How to Potty Train a Bichon Frise

Updated November 21, 2016

The Bichon Frise is an intelligent little dog, but his wilful personality provides a challenge for potty training. Bichons need the proper guidance and a firm approach to develop their potty skills. Offer patience, consistency, praise and rewards in your potty training lessons and you will have success in training your Bichon Frise.

Buy a dog crate for your Bichon Frise. Due to the fact that the Bichon is one of the more difficult breeds to potty train, My Dog Breed recommends using a crate to ease the process. The crate needs to be large enough to allow ample room for turning and lying down, but small enough so as not to allow too much room. Allowing excess room in the crate will increase the chance of a potty accident. Wild dogs travel in packs and seek the shelter of a den for rest. Domestic dogs still possess the need for a den. They naturally do not want to go to the bathroom in their den, but if the crate is too large, it might not seem like a den to him.

Place your dog in the crate at night or while you are at work. The Humane Society of the United States says that puppies can usually sleep about seven hours at night without needing to go to the bathroom. If you work during the day, arrange to come home for lunch or hire someone to let the dog outside. Expect accidents, particularly if your Bichon is a puppy. Place the crate in an area that is semiprivate but not too far from the family.

Invest in a quality dog food. Meat should be at the top of the ingredient list with any grains or corn at the bottom. Grains and corn add bulk to the digestive tract, causing the need for more frequent bathroom breaks.

Establish a consistent feeding routine. Puppies should be fed two to three times a day and adult dogs once a day. Your Bichon will need to go out within 15 minutes of eating. Following a routine helps to regulate your dog's bathroom needs.

Reserve a spot in the yard specifically for your Bichon to take his potty breaks. Using the same area establishes a scent that encourages him to go to the bathroom there.

Allow the dog to go outside immediately upon awakening in the morning and prior to bedtime. Additionally, he needs to go out every couple hours throughout the day. Older dogs, once they are potty trained, can go for longer intervals between bathroom breaks.

Take the dog to his spot, place him on the ground and command "go potty." When he has performed appropriately, praise him enthusiastically and reward him with a small treat.

Restrict your Bichon Frise to a specific area of your house. Due to his headstrong nature, the Bichon needs to have close supervision during potty training. One room, or a part of a room, works well. If the dog is contained in one area while being potty trained, it is easier for you to notice quickly if he has to go to the bathroom. This helps prevent accidents.

Be aware of any signs your dog gives that she needs to go outside. Your dog will usually do things such as sniff, turn in circles, whimper and pace when she needs to go to the bathroom. Scoop her up immediately and take her to her spot.

Remove your dog's water dish several hours before bedtime. A full bladder increases the likelihood of an accident.

Refrain from punishing your dog when he has an accident. It will happen. It's part of the process. Ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good.

Be vigilant in cleaning up any accidents. Use a cleaner specifically made for removing dog urine odours. This will help keep him from repeating the accident in the same spot.


Do not leave your dog in his crate for extended periods. Limit the crate time to three to four hours during the day. Do not use the crate as a punishment. Be sure to place the crate in a safe area. Check the location for any hazards, such as electrical wires, direct sun or window blind cords.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog crate
  • Dog food
  • Deodorising cleaner
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