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

ribbon-method-2
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

ribbon-method-3
Effective
3 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

ribbon-method-1
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?
author-img

Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 01/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bella
Rough Collie
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bella
Rough Collie
9 Weeks

I have an 8 week old puppy who is doing her best with training, but I also have an 8 year old Rough Collie who is a bit of a case, doesn't like you to close a door between myself and him (a bit of separation anxiety, but he does come down and lie down and relax). It is proving a challenge to train the puppy as my 8 year old will not leave my side. I can do some training without my older dog there, but continual/consistant training is proving a challenge.Any suggestions would be welcome.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ann, I recommend teaching pup Place and Out. I would practice both commands first with you in the room, working up to you going in other rooms while pup remains on place in that room. I would work pup up to being able to stay on Place for 2 hours. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I would start there. With many dogs, practicing independence building exercises, like Out, a long Place, and a long Down Stay is enough if you are consistent and work at it. With more severe cases, low level remote collar training is sometimes needed once the commands are taught and worked up to, to be able to interrupt pup's mindset and enforce the command consistently from a distance without giving pup extra attention. If that is needed in this case, check out these resources as well. As a general resource, James Penrith from the taketheleaddogtraining is a good person to follow on Youtube to learn about pairing remote collar training with a foundation of obedience and also positive reinforcement for obeying, so the training is more rewards than corrections. Properly fitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI When introducing an e-collar, you will want to find pup's "working level", which is the lowest level pup will respond to. You should only use a high quality e-collar with at least 30 levels to ensure you can get the right level and the collar will be reliable. Some well known brands include e-collar technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, and Garmin. E-collar technologies' mini educator is a common option for such training. The working level - introducing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Bella's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Jack
Shih Tzu
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jack
Shih Tzu
3 Months

How to train him to pee and poop

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jeevashni, Check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Jack's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Ozzie
Mixed
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ozzie
Mixed
12 Weeks

I adopted a puppy and I am currently potty training him. I have the designated place set up, and he does pee there when I place him in the spot. Our problem is when he needs to poop. I can see he wants to poop, but when I place him in the spot he just doesn't go. This goes back and forth forever. I can't leave a pile of poop in the place because he eats it. So how do I teach him to poop in the designated area when I can't leave a piece poop?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amore, I would look into purchase a potty attractant spray, like Go Here, Hurry!, or something similar. That type of spray can be sprayed on the spot right before taking pup to poop there. Depending on the size of the potty area, you may also need to make the potty area bigger for pup. Some dogs won't poop in too small of an area, where they can't move around. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Ozzie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
coco
Pit Bullmastiff
5 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
coco
Pit Bullmastiff
5 Weeks

I am trying to teach her to poop in one area. she is so lil i either let her out and she instantly pees then i take her to a spot that has wood chips to poop. she likes to find a new spot every time. i have got her to poop in that spot a several times but most of those times was she was trying to poop somewhere else and i rush and put her in her spot. as a result sometimes poop is coming out and i am having to clean up soft poop out of my grass. i am patient but she just need an effective process to make her use the area a made, not trying to clean up poop all over the yard. we be going through it, she is whining and trying her best to do what she wants to do and find a diff area to handle her biz. i do have some treats but hard to find ones that are soft enough for her lil teeth. i do give her positive praise and rub her head. Lastly it seems like she is hell bent on pulling away or even if she is off the leash to run away and poop before i can ketch her b4 she does the do. she is only 5 weeks how do she know to not do what i say and do whatever she wants.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Generally it's recommended to wait until puppies are between 7 and 12 weeks of age to send them home with their owners because before then there is a lot they are developmentally ready for. Sometimes extenuating circumstances mean pups go home sooner, but when that happens expectations have to be adjusted. A five week old puppy simply won't have control over her peeing and pooping consistently enough to start more formal training yet. If you can accomplish her simply going potty outside and not in the house, that is actually a fantastic first step at this age. She probably won't have the control to make it to the correct spot until closer to eight weeks, when potty training is usually done. For now, I would simply focus on getting her to go outside in general, carrying her there to help her get there soon enough when possible. If you can get her to the correct spot by carrying her when she is about to have an accident, then do so. I would use lick treats at this age, like a little unsalted liver paste in a small container you can dip your finger in and let her lick off as a reward. I would also check with your vet to make sure that pup is okay on kibble if she is eating that. Most five week old puppies still need gruel, which is a mixture of puppy milk replacement formula and kibble to make a soft cereal. If pup has already been transitioned onto kibble early they may not need that, but if the breeder skipped that step pup could have a hard time eating and drinking enough going straight to kibble and water, so check with you vet as needed. I am not a vet. Once pup is old enough, check out the Tethering or Crate Training methods from the article I have linked below for potty training. Take pup to the correct potty location each time on leash for several months while training to help pup learn to only go in that area, then reward pup with a treat for going potty there. Wait to give pup freedom in a fenced yard to play until after you take them to their spot and they go there, so that they don't end up pottying in the rest of the yard while playing. If you are struggling to get pup to go potty quickly in the designated area you can try spraying a potty encouraging spray on the area right before you take pup outside there, walking pup around the area slowly, so that the movement stimulates the urge to go, and jugging to the spot with pup so they don't have an accident elsewhere on the way. Crate Training and Tethering methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to coco's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Muffy
Havanese
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Muffy
Havanese
2 Years

Dog has been completely potty trained for a year. She uses a plastic box with a wee wee pad in it. For the past few weeks she has been using box for voiding but then poops a few feet away outside the box on the floor. The floor is laminate and I spray it with Natures Miracle every time but she has conditioned herself to the spot now. How do I break her of this habit?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Louisa, She may be pooping outside the box because many dogs need movement to help stimulate pooping and it would be hard for her to move around a lot in the box to poop. I would block off that pooping spot with something to stop that being an option for now. I would also increase the size of the box she needs to go potty in, so that pup can circle and pace a bit in that area to get things moving there. You may also want to spray a potty encouraging spray on the pee pad when you expect her to need to go potty there soon. That scent can help her target the area. If the accidents continue, the issue might be the pee pad itself. I would consider using a disposable real grass pad instead of the pee pad, to help pup want to go potty on it more, due to the scent, absorbency, and and feeling on their paws. Disposable real grass pad brands - found on amazon too. www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com www.doggielawn.com If you do need to switch, I would follow the exercise pen with the grass pad for a few weeks to help pup make the transition to the grass pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Muffy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

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