How to Train Your Dog to Poop in a Designated Area

Medium
4-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

Teaching your dog to poop in one designated area is beneficial for the grass in your yard as well as making clean up easy for you. You can reserve special spaces in your yard specifically for your dog to poop. Giving your dog his own bathroom space will keep the rest of your yard open and free of poop so you will not have to worry about children playing in or stepping in your dog's mess before you can clean it up. Keeping your dog's poop in one area of your yard can save your grass too.

You can train your dog to poop in one area of a grassy space, or you can teach your dog to poop specifically in rocks away from social spaces within your yard. City dwelling dogs or tiny breeds can also be trained to poop in one area of your home or apartment to avoid concrete walks outside or extreme weather conditions. 

Defining Tasks

Giving your dog a designated space to poop takes repetition, treats, and a little bit of time for your dog to get used to new routines. Plan a particular area before you begin to train your dog and avoid changing this particular pooping spot. Especially within your home or your apartment, be sure to designate a special pooping spot for your dog, so he does not have accidents elsewhere where you do not want him to go. If your dog is already house trained, teaching a designated area may require a little bit of extra time because you are retraining and asking your dog to forget old habits. However, if you have a puppy who is house training for the first time, setting your expectations with a place for your puppy to poop all the time instead of having free reign of your yard or home will be much quicker and part of the normal housetraining process.

Getting Started

You will need a leash to direct your dog to the proper location for designated pooping. Also, be sure to have on hand a supply of special treats specifically for training your dog. As mentioned above, have your designated pooping area already planned out and decided upon before you begin this training, so you do not confuse your dog by changing spaces mid-training. If you are training a new puppy, this may take up to six weeks to house train your dog. However, part of the house training process will include using this designated space specifically for going potty.  If you have an older dog used to having free reign of your yard or your home and you are trying to teach him one specific designated area for pooping, you may require a little more time and patience before he understands the new habit and comprehends exactly what you expect each time he needs to poop.

The Poop Spot Method

Most Recommended
9 Votes
Step
1
Pick a spot
Once you have picked your designated poop spot for your dog, place a scoop of your dog's poop in that spot and leave it in the area. Be sure other areas of your yard or the space where your dog will frequent for play are clean of urine and poop.
Step
2
Go potty
Take your dog to the spot where you have left the poop and use it command such as “go potty.” If your dog begins to sniff around, reward him with praise, repeating the command “go potty.”
Step
3
No play
Avoid letting your dog play in this area and avoid letting your dog into other areas to play until he has pooped.
Step
4
Scent
With the scent of the poop you have left in the area, your dog should begin to sniff around with interest and potentially poop there as well.
Step
5
Poop
If your dog can poop when you show him his designated spot, give him verbal praise as well as a treat.
Step
6
Redirecting
Avoid punishing your dog if he poops elsewhere. Offer verbal praise and a treat when your dog poops in his designated spot.
Step
7
One pile
While your dog is learning that this is his special place to poop, keep at least one pile of poop in the area. However, keep the area clean otherwise because too much poop will deter your dog from wanting to go there.
Step
8
Accidents
If your dog has an accident elsewhere, clean it up quickly so he does not sniff and relate the space as a spot to use. Give your dog zero attention, praise, or treats. Be sure you are consistently taking your dog to the right area every time he needs to go potty.
Step
9
After meals
Watch your dog after meals after waking and after playtime and be sure to visit the designated pooping spot with your dog during training, so he begins to understand that is his spot for pooping specifically.
Recommend training method?

The Leash Training Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Leash walk
With your dog on a leash, walk him to the designated poop spot and let him sniff around.
Step
2
One place
Every time you take your dog outside, use the leash and walk him to the designated spot. Avoid letting your dog play in this area and use the leash to keep him confined to the specific space you have designated as his pooping spot until he has pooped.
Step
3
Meals and naps
Be sure to take him to the designated spot on his leash after mealtime, playtime, and waking from sleep.
Step
4
Habit
Over time, your dog will get used to going to that specific spot every time he needs to poop. As your dog begins to walk himself to your designated pooping spot you may begin to let him go off his leash.
Step
5
Off-leash
The first few times your dog is off his leash be sure to walk with him, encouraging him to use his designated poop spot. After several days of escorting him to the poop area off leash, begin to let him go on his own.
Step
6
Playing
If your dog begins to play in that area, encourage him to go elsewhere to play, and if your dog has an accident in a zone that is not the designated poop spot, clean it up and take him to your designated area.
Step
7
Accidents
If your dog has accidents elsewhere, clean up and ignore the behavior.
Step
8
Reward
Reward your dog's positive behavior with praise and treats every time he poops in your designated spot.
Recommend training method?

The Desginated Area Method

Least Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Potty needs
Choose a space specifically for your dog’s potty needs. This area should be free of any distractions and kept clean. Take him to his specific area and use a verbal cue such as “Go potty.”
Step
2
Stay in area
Keep your dog in that area until he eliminates. Offer your pup a reward in the form of a treat and verbal praise.
Step
3
Reward
If you are trying to train your dog to go in one spot, bear in mind you may only want to offer the reward if he uses that spot.
Step
4
Rest and play
Carry on with your day allowing your dog to play and rest.
Step
5
After meals
After meals, when you return home from being away, and anytime your dog goes outside, take him to his special potty area.
Step
6
Go potty
Using your command words such as “go potty,” leave your dog for a few minutes in this area and wait for him to poop.
Step
7
Using area
The more your dog uses this space for pooping, the more the area will smell like him and remind him that this is his special potty place. However, be sure to keep it clean because if left with more than one pile of poop, your dog may begin to refuse the area and want to go elsewhere.
Step
8
Treat
Reward your dog for good behavior and repeat the steps above. Pay attention to your dog during normal activities and watch his body language. Your puppy may spin around, pace, or wag his behind a little more when he has to eliminate. Knowing these signs will help you to get your dog to his potty place within an appropriate time.
Step
9
Accident
If your puppy has an accident or poops outside of his designated area, clean it up quickly without punishing the dog.
Step
10
Special spot
Take your dog to his special potty place and repeat the steps above, rewarding him if he eliminates again.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Jasmin
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jasmin
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

She is 1yr and 6 months. We had her potty trained to one area. In our rock bed. It was easy to train her to to that potty Area. Our last massive that past away Would go in that spot. In the last 3 months she has changed her spot. She now goes in front of our bbq or in front of our back door steps. How do I get her to go back in the rock bed?

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

Hello! Sometimes dogs just need a refreshment. One weird experience (in your case it could be something as silly as a bug that spooked her) and they change their habits. Your best bet is to spend a week taking her to the desired spot on leash. Give her lots of treats and praise for going in that spot. Hose down the areas she has been going in to get rid of the scent. Re-training her shouldn't take much longer than a week to a week and a half.

Add a comment to Jasmin's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Deuce
AnimalBreed object
12 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Deuce
AnimalBreed object
12 Weeks

Getting Deuce to potty in a certain area and not the driveway

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

Hello! To help in teaching him to poop in designated areas, spend the next week or so, taking him out on leash to the area you want him to go, and give him a treat and lots of praise for going in that area. He just needs a little redirection and should be just fine after that.

Add a comment to Deuce's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Libby
AnimalBreed object
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Libby
AnimalBreed object
3 Years

Libby is being trained for the electric fence and since she is still afraid to approach her normal poop spot due to the flags she has switched to another spot out front. I would like her to resume her old spot.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I suggest taking pup outside on a leash and playing with her and practicing commands and tricks she knows, or games like finding treats in the grass (as long as the grass hasn't been recently treated with anything toxic). Do this on a leash or long leash to help her avoid the boundaries, so that she won't accidentally get shocked and become more fearful. You want to show her that being outside in that yard is still safe as long as she avoids the flags. Second, take her potty to the spot she will go in but tell her to "Go Potty" and give a treat after. Once she has learned Go Potty, take her to the old spot to go potty on leash and tell her to "Go Potty" while there. If she goes, give a treat - only give treats for going potty in the correct spot and take her there on leash until she is comfortable going potty again in that spot. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Libby's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Luna
AnimalBreed object
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luna
AnimalBreed object
4 Years

Any tips on training multiple dogs in the household to eliminate on a designated area of the yard? Should they each have separate spaces? Thanks!

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

Hello! It is totally possible to train them each to have a designated space for eliminating. There are a few tricks to do this, and sometimes you have to just try until you find one that works for you. So I will try to keep it simple with my suggestions. The first place to start is to take them out on leash and keep them in that area until they go. Praise the heck out of them and reward them with treats. You are essentially starting over with potty training. You will want to do this until they are consistently going in that area. I have heard people having luck with utilizing visual markers in a specific area like small traffic cones. You can also leave their poo in that area for a few days so they get the hint also. But treats seem to be the best way to go!

Add a comment to Luna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Remy
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Remy
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

I bought an outdoor cage, 5 by 10 as an area for them to poop in. With training, will they go poop here? It’s been a day, they all pooped once but usually they go 2 or 3 timeS. Want to know your opinion to see if I’m doing it wrong. Thanks!

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

Hello! What a great idea. You can definitely train them to go in a specific area. A general guide as far as timelines when you are changing up a dogs routine is, it usually takes dogs about 30 days to become consistent in whatever you are training or re-training. So for now, continue to take them to their new potty area, and do not give them opportunities to potty elsewhere. Not even on a walk. They go potty in their spot before any walking. Start taking some treats out with you and praise the heck out of them after they go to the bathroom. Consistency and patience are key with this one. But they will get it!

Add a comment to Remy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd