How to Train Your Dog to Pee in a Specific Area

Medium
1-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

When you first got him, your dog relieved himself all over your shiny, clean floors. Eventually, you managed to train him to start going for a pee outside in the yard. This was great to start with, but now summer is fast approaching and you’re trying to turn your yard into something special. That means growing plants, flowers, and grass that you don’t want trodden on and ruined by your heavy dog, or peed on, for that matter. So, you need to train him to pee in a specific area. 

You’ve already found the right spot that’s going to be all his. But the next hurdle is the training. Fortunately, this guide will give you several effective methods to choose from. Succeed with this training and you’ll be able to instruct him to pee in a location of your choice, hassle-free.

Defining Tasks

Most owners are surprised at how straightforward it is to train your dog to pee in a specific place. You’ll need to take steps to make the location as dog-friendly as possible. The more relaxed and comfortable he feels there, the more likely he’ll be to consistently use it. You’ll also need to use some delicious treats to motivate him to use that specific spot. You’ll need to establish a routine and be vigilant for the first few weeks, but it will all be worth it. 

If he’s a puppy, he should be a quick learner and you could see results in just a week. If he’s older and not quite the receptive student he once was, you may need up to six weeks. Succeed with this training and you’ll have a quick and easy spot you can take him to pee at each day. Saving you time spent in the cold and rain during winter months.

Getting Started

Before your work can begin you’ll need to gather a few things. Firstly, you’ll need to find a new location that will be his dedicated toilet. You’ll also need to stock up on treats or break his favorite food into small chunks.

The other main component is time. You need to be there to take him for a pee at the same times each day, at least for the first few weeks.

Apart from that, you’ll just need patience and an optimistic attitude, then you’re ready to get to work!

The Routine Method

Effective
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Step
1
Water bowl
It’s important he’s always got enough water in his bowl. This will get his body in a steady routine and then you’ll be able to predict when he needs to go out. If he’s dehydrated half the time, you’ll struggle to establish a consistent routine.
Step
2
Morning
Each morning, secure him to his leash and head for the new toilet spot. Be jolly and upbeat as you go, you want to make him feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re always at the spot when he needs to go, he’ll have no choice but to go there.
Step
3
Lunch time
When lunch time comes, take him back to the toilet again. After a few weeks, he may not need to go quite so often, but to start with you want to get him as used to the new toilet as possible. Again, remain upbeat and happy when you go.
Step
4
Evening
After dinner you can take him back to the spot again. He’ll probably also need to go for a poop at this point, so if you want him to poop elsewhere, you’ll need to take that into account. After a couple of weeks you can adjust the routine slightly to go at times that are more convenient for you. But make sure you at least go in the morning and evening.
Step
5
Reward
Whenever he does go for a pee in his new spot, make sure you give him a tasty treat. You can also give him some verbal praise and play with him. The happier he feels after, the more inclined he’ll be to go there again.
Recommend training method?

The Environment Method

Effective
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Step
1
Make it his own
Try and make sure the location you choose can be his as much as possible. If you’re using a yard, try and opt for a place that is slightly separated from the rest of the yard or in a corner. The more comfortable he feels there the quicker he’ll start using it.
Step
2
Privacy
When you take him there each day, make sure you give him as much privacy as possible. Don’t stare at him, turn around and look away. You probably don’t like it when people watch you go to the toilet and he likely feels the same!
Step
3
Yesterday’s pee
If you’re struggling to get him to go the first few days, try wiping some of yesterday’s pee on the new spot. If he can smell that he’s already been to the toilet there before he’ll be much more likely to go there again.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure you give him a reward each time he uses the new spot. The greater the reward the more likely he’ll be to use it again. You can use tasty food, or alternatively, you can spend a minute or so playing around with a toy.
Step
5
Never punish him
If he does go for a pee inside or somewhere else, make sure you don’t punish him. If you shout and scare him, he may start peeing out of fear, and then you’ll have an even bigger hurdle to overcome. Simply clean up the mess thoroughly and make sure you get him outside next time.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Cue Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Routine
Secure him to a leash and take him to the new spot several times a day, every day. If he’s always there when he needs to go then that’s half the battle won. If you don’t have time to take him yourself every day, have someone else help too.
Step
2
‘Toilet time’
When he starts peeing, give a ‘toilet time’ command. Give it in a clear and happy voice. You want him to think you’re playing a big game. If you do this every time it will eventually work as a trigger.
Step
3
Reward
Once he’s gone for his pee, give him a delicious treat. You can also shower him in praise and attention. The happier he feels, the quicker you’ll see results. He’ll also be more likely to respond to your command in the future.
Step
4
Early cue
After a few days of giving the command while he’s peeing, start giving the command before he needs to go. When you want to take him there, just give the command in the house and he’ll naturally jump up. Simply hearing that command will make his body feel like he needs to pee. Then after he’s gone for a pee, give him a treat again.
Step
5
Lose the treats
After a couple of weeks of consistent results you can start to cut out the treats. By this point it will now be a habit and he’ll no longer need the promise of food. You can sit back and relax, your work is done!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Doc
Cavapoo
5 Years
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Question
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Doc
Cavapoo
5 Years

Hello!
Just as you mentioned above, with the warmer months approaching we have decided to retrain our dog to use a specific spot in the yard as a toilet.

The yard is all concrete, so we made a litter box out of a large flat box and some gravel (and hopefully some astro turf if I can find a cheap offset!) and set it in a corner. It is big enough for her to circle and sniff.

We have started taking her to the box each time she needs to go to the loo. She was nervous of it at first but we gave her lots of treats and pets while she sits in it to make her more comfortable. She will now hop in to it but just sits and looks at us nervously without knowing what we want her to do.

How do we make it clear that we want her to pee in it? We have been preventing her from wandering off down the yard to pee any old place, directing her back to the box each time and using an established verbal cue. But as a result she just isn't going to the loo. She seems to have picked up that we don't want her to pee up the yard, but not that its ok to pee in the box. As a result she seems nervous and unsettled.

This has only been for about 4 days. Is it just a case of patient perseverance?
I don't want her to end up scared of going to the loo outside and revert to peeing indoors. But I don't want to prevent her from learning a new habit by still allowing her to pee where she wants.

She is a naturally submissive dog who is eager to please, which helps!

Any tips greatly appreciated

Many thanks!
Abi

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abigail, Where was pup going potty previously - on a pee pad inside, on grass on a walk, in other parts of your yard? Whatever the surface she is used to, try placing a similar surface on top of the gravel area. If pup is used to grass, check out www.freshpath.com or www.doggielawn.com or buy a single piece of sod if you can find that. Later, once pup is used to pottying on that spot, you can gradually decrease the size of the grass sod or pee pad to phase it out and go back to just the gravel - if the gravel is the end goal. Place that familiar surface in the potty area. If you haven't gotten a pee or poop out of her in that area yet, continue with your previous location for a few more days, but take pup there on a leash and tell pup to "Go Potty". After she goes potty, give a treat. After just a few days of doing that - just long enough to teach "Go Potty" and no longer, go back to using the new potty area, but when you take her there now, tell her to Go Potty and have the new grass (or pee pad or whatever is familiar) surface ready there for her. Walk her around slowly on a leash in and around the potty area so that the movement will help things get going, even though that will mean a lot of circling around and walking back and forth. Keep your attitude up beat and patient - pretend like this is no big deal - since she is probably afraid of peeing in the wrong spot and getting in trouble. Give several treats - one at a time when she does finally go potty there. If she doesn't go potty there and is at risk of having an accident inside, crate her between hourly potty trips until she goes so she will be most motivated to pee outside. You can also add a potty encouraging spray - spraying the new area with it right before you take her out to go potty - so that the scent encourages peeing there. If she seems particularly nervous about pottying in front of you for fear of getting in trouble, try using a 20 foot leash to take her out (non-retractable - no tension on the neck) or placing an exercise pen around the potty box, so that you can be further away from her while she is in the box, and pretend not to watch her - just be sneaky and ready to toss over lots of treats when she does go so that she makes the connection after a few times that you are pleased with her pottying there and she won't get in trouble. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lucy
Goberian
1 Month
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Question
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Lucy
Goberian
1 Month

She keeps on rin away from her pad

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
93 Dog owners recommended

Very cute! Lucy is very young still so keep encouraging her to use the pads and she'll get the idea eventually. There are great ideas here: https://wagwalking.com/training/use-a-pee-pad-2. Take a look and see if any of the Methods suit your training style (maybe the Crate and Pee Pads Method). I would buy a puppy training spray (from the pet supply store) and spray some on the pads. The odor encourages a dog to pee. After you have added the spray take Lucy to the area and state "go potty." Keep working on this. Lastly, you can try real grass pads which are a good idea as they are a help for when transitioning is desired to the outside. Look at the Exercise Pen Method and substitute the grass pad for the litter box: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy. Good luck!

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Question
Kramer
Husky mix
4 Years
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Question
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Kramer
Husky mix
4 Years

We have been trying to train our dog to go to the bathroom in one spot in the yard for about a week now doing something similar to the routine method above. However, he will go a full day without going to the bathroom. There was one night where we didnt give in and didnt let him go in the middle of the yard, and he had an accident the next day. Should I let him pee in the yard before bed if he goes all day without going to the bathroom, or should we wait out a few accidents in the house. He sure is being stubborn!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I never like to see a dog go hours without going to the bathroom due to the risk of a health condition like constipation or urinary tract infection. Good for you for following the methods and recognizing that it's just not clicking yet. While training Kramer to go in the one spot, keep walking around as opposed to just standing there - it may help to move things along. You can also make a fenced in area (such as an exercise pen) in the area where you want Kramer to pee, just in case it is a "privacy" issue, and yes, some dogs do have a privacy thing going on. Be ready to give a treat and lots of praise so that he associates his peeing with success and reward. Have you tried a potty encouraging spray? That is an option as well, that typically works well. Go outside and spray the encouraging spray (bought at the pet supply store) before taking Kramer out. This may do the trick. Good luck!

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Question
Troy
Carolina Dog
7 Months
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Question
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Troy
Carolina Dog
7 Months

My dog is peeing on my bed and my sisters bed every day it's a habit

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this is a tough habit. You will have to clean the entire bed with an enzymatic cleaner to completely remove the odor. Otherwise, Troy may keep repeating the behavior. Additionally, I would close off access to those two rooms until the habit is broken. How often do you take Troy for walks? He's an energetic breed that will need at minimum, an hour a day of walking and playing outdoor games like fetch. Keep him physically busy and he'll be too tired to get up to mischief. Take him out every 30 minutes for a pee break and tell him go potty each time. When he pees outside, praise him highly and give him a treat. Remember to keep the treats for outside to encourage him to pee there always. The Timing Method, described here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside works well - try it and be consistent. Close off access to the bedrooms until he is showing no signs of boredom or mischief. Good luck!

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Question
Tuna
Chiweenie
2 Years
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Question
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Tuna
Chiweenie
2 Years

He was pad trained in a certain spot in the bathroom but we recently remodeled and now he won't go in his new designated area

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Dogs can be really fickle sometimes, and they also don't transfer learned information into a new setting like we are able. So when changes occur, pet parents usually have to start fresh with training as if your dog is a puppy all over again. You will have to spend some time taking your dog to the new location (on leash if you have to) and give treats and lots of praise if he goes potty there. Don't leave him unsupervised until he gets this. If that means kenneling him, or putting him in a smaller space for a while, that is totally ok.

I would like to know when can I leave Tie off leash to go from the house (doors wide open) to the grassy garden where she pees very well

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