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 Verbal Cue Method

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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?

The Routine Method

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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

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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Mochi
Mixed breed
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mochi
Mixed breed
2 Years

She has been trained to use a potty area with artificial turf and is typically very reliable until it rains or the area is rinsed. It seems not to matter if it is rinsed with water or the agents designed for this - she flat out refuses and holds for extended times.
Keeping her on leash in area, walking her around off leash in area, closing her in area all result in stubborn stares. Any hep would be appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
983 Dog owners recommended

Hello Julie, I would purchase a potty encouraged spray, like "Go Here", "Hurry!" and after rinsing the area of her scent, spray that spray that's designed to encourage pottying. If pup is still holding out, I would crate pup after she refuses to go, taking her back to the spot to go potty in an hour, and repeating that every hour. When you take her there, I would tell her to "Go Potty" and reward her with 5 small pieces of kibble or treats and praise when she does finally go potty there, and with freedom out of the crate until it's needed in the future for finally going potty. Don't use the crate as a punishment for when you catch her having an accident, use the crate when her bladder is full and she refuses to go potty, as a way to prevent an accident, so she will finally go in the correct location instead of having the option of pottying in your home instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
COCO
Coker Spenial
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
COCO
Coker Spenial
1 Year

Facing difficulty in Potty Training previously he is used to go outside but now I want him to pee on a dedicated place in a house made for him only

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
983 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shishir, I recommend using disposable real grass pads in the indoor spot you have set up, since pup is already used to going potty outside and because grass pads are less likely to be confused with other surfaces in your home that are made out of fabric, than pee pads are. www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Amazon.com Check out the article I have linked below. I recommend following the Exercise Pen or Crate Training method from this article to teach pup. Each method should have detailed steps to train pup. Since pup is older, if you use the Crate Training method, you can add 1-2 hours to each of the times listen in that method, like taking pup potty every 3 hours to the pad, taking pup back to the pad every hour after that if pup doesn't go potty then, and giving pup up to 2 hours of freedom out of the crate before crating then taking potty again. At this age pup should be able to hold it in the crate for 6-8 hours when you are not home during the day. The article mentions using a doggie litter box, which you could also try since that's not made out of fabric, but it can also be used with grass pads, which pup will transition to the most easily probably. Exercise Pen method or Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Toby
Labrador Retriever
21 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Toby
Labrador Retriever
21 Months

Hi until recently Toby was able to go to the bathroom all over the yard. This of course results in dead grass. We recently landscaped and I’m trying to get him to go in one spot . I take him on a leash and he just cries. He did go pee once and praised him gave treats. He has not pooped there. He did on our walk and I put the poop in the spot thinking he could smell it.
He was really good at letting us know when he needed out . No accidents since a puppy. Now he just had a accident in the house. Is he just so confused by the change? What can I do to help him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
983 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lisa, Many dogs need movement to stimulate the need to go. He may also associate going potty with a specific surface like grass, and if the new spot is on something like pine straw that could be the issue for pup. I would pick an area to take pup but be sure it's big enough you can walk pup back and forth or in a wide circle to help pup feel the urge to go. You can also spray a potty encouraging spray on the area right before taking pup, similar to putting pup's poop there but not dependent or pup pooping recently, and sometimes works better than a poop there. If the area isn't the same surface pup is used to, like pine straw instead of grass, I would do something like put a piece of sod or a couple of disposable real grass pads on top of the pine straw for pup to go on. Once pup is used to going in the area and is being regularly rewarded for it, you can slowly cut away at the grass over the course of a month, until pup is going on the straw just as well and only straw is left in the area. If accidents continue, I would temporarily use a crate or tether pup to yourself when pup hasn't gone potty outside yet to prevent accidents and going backwards with indoor potty training while making this adjustment while outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Hero
Siberian Husky
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hero
Siberian Husky
6 Years

I’ve just moved into an apartment with my dog and he doesn’t want to pee in his box which is seen in the photo, how do I get him to see that as his pee spot?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
983 Dog owners recommended

Hello Phoebe, Is using an indoor potty new to pup? If it's completely new, I recommend following the Exercise Pen method or crate Training method from the article I have linked below, placing an exercise pen just around the existing grass area you have created, then rewarding and letting pup out each time they finally go potty there, so they learn that going potty there gets them a treat and more freedom in the home. Expect pup to hold it for a while the first few days until they understand the concept. Both methods a can be used with your grass instead of a the doggie litter box mentioned in the article. Exercise Pen method or Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Poppy
miniature dachshund
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Poppy
miniature dachshund
5 Years

We have fenced off an area of the back garden for Poppy to use as a toilet but she refuses to go there. She is proving to be remarkably resilient and has been holding her wee in for many hours waiting instead till she goes for her walk.

I worry about her holding it in for that long and I usually break and take her out to a local tree at the bottom of the street figuring that at least she isn't going on our grass.

I don't reward her though for that, and only reward her when she goes in the spot I want her to.

Shall I persevere and wait until she is absolutely ready to go where I want her to? No matter for how many hours she holds it in? Shall I avoid taking her outside for a walk for fear of giving her mixed messages? Some guidance would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Mike

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
983 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michael, I would wait it out as long as its not been more than 12 hours. When you take her to the garden, walk her around slowly on leash - she may need to movement to feel the urge to go. Tell her to Go Potty and give the treat if she goes - this helps teach that Go Potty cue to signal her to go faster in the future once it's learned. You can also add a potty encouraging spray if needed. Spray the spray on the garden spot where you want her to go right before you take her outside. The scent can encourage her to go. After she goes potty in the yard THEN take her for a walk, so that a walk becomes a reward for going instead of something she holds out for in order to get, the walk can then become the thing that helps motivate her to go. If the area isn't big enough to walk her around a little bit in, then you may need to make it bigger also. If it's a really small area she naturally won't want to soil such a small area possibly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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