How to Train Your Dog to Not Pee in the House

Medium
1-6 Months
General

Introduction

Bringing home a new dog is tons of fun! But those first few weeks can be quite the hassle. Both you and your pup have to get used to life with each other. For most puppies, this means learning where they should – and should – not pee!

You'll lose the rose-colored glasses of puppyhood fast if your house starts to smell like a kennel. Some dogs just don't know where they are supposed “go.” Others are trying to claim various possessions by sprinkling them with their signature scent. Either way, you're probably going to want your pooch to not pee in your house.

Defining Tasks

Teaching canines to only pee outside is called “housebreaking.” It's pretty standard for puppies to learn this hygienic habit, but sometimes an older dog will have to learn it too. This is often the case of rescue dogs, or dogs who have lived their entire life outdoors.

The goal is to help your four-legged friend understand that peeing should only happen when the dog is out of the house. Eventually, you can even train your dog to pee on command! But you've got to crawl before you run. Most pups will need to start at the very beginning of housebreaking. And the whole process may take several months to perfect!

Getting Started

To help you on your puppy-potty-training journey, you're going to need a few things. Below are a few essentials to help get the job done.

  • Treats: Every time your dog piddles in the right spot, you'll want to give her lots of treats, so stock up!
  • Cleaning Supplies: News flash – your dog is going to make some messes. It may seem like every time you come home there is a puddle waiting for you. But the right cleaning supplies can help with the problem. Get something that is enzyme based so that no scent remains.
  • Patience: It's easy to get frustrated when you feel like there isn't any progress. But getting angry will only confuse your pupper. Keep a cool head and only scold your dog if you catch her in the act.

It's important to mention that in rare cases, your pooch might be peeing inside because of a health problem. Take the dog in for a check-up to be sure all is well.

Following are some of the best tried and true ways to teach your dog to keep the urine on the grass and off of the carpets. No matter which one you choose, remember that consistency is key!

The Scheduled Appointments Method

ribbon-method-1
Most Recommended
29 Votes
Scheduled Appointments method for Not Pee in the House
Step
1
Rise and shine
Each and every day, as soon as your pup wakes up, take him out (even if there's still sleep in your eyes)!
Step
2
Establish routine
Feed him breakfast at the same time each morning. Also provide a bowl of water. Bring him back outside between 5 and 30 minutes after breakfast.
Step
3
Watch and walk
Watch throughout the day for when your pooch grabs a drink. Make sure to head right back out there 5–30 minutes after water intake.
Step
4
Evening drill
Serve dinner at the same time each night. Let the dog out once again shortly after dinner. Do not put out bowls of water after dinner time to lower the chance of a bed time accident.
Recommend training method?

The Scent-Free Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
12 Votes
Scent-Free method for Not Pee in the House
Step
1
Prepare
Go out and buy a cleaner made especially for dog urine. Regular cleaner just won't get the smells out. Even if you can't tell there was pee on the floor, your dog's amazing nose can still probably pick it up.
Step
2
Clean promptly
If at all possible, do not let messes sit! They will soak deeper into your floor the longer they are left, becoming harder and harder to clean.
Step
3
Indicate a good spot
If using a cloth towel to clean up, place the soiled one outside where you'd like your fur buddy to go instead.
Step
4
Neutralize
Spray the site of the accident with the cleaner. Be generous, you don't want your dog getting confused by the smell of his own golden fluids and deciding that your living room is his toilet. Read the instructions! Some cleaners require you to let them sit for a while before you sop them up. Whatever the directions are, follow them all, or you might as well not bother.
Recommend training method?

The Positive Tinkling Method

ribbon-method-3
Least Recommended
10 Votes
Positive Tinkling method for Not Pee in the House
Step
1
Be vigilant
From the moment your pooch wakes up until they rest their eyes at night, watch them! If this means taking off a few days of work, try to arrange it if at all possible.
Step
2
Run!
Every time the pup starts to sniff around or circle, head on out – and fast!
Step
3
Celebrate!
If you guys make it out in time and your fur-baby succeeds, praise him like crazy! Even dish out a few treats so the dog associates outside peeing with a good time.
Step
4
Be understanding
Don't get mad if you find a smelly yellow puddle on your floor. If the dog has already peed, it's too late to correct him.
Step
5
Introduce a command
When your dog starts to “go” outside more consistently, start to give a command like “do your business” or “potty time” each time the dog exits. This way the pooch will be able to eliminate on command, which is super awesome for walks and road trips!
Recommend training method?
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Written by Abby Clark

Published: 09/20/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Macy
German shepherd mix
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Macy
German shepherd mix
3 Years

H was abused by older dogs when she was a pup answer the bad human factor did not help any she's a skittish she's scared of noises anxious I took around after her human Mama passed away I've heard her about a year she goes outside but she has an accident and she tells me that she has access but and it's in the bathroom she'll go in the bathroom she won't do anywhere else it's a good girl I wouldn't change nothing with you but there's so much I need to have done with her for herself I live in downtown Seattle it's hard for me to get her out and run I'm disabled someone and there's so much to the story

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1099 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eugene, Check out the article and video series I have linked below: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AElTVoIPlOw If taking pup potty outside frequently enough is an issue for you, you may want to look into using disposable real grass pads in a walk in shower to teach pup to go potty in there so if can be bagged and rinsed as needed, if you have a second shower in your home that could be used for that purpose. https://porchpotty.com/ www.freshpatch.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gucci
Maltese
9 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gucci
Maltese
9 Years

My Maltese was never trained to go outside. Is there anyway to housebreak a 9 yr old dog from lifting his leg on everything in the house?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1099 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dixie, Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently than the method suggests. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home unless pup has incontinence, in which case the puppy times will apply more. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip - at which time you will take him outside to go potty again. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-6 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. You want him to get into the habit of holding his bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever he feels the urge, and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Because pup is marking, the crate will only be half the battle. During the 1.5 hours he is out of the crate between potty trips he will probably still try to pee to mark his scent - since the issue isn't needing to pee but wanting to "claim" things by peeing on them. To deal with that behavior, use the crate training method, but also keep him tethered to you while he is out of the crate between potty trips using a 6 or 8 foot leash. Have him wear a belly band - which is a sling/diaper for male dogs that catches urine, and when he tries to lift his leg to mark, clap your hands loudly three times. Use a cleaner than contains enzymes to remove the smell from any new or previous accidents - since lingering scent will only encourage more marking and only enzymes fully remove the smell. Look on the bottle for the word enzyme or enzymatic. Many (but not all) pet cleaners contain enzymes. The belly band will keep marking from being fun and successful for him and stop the spreading of the smell - which encourages more marking (and keep your things clean). Attaching him to yourself with the leash will keep him from sneaking off to pee uninterrupted, and clapping will make peeing unpleasant for him without it being too harsh. Reward him with treats when he potties outside so he understands that pottying outside in front of you is good, it's only inside where he shouldn't do it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Osito
Yorkshire Terrier
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Osito
Yorkshire Terrier
8 Months

He distracted easy and not follow instructions.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1099 Dog owners recommended

Hello, As you teach new things, generally a dog's ability to learn and attention span also increase gradually. I would start with 10 minute training sessions more frequently. I would choose calm locations to start the initial training in and work up to distractions intentionally as pup improves. I would reward pup for small successes and baby steps in the right direction to help pup not get discouraged and stay engaged as pup moves toward doing the entire behavior or command, and keep you attitude fun and happy so pup isn't shutting down or avoiding you due to picking up on your frustration or impatience, or getting bored because your not engaging. Often, the best trainers are a combination of calm and consistent and fun and silly, depending on what's being worked on - puppy trainers often look like clowns with puppies because they know that the high energy and silliness keep puppy's attention best at first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
German Shepherd
7 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Max
German Shepherd
7 Weeks

I want him to show me he wants to go potty or pee outside. And when he is done and the door is open he should learn how to close it

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1099 Dog owners recommended

Hello Saira, This will be a multi-step training process over several months for what you wish to teach. The first step is to get pup to the point where they are motivated to hold their bladder between scheduled potty trips - for this, don't expect alerting yet, you be the one to maintain the schedule, or else potty training will likely regress. Check out the Crate Training method or a combination of the Crate Training method and Tethering method from the article I have linked below to accomplish this: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Once pup has been accident free due to your strict potty schedule and confining or tethering pup when their bladder isn't emp ty, for at least three months, then I would begin to train pup to ring a bell to be let outside. Many dogs about six months into potty training, once they have been accident free long enough to develop a long-term habit of keeping the home clean and wanting to maintain that themselves too, will also find their own way to alert you if you don't want to train a bell - such as barking, nudging, or running to the door. This is a product of preventing accidents for several months so pup associates your home with cleanliness - expect alerting too soon, pup will have accidents and this will take even longer though, so stick with the potty schedule. Bell alerting - such as peanut butter method (also works with soft cheese): https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out Once pup is potty trained and alerting to go outside, then check out this article I have linked, and trick #5 Close the Door. When pup knows that trick, then every time pup goes through that door, instruct pup to close it and reward when pup does. This will take a while for pup to habitually close it on their own after being told for a few months to do it on cue. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/what-tricks-can-i-train-my-dog/ Overall, expect pup to get to the point you want close to 9-12 months. It doesn't necessarily take a lot of work all at once but it will take a lot of small repetitions over months for habits to form for these particular skills, but once learned pup should be able to do those things for the rest of their life. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tessa
French Bulldog
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Tessa
French Bulldog
1 Year

So we have two dogs Tessa and Bruno there siblings we have a very hard time keeping them out of the cage together because they just fight with eachother pee all over the place we switch in and off throughout the day and they still manage to pee where ever in the house I need help trying to stop them from peeing all over the place.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1099 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexis, Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. I mention this method specifically because it utilizes the crate to ensure pups are only free while bladders are empty so you know when to crate and when to give freedom with more potty training success. I would also check out the Tethering method found in the same article I linked. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dogs are older you can adjust the times and take them potty less frequently than the method suggests. I suggest taking them potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5-2 hours (or less if either tends to have an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return them to the crate while their bladders are filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since their last potty trip - at which time you will take them outside to go potty again. You can take each one at a time until the fighting improves. When you have to go off they should be able to hold their bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours. Only have them wait that long when you are not home though, take them out about every 3 hours while home. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside I suspect there could also be some competing to scent mark too. Especially since they are fighting. If either is marking, the crate will only be half the battle. If that's the case, during the 1.5/2 hours they are out of the crate between potty trips they will probably still try to pee to mark their scent - since the issue wouldn't just be needing to pee but wanting to "claim" things by peeing on them. To deal with that behavior, use the crate training method, but also keep that dog tethered to you while they are out of the crate between potty trips using a 6 or 8 foot leash. Have them wear a belly band (male) or doggie diaper (female) - which is a sling/diaper for male dogs that catches urine or a front coverage one for females, and when they try to lift their leg to mark or squat, clap your hands loudly three times to interrupt but keep your voice calm. Reward with treats when pup goes potty outside. Be sure to take off the diaper/belly band when you take pup potty outside. Use a cleaner than contains enzymes to remove the smell from any new or previous accidents - since lingering scent will only encourage more marking and only enzymes fully remove the smell. Look on the bottle for the word enzyme or enzymatic. Many (but not all) pet cleaners contain enzymes. The belly band/diaper should keep marking from being fun and successful for them and stop the spreading of the smell - smell which encourages more marking (and keep your things clean). Attaching pup (one dog at a time while the other is crated) to yourself with the leash should keep them from sneaking off to pee uninterrupted, and clapping will make peeing unpleasant for them without it being too harsh (while rewarding outside peeing help pup to understand that the clapping was for peeing inside and not for peeing in front of you in general). As far as the fight, probably both need respect and trust for you build through teaching structured obedience and giving a lot of boundaries, like Heel, 1-2 hour Place, Down, Leave It, Quiet, Out, and simply regularly practicing commands in general, setting aside some consistent training time every day you can - even 15-20 per dog once a day, then have pups obey commands before you give them things they want throughout the day too - like Sit before opening the door for a walk, Wait before feeding, Down before tossing a toy, ect... Additionally, pups probably need to be counter conditioned to each other's presence, rewarding tolerance and the other dog walking into the room, without letting the second dog see the treat being given, to avoid starting a food fight too. I would feed both pups meals separately in their own closed crates too. An interrupter like a low level remote training collar might be needed if there is any intimidating/bullying subtly going on, resource guarding certain areas/people/or things, ect...For all of this, I highly recommend working in person with a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, who will come to your home to evaluate what's going on and see pups' body language, tailor a training approach to what's needed in your situation, and who comes highly recommended by those they have worked for in this area of training. Not all trainers have a lot of aggression experience, so be sure to ask questions to find a good fit. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Success
CinnaBear
Pomeranian
Three Years

I have tried to tell him and teach him but he is older now and I was not paying attention to what he was doing in the house so what do I do now that he is older? He pees everywhere even if I'm looking. But he does know that he's not allowed to do it because right after he looks at me as if he just robbed a bank so I'm not sure if he knows and just keeps doing it because I tell him no but he goes outside to and I'm not always out there to watch him completely all the time because work... anyway he won't stop and I don't know what to do. My other dog is potty trained but not by us. also he won't leave her alone and will play bite her which is leaving sores and I bought a cream which will help her but he still won't stop.

2 years, 5 months ago
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