Written by Vet Tech

How Often Do Dogs Need To Pee?

Amber LaRock
Written by: Amber LaRock, Vet Tech
Do you know how many times a day should go outside to pee? If you are not sure, use this guide and create the right dog’s bathroom habits.

Though it may seem like a basic question, it’s actually an important topic that dog owners should be aware of.

Believe it or not, we’re getting several questions like this each week:

How often should I take my dog out to pee?

If you’re a new pet parent, you may find yourself wondering how often should you take your dog out to do their business, or how long you can be away from your house until your canine friend can no longer wait.

Understanding your dog’s bathroom habits is important, so we’ll dive into the basics behind a dog’s potty breaks.

How Often Should You Take Your Dog Out?

While this answer will vary from dog to dog, there is a standard answer that you can workaround. Ideally, each dog should go outside to pee anywhere from 3 to 5 times per day.

Veterinary professionals do not recommend making your dog wait any longer than 6-8 hours between trips outside for bathroom breaks, and suggest that waiting any longer over a long period of time can result in urinary complications or messes inside of your home.

Just think about how uncomfortable it is when you really have to go and try your best to never let your canine endure that feeling for too long. Holding urine for too long won’t only cause discomfort, it can also increases a risk of urinary tract infections, bladder infections, urinary stones, and kidney problems.

Now that we’ve covered the standard practice for trips outside for your pup, let’s dive into the ways that each dog can differ.

Every Dog Is Different

Just like every human’s urination habits will be different, each dog’s need to go will vary as well.

Your dog’s need to empty their bladder can be affected by many factors, and may even change throughout their life stages.

Although there is no absolute and definite frequency of how often a dog pees, these factors that can affect how often your dog will need to go outside to pee:

  • Breed
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Their water intake
  • Overall health and medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Potty training
  • Activity level

The average healthy dog will produce between 10 and 20 ml of urine for each pound of body weight per day. Smaller breeds and puppies usually need to urinate more frequently than larger breeds and older dogs, because smaller dogs have smaller bladders relative to their overall body size than larger breeds.

Now that you know the factors that can affect your dog’s urination habits, let’s dive into the details behind an increased need to pee.

What Can Increase A Dog’s Need To Pee More Often?

If it seems like your dog needs to go outside more often than others, take a look at the following factors that can affect bathroom habits and consider if they fit your furry friend.

1. Breed

If you really think about it, it makes perfect sense as to why certain breeds can hold it a bit longer than others. Think about how much a dog’s bladder can vary in size from breed to breed.

A chihuahua’s bladder is much smaller than that of a Great Dane, so if they are chugging water, they may need to urinate more often.

2. Age

You’ve probably heard that your ability to hold your bladder dissipates as you age. The muscles that help to prevent incontinence weaken over time and this is true of dogs as well.

As a dog ages, you may find them asking to go outside more often, or even find some accidents around the house from time to time. This also counts for younger dogs and puppies as well.

Puppies will typically have to outside more often due to learning their potty training habits and their developing ability to hold their bladder. We’ll discuss the specifics on puppies further in the article and how long they can hold it based on age.

3. Weight

Studies show that excessive body fat can result in increased abdominal pressure. This can lead to your dog’s need to go outside and urinate more often.

4. Water Intake

Just like with humans, if a dog is drinking a lot of water, they will need to urinate more often. If it seems like your dog is chugging water and urinating more than the average pup, it’s best to have them seen by your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions causing increased thirst.

5. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions in dogs can result in an increased need to pee. Some of these conditions include diabetes, Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, and other conditions that cause a dog to drink more.

6. Medications

There are a few medications that can give your dog an unquenchable thirst that results in an increased need to pee. Some of these medications include oral steroids, seizure medications, heart medications, and others.

7. Potty Training

If you find that your dog is having accidents around the house and have ruled out any medical cause, then your dog may be struggling with potty training.

This can be challenging for puppies, young dogs, newly adopted dogs, and dogs in a new environment.

Consistency and patience are key when it comes to potty training, and don’t forget to be there to praise your pet and give it some treat when it does a good job.

What Are Some Signs That Your Dog Needs To Urinate?

Now that you know how often your dog will need to urinate and what can cause frequent urination, you may wonder how you know that your dog needs to go outside and pee. Some signs that a dog may need to go outside for a bathroom break include:

  • Standing at the door looking outside
  • Crying at the door
  • Fidgeting and not sitting still
  • Appearing restless
  • Crying or whining
  • Pawing at you
  • Barking
  • Sniffing around

If you see your dog displaying any of the above behaviors, they may need to go outside for a bathroom break.

How Long Can A Puppy Hold Their Bladder?

When a puppy is growing and in the potty training process, they will need to be taken outside more often than an adult dog would. Aside from teaching them where they need to go each time they have the urge to go, is how much more a puppy will actually need to urinate.

As a dog ages, they will develop the ability to hold it for longer periods of time. Puppies just have to pee more often than adults.

So how long can puppies hold it?

  • 8 weeks old: They need bathroom breaks every 2 hours
  • 12 weeks old: They can typically hold it for 4 hours
  • 16 weeks old: They can typically hold it for 5 hours
  • 20 weeks old: They can typically hold it for 6 hours
  • 24 weeks old: They can typically hold it for 8 hours

While each puppy is different, these are some general guidelines to stick to when it comes to their bathroom trips outside.

Catering To Older Dogs

As a dog’s age they can begin to have a more difficult time holding their bladder. This can be due to medical conditions that are associated with old age, medications they may be taking, as well as the weakened bladder muscles that help to prevent accidents.

If you have an older dog, there are a few ways that you can cater to their urinary habits as they age.

  • Make sure you let them outside more often for bathroom breaks.
  • Keep an eye on their water intake, as increased thirst and urination can point to other problems.
  • If you will be away from home for a few hours, offer them pee pads to be able to urinate inside if they can no longer hold it.
  • Be aware of any accidents they have in their bedding so you can properly clean up after them.
  • Always have them seen by your veterinarian if you notice any abrupt changes in urination.
  • Try your best to not be away from home too long so they won’t have to hold their bladder for a long period of time.
  • Consider installing a doggy door to the backyard if you have to be away from home for long periods throughout the day.

Urinary Complications To Be Aware Of

Urinary complications are actually fairly common in dogs, and they may experience a common urinary infection or complication at least once throughout their lives.

If your dog is peeing more frequently than normal, you should talk to your vet, as it could be a symptom of a health issue.

Urinary health should be taken seriously in dogs, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms you should look out for.

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in urine
  • Strong odor in urine
  • Change of urine color
  • Whining when urinating
  • Inability to urinate

These symptoms can indicate simple urinary tract infections (UTIs) that can be resolved with antibiotics, all the way to serious problems such as bladder stones.

Since there is no way to be sure just how serious of a problem these symptoms are a result of, it’s important to always see your veterinarian ASAP if you notice any of the above symptoms in your pup.


After reading this article you should have a better understanding on how often do dogs pee and how often should you take your dog out.

Your dog’s urinary habits may seem basic, but can actually be a great peak inside of their health.

Make sure to offer your dog the recommended potty breaks outside each day, and keep a close eye out for any changes in their urination.