Puppy Schedules: Create Daily Puppy Schedules & Puppy Routines

Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
By Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
Updated: 5/9/20242-4 minutes
Cute puppy

A puppy is a creature of habit. He needs a routine. If you leave him to come up with his own, you’re not gonna like it.

Schedules are very important to your puppy. You need to schedule when to feed, exercise and take your puppy outdoors to go potty. Creating a schedule is also a great way to get your whole family involved in caring for your puppy.

Why Does My Puppy Need a Schedule?

For one thing, schedules make your puppy happy. Knowing what will happen and when it will happen gives your puppy a sense of security, and can keep the rest of your family on the same page as far as who is responsible for each task. Schedules also help make it easier to train and control your puppy. Housetraining in particular is generally easier with a schedule, along with supervision and encouragement.

Scheduling Food

Make sure your family feeds your puppy his measured amount of food at the same time every day, according to the feeding directions on the package, whether it’s once a day or more often. Water should always be available.

If you know when your puppy eats and drinks you will have a pretty good idea of when he needs to go outside. You will also be training his digestive system, which will help take some of the guesswork out of housetraining. 

Potty Scheduling

Remember preventive training. It’s always best to think ahead. Take your puppy outside when you think he might have to go potty, rather than wait too long and run the risk of an accident indoors.

The more times your puppy potties outdoors where you want him to, the less likely it will be for him to have an accident indoors. Keep your puppy in sight in the home so he doesn’t wander off and have an accident in the house. If an accident occurs just dispose of it and clean the area with an odor neutralizing cleaner. Never scold a puppy after an accident occurs. If you see your puppy going inside you can startle him with a loud clap and a “No” and take him outside to finish and then reward him. The clearer the picture to the puppy, the quicker he will catch on to what you want. Puppies really want to please you, and you can show them how to do it.

Always accompany your puppy outdoors. That way, you can take him to a pre-selected area in your yard to potty, doing away with the habit of smelling the whole yard to find the desired area. You will also be assured that your puppy has pottied before bringing him indoors; and you will have the opportunity to praise him and reward with a treat.

Potty Schedules for Puppies

Puppies need to go out frequently. At eight weeks old, a trip outside every two to three hours during the day is suggested. By four months that can be about every four to five hours. Most puppies can make it through the night by about four months of age. By nine months or so, most puppies can get by on three or four trips outside a day, though more are always appreciated.

Scheduling Exercise and Play

Exercise is important for all puppies. Many older puppies are either overweight or likely to become overweight due to overfeeding and/or lack of an exercise program. Lack of appropriate exercise may cause puppies to exhibit destructive chewing behavior because they become bored or are trying to burn off excess energy.

Taking your puppy for a daily walk can help socialize him, give you a chance to bond while doing something together, and is a great way for you to get some exercise, too. 

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