Are Border Collies Easy to Potty Train? Tips and Tricks

Border Collies are a popular breed of dog known for their intelligence, athleticism, and trainability. But are Border Collies easy to potty train?

When it comes to potty training, many potential owners wonder if Border Collies are easy to train in this area.

It’s a rather delicate area after all…

The good news is that Border Collies can be successfully potty trained with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Just like all puppies, Border Collies require time and effort to learn where and when to go potty.

It’s important to establish a routine and stick to it, taking your puppy outside frequently and rewarding them for going in the appropriate spot.

While some puppies may catch on quickly, others may take several months to become fully potty trained, so be patient!

Understanding Border Collie’s Intelligence

Border Collies are known for their intelligence and are considered one of the smartest dog breeds on the planet. They’re also ranked 31rst on most popular breeds.

However, their high intelligence can also make them challenging to train, especially when it comes to potty training.

Border Collies are quick learners and can pick up new things easily, this stems from the fact that they have a strong desire to please their owners, and have been used in the past for specific jobs like sheep herding.

They are also very observant and can quickly learn by watching and imitating their owners too.

Due to their intelligence, Border Collies can become easily bored if not given enough mental stimulation, so it’s essential to keep them engaged in activities that challenge their minds to prevent destructive behavior.

When it comes to potty training, it’s crucial to establish a routine and designate a specific spot for them to go potty. Positive reinforcement is also essential and praise, patience and consistency are key.

Potty Training Basics

Potty training a Border Collie is an essential part of their early development. Here are some basic tips to help you potty train your Border Collie successfully:

Set a Schedule

Establish a regular schedule for taking your Border Collie outside to go potty.

Take them out first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime.

Also, take them out regularly throughout the day, especially when they are playing or active.

This helps them learn to go potty with going outside through association. Very powerful technique.

Praise Your Dog

When your Border Collie goes potty outside, praise them enthusiastically. Use a happy tone of voice and give them a treat or a toy as a reward.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to potty train your Border Collie.

So reward them for going potty outside and ignore accidents inside.

This helps them learn that good behavior is rewarded, and bad behavior is ignored. Going potty outside is a good thing.

Accidents Happen

Be prepared for accidents to happen, especially during the early stages of potty training.

Never scold or punish your Border Collie for accidents.

Instead, clean up the mess thoroughly and continue with the training.

Remember that consistency and positive reinforcement are key to success.

Watch for Signs

Learn to recognize the signs that your Border Collie needs to go potty.

These may include sniffing around, circling, or whining.

When you see these signs, take your dog outside immediately. Use one of the recommended leashes or harnesses if necessary to keep them focused on the task at hand.

Be Patient

Potty training takes time and patience. Don’t expect your Border Collie to be fully trained overnight.

That just won’t happen…

Instead, be at peace that it can take several weeks or even months for them to learn to go potty outside consistently.

Stay consistent with the training and be patient with your dog, and by following these basic tips, you can potty train your Border Collie successfully.

With time and effort, your Border Collie will learn to go potty outside like a pro.

The Role of Routine in Training

When it comes to training a Border Collie in general, routine plays a crucial role in the process.

A consistent routine helps your puppy learn when and where they should eliminate, making it easier for them to understand what is expected of them.

To establish a routine, you need to set a schedule for taking your puppy out for potty breaks.

Puppies usually need to go outside after they eat, drink, play, or wake up from a nap.

Therefore, it’s essential to take them outside at regular intervals throughout the day.

One strategy you can use, is to use the same words and phrases when you take your puppy outside, so they learn to associate those words with going potty.

For example, you can say “Let’s go potty” or “Do your business” every time you take your puppy outside.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that it’s crucial to control your puppy’s access to food and water.

By controlling when your puppy eats and drinks, you can predict when they will need to go outside.

In summary, establishing a routine, maintaining consistency, setting a schedule, and controlling your puppy’s access to food and water are crucial elements in potty training a Border Collie.

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Dealing with Accidents

Even the most well-trained Border Collie may have accidents indoors during the potty training process, so It’s important to remain patient and consistent throughout this process.

Some of the best tips on how to deal with accidents are:

  • Clean up accidents immediately using an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any odors that may attract your Border Collie to the same spot again.
  • Avoid punishing your Border Collie for accidents as this may cause confusion and anxiety, making the potty training process more difficult.
  • Supervise your Border Collie closely, especially during the early stages of potty training, to prevent accidents from happening.
  • Establish a routine and take your Border Collie out frequently, especially after meals, naps, and playtime, to reduce the likelihood of accidents as we mentioned before.
  • Use positive reinforcement to encourage your Border Collie to go potty outside, such as treats or praise. This is the most effective way to create the behaviors you want.

Remember, accidents are a normal part of the potty training process, and it may take several weeks or even months for your Border Collie to be fully housebroken. 

Training Older Border Collies

Potty training an older Border Collie can be a bit more challenging than training a puppy, but it’s definitely doable.

Here are some tips to help you with the process:

Consistency is Key

Consistency is essential when it comes to potty training any dog, but especially an older one.

You need to establish a routine and stick to it. This might be a bit harder when the dog is older, but it’s worth it.

Take your Border Collie outside at the same times every day, and make sure to praise them when they go potty outside.

Use the same command every time, such as “go potty” or “do your business,” so that your dog knows what you expect from them, similar to what you would do if your dog was a puppy.

Manage Your Dog’s Diet

Managing your dog’s diet is crucial when it comes to potty training.

Older dogs may have more difficulty holding their bladder, so it’s essential to feed them a diet that is easy to digest.

Avoid feeding your Border Collie any table scraps or foods that are high in fat.

Also, sticking to a consistent feeding schedule will give you some predictability, since if you have a consistent schedule and routine, these events become easier to predict.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when it comes to potty training any dog.

When your Border Collie goes potty outside, make sure to praise them and give them a treat.

This positive reinforcement will help your dog associate going potty outside with good things and will make everything go smoothly from thereon out.

Be Patient

Training an older dog takes time and patience, just like it would with any other dog or puppy.

You may experience setbacks, but it’s essential to remain patient and consistent.

Don’t get frustrated if your Border Collie has an accident inside – just clean it up and move on.

Eventually, your dog will learn what is expected of them.

Consider Crate Training

Crate training can be a useful tool when it comes to potty training an older dog.

Dogs naturally avoid going potty in their sleeping area, so a high quality crate for Border Collies can help your dog learn to hold their bladder and can help with your overall strategy.

Make sure to introduce the crate slowly and make it a positive experience for your dog.

In conclusion, potty training an older Border Collie may take a bit more time and effort, but it’s definitely possible.

Consistency, diet management, positive reinforcement, patience, and crate training can all be helpful tools in the process.

With time and patience, your Border Collie will learn what is expected of them and become a well-trained, housebroken dog.

Alternative Potty Training Techniques

While traditional potty training techniques work well for most Border Collies, some may require alternative methods.

Here are a few options to consider:

Toilet Training

If you live with your Border Collie in an apartment or don’t have access to a yard, toilet training may be a viable option.

You can purchase a toilet seat adapter or a special dog toilet and train your Border Collie to use it.

This method obviously requires some patience and consistency, but it’s an great solution for some owners.

Litter Box Training

Litter box training is another option for those who live in apartments or have limited outdoor space.

This method is similar to training a cat to use a litter box.

A bit unorthodox, for sure, but it does do the trick. 

You can purchase a litter box designed for dogs or use a regular cat litter box, but be sure to use a non-toxic, unscented litter that won’t harm your dog.

Pee Pads

Pee pads are a great and useful tool for potty training, especially for puppies.

They’re cheap, effective, absorbent and can be placed in a designated area for your Border Collie to use.

The idea with these, is that your dog will eventually get used to going potty in the designated area, as long as you train it correctly.

The only possible downside is that some dogs may become reliant on pee pads and have difficulty transitioning to outdoor potty training, but it’s pretty rare for this to happen.

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Combination Training

Combination training involves using a combination of traditional potty training methods and alternative techniques.

For example, you can use pee pads or a litter box for indoor training and gradually transition your Border Collie to outdoor potty training.

This method can be effective for dogs who are slow to learn or have difficulty with traditional training methods.

Remember that every Border Collie is different, and what works for one may not work for another. 

Comparing with A Few Other Breeds

When it comes to potty training, not all dog breeds are created equal. While some breeds may be notoriously difficult to train, others are known for being relatively easy to train.

Here, we will compare Border Collies to a few other popular dog breeds to see how they stack up in terms of potty training.

Bichon Frise and Maltese

Bichon Frises and Malteses are both small dog breeds that are known for being quite difficult to potty train.

These breeds can be stubborn and independent, which can make them resistant to training.

Additionally, their small size means that they have smaller bladders, which means they need to go outside more frequently than larger breeds.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are a popular breed that are known for being highly intelligent and trainable.

When it comes to potty training, German Shepherds are generally considered to be easier to train than some other breeds. 

Border Collies

Border Collies are widely considered to be one of the easiest dog breeds to potty train.

They are highly intelligent and trainable, which makes them quick learners.

Additionally, they have natural herding instincts, which means they are often eager to please their owners and follow commands.

With consistent training and positive reinforcement, most Border Collies will be fully potty trained in just a few weeks.

In summary, most dogs can be successfully potty trained and as you can see, Border Collies in particular are generally considered to be one of the easiest breeds to train.

With all this said, every dog is unique and may require a slightly different approach to training, so keep that in mind.


Potty training a Border Collie requires time, effort, patience and a positive attitude from the owner.

However, with consistent training and by establishing a routine success is achievable, no matter how hard it may appear for both puppies and even older dogs.

Additionally, implementing a consistent timing system and praising and rewarding successful potty breaks can help speed up the process.

It’s important to note that every dog is different and may require different methods or timelines for potty training.

Creating a suitable home environment for your pup can also aid in potty training and providing ample opportunities for outdoor breaks and minimizing indoor accidents can help reinforce good habits.

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