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How many times to let my dog out a day?

How many times to let my dog out a day?

My dog loves going outside. She follows me out each time I step out the door. She goes to the door multiple times a day, just because she wants to play outdoors. She’ll go out for a bit, and then want to come back inside. It began to feel like a revolving door, so I started to wonder. How often should you let your dog out each day?   

How many times to let my dog out a day?

It’s one of the most common questions dog owners have, particularly when they are house training. How many times should your dog go out each day? Obviously, you want to provide them with plenty of opportunities to do their business. 

After all, if you don’t let your dog out, and they have an accident, it’s your fault. Still, you shouldn’t feel at your dog’s constant service, letting them in and out all day long. 

 The Basics

Most dogs need to go out 3 to 5 times each day to pee and poop. Vets recommend no longer than 6 to 8 hours between bathroom breaks. Of course, each dog is unique and will have its own schedule.

When Dogs Should Potty 

Your dog’s bathroom schedule should follow a routine. Of course, the routine may vary based on your schedule and your dog’s needs. However, if you can stick to the routine, you and your dog will have an easier time with housetraining. 


When you wake up, a trip to the bathroom is one of the first things on your agenda. Your bladder has been filling all night, and needs to be relieved. Your dog feels the same way.

Dogs need to use the bathroom first thing in the morning. In fact, it’s ideal to let them out between 10-30 minutes after they wake up. 

After Meals

Most owners feed their dogs two or three times a day. You can expect your dog to need to potty about 30 minutes after a meal. Dogs typically poop after eating, especially after breakfast and dinner. 

Letting your dog outside after meals serves a few purposes. If they need to poop, they have the opportunity to do so. Dogs need to pee at least every 8 hours. They should also be fed about 8-10 hours apart, if you feed them two meals a day. Making bathroom breaks after meal time helps you remember to let them out on time. 

Your dog will adapt to the schedule you set. Once they become accustomed to the schedule, they will likely do their business fairly quickly. Dogs are creatures of routine. Knowing what to expect helps them feel safe and secure. 

Before Bed

Every single night, I remind my daughter to pee before she goes to bed. I have no doubt it’s prevented quite a few accidents. Once she’s settled in, I do my business before going to sleep as well. It just makes sense to empty your bladder before settling in for an 8 hour period of sleep. 

Just like a child, your pooch should also go out before bed. They will be holding it overnight, so they need one last opportunity to pee and poop before going in for the night. This is not only good for them. It can also help prevent accidents. 

How often let a puppy out per day?

Puppies have much smaller bladders than adult dogs. This means they require a different potty schedule, and will need to go out more often. 

How Long Can a Puppy Hold It? 

How often a puppy can hold their bladder depends on their age. To determine their capacity, you’ll need to add their age in months plus one. This is how many hours they can hold their pee and poop. 

For example, a 3 month old puppy can be expected to hold their pee for 4 hours. Once they reach 7 to 8 months of age, you can expect them to hold it for 8 hours. It’s not healthy for a dog to hold it for longer than 8 hours, especially during active hours. 

Puppy Potty Schedule

Your puppy’s potty schedule will be similar to that of an adult dog, with more frequent breaks. 


Just like an adult dog, a puppy will need to potty first thing in the morning. With a puppy, don’t expect them to hold it, even for a few minutes. If they are crated, which makes potty training easy, bring them out to potty as soon as they come out of their crate. 

You may want to carry them outside, to prevent them from relieving themselves before they get outside. 


Puppies need to eat more often than adult dogs. Puppies from weaning to 12 weeks, or 3 months, need 4 meals each day. Between 3-6 months, you can decrease feeding to 3 times per day. After 6 months of age, most dogs are ok eating two meals per day. 

As with adult dogs, you’ll need to take your puppy out after each meal. Puppies do eat more meals than adult dogs, but you’ll need to take them out at other times as well. 


Because puppies are physically active during playtime, it’s a good idea to take them out to potty after a play session. They will naturally need to potty after all the activity. 


Of course, puppies should also potty right before bed. Their small bladders can’t hold it as long as an adult.

If you hear your puppy whining during the night, they may need a midnight potty break as well. The fewer accidents they have, the easier the potty training process. Taking them out during the night can be frustrating, but it will be worth it in the long run. 

Every 2 Hours

Young puppies should be taken out every 2 hours to pee and poop. If this coincides with a mealtime, this is fine. However, if there are 4 hours between meals, be sure that they get a bathroom break between meals as well. If they don’t potty, bring them out again 30 minutes later. 

It’s best to follow this schedule until your pup is 6 months old. Then, they should be ok as long as they are let out every 4 hours. Once they are fully potty trained, you can let them out in the morning, after meals, and at night. 

How often to let an elderly dog out each day?

Elderly dogs are similar to puppies in terms of bladder capacity. An adult dog can typically hold it for 8 hours, but an elderly dog can only go 4-6 hours between potty breaks. This means you’ll need to let them out at least 4 times each day.

When to Let an Elderly Dog Out

Let your dog out when they wake up in the morning, and right before bed at night. They’ll also need to potty after mealtimes. Your elderly dog will likely need at least one potty break between breakfast and dinner as well. 

Can I take my dog out 3 times a day?

Most adult dogs are ok going out 3 times a day. You should never let your dog wait more than 8 hours between bathroom breaks.

Many owners are away from home during the day, so their pooches have to hold it during the day. In this case, you would want to let them out in the morning, and again as soon as you get home from work. Let them out again right before bed. 

How many times a day should I take my dog out to poop?

Most dogs poop once or twice a day. However, up to five times a day is considered normal. Just like with pee, smaller dogs, puppies, and elderly dogs will need to go more often than adult dogs. 


Your dog’s diet also has a big impact on how often they poop. Essentially, the higher quality their diet, the less poop they will have. 

Poop is waste, which means it’s what the body can’t consume or process. Commercial dog foods with a higher amount of filler will lead to more poop, potentially more often. Some owners choose high protein food for their dog, because it results in less poop. 

After Meals

Most dogs poop within 30 minutes of eating. However, they aren’t pooping what they just ate. In fact, it takes 8-10 hours for a dog to completely digest a meal.

If it takes so long to digest, why do they poop after eating? Once your dog’s stomach is full, it sends a signal to the colon to eliminate it. This keeps the intestines flowing at a steady rate. 

Once a new meal is being digested, the old food is eliminated, making room to process the new meal.  


Puppies typically poop after each meal. 4 to 5 times a day is normal for a puppy, but some will poop even more. Smaller dogs tend to poop more often, because they have smaller digestive systems. 

Older dogs will poop less. In fact, elderly dogs may only poop once a day, or every other day. 

Each Dog Is Different

If you watch your dog, you will quickly learn their poop schedule. Dogs tend to pee and poop on a schedule, but they are much more reliable with poop. They will typically poop at the same time of day each day, and the same number of times, particularly if you follow a feeding schedule. 

If your dog begins pooping significantly more or less than normal, you’ll need to give your vet a call. What is normal for your dog is a better indication than what is normal for dogs in general, because it can vary significantly.