from a previous owner or if they were in a kennel.

Take a look at my crate training article for more info.

Tip 5: Don’t Punish them for their Accidents

Let’s be honest, if your dog’s peeing inside the house, it’s most likely your fault for not recognising the signs. So, don’t punish them for your mistake because it will make your staffy fear you; something nobody wants. 

This goes for accidents you don’t see, as well; resist shouting at them because they won’t understand why you’re yelling. Instead, when you see your staffy going to the bathroom inside, clap your hands.

It will let him/she know that they’ve done something wrong. Then, pick them up calmly and take them outside to show them the correct place they’re supposed to relieve themselves. Don’t forget to give them a treat after coming in from outside to reinforce that going outside is the right thing to do.

Tip 6: Give your Dog at Least Six Bathroom Breaks a Day

This will speed up the house training through giving your staffy more opportunity to familiarise them with where you want them to relieve themselves. Once you’re comfortable with your staffy’s house training, you can have less frequent visits outside.  

Overall, you should try to work toward 4 to 5 outside visits a day for your staffy. Even when housetrained, you’re staffy still needs frequent time outdoors for stimulation and exercise to run off their immense amounts of energy.

Tip 7: Make Plans for when You’re Away

If you’re going to be away for an extended period during house training, make sure you have somebody watching your staffy. It’s important to avoid any disturbance in the routine you have set up for your staffy.

You don’t want them to have a setback just because you couldn’t figure out a way to keep the routine. Alternatively, you can also set up Pee Pads in a specific spot for them to relieve themselves. However, this is a last resort situation because it might make your staffy think it’s okay to go in the house.

If you can, invest in a sitter or a dog walker for the times that you’re away. It will make your life much easier and your staffy will end up with a new friend.

Tip 8: Supervise Your Dog Inside the House

Make sure you never give them the opportunity to relieve themselves when you’re not watching. In fact, try to keep them in your eyesight at all times, so, they don’t sneak away and have a setback.

It’s key to keep the consistency of your house training in all places you take your staffy. In addition, you can keep them on a lead in the house to further combat their urge to mark their territory inside your home. If you do use a lead inside, make sure to watch out for the previously mentioned signs of your staffy needing to go to the toilet.

Common Puppy Toilet Training Mistakes

House training any puppy can be tough going at times, which is why it's important not to make it any harder than it needs to be by making needless mistakes. Check the list below to see if you are making any of the common puppy house breaking errors.

Having an irregular feeding pattern

Over-feeding or feeding them an unsuitable diet

Not being pro-active. You can't rely on waiting for signs, you need to activiely take your puppy out regularly.

Leaving your dog indoors longer than it can hold itself. This gives the dog no choice but to make a mess indoors and can be the start of a bad habit.

Punishing your pup for an accident indoors. This can confuse them into thinking going to the toilet in front of you is wrong, which means they won't go outside when you are with them either.

Not rewarding them for going in the correct place.

Failing to make preparations for night time. Puppies won't be able to hold on until you let them out in the morning. Check out this article for a guide on how to house train a puppy at night.

20 thoughts on “How to House Train a Staffy”

    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for your question. It can vary a bit since every dog is different and their living/training conditions will vary. Our very first Staffy pup took just 2-3 weeks to house train because we got him during the school holidays so someone was with him almost constantly.

      Our newest puppy has been with us for 8 weeks now and it took around 6 weeks for him to get the hang of it.

      Hope this helps to give you an idea of the time-frame,


    • Hi Gail, thanks for your question. If you mean “big” in terms of size then I really couldn’t tell you that. However, if you’re looking for the capacity of the bladder, a general rule is that puppies can hold themselves for a maximum of around 1 hour for each month of their age before they have an accident. As an example, a 5 month’s maximum should be around 5 hours in theory. This little rule stops at 6 months so 6 it tops out at 6 hours.

      It is worth noting that this rule is very general and will differ depending on the dog’s size; a bigger dog should be able to hold it for longer. This 1 hour per month guideline is also an absolute max so it is unlikely they will hold it for that entire time frame unless something is really causing them to hold on (for example, the pup is locked in a crate that it doesn’t want to use as a bathroom).

      I hope this helps a bit and gives you a rough idea at least.

      -Laine @ Smiling Staffy.

  1. We’ve had our puppy since he was 6 weeks old he’s now 15-16 wks & still having trouble with him peeing in house. We take him out often at least 1-2 times an hour. Getting frustrated!

    • Hi Glen, thanks for your comment. Each situation is slightly different so it can be hard to give direct advice via text but I’ll try and share some things that have worked well with our dogs and, hopefully, you can pick out something worth trying yourself.

      Firstly, I always make sure to have a small treat for the puppy and give him that as soon as he is successful at going to the toilet in the right place. The idea is that he doesn’t get a treat when he goes inside and he’ll eventually come to understand that outside is the place to go. This will then become a habit and you won’t need the treats.

      We also try and catch the dog just before he is about to pee in the house so we can take him to the outside before he does it. Over time, you’ll learn the signs and be able to catch him more often. A treat is still given after this if he does end up going in the correct place.

      The main thing to know is that it takes patience and a lot of consistency so hang in there! He is still fairly young and will get it in time.

      I hope that helps a bit,

      Laine @SmilingStaffy

  2. I was reading your article and you said that house training a puppy isn’t possible so the use of puppy pads is needed. Could you explain please and let me know how to ? Inside the crate on one side when out and about and at night or all the time on one side of the crate until she’s about 4 months old and able to hold it ? Thanks a lot for your advice and great article 🙂

    • I’d love a bit of clarity on this too. The article says only house train from 4 months, so in the meantime, don’t bother taking him outside at all to wee? Does this mean all toilet should happen on a pad in the house?

      Also one of the other articles said that prior to 4 months, puppy will need to be woken at least once in the night to wee – should that be on a pad? Or take him outside?

      Thanks in advance for any guidance! We don’t have a garden but live close to lots of parks so keen to get toilet happening outside asap!

      • Hi.
        Our situation is similar to Annabelle’s. We live in an appartment with a balcony and have set up a “pee-spot” there. Our little 8 week old staffy who came home with us 2 days ago is just getting aquainted with her new home and parents and the outside/cold weather seems to frighten her. We’ve been carrying her out at signs of pee-triggers and just after she’s let go indoors, but we also don’t want to foster any negative association around f.ex. her food/water.. if she’s too young to understand the pee connection. There’s not heaps of information out there on how to approach training/behavior from as early as 8 weeks and in a new home – any more tips or advice on this special time would be much appreciated. 🙂


    • Hey Carlie thanks for commenting. What an axciting time for them! There should be plenty of tips on the site to help them.

      All the best,

      Laine @ Smiling Staffy

  3. Hi, I have an 8 month old male, had him since 9wks old and he is house trained when we are around, it’s the night time we are still having problems, he has a regular feed time, goes out just before bed, is in a crate with a puppy pad, we let him out as soon as we are awake, he doesn’t give any sign to tell us he needs to go, he will mess anywhere in his crate to he not fussy! Do you have any advice in what else I can try please

    • Did you ever get a response? I am having a similar issue with a rescue Amstaff who is also deaf. She is not giving me a consistent signal that she needs to use the restroom and will just quickly squat in the house. Sometimes it is just what I believe to be marking because she will have been outside and it’s only a very small amount. Rarely, but she squatted last night to pee and never gave a signal. She is a rescue and I’ve had her for 6 months, but she didn’t really appear to be all that housetrained when I got her.

  4. Hi I’m getting a staff but worried as I go to work 1145 my hubby gets bk about 345 worried as I’m not there all day but r on weekends and night would u reccomend a dog run

    • Hi Salman.

      None of our staffies has ever really dug any holes.

      They don’t tend to be dogs that dig much but there will always be exceptions and I’m some will dig holes.

      If your dog does begin to dig then it is something you can train them not to do so I wouldn’t be too concerned by it.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Laine @ Smiling Staffy

  5. My 12 (almost 13) week old staffy will not stop biting the leash and pulling on it when I walk her and attacking my pants everytime I wear long pants. I’ve tried everything to get her to stop witho it physical violence because that is not an option. I try to clap, use a stern voice and get her to sit but she will not stop. I know she’s hyper and needs to play but I wish she would play another way.

  6. Hi. I am mum to Mars,a female staffy now around 3yrs old. We adore each other & are seldom parted. I’m just wondering why ,every now &again,she licks any bare skin available &”air humps” me,not actually touching me.She never does this to anyone else. Can you enlighten me please on this strange behaviour? Thankyou. Tracey


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