How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Shetland Sheepdog?

We get it, no one likes to potty train a dog. However, it is one of those things that you just have to do as a dog trainer. Having a dog not potty trained can be very frustrating and also quite embarrassing if you have friends or family over, and you can forget about bringing the dog to anyone’s home until you get this down.

However, shelties are such an intelligent breed and they should be able to be easily potty trained, right? Right? We understand your concerns and if you have been wondering, “How long does it take to potty train a Sheltie / Shetland Sheepdogs?” then wait no longer, we have got you covered.

Let’s get started! 

How long does it take to potty train a sheltie?

The good news is that some sheltie owners were able to potty train their sheltie puppies in a matter of months while for others, it did take a bit longer. What is the bad news you ask? Well, there is no concrete answer to this. The same way there is no concrete answer to when a baby talks or walks; every puppy is different.

It also highly depends on you as a trainer. How often do you take your puppy out to potty? Are you observant? Do you notice any tells? Tip: all sheltie puppies and puppies, in general, have a tell. Some of them will whine, or they’ll start sniffing like crazy, or maybe they will walk around in circles. While these are very obvious, other tells might be more subtle, say they will stop playing for a bit and just sit. Either way, if you spend enough time with your sheltie and understand their tells then you can get your Sheltie puppy potty trained in no time.


What are the steps to properly potty train a sheltie?

Okay, now that you know that time is irrelevant because it is up to the trainer, you, and how obvious the tells are for your dog, you probably want to know what are the steps to properly train your sheltie, right?

We understand that and we thought we would let the experts handle this great question. Here are some great tips from experts:

  • Indoor training:

The first goal is to teach your Sheltie puppy to pee and poop on the training pads indoors. This temporary toilet area should be far enough from his bed and eating area to match his instinct to poop away from his “clean zones.”

When you notice your puppy sniffing the ground and moving around slowly in circles, he’s looking to poop. Swiftly lifted him and put him on a training pad. Peeing is harder to catch. Males will either cock a leg up against a couch or table leg or simply squat their hind legs down like a female. When you see this cue, act fast.

Naturally, this is going to leave a stream of urine leading to the pee zone. But try not to worry about that right now. Getting just a drop of urine on the pad is the immediate goal while praising your puppy for any urine that does land in the right spot. Leave it there for them to smell later, so he can learn that he’s supposed to toilet there.

Now, rinse and repeat. This will happen a lot in the first few days, so brace yourself for some mess. Contain your puppy to areas of the house with washable floors if you prefer, by laying down obstacles (a table on its side is a fine temporary measure) or using baby gates.

It’s normal to feel frustrated when you see your puppy boldly peeing on the carpet right in front of your eyes. This is not belligerence – he just doesn’t know the rules yet. Don’t express your anger at him and especially don’t rub his nose in it. All this does is show your dog that you’re an erratic pack leader. He doesn’t know what you mean or what he’s done wrong.

Instead, when you catch your Sheltie puppy peeing or pooping in the wrong place, firmly say “No!” then silently lift her and take her over to the designated area to finish. Watch over her and make sure she doesn’t stray until she does her business. If she does meander away, put her straight back on the training pads. Then praise her when she’s done.

  • Outdoor training

Once your puppy knows to go on the training pads around 8 out of 10 times, he’s grasped the idea of peeing and pooping in a designated place. He sees the entire house as a “clean zone” now, except this one area. Success!

Of course, you don’t want to spend the next 12 years of your life subject to your dog’s defecations on the utility room floor. Now you need to teach him to go outside. But this is tricky for a couple of reasons.

First, the yard is a lot further away from where your puppy is playing in the living room. It’s out of sight and out of mind. So it’s a leap in cognition to consider going outside the house to pee. Second, unless you have a dog door installed, or your doors are open all year-round, there’s now a new barrier. Your puppy needs to communicate that he needs you to open the door.

So the next stage teaches your pup to overcome these obstacles. Start by conditioning him to associate peeing and pooping with the yard. At regular intervals throughout the day, take your puppy outside and wait with him to do his thing. Do it as soon as you wake up, after he eats (his full stomach presses on his bladder), and after playtimes.

Again, you have to be consistent and take control of his learning. Don’t skip toilet times and don’t allow him to go more than 8 hours overnight without a chance to pee outdoors. When, eventually, he successfully does his business on the grass – and he will – give lots of enthusiastic praise and a treat or two.

What do other sheltie owners think?

Now that you know how to properly train your sheltie, we thought it would be a good idea to see what experiences other sheltie owners have. After all, this is very important. These are real people who own real shelties so who would know better than them? Here are some answers they gave:

  • My shelties have always been the best when it came to potty training, I’ve never really had a problem with it, they picked it up in a week or two. Never really had an accident after the first day or two when we were still trying to sync with each other or when they needed to go out. After a month though I would think that’s plenty of time to have made the message clear of where and where not to pee. If you’re finding that the accidents happen after your puppy drinks (normal), take him out immediately afterward or you’re setting up to pee inside. At 7 months, Precious was able to hold it for about 6-7 hours. Now at 11 months, she holds it for 8 or 9 if needed but if possible I take her out earlier just because I can and am home. She doesn’t drink excessively too, only after she eats or plays hard so I know accordingly if she drank a lot more water than usual, to let her out earlier than usual to release.
  • I think another thing that plays a part is the age at which you bring the dog home and start a routine. From your post, it sounds like you got your dog when he was 6 months old, and you’ve only had him a month. We brought our first dog home at 7 months, and it took him a bit longer to get 100% house trained. It probably wasn’t until he was around a year old that he didn’t make mistakes. You just don’t know what routine they were used to (if any) and they may have developed some less than stellar habits. My puppy, who I got at 12 weeks, on the other hand, learned very quickly.

In Conclusion | What you need to know

While for some trainers knowing that the training can take anywhere from a month to an entire year (for some even more) might be frustrating but the good news is, it is basically up to you. By that, we mean that you are the main factor here. You might be thinking, “Me? I’m not the one that needs to be potty trained, it’s my sheltie.” And we understand that, but your sheltie looks to you for guidance.

Your sheltie needs you to tell him or her when it is time to go and also, how to let you know that it is potty time. Wouldn’t it be great if dogs could talk and just tell us? Unfortunately, that is not how it works so it is up to you to keep a close eye on your sheltie puppy.

You can do it. Once you understand the tells of your puppy then you will be able to potty train him/her in no time.