How to train your dog to toilet outside
To train your dog to go outside, you should take some of their poop and place it outside where you’d like them to go.
You should walk your dog around, gently encouraging them to sniff the area. Gentle exercise and smells can encourage your dog to poop.
Don’t play with your dog at this stage, as you need them to focus on the task at hand!
When your dog does poop, use a word such as “poo poos” or “be busy” to create word association between the action and your words. Your dog will learn that when you use that word, you want them to go to the toilet.
Make sure you praise them lots after they’ve been and give them a reward. This part is important because you need the praise to act as a ‘reward’, not as a trigger for going to the toilet.
You should encourage your dog to use the same spot each time so that they associate their toileting smell with that area.
When first training you should take your dog outside every hour. You should also take them out when they’ve first woken up, when they’re excitable and when they’ve just eaten. Watch their behaviours – if they begin to circle or whine, it's likely they need to go.
If your dog doesn’t go to the toilet when they’re outside, bring them back in, and try again 20 minutes later.
Don’t be tempted to send your dog into the garden by themselves until fully trained. Puppies particularly will view the garden as a playground, and need to be taught that it’s for toileting in.
Be patient when toilet training your dog
Persistence and patience is the key to house training.
You'll probably find those indoor mishaps still happen, and they may occur more regularly in doorways.
Try not to be tempted to use Puppy Pads to contain the pooping and peeing. You'll still need to train your dog to go outside and they’ll also have to learn to stop using the Puppy Pad.
Your dog needs to be clear on what they can and can’t do.
Sometimes a dog will hide somewhere in the house to poop – this could be because they’re afraid of being seen and told off.
Don’t shout at your dog or rub their nose in it. This will make them more nervous and anxious, and more likely to do it again. Hiding away even more.
You should stay calm, and quietly clean any poop up. Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners as these can smell like urine, meaning your dog will poop in the same spot again.
Using a crate for potty training
Using a crate can be a great way to prevent your dog from pooping or peeing in the house. Dogs very rarely poop where they sleep, so if in a crate, they’re unlikely to do it there.
You can use a crate if you’re unable to supervise your dog; if you’re going out for less than two hours, or if its night time. You shouldn’t put your dog in the crate if they don’t like it and can’t settle.
The crate should be large enough for your dog to turn around, stand up and lie down in comfortably. Don’t be tempted to provide anything too large, as the whole idea is to prevent your dog from pooping in the corner.
Dogs won’t poop in the area where they sleep, and if the crate is too big, your dog will poop in one corner and sleep in the other.
Why would a dog poop in the house?
Dogs may poop in the house simply because they’re a puppy and don’t know any better.
Older dogs may do it to mark their territory; because they feel ill; because they’re feeling nervous and anxious because they’ve been left alone; because they sense tension in the house or due to poor quality food.
- Illness: Problems with the intestine or worms can lead to your dog needing to poop more frequently. If your dog has started pooping more frequently or at night a vet visit will rule out illness and worms.
- Nerves and anxiety: If there’s been a change in the family environment this can impact on the dog. A new baby, a relationship change, or even moving around furniture can impact on a dog.
- Being left alone all day: If your dog feels lonely, or needs the toilet whilst home alone, this can cause them to poop in the house.
- Poor quality food: Cheaper dog foods can be low in nutrients and full of fillers and grains. Because of the low nutrient level, less food is absorbed, and more waste is produced. Leading to larger, more frequent poop.
My dog has started pooping in the house at night
If your dog has started pooping at night it may be due to one of the reasons previously mentioned, or due to the time they’re fed; lack of exercise before bed, or that they can’t get your attention to go out.
- Food time: If you’re feeding your dog too close to bedtime, it could mean that your dog will need to go the toilet by the middle of the night.
You could try adjusting your dog’s meal time, to see if this makes any difference
- Lack of exercise before bed: It’s a good idea to take your dog outside before they go to bed. This lets them empty their bowels, meaning they’re more likely to be able to go through the night.
- Where they’re sleeping: If your dog is sleeping in a different room, you may not hear them get up to go to the toilet. It’s suggested that to resolve the problem you keep your dog in a crate in your bedroom. If they need to go to the toilet in the night you’ll hear them wake up.
It’s unlikely your dog will poop in their crate, which will give you the chance to put them outside.
If your dog doesn’t like a crate, you could try putting them on a leash in your room and attaching it to the foot of your bed.
This means that should your dog move around at night, it’ll wake you up. You should ensure the leash is long enough for your dog to be able to move around comfortably, and that it's not likely to wrap itself around your dog.
If it’s not possible to keep your dog in your room, you’ll need to get up in the night to check on them. Once you know what time they’re waking up to poop, you can be up and ready to let them out.
Why does my dog pee in other people’s houses?
Dogs will do this to scent mark, and it's more common in male dogs.
If your dog hasn’t been castrated this could contribute to the problem, due to their higher testosterone levels.
Other causes can be insufficient toilet training.
How to stop my dog peeing in my house
If your dog has started peeing in your house it could be due to lack of house training, marking their territory or an underlying health issue.
If they’re peeing in the house due to lack of training, you can follow the training steps mentioned above.
If your dog is scent marking, then they could be feeling insecure about a recent household change. Your vet may be able to prescribe a Pheromone medication which can help calm your dog until they’ve adjusted to the changes.
Sometimes an underlying health issue can cause a problem. If your dog has recently been neutered, the drop in sex hormones could be affecting bladder control. Medication can be given that often resolves this, or in males, if that doesn’t work a surgical procedure.
Finally, if your dog pees in the same spot regularly, you could try blocking the area off, to see if this helps.
How long does it take to house train a puppy?
It can take a few months to fully train your dog, and even then accidents may happen. Eventually, your dog will begin to show you that they want to go outside to the toilet, and you’ll know that all your hard work has been worth it.