How to Train Your Dog to Pee in the Bathtub

How to Train Your Dog to Pee in the Bathtub
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon1-3 Months
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Are you still getting up in the middle of the night to take your pup outside to pee? Isn't this getting a little old? What about when you have to be at work all day long, is your pup peeing on the floor and leaving you a big wet mess to clean up? What if you could train your dog to pee in the bathtub when there is no one around to take him outside.

Okay, I can already hear you saying "Eww that's gross!" But then again, how gross is it having to clean up the mess on your floor every time he pees on it? While most dogs are taught to go to the bathroom outside, which can be a hard habit to break, you can teach them to pee in the tub. It won't be easy, but in time your pup will be happy to have a place to pee inside where he won't get in trouble for doing so. 

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Defining Tasks

This command goes completely against your dog's training to pee outside. After all, haven't you already spent countless hours teaching him that the only place he is supposed to pee, or for that matter poop, is outside? Of course, you could always use a crate to prevent your pup peeing on the floor, but your dog doesn't deserve to spend hour upon hour locked up.

There is no real command here, it is in all reality more about teaching your pup a new behavior. One that will keep him out of trouble and allow him to relieve himself when needed, rather than trying to hold it in for longer than he should be doing. Take your time and be patient, it will happen. 

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Getting Started

When it comes to training your pup to pee in the bathtub, or for that matter a shower stall, the biggest thing you will need is plenty of patience and time in order to make this training stick. You will need a few supplies to get things off to a good start. Which ones you need will depend on the method of training you decide to use. Among these are:

  • Treats: As rewards for peeing where you tell him to.
  • Bathtub or shower: A place for your pup to go to the bathroom indoors when he needs to.
  • A section of fake grass: One training method uses this as a way to train your pup.
  • Time: Training your pup to pee in the tub is going to take time.
  • Patience: As always, you need plenty of patience during any type of training. 

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The Truly Patient Method

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1

Clean the tub

Start by cleaning out the tub and rinsing it out thoroughly to remove all traces of chemicals. Your pup will not like the smell of cleaning chemicals, which can make training him that much harder.

2

Introduce your pup to the tub

Getting your pup used to being around the tub and in it is a vital step in the training process. Spend plenty of time letting him get used to the tub, climbing in and out of it, being in it, and so forth. Be sure you have some kind of non-slip mat or surface in the bottom of the tub so he doesn't slip and fall.

3

Keep the training sessions short

The most important part of this training is to keep all training sessions short; aim for 10-minute sessions to keep him interested in what is going on. Do this twice a day and keep him where you can see him the rest of the time.

4

Try the tub

The next time your pup lets you know he needs to pee, take him to the tub, have him hop in and let him stand there until he pees. You must be patient, but if after ten minutes he still hasn't peed, go ahead and take him outside. If he does pee, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.

5

Keep working with him

Keep doing this every time he indicates the need to go outside, never scold him if he can't go. But be sure to reward him generously when he does. Dig in and be prepared to keep training him for a few weeks. In time, he will take care of business in the tub at night or when no one is home.

The Artificial Turf Method

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1

Cut a chunk of fake grass

Start out by cutting a strip of fake green grass that is the length and width of the bottom of your bathtub or shower stall. Leave enough room for the tub drain to be exposed.

2

Begin introductions

Lay the fake grass on the floor where your pup can get used to it. He might start out by sniffing it, laying on it, and playing with it. This is okay, be sure to give your pup treats each time he goes near the turf on purpose.

3

Take the turf outside

Each time you take your dog outside to go to the bathroom, take the turf out with him and place it on the ground. This will help your pup to associate the fake grass with going to the bathroom.

4

Let him pee on the turf

Now it's time to start teaching your pup to start peeing on the fake grass. Each time he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat or two. Repeat this until he looks for the turf to pee on.

5

Moving inside

Wash the turf and let him pee on it once, then put it in the tub (yes this is a bit gross) where your pup can see it and smell it. Take him in the bathroom, and show him where it is.

6

Time to pee

Each time he needs to pee, take him into the bathroom where he can find his old friend, the piece of fake grass. Repeat this process until your pup goes to the bathroom and uses his piece of turf when he needs to pee. Be sure to give him lots of praise and a treat or two when he finally gets it right. Now you should be able to sleep at night or go to work without worrying about wet spots on your floors.

The Every Two Hours Method

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1

Mark your puppy's need to pee

If you are working with a puppy, take note of how often he needs to go outside and pee. In most cases, it is approximately every two hours or so.

2

Mark the spot

Collect a small sample of your dog's urine and place it in the tub. This is how your pup marks his territory outside and it will work to mark the tub or shower stall just as he does outside.

3

Watch your pup

Keep a very close eye on your pup. As soon as he indicates that he might need to go pee, take him to the bathroom and place him in the tub.

4

Keep him there

Now you need to relax and give your pup plenty of time to take care of business. But, at the same time, keep these sessions to around ten minutes. If after ten minutes he hasn't peed, go ahead and take him outside.

5

Keep trying

This trick is going to take a while for your pup to master. Bbe patient and keep trying it over and over again. The more you praise him for getting it right, the faster he is likely to master this new task and the sooner you can start sleeping through the night or go to work without worrying.

By PB Getz

Published: 11/03/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Molly

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Husky?

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3 Years

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Question

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Inherited this dog from a roommate that passed away bout 6 months ago. They were very bonded and his death was sudden and unexpected. So she's quite needy. I love dogs, and her in particular, but not when she wants to be an 80 lb lapdog. So there's that. Current challenge though is potty training. She's good about going outside, but, before, a door was always open for her to come and go as she pleased. Now, I'm gone some days and leave her indoors else she tries to dig out. Was getting better about holding it until she discovered the bathroom. Now, nearly everytime, I come home to 1 of each. As indoor potty alternatives go, eh, not bad. But then i saw this article and thought "even better". So here's my challenge. My friend used to bathe her in that tub. And she hates baths. How do I get her past that anxiety? I have never traumatised her in that tub but she still wont go near it. In fact, my friend spoiled her terribly. Never a harsh tone, few commands, etc. I have continued this behavior, because the slightest scolding and she cows like a beaten puppy. Mostly, i use positive reinforcement and affection denial ("go outside" etc). Hopefully you have a suggestion or 2. Zeke BTW I'm unsure of her age, I'd guess 3-5 years.

April 6, 2022

Molly's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Douglas, For personal space, I would start by teaching Place and Out and Off, to give you breaks as needed. Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area - follow the section on how to teach Out for the gentlest approach. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ First, know that teach a dog to use the bathroom in a tub is really much easier with a walk in shower do to pup having to climb over the wall of the bathtub, especially when pup is already hesitant, so if you have access to an additional walk in shower I would use that instead. For a bathtub, I would put a small staircase against the side of the tub to make getting inside easy. Google couch stairs for ideas. Check out the Treat Luring method from the article I have linked below. This method is for teaching a fearful dog to climb stairs, but the same line of treats and gradual progression often works great for things like the tub. You will just place the treats inside the tub as well as on the steps. Whatever you can do to make getting into and out of the tub easier will help too. https://wagwalking.com/training/use-bed-stairs I would also consider crate training to get her into the habit of holding it while you are away, then you can transition away from the crate when pup has been accident free for six months in many cases. Surprise method for crating: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate You could also install something like Halo, which is like an invisible fence but instead of buried wires it uses GPS mapping for your yard, with the signal programmed to create the boundary two feet inside your physical fence, to deter pup from approaching the fence boundary, then install a doggie door for pup, confining pup to the one room that has access to the doggie door at first, to avoid more accidents until trained. https://wagwalking.com/training/use-a-doggie-door-1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 7, 2022

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Tucker

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Golden Retriever

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3 Months

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I need him to learn peeing and potty in bathroom

March 31, 2021

Tucker's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use the crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

March 31, 2021


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