How to Potty Train a Deaf Dog: 8 Easy Steps to Toilet Train

how to potty train a deaf dog

Are you bringing a deaf puppy into your home? All puppies are exciting and while most of them should be house and potty trained before released to their new homes, not all of them will have mastered the act perfectly.

In fact, even puppies with all their senses can take months until they stop peeing indoors. It will be even more challenging to potty train a deaf dog as they cannot hear your commands.

As you can imagine, learning how to potty train a deaf dog can take a bit more time and certainly lot more patience. Here’s a brief overview, followed by step by step instructions.

How do you potty train a deaf dog? You can house and potty train a deaf dog by using hand signals and a leash. Some deaf dogs will also respond to their owner’s facial expressions. Rewarding your deaf dog for good toilet training is also essential in creating a working routine.

Below you can read each part of the deaf dog potty training process in detail.

Instructions on how to potty train a deaf dog

Here are some great tips to help you successfully potty train your deaf puppy or dog.

1. Don’t punish your dog

Rule number one is to never punish your deaf dog for having accidents in the house and getting their toilet training wrong. This will only lead to more confusion and bewilderment.

Your deaf dog will not understand why you’re punishing her and will simply continue weeing and pooping indoors.

How to house train a deaf dog
Don’t punish a deaf puppy when potty training goes wrong – it will make things worse. (Image via

2. Take your deaf puppy outside regularly

It’s your responsibility to take your puppy out every 20 to 30 minutes until she gets the message. An older deaf dog can be taken out every 45 minutes.

This could take a few weeks but eventually your deaf puppy will understand that going outside is a good time to perform her toilet habits.

3. Don’t leave your puppy outside alone

Now, taking your deaf puppy outside for potty training every 30 minutes doesn’t mean leaving her alone for another 30 minutes.

If you take her outside and leave her alone she’ll simply think this is the time to play, have a good sniff around, and do everything but wee or poop.

During your deaf dog’s potty training, you’ll need to supervise them at all times while they’re outside so they don’t get distracted from the task on hand.

4. Use a leash

While your deaf dog or puppy is undergoing potty training, use a leash. Take your puppy or dog outside and stand in one spot. Act as if you’re bored and ignore them. If your dog shows no desire to urinate, then bring them back into the house again.

Try again later and if she does wee this time, then praise her with lots of attention such as patting her, smiling, and even playing a game.

5. Use hand signals

Now, remember your dog is not going to hear voice commands such as “go potty”. So, you need to come up with visual signs that indicate to your deaf dog that it’s a good time to go to the toilet.

Deaf dogs are smart and learn very quickly. Come up with a hand signal they can associate with “go potty”. It won’t take long for your dog to associate this gesture with “this is a good time to go potty!”

Dog trainers recommend using the ASL Finger spelling for the letter “T” as a hand signal for toilet. Teach your dog to recognize this signal.

You could also point down to the ground straight after the showing your dog this signal. Use the thumbs up sign when they’ve completed their toilet.

6. Don’t give them free reign of the home

Until your deaf dog is fully potty trained, don’t let them have free reign of the house. This might be a good time to invest in a sturdy pet pen.

How do you potty train a deaf dog
Even at this age, the deaf puppy might still peep on bed so be patient with the toilet training.

Dog crates will also work especially if your dog is still a young puppy and will be sleeping a lot. Keep your dog inside the pen, taking her out every 30 minutes or so on the leash for toilet breaks.

6. Create a regular toilet routine day and night

While your deaf dog is being potty trained, create a routine. This helps your dog to get used to going to the toilet at certain times of the day and night. She’ll be less likely to mess indoors when she has a schedule she’s familiar with.

Make sure to take your deaf dog out late at night and in the early hours of the morning to prevent any accidents overnight.

Always take your dog out after their meal or if you notice them drinking a lot of water.

7. Watch out for the signs of needing to go to the toilet

Be alert to any signs your deaf dog needs to go to the toilet. These signs could include:

  • Whining
  • Scratching on the side of their pen or crate
  • Circling and restlessness
  • Pausing as if about to squat

As soon as you see your dog doing any of these things, put her on the leash and take her outside. If she does go to the toilet, then remember to praise her.

8. Reward your dog

When your deaf dog has performed her toilet outside, reward them. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Patting them or rubbing them on their head or back. A rump scratch goes down well too.
  • A dog is able to tell the difference between a happy face and an angry face so be aware of your facial expressions when praising your deaf dog.
  • Letting your dog off the leash to play in the yard for a few minutes.
  • Playing a game with your dog.
  • Giving her one of her favorite treats.

Deaf dogs respond well to positive reinforcement when the signs are clear and concise, visually. Potty training requires being consistent and praising your dog every time they do their potty outside – never punish a deaf dog, here’s why!

How to recognize the signs of a deaf dog

If you’re not sure why your dog or puppy is behaving badly and always messing in the house, look out for the following signs that she may be deaf:

  • Not responding to voice commands or when you whistle.
  • Startles easily.
  • Doesn’t wake up when there’s a noise or you talk to her
  • Excessive barking.
  • Sudden behavioral changes that could be interpreted as disobedience.
  • Ignores the ringing of the doorbell.
  • Withdraws from social interactions and becomes more passive.
  • Acts confused or overwhelmed.


Many deaf dogs end up in shelters because their owners are fed up with them messing in the house. This often happens because the owners were unaware their dog was deaf.

The signs of a deaf dog can be misleading and construed as disobedience. As a result, the deaf dog was never properly potty trained.

Just because your dog is deaf, it doesn’t mean you can’t potty train him or her. A dog who constantly wees or poops in the house becomes a problem. Not only is it unhygienic for the home environment but both you and your dog will become unhappy.

It’s your responsibility as a dog owner of a deaf dog to spend the time on training them to perform their toilet habits outside. Here are some hints giving you the heads up your dog or puppy is deaf and tips on how to successfully potty train them.

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Image in header licensed via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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