Puppy Plays Outside Instead of Going Potty! 3 Helpful Tips!

Puppies that are not potty trained can be real nightmares. From peeing on the couch to peeing on himself – they are more than messy. But what happens if you are taking the puppy out to pee or poop, and instead, it gets interested in playing? 

My puppy plays outside instead of going potty – what do I do? This is a normal phase for puppies, and all of them will go through it at a certain point in their puppyhood. Luckily, there are things you can do to shorten the phase and make it easier to overcome – from getting outdoor peeing mats to limiting the potty break time. 

In this article, we will talk about puppies that choose to play instead of pee and poop while on a potty break. We will explain how long you need to wait for the puppy to potty, why some puppies are more interested in other activities, and what to do to fix the situation. 

Why Is My Puppy Playing Instead of Going Potty?

Imagine the following scenario – it is potty time, and you take your puppy out. Since the puppy asked to be taken out, you expect things will go smoothly. However, the moment you leave the house, your puppy forgets it needs to pee and starts playing. Frustrating, right?

Well, if you have been in this situation, do not worry – you are not alone. Getting distracted with playing and forgetting to potty is a common issue in puppies and something all pups need to go through. 

This is particularly likely to occur in puppies at the begging of the potty training phase when the potty rules are confusing and the outside environments intriguing and simply waiting to be discovered. Puppies have very short attention spans and get easily distracted by sounds, scents, and sights. 

What Should I Do if My Puppy Plays Instead of Going Potty?

First of all, before we start talking about how to manage the situation and what to do if your puppy plays instead of pottying while outside, we should note that this is a normal scenario. 

So, do not think of the playing instead of the pottying situation as a behavioral problem because it is not. Also, it is not the puppy’s way of getting back to you for scolding it earlier. It is simply a phase, and all you can do is make it shorter and more bearable. 

With that being covered, here are some tips on what to do in case your puppy plays instead of going potty while on a potty break. 

Tip number 1: Make a potty break schedule 

Puppies are creatures of habits and thrive on schedules. During the first few weeks of getting a new puppy, there will be tons of peeing and pooping mistakes. This is normal and an opportunity to learn more about the pup’s potty habits. 

In general, pay attention to when your puppy needs to pee and poop. Then, make a potty break schedule based on the observations and stick to it. Namely, the chances of the puppy playing instead of going to potty are minimal if the timing is right and the puppy really needs to relieve itself. 

Tip number 2: Invest in a potty training mat 

The puppy potty mat is a simple yet versatile solution. The concept is to help the dog link the mat with the peeing and pooping processes, thus decreasing the risk of getting de-focused and starting to play. 

Plus, the peeing mats are proven to help speed up the overall potty training process. Not to mention they are hygienic and contain the dog’s potty products instead of having pee and poop all over the yard. 

Today, the modern market offers dozens of different potty training mats, thus allowing you to choose the one that fits your and your puppy’s needs best. You can use the same mat both inside and outside the house. 

Tip number 3: Limit the outdoor area access 

Another way of containing your puppy’s curiosity and reducing the chances of playing instead of going to the potty is limiting the outdoor area. Namely, the larger the yard, the more chances for the puppy to get triggered by something – plants, toys, rocks, or even a cat passing by. 

To avoid such issues, just set up a small enclosure at one corner of the yard and place the mat inside the area. Do not let the puppy get out until the potty break is over. Soon the puppy will make a correlation between the enclosed area, the potty mat, and peeing/pooping. 

How Long Should I Wait Outside for My Puppy to Poop?

In general, you should wait between 10 and 20 minutes for your puppy to poop outside. Once you leave the house, the puppy will probably pee and relieve itself. However, finding the right pooping spot is often trickier. 

Namely, based on dog criteria, the ideal peeing spot is not always ideal for pooping. Therefore, you need to allow the puppy enough time to find such a spot. However, you should not make the break too long as the pup will get bored and find entertainment sources or start playing instead of pooping. 

This suggested timeframe between 10 and 20 minutes is a general guideline. Over time, as you get to know the puppy, you will be able to modify the timeframe based on its needs. 

Namely, some puppies will poop as soon as they are outside, while others prefer to do some walking before relieving themselves. However, until you learn your dog’s preferences, stick to the 10 to 20 minutes rule. 

Summing Up: Puppy Plays Outside Instead of Going Potty

Potty training is a long and, in some dog breeds, a particularly challenging process. The good news is that all pet owners struggle with certain potty issues, and you are not alone.  

If your puppy plays instead of peeing and pooping while on a potty break, do not worry – all pups go through this phase at some point in their puppyhood. Just follow the tips above, and your puppy will start using its potty break productively in no time.  


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

Leave a Comment