Teach Your Dog To Potty Outside, Not in The House

Accidents Are No Fun, Learn How To Potty Train Your Dog Right


From puppy age onwards, dogs display a natural tendency to select and repeatedly use particular locations for elimination. Essentially, all owners have to do is steer the development of this location to preference in the desired direction by doing whatever is necessary to ensure that the puppy relieves only at the desired place at the desired location for a few weeks.

Effective housebreaking involves arranging conditions so that the animal only eliminates outside in places acceptable to the owner. If this is achieved, the dogs preference for relieving at these sites, and its related tendency to inhibit elimination at others, develops without having to train the dog to do anything in the normal sense of the term.

The following rules should be applied with young dogs:

1) Scheduling

The dog should be taken outside to the place the owner wishes it to eliminate at times when it´s likely that it will soon need to relieve itself. These are:

  • Shortly after eating/drinking
  • As soon as the owner returns after being away from home for some time
  • Whenever the owner notices that the dog is engaging in pre-eliminating behaviors such as circling, sniffing, becoming restless etc.
  • After a certain period of time has passed since it last eliminated. This varies from dog to dog, and owners must therefore adjust their tactics to their dogs particular rhythm
  • Right before going to bed

2) Supervision

The dog should be closely supervised when the owner is home particularly when considerable time has passed since the last elimination or when the dog goes to the room or the corner where it has eliminated previously.

3) Punishment

Mild punishment like startling the dog with a hand clap or other loud noise is appropriate, but only if it´s actually caught in the act of eliminating or squatting. This will interrupt the elimination so that the dog can be taken immediately outside to eliminate at the desired place instead. Be aware that harsh punishment in this case will cause your dog to hide from you while eliminating and this is not the goal of housebreaking. If you discover that your dog has already eliminated anywhere in the house – there’s nothing you can or should do to the dog! DO NOT punish the dog if you don´t catch it in the act. The dog would not understand why it´s being punished for, even when you show it the spot.

4) Confinement

When left in the house alone, the dog should be kept under conditions, which it is likely to inhibit elimination until the owner returns. For example it can be confined in a room where it has never eliminated before, or use a baby gate to confine it to a small area (close to its bed or blanket). Areas preferred by puppies for elimination are always some ways away from their usual sleeping place. Dogs don´t like to soil their den.

5) Paper Training

When the owner is going to be gone for too long for the puppy to inhibit its elimination, newspapers can be laid down over the area where the dog is likely to relieve. This prevents the formation of other surface preferences (e.g. on the carpets) and the size and location of areas covered by newspapers can be easily manipulated later to help in the housebreaking process if a strong preference for eliminating on them does indeed develop.

6) Cleaning

In case of accident we recommend to clean the spot as soon as you discovered it, with “Natures miracle” which is found in most pet stores. DO NOT clean with a general cleaner products that contain Ammonia. Ammonia is also found in the urine and basically you are not really removing the scent away, but replacing it.

7) Eliminating

Eliminating in the right place – Praise quietly as the puppy goes on the desired place, and give food reward immediately after it eliminates. Praise and reward will really speed up the process of house training.

The Adult Dog

The same basic housebreaking techniques are used to house train adult dogs, which have never been well housebroken, or have lost their inhibition against eliminating inside for some reason. Depending on the specifics of the case one or more of the following methods may be also helpful:

  • Reward the dog for eliminating outside. As soon as it starts eliminating, quietly praise it, and may give food reward after it relieves.
  • Putting the dog on feeding and water schedule. For example, do not feed your dog late at night if it eliminates at 4 am (before you wake up).
  • When alone the dog can be kept close to its bed by keeping it on tie-down or confining it in a crate along with its bed.
  • The dog should be gradually accustomed to being in the crate by placing its bed and using food/toys as rewards. You should work on getting the dog used to the crate for the next several days, teach it to stay inside the crate with the door left open for increasingly longer periods of time. Then start closing the crate briefly and again start increasing the time the dog stays in the crate with closed door
  • If the dog is strongly accustomed to relieving at a particular time in the night, and there is no medical problem, you may try to “train” its intestinal system by first getting up for example at 12midnight to take the dog outside, and then over a period of two weeks, getting up progressively later at 1pm, 2pm, etc. etc. until the dog learns to hold it during the night

If you keep missing when your dog is eliminating in the house, you may keep the dog on short leash tied to your belt, when it is not confined so you can pay attention to the signs we mentioned above. Never give “the run of the house” to a puppy, or new adult dog without close supervision.
This will prevent the dog from hiding and eliminating somewhere in the house. If accidents occur it will be at only one location in the house. Once you see that the dog understands and keeps the place clean, start gradually to give more freedom.

When do you consult a dog behaviorist?


This is a behavior problem almost exclusively involving male dogs. If your dog keeps urinating inside the house, never really empty itself, but leaves few drops on specific places in the house (leg of the table, chair etc.) some different approach should be taken on individual basis.

Submissive urination

Submissive urination is a behavior related to a social status/ranking. It is seen mostly with puppies and younger dogs. It occurs when the dog feels confronted by someone that it perceives to be socially dominant or threatening. Submissive urination may also occur when the dog is over excited. NEVER use punishment to correct this problem In both situations you should consult with a dog behaviorist for correcting the problem on an individual basis.