How Long Can a Shih Tzu Hold Their Bladder?

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Shih Tzus aren’t the easiest dogs to housebreak, so knowing how long can a Shih Tzu hold their bladder will help you figure out how often you should take them out when they are a puppy and when they grow up and are housebroken.

How Long Can a Shih Tzu Hold Their Bladder?

The length of time a Shih Tzu can go without peeing will depend on a couple of factors.

One, how old your dog is – a puppy or grown dog.

And two, if they have any medical conditions.

Shih Tzu Puppies and Their Bladders

It stands to reason that a Shih Tzu’s bladder is pretty small.

That’s especially true when they are a puppy.

When your Shih Tzu is very young, your puppy is going to go quite often.

For example, if you have a one-month-old Shih Tzu puppy, or younger, you can expect them to go once an hour.

Once they are two months old, you can extend that to once every two hours.

And then when they are three months old you can extend it again to once every three hours.

As they age, it is important to allow more time between potty breaks so their bowel and bladder muscles become stronger.

Having said that, as a young puppy, don’t expect them to hold their urine for more than one hour for each month of age.

If you do, that will simply lead to more accidents and no one wants that.

When my Shih Tzu, Truman was a puppy, I would even get up in the middle of the night and take him outside to go.

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That may not be possible for you, but if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and you have a Shih Tzu puppy, it makes sense for you to take them out.

Once they are an adult, you won’t have to do so.

Having a schedule that you stick to can make potty training easier and you will reduce the number of accidents in the house.

Crate training can also help. My Truman had crate training before he came home with me.

It certainly made things easier in the beginning.

As an older puppy (six months of age or older), you should give your Shih Tzu a bathroom break several times a day.

For example, you’ll want to take them out at the following times:

  • When you get up in the morning, the first thing
  • After they have eaten – eating can stimulate their bowls
  • Before you go to bed at night
  • When they wake up from a nap during the day
  • After a play session in the house

If there have been periods of time when you haven’t been able to take your puppy out for some reason, it is good to go ahead and make that a potty time as well.

There’s no need to wait.

And don’t forget, when you are housebreaking your puppy use lots of praise and positive reinforcement when they go outside.

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Adult Shih Tzus and Their Bladders

Once your Shih Tzu is an adult, they have much better bladder control and can go much longer without needing to take a potty break.

You can expect your adult Shih Tzu to go between 6 and 8 hours during the day without needing to go outside.

If you’re going to be gone all day be sure to take your dog out right before you leave and then plan to take them out as soon as you get home.

If possible, arrange for someone to come to your house during the middle of the day to take your Shih Tzu for a midday romp or at least to let them out to go the bathroom.

Or even consider doggie daycare.

If that’s not possible, then go ahead and get some puppy pads – they aren’t just for puppies.

I use the American Kennel Club Pet Training and Puppy Pads and buy the large size.

Just because your dog is small, your puppy pads shouldn’t be.

Put one down near the door you take your dog out to go.

This will give your Shih Tzu an approved area in case you get home later than normal or they can’t hold their bladder any longer.

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Senior Shih Tzus and Their Bladders

As your dog ages, it will start having health issues just like humans do.

One issue is diabetes. 

Even if you are controlling your Shih Tzu’s diabetes, they may still need to pee more often than before they had the disease.

My Shih Tzu, Sammy has diabetes.

She was super easy to potty train which isn’t typical for Shih Tzus, but once she started getting older and developed diabetes, she can no longer make it through the night without going.

For a while, I was getting up and taking her out.

Let me tell you, that was no fun.

I finally decided to try puppy pads and they worked great.

Now, if she needs to go during the middle of the night, she uses the pad.

If your Shih Tzu all of a sudden starts going potty in the house after they have been housebroken, you should visit your vet to make sure there is not an undiagnosed health issue.

You may also enjoy:

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost?

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To Sum it All Up:

As pet parents, we want the best for our Shih Tzus but sometimes it can be a little stressful trying to housebreak them. Knowing how long your Shih Tzu can go without needing to pee will help release some of the stress and make having this cute little bundle of joy in your home a pleasure.



 Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as a veterinarian or advice.

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