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  • How to Train Your Dog to Stop Peeing on the Carpet

How to Train Your Dog to Stop Peeing on the Carpet

How to Train Your Dog to Stop Peeing on the Carpet
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

A new dog in the home generally means good things! Whether your dog is young or old, they provide you with so much excitement and fun when they finally come home to stay. Well, at least until you realize that they might not be as housebroken as you’d first thought. Stains on the carpet, not-so-nice smells, and repeat offenses by a dog who isn’t sure how to ask to go outside are not the most pleasant experiences. It can be downright frustrating having to break out the cleaning supplies two or three times a day because your dog had an accident.

Housebreaking your dog doesn’t have to be stressful, however. There are many ways to ensure that he learns the appropriate places and times to relieve himself and generally, it will take some adjusting for a dog who is not used to the way your house is run. With a regular routine, you can be at ease knowing that your carpet will survive another day.

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Defining Tasks

Housebreaking your dog in order to prevent him from using your carpet as a bathroom is really just a matter of prevention. Dogs will often relieve themselves multiple times in the same place, especially if the scent of their previous accident lingers. It’s important to take steps to keep this from happening in the first place and ensure that you thoroughly clean any area where he does pee to keep him from being drawn to the same spot again.

Keeping your dog from peeing on your carpet may seem difficult the older he gets, but these methods can be utilized for a dog of any age, puppies included. Each one takes just a few days or a week or two to adjust to and can solve your problem with relative patience and repetition. Staying committed, using positive reinforcement, and remaining persistent will help you get your nice and comfortable carpet staying clean.

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Getting Started

Establishing a routine for dogs is important. No matter which method you use, you want to be consistent with it. Don’t do it one way on Monday and do it differently on Tuesday. Your dog will thank you for the easy-to-remember process to relieve himself and you will be much happier as a result.

If your dog is older and has suddenly started using the bathroom indoors, have him looked over by a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes. Otherwise, get some treats together for a reward and set aside a few minutes several times a day to adjust your dog to his new bathroom routine. The younger a dog is, the more often they may need to practice.

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The Schedule Method

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1

Determine how often to use the bathroom

Younger puppies will need many more bathroom breaks than older dogs. Figure out how often your dog uses the bathroom and make a note of it on paper or in a computer document.

2

Learn the typical bathroom times

Your dog will more than likely need to use the bathroom in the morning after waking up, after any meals, after drinking water, after being let out of a crate or kennel, before going in for the night, and possibly in the middle of the night. These are times you will need to be aware of.

3

Avoid punishment for slip ups

Negative reinforcement may not always work to prevent your dog from using the bathroom indoors. If you catch her making an attempt to use the carpet as a bathroom, calmly relocate her outside and clean up any mess thoroughly.

4

Go out and go out often

After determining her bathroom schedule, start taking your dog outside whenever you get the feeling she may need to go. This typically means about five minutes BEFORE she usually uses the bathroom. This may require you going outside several times a day and possibly a few times at night, depending on your dog’s needs.

5

Praise and reward!

For any successful attempt at relieving herself outdoors, offer lots of excited verbal praise. Treats and toys are fantastic rewards for appropriately using the bathroom outside. Even if the amount of waste is small, continue to reward at all available opportunities.

6

Adjust the schedule with progress

Puppies will typically outgrow the need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and older dogs may pick up on an established schedule pretty quickly. Adjust your schedule as your dog’s needs allow. If you’re realizing he can go a little longer without a bathroom break, feel free to remove one from your daily routine.

The Kennel Method

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1

Find a proper kennel or crate

Crates are often used as a resting area for dogs until it’s time to go out to pee. An appropriately sized crate should be large enough that your dog can stand up and turn around in it comfortably. A crate that is too large may just end up being the next bathroom area and a crate that is too small is uncomfortable and cramped. Take some time finding one that is just right.

2

Make the kennel a nice place

Use a comfortable pillow or blanket to line the bottom and provide some nice chew toys or treats. The crate should be relaxing and fun.

3

Teach your dog to go in and out

Using words like ‘in your crate’ or ‘let’s go’ can help put verbal cues to what you’d like your dog to do, whether it’s going into the crate or coming out of it. Use treats or toys to entice him to do what you’d like when you’d like him to so he associates the behavior with a reward.

4

Create a specific ‘kennel time’

Your dog shouldn’t be in the kennel all day, every day. Figure out an appropriate span of time when he’ll need to be in the kennel, such as when you’re away at work or school or are busy with other things at home. Try to limit the amount of time he is in his kennel, especially for higher energy breeds. A bored dog can become destructive.

5

Go outside immediately afterwards

After each ‘kennel time’, take your dog outside to relieve himself. Dogs will generally not use the bathroom in the same area where they sleep, so this is a good chance to teach him that kennel time will always be followed by a bathroom break.

6

Reward for good bathroom behavior

Offer your dog playtime or yummy treats any time he uses the bathroom outside. He’ll soon look forward to leaving his kennel to use the bathroom outside because it means good things!

The Puppy Pad Method

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Find the right size puppy pads

Puppy pads or ‘pee pads’ are often used for young puppies, smaller, or senior dogs who may not always enjoy relieving themselves outside. These pads can vary in size and quality, so be sure that you’re buying the right size for your dog. They may not be ideal for large dogs who eliminate a lot, as absorbency and required clean up may also vary.

2

Find a specific place for the pad

The puppy pad will need to remain in the same area for your dog to adjust to using it. Try not to move it or relocate it once you do find a place for it. An ideal place will be somewhere in a room with tile or wood floors to make accidents easy to clean. Make sure it is accessible to your dog at all times. A closed pantry or closet is not ideal.

3

Visit the pad often

A few minutes before your dog’s usual bathroom time, encourage him to come with you to the pad. Let him sniff at it, even if he doesn’t have to use the bathroom just yet. If he stands around for five minutes and does nothing, leave the pad and come back in another ten to fifteen minutes.

4

Reward at bathroom time

Any time your dog uses the puppy pad to go to the bathroom, make a huge deal about it. Give him lots of praise and pets for doing it. You want him to feel good about using the puppy pad.

5

Clean the pad regularly

Most puppy pads are disposable, so be sure to change them out whenever necessary. Leaving a small pee spot alone for a little while is usually fine, but letting the pad soak through before changing it can leave a mess and give the whole area an unpleasant urine smell. Keep your dog’s bathroom area as clean as possible.

6

Move to the outdoors if necessary

If you’d like your dog to eventually transition from the pad to the outdoors, the simple way to do so is to move the pad gradually over the course of a few days. Move it closer to the door until you can open the door and set the pad right outside. Then gradually move it out and onto the grass, if that’s what you prefer. Take your time doing this to prevent your dog from having accidents and always make sure that your dog has plenty of access to the pad.

Written by TJ Trevino

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 01/04/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Suz

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Cavoodle

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Nine Months

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She has older dog to learn from who is an angel, never any accidents. Full access to doggy door, we have floorboards BUT she keeps print on bedroom carpets, hallways rugs and recently my bed! It’s like she knows and doesn’t care. If hall rugs rolled up she doesn’t pee there, but if rolled out or bedroom door open, the. Minute she gets to carpet she pees. Driving us crazy, is it territorial, lazy, naughty? How do we stop it. Can’t leave her unsupervised but older dog can be left outside as she’s used to being inside and older. We need to stop it. It’s stressful and everyone is miserable .

Feb. 3, 2023

Suz's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, To best understand what's going on, its important to know that during potty training a dog must first be accident free for long enough to develop a long term habit of keeping a space clean. The initial potty training process has to involve managing pup's freedom and schedule strictly enough that accidents are avoided in the first place and going potty outside becomes the norm and accidents become very rare. It a dog doesn't have at least 2-3 months of accident free time due to a strictly managed schedule they don't progress to the next part of potty training, which is learning how to self-initiate going outside to go potty due to a long term habit that's been formed and a desire to keep your home clean themselves. It can take another three months to get to this self-initiating going potty outside stage after pup has completed the first three months of being mostly accident free due to your management of their freedom and schedule. The use of a doggie door and letting you know when they need to go out come from that self-initiating going potty outside motivation. If pup didn't have a period where they were consistently accident free for several months before being expected to successfully use a doggie door with encouragement from you for another couple of months, that may be where the gap is in pup's potty training. To further complicate things, if you do or have ever used pee pads with pup, those are made out of fabric and can confuse some dogs, causing pup to prefer to use the potty on other things that are also made of fabric like carpet and rugs. Often during that three months of strict management and scheduled potty trips, the most easily accessed rugs and carpeted areas need to either be blocked off from pup's access or removed for a time. When pup is consistently accident free for a few months and going outside through the doggie door on their own, then you can experiment with more freedom around the carpet and rugs while you are home to supervise how pup does at first and correct any attempts to go there. Be sure to thoroughly clean the rugs and carpet with a carpet safe cleaner that contains enzymes to completely remove the smell of past accidents, only enzymes will do a good enough job breaking down smells to a dog's scent level. With all that said, here is what I recommend - I suggest going back to the basics with her for a couple of months and act as if she isn't potty trained at all to stop all accidents from happening so that she will develop a habit of holding it consistently while in the house and wanting to keep your home clean. I would remove or block off access to those rugs and carpets she is having accidents on as much as is realistically possible. After a couple of months if she has been completely accident free, very gradually give her more freedom - but when you start, still go outside with her at first to ensure she is going potty and not getting distracted. When you take her potty, if your dog door is located next to or in the main door that you can go through to go outside, have her go through the doggie door and you through the normal door right after, with you still initiating the potty trips on schedule, not expecting her to go there on her own. Supervise her going potty for those couple of months, rewarding her when she goes, saying something like "Go Potty" to teach her to go quickly in the future. Even though you will be going with her, having her go through the doggie door to go out instead of the main door can prepare her for using that on her own once that desire to keep your home clean happens. The easiest way to prevent accidents is generally to use the crate for potty training because the crate can encourage a dog's nature desire to keep a space clean, something you want pup to generalize to the rest of your home. If she isn't already used to a crate, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com or k9ballistics.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5-2 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate, unless there is something medical going on - I am not a vet. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Do NOT spray in the face - only side or chest. While home, you can also tether pup to you with a leash to prevent her from sneaking off to have an accident - this isn't quite as effective as crate training but you can combine the two a bit if you want pup to be out of the crate a bit more while you are home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 3, 2023

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Murphy

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ShihTzu

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Two Years

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My dog goes outside to wee at night thru a doggy door and when we are home but has recently started to wee on my rug and poo when we are out What should we do

Oct. 21, 2022

Murphy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I would set up a sturdy exercise pen with access to the doggie door and a non-absorbent bed for pup to rest on, so to limit access to the rug and get pup into the habit of going outside through the doggie door even when you aren't there, until pup has developed a habit of going outside when you are away also. Check out the picture of the Richell Wood Freestanding Gate, where you can see a pen set up with access to their dog door. There are different pens and setup options, just look for one that's sturdy and can't fall over onto the dog and allows pup to go out through the dog door instead of blocking the dog door. https://yourdogadvisor.com/best-indoor-dog-gates-for-dogs-big-and-small/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Critteden

Oct. 24, 2022


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