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5 factors in determining how long a dog can hold their pee

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee

How long your dog can hold their pee depends on their age, size, diet, health & environment.
5 factors in determining how long a dog can hold their pee

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee


  • Under 6 months can not hold their pee. Instead, they should bet taken out every 30-45 minutes. 
  • A dog between 6 month and a year can hold their pee between 2-6 hours
  • A dog between 1 year and 6 years can hold their  pee 7-12 hours
  • A dog between 7-11 years can hold their pee between 4-6 hours
  • Older than 12 years can hold  their pee between 2-4 hours


  • Under 10lbs can hold their pee for 1-3 hours
  • Between 11lbs and 30lbs can hold their pee between 2-4 hours
  • Between 40lb-60lbs can hold their pee between 4-8 hours
  • Over 60lbs can hold their pee between 6-12 hours

Health Issues

How long can dogs hold their pee depends on their medical conditions. Does your dog have any of the following. 

  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Kidney Failure
  • Weight Problems
  • Addison Disease
  • Cushing Disease
  • Polyuria
  • Pollakiuria
  • Lack of steroid hormone production
  • Liver disease
  • Tumor
  • Overproduction of steroid hormones
  • Other hormonal disorders
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Medication side effects
  • Psychological or behavioral problems


To answer how long can a dog can hold their pee you need to look at their diet. Food with high water content makes your dog pee more often. These include raw diet, wet food, fruits, vegetables, broth, and stock.  Dogs on dry food tend to pee less often. This does not mean you have to switch off these. Instead, take your dog out more frequently than normal. 


Is the environment stressful? Some dogs when stressed out will not go potty because they fell vulnerable. Other dogs will pee more easily because they are scared. If your new dog is peeing more often you can make the environment more friendly. Provide a crate with a blanket dropped over the top. This will create a den like atmosphere. 

Food, Water & Play

How long can a dog hold their pee will depend on if they just ate, drank, or played. These actions stimulate a dogs bladder. Therefore, keep an eye out right after these activities. Take your dog to go potty within 10-15 minutes of eating, drinking, and playing

What Happens When Dog Holds Pee Too Long?

According to vets how long a dog can hold their pee should not matter. They recommend letting your dog out every 6-8 hours. This would be 3-4 times a day. Vets say that just because a dog can hold their pee for +8 hours they shouldn’t have to. 

Urinary Tract Infection:

A dog who holds in their pee are prone to bacterial infection of the kidney, bladder, and urethra.
Treatment: Antibiotics
Cost: $12-30

Stone Formation:

Blockages can become threatening due to crystallization of waste products.
Treatment: Surgery, Non-surgical removal using drugs, Dietary Dissolution
Cost: $1,300-$2,600

Urinary Cancer:

Urine contains carcinogens. The longer carcinogens are in the body the higher chance for cancer.
Treatment: Chemotherapy, Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory
Cost: $500-$8.000

Damage To The Bladder:

When your dog’s holds his bladder, it expands. If the bladder is expanded for too long the muscle and surrounding tissues are damaged. This can lead to leaks. This damage may be irreversible. So, it is important to allow frequent potty breaks.
Treatment:  Surgery
Cost: $1,700

Types Of Peeing & How To Stop It

So, you have come here to ask how long can dogs hold their pee? Above gives general numbers but to understand why your dog is peeing you need to understand what type of urination is occurring. 

Excitement Peeing

This occurs when the environment overstimulates your dog. It is common when you first come home or have a guest over.

Gender Specific
Excitement peeing is more common in females than males. Dogs usually grow out of it by the age of one. It is not unusual for females’ dogs to continue this behavior into adulthood.
Breed Specific
Certain breeds are more prone to excitement peeing. This includes Dachshund Breed, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles.
How To Fix
The best way to help a dog to not pee out of excitement is to teach your dog that coming home is not exciting. Ignore your dog for the first 30 minutes upon arriving home. For guest excitement peeing you can take your dog outside right before a guest is about to arrive.


Marking is the behavior of laying scent down to establish territory. 

How To Tell If Its Marking
You tell by how much pee there is. Is it a drip, spray, or waterfall? If it is the former, you may have a marking problem.
Gender Specific
Both male and female dogs’ mark.
How To Fix:
Marking behaviors usually disappears after you have had the dog fixed.


A dog will be unable to hold in their pee when they feel weak or vulnerable. To help a dog who submissive pees you need to give them distance. This might mean not coming near them when you first get home. Also, try not to loom over the dog. This is a very aggressive position and will cause submissive peeing. 

Attention Seeking

An adult dog can hold his pee in for a 6-12 hours. Attention seeking is a learned behavior. Therefore, you need to know your dog’s history. Did he pee in the house before? If so, then this is not attention seeking. If your dog suddenly starts peeing in the house, you might have accidently reinforced it. Attention is like publicity. There is no such thing as bad attention. Therefore, if you have neglected to spend time with your dog he might start peeing on the floor. Even yelling at him is giving him attention.


What To Do If You Are Not Home Enough?

How long can a dog hold their pee is usually asked because pet parents are worried they are not home enough. Do not worry, this is normal. Below you can learn how to help your dog when you are not home. 

Dog Sitter/Walker

Hire someone to walk your dog for 20-40 minutes. Try to find a local walker on Next-Door. Stay away from Rover and Wag as most walkers do not have insurance. This is a good option if your dog is having a hard time holding his bladder. 

Lunch Check Up

If you live close to work this might be an option. Some people pair this with hiring a walker to save money.

Bring Your Dog To Work

Ask your boss if this would be an option. Not only would it help your dog, but your dog can help relieve stress.

Have A Neighbor Or Family Member Check In

This is a good option for someone who is not usually away from the house too long. If you get stuck in traffic or there is an emergency, you could contact someone to check in on your dog.

How To Potty Train Your Dog?

The second most common reason for asking how long can dogs hold their pee regards to puppy or rescue potty training. Here are 7 tips that can make potty training easier. 

Supervise Your Dog

If your dog is not potty trained, you should always supervise them when they are out of their crate. Supervision should be active. You should not be doing something else. This means no T.V watching, no playing on the phone, no cooking. This is because dogs give signals that they have to go. You should be identifying those signals. You should never get mad at your dog for your inability to recognize when they must go.

Signs Your Dog Has To Pee

Most dogs begin to show these signs when their bladder is 3/4 full. This should give you adequate time to finish what you are doing and take them outside. You need to learn to identify your dog’s signals. These are common ones.

  • Walking in circles
  • Pawing at the door
  • Standing near the door
  • Whining
  • Coming to get your attention
  • Disappearing or hiding
  • Staring at you
  • Barking
  • Restlessness
  • Running between people
  • Returning to a previously soiled area
  • Butt licking
  • Sniffing the ground

Every dog is different. If you are having a hard time identifying what your specific dog’s signal is, then you need to think back to the last accident. What were your dog doing right before they soiled your house? Write them down and look out for those behaviors next time.


If you are unable to supervise your dog, you should confine them to a specific area. The most ideal form of confinement is crate training. This is because other forms of confinement give the dog too much space. Too much space is the number one reasons pet parents fail at potty training

Crate Training

Crate training is the only method that teaches a dog to hold their bladder and teaches them where to go. It is the only option for overnight training. To crate train a dog you need to:

  1. Have a crate that is small (they should only be able to stand up and turn around)
    1. You can put divider to make a big crate smaller
  2. Feed them in the crate
  3. Teach them to go to crate by throwing a treat in the crate and saying “go to spot”
  4. Put them in the crate throughout the day and not only when you leave
  5. Teach them they must sit before you can open the door
  6. Teach them they must be invited out and not to run out when you open the door.
  7. Never use the crate as punishment
  8. Make the crate always positive.
  9. Take them outside the minute they come out of the crate.
  10. Give them 10-15 minutes outside (outside is exciting, let them decompress)
  11. You must put them back in the crate if they refuse to go potty and you know its time.
    1. Throw the cookie, or give them a Kong
Why Did My Dog Pee The Minute He Got Back In?

This happens because a dog cannot go when they are overstimulated. This is biology. Our nervous system shuts down that part of our body. Outside is overstimulating. Once the dog comes back in, they relax and the nervous system restarts the digestive track. Therefore they can potty. This is why it’s important to put a dog back in their crate if they were unable to go potty outside. Try again in 15-30 minutes

My Dog Went Potty Now What?

Now your dog has the freedom to play and romp. Knowing your dog’s schedule is important. This is because you need to keep an eye on their water intake and time between potties. If your dog pees every 30 minutes, he has 30 minutes of play time before he goes back outside or in the crate.

Alternatives To Crate Training

Confine them to a small kitchen, laundry room, or basement. If you have an open floor plan install buy baby gates that install on the side of your walls. Pull them across to limit your dog’s ability to roam. This does not train a dog to hold their bladder or go outside. Instead, it prevents a dog from soiling hard to clean areas like carpets.

Added Benefit:

Baby gates are overall a great thing to have. They can confine your dog when you have guest over. This includes cleaners, construction workers, plumbers and so on.

If you do not have baby gates you can get a drag leash. Drag leashes have dual purposes. The first is to limit where the dog can go and the second is to accustom the dog to having a leash. Drag leashes differ from regular leashes because they do not have a loop at the end. The leash prevents furniture from snagging on the leash. Since the dog has free range of the house this does not train a dog to hold their bladder or go outside. Instead, it allows you to limit their ability to go in off-limit spaces like carpeted bedrooms.

The teether serves the same purpose as the leash confinement. However, it restricts them to a specific area. Most teethers allow too much space. Most dogs will go to the end of their teether to pee. This does not train a dog to hold their bladder or go outside.

These are free standing areas. They are helpful with open floor plans. However, most ex-pens are too large. The dog will carve out a corner to pee in. This does not train a dog to hold their bladder or go outside.


Routine is the kindest things we can do for our dog. Taking your dog to pee at the same time every day will encourage them to hold it. Write down your dog’s current potty schedule. Adhere to it and gradually move it to fit your own.

Increase Time Between Potty Breaks

One mistake pet parents make is taking their dog out every 15-30 minutes and never increases the time. This does not teach a dog to hold their bladder. The minute you have found a schedule that works you need to start increasing the time between breaks. So, if your dog needs to go out every 30 minutes then you need to push it to 35. You can only do this once you have discovered your dog’s schedule.

Teach Your Dog To Go On Command

  • Take them out first thing in the morning
  • Keep your dog on a short leash
  • Pair the “Potty Word’ when they are going to the bathroom. We say ‘potty’. Once they have potty, give praise
  • Repeat
  • You can even add a little squat. This provides a non-verbal cue to pair with the verbal cue. Since dog’s pick up on non-verbal cues quicker than verbal cues it will speed the process along. However, I use the squat for ‘poop’ rather than ‘potty’.

Pee Pads, Litter Boxes, Grass Area, Potty Sprays

These products have pheromones that to encourage peeing in a specific spot. These products do not train a dog to hold their bladder. However, you can use these products to train where to go.

How To Use Pads, Boxes & Grass Areas

  1. Place or spray the item in the spot the dog usually goes.
  2. You may need to have more than one pee pad, litter box, or grass area throughout your house.
  3. Once the dog is going to that spot, move the product 1 inch closer to the door. It is important to not move the product too far too quickly. The dog should not be able to tell that it has moved.
  4. Continue this process with gradual movements until the spot is next to the door.
  5. Once the product is next to the door, try to catch your dog before they go on the spot.
  6. Take them outside immediately and reward pottying outside.
  7. Continue this until the pad is no longer needed

How To Use The Spray?

Spray the pad, litter box or grass with the spray


Bell Training

I do not recommend bell training because most dog’s abuse it. Bell training is the act of having your dog ring a bell when they must go. 

How To Train The Bell Method?

Step 1: Sniffing Bell

  1.  Teach dog to target the bell
  2. Place bell near dog (on floor)
  3. When dog sniffs bell, reward with treat
  4. Continue until the dog is sniffing bell with enthusiasm
Step 1: Pawing Bell
  1. Wait for the dog sniff the bell
  2. Do not reward
  3. Wait until they get frustrated and paw the bell
  4. Reward with treat
  5. Continue this until dog is pawing at bell with enthusiasm.
Step 3: Associating Potty With Bell
  1. Place bell near door
  2. Wait until the dog paws at bell
  3. Reward with treat and take dog out
  4. Anytime you want the dog to go potty sit by bell and wait until the paw. Then take them out.
  5. Anytime your dog hits the bell (even by accident), take them outside.

Limit Water

Limiting your dog’s water serves two purposes. The first is to reduce how much they pee. The second is to control when they pee. A dog needs 1 ounce of water for every pound they weigh. A 10lb dog needs 10 ounces. Fill up a bottle with your dog’s daily water need and distribute it out throughout the day or at specific times. This will control how much they pee. In addition, take them out 30 minutes after consuming the water. This controls when they pee.

Worried About Dehydration?

Dark yellow pee and smelly pee is a sign of dehydration. If this is the case, you might need to provide more water. Remember 1 ounce per pound is a guideline not a rule. You can also do a skin test to determine if you are limiting your dog’s water too much. Pinch the top layer of your dog’s skin. If it flattens out, then your dog is hydrated. If it stays pinched your dog is dehydrated.

What Not To Do

Many owners who are curious about how long dogs can hold their pee ask if daycare is a good option. However, daycare usually makes potty training harder not easier. 

Doggy Door

I do not advise getting a doggy door unless you are working from home. There are two main reasons: Broken Fences and People Who Steal Dogs.

Doggy Day Care

Doggy day cares are horrible for pet parents who are trying to train their dog to hold their bladder. This is because the dogs free roam the room and go when and where they want. This teaches a dog that it is okay to potty inside and there is no reason to hold their bladder. Besides, doggy day cares are not ideal for puppies and geriatric dogs. This is because they do not provide enough rest time.

Don't Mix Puppy Pads With Crate Training

Remember puppy pads do not train a dog to hold their bladder. Therefore, you would be confusing the dog. This usually slows down potty training.

Let Your Dog Run Free In The Yard When You Want Them To Potty

Remember, being outside is exciting. You need to limit your dog’s ability to play. Potty time and play time should be separate.

My Dog Had An Accident

How long can dogs hold their pee really depends on the dog intron of you. However, accidents happen. If this is the case take these 4 steps to prevent it from happening again. 

Don't Yell At Them

Dog’s do not understand what they did wrong. Dog’s do not feel guilt despite what YouTube videos make us believe. Instead, they feel stress because they know something is wrong. Do not make them more anxious. Yelling at your dog will make potty training harder and take longer.

Don't Take Them Outside

Many time owners will take their dog outside the minute they catch them soiling the house. All this does is reward the dog. However, you can take your dog out side if you believe you interrupted them from pottying. Otherwise, clean it up and move on.

Think About Why It Happened

Remember, your dog is predictable. They pee and poop at the same time. They tend to potty after eating, drinking, and playing. They give signals they are going to potty. What did you miss? How can you adjust so that this does not happen again?
  • Do you need to confine them?
  • Do you need to limit their water?
  • Do you need to take them out after they play?
  • Did you wait too long between breaks?
  • Did you miss a signal?
These are all things you need to consider when potty training a dog.

Removing Scent & Pheromones To Prevent Future Accidents

You must clean the area thoroughly. Otherwise, your dog will go there again. I highly recommend getting a steam cleaner and a pet specific detergent.

Closing Thoughts

How long can dogs hold their pee is hard to answer. In reality the best thing to do is to record how often your dog goes. That will give you the real answer to how long YOUR dog can hold their pee. 

2 thoughts on “How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee”

  1. It’s also important to consider that a dog’s age, physical condition, and size can affect their ability to hold their pee. For example, a young puppy may only be able to hold it for a couple of hours, while an older dog may need to go out more frequently. Also, a large dog may be able to hold its pee for longer than a smaller dog.

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