Accidents in the house are an inevitable occurrence when you get a dog. Especially if that dog is a young puppy.
I’m pretty sure all pup parents have been ready to pull their hair out over this problem at some point.
When my dog Toby was a puppy, I remember waking up at 5 a.m. to take him outside, quickly running downstairs to get my winter coat (because it was below zero that winter), and turning around to see Toby in the act. Talk about frustrating.
As disheartening as it can be, there are ways to make the process a whole lot easier. These simple tips and tricks will help figure out how to stop a dog from going to the bathroom in the house and turn your dog from piddler to potty trained in no time.
1. Take your dog outside frequently
The best, most simple solution to the problem of your dog going to the bathroom inside is to take them out more frequently. The more opportunities they have to go outside, the less they’ll relieve themselves in the house.
Because of their itty bitty bladders, young and small-sized dogs have to go out more often, so be extra diligent if your dog falls into this category.
This repetition is good because they’ll start to correlate going outside with going to the bathroom.
Preferably, if you can, create a consistent schedule as soon as possible. And always bring them to the same spot. This will reinforce the expectations of what they’re supposed to do.
If you find your dog is continuing to have accidents, try to take them out every 30 minutes. Even if they don’t go to the bathroom every time, they’ll start to understand that this is the time and place to go potty.
2. Watch for signs
A great way to nip the behavior in the bud is by watching for telltale signs your dog has to go to the bathroom.
- Circling (in which you should make a break for it and grab them asap, it’s go time!)
- A sudden bolt toward the corner or another room
- Whining at the door (this is kind of a given, but I had to include it!)
If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors, take them outside right away. Even if you’re in doubt, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Another tip is to say a verbal cue, like “outside!”, as soon as you see these signs. This will teach your pup that if they have the urge to go, this means it’s time to go outside.
3. Create a smaller space
Letting your dog roam the house before they are fully house-trained is a recipe for disaster.
For starters, there’s a greater chance they’ll sneak off to where you can’t see them.
Secondly, dogs don’t like to soil their own dens. When they’re in smaller quarters, this signals that this is their space, and they’ll be less likely to take a tinkle or number two there.
Keeping your dog in a crate at night or when you’re away is always recommended, at least until you can count on them not to have accidents.
And if you’re just hanging out in the house, it’s still a good idea to limit the space they have access to.
We used baby gates with Toby to block off areas of the house, and it worked wonders. The best part is they are super simple to put up and take down, allowing you to create smaller spaces anytime you need.
4. Clean up accidents quickly
When your dog goes poop or potty in the house, be sure to clean it up right away with a cleaning solution that gets rid of the scent. If a dog smells an old mess, they’ll think of that as a bathroom spot, and you certainly don’t want that.
I can’t speak highly enough of Nature’s Miracle, a deep cleaning solution designed specifically for pet urine. It worked wonders when Toby was potty training.
All you have to do is wipe away the mess, apply Nature’s Miracle, wait five minutes, and then wipe away everything with a cloth.
5. Reward good behavior
Dogs learn best from positive reinforcement training, so if your pup goes to the bathroom outside in the right spot, give them a treat! They’ll soon understand that going to the bathroom outside is a good thing.
Positive reinforcement isn’t just for potty training, though. It’s an excellent tool for teaching your dog how to sit, lie down, stay, and other essential behaviors.
6. Be patient and consistent
When potty training your pup, patience and consistency is key. As frustrated as you may get, resist the urge to yell at your dog. This will only scare them, and they won’t understand why you’re mad.
Instead, keep your tone pleasant and positive.
At some points, potty training may seem overly exhausting, but stick with it. Dogs need consistent training and repetition until something really sinks in.
If you continue to train and train, but it’s just not sinking in, or your dog is house-trained and suddenly starts having accidents again, we recommend seeing a veterinarian.
They can check and see if there are any medical conditions causing problems or recommend a specialized approach for your dog’s situation.