Help! My Dog Poops and Pees in the House After Being Outside! Is It on Purpose?

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Dog Behavior By Claire Robertson 18 min read August 31, 2021 36 Comments

dog pooping after walk

Potty training can be one of the most challenging skills to teach a dog or puppy. And as fate would have it, we usually have to teach potty training when we first get our dog or puppy.

Doing so can be tricky and seem downright impossible at times, but eventually it clicks and your pup only does his or her business outside.

Once we finally get our pups potty trained, we usually expect that to be the end of things. Sometimes this is true, but at other times, dogs who were previously house trained can suddenly or randomly start pooping inside again. 

This can be really frustrating or even alarming to owners. Is it a deliberate choice? Is your dog just being an obstinate jerk? 

The answer, of course, is no! 

There are many factors that can lead  potty-trained dogs to poop indoors, some behavioral, some medical, and some training related (AKA, the human side). 

In this article we’ll discuss the ins and outs of potty training, and help you and your four footer get on the right track for success! Read on to learn more!

Key Takeaways: My Dog Poops and Pees Inside After Walking!

  • Start by identifying the cause of the problem. Some of the most common reasons doggos poop or pee inside after walking include medical issues, substrate preferences, and poor potty-training at the outset.
  • Go easy on your dog. House-trained dogs commonly have accidents due to stress, a change in environment, or illness. So don’t get upset with them – chances are they are as upset about the accident as you are!

Why Do Potty-Trained Dogs Poop and Pee Inside?

The first question you will need to ask yourself is “why?”

Dog not potty trained

Why is your dog going to the bathroom inside, even after potty walks? Once you’ve determined the why, then you can proceed to the “how.” In this case, the “how” is: “How I am going to help my dog stop pooping inside?”

Below, we’ll identify some of the most common reasons potty-trained doggos may poop or pee inside after walks.

1. Medical Problems May Cause Elimination Problems

The first thing I always ask when addressing sudden potty training challenges, is “is the problem a medical issue?”

There is no point wasting time and energy on a training routine, if the solution is as simple as something like antibiotics or joint supplements

There are a lot of medical factors that can cause potty issues. Some of the common ones include:

The pain associated with joint degeneration or injury can also cause elimination difficulties. After all, if it literally hurts to squat, your dog might not want to go until he really, really, REALLY has to go. 

Some medications can cause incontinence as well. If your dog’s problems start occurring after beginning a new medication regimen, consult your vet. He or she may be able to alter your dog’s prescription to solve the problem.

But no matter the cause, the takeaway is the same: Visit your vet anytime your dog starts exhibiting a problem out of the blue. That’s your first step.

Once you’ve ruled out a medical (or medication) problem, you can look at training. 

Need Veterinary Help Fast?

Don’t have easy access to a vet? You may want to consider getting help from JustAnswer — a service that provides instant virtual-chat access to a certified vet online.

You can discuss the issue with them, and even share video or photos if need be. The online vet can help you determine what your next steps should be.

While talking with your own vet — who understands the ins and outs of your dog’s history — is probably ideal, JustAnswer is a good backup option.

2. Your Dog Isn’t Entirely Potty-Trained Yet

Another reason your dog may be having poop and pee problems is that you’re expecting your dog to be too responsible, too soon

Or, what dog trainers call “your dog isn’t actually potty trained yet — oops!”

This means that sometimes owners simply think their dog is potty trained and start granting too much unsupervised alone time in the house. But then, he suddenly starts going to the bathroom in the house. Darn!

And because the owner thinks Fido is already potty-trained, they struggle to rectify the situation. 

So, you’ll want to make sure your dog is actually potty trained before living your life as though he were. Generally, I don’t consider a dog potty trained until he has zero accidents in the house for at least six months. 

More often than not, when I tell owners this, they realize that their dog isn’t actually potty trained yet and needs more structure, guidance, and supervision to reach that goal.

Think of potty training as a long term training goal. We aren’t going to reach it this week, or next week, or the month after that. Potty training is a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you are struggling with the basics of potty training, try taking your dog out on leash, every hour. When he does go, praise him and toss the cutie a treat.

If he doesn’t go, bring him back inside, still on his leash, and keep him with you so he cannot wander off to have an accident. Then, try another potty break in 20 minutes or so. Lather, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

Slowly but surely you will build up the amount of time between potty breaks. 

distracted dogs may not go

3. Fido Isn’t Staying Focused: There’s Too Much to Sniff, No Time to Poop!

Sometimes, being outside on a walk or in the yard is simply too exciting for four-footers. Who can think about pooping when there are leaves and squirrels and butterflies to chase and contemplate?

In my experience, dogs who are overstimulated or easily distracted in the yard need extra time to fully empty their bladders and bowels. 

These dogs often will do a single poop in the beginning of the potty break, but turns out it wasn’t the whole deal. You know?

Then, instead of finishing his business, Fido gets distracted by reading his “pee-mail” or making sure that good for nuthin’ squirrel stays up in his tree. 

It’s not until you get back inside that Fido realizes he had other business he needed to attend to on the walk. 

For easily distracted dogs, I usually train them to go pee and poop in a designated potty spot. This means when we go to the potty location, all we are doing is pottying. You can do this by taking him out (while on his leash) to the same spot every time. 

Walk around the designated area, while being super boring. I tend to walk in small circles so there isn’t much exploration encouraged. When he does go, I have a PUPPY POTTY PARTY!!  

A puppy potty party, or PPP if you will, is when I get really excited about the potty happening. I praise, I dole out treats, and then I let Fido off the leash (where applicable, I traditionally train potty locations in my yard, where it’s safely fenced in). Going potty in the potty location lets Fido earn his free yard sniff time. 

And by making him earn some off leash time, I ensure that my dog isn’t distracted by having access to the whole yard.

By visiting the same boring spot day after day, my dog can focus on our goal (pottying), rather than all the exciting things to do in the yard. 

4. Your Dog May Be Nervous or Distracted: Squirrels and Lawn Mowers and Windchimes, Oh My!

On the other side of the coin, you may just have a nervous or anxious yard dog. While many doggos are thrilled to check out the yard, anxious or nervous dogs feel worried when exploring the yard. 

some dogs get nervous when outside

When encountering these dogs, you will see dog body language that is reflective of their states of arousal (in these cases, the dogs appear anxious).

These dogs will look around constantly and vigilantly. They will have hunched shoulders or backs, low tails, low ears, or pricked ears that are swiveling diligently to keep everything on their radar. 

A nervous or anxious dog might be hesitant or scared to go outside at all. He may pant while outside or struggle on the leash, trying to return inside as quickly as possible, whether or not puppy potty duties have occurred.  

For these dogs, the journey to potty-training perfection will be a bit longer. Your first step will be to desensitize your doggo to the backyard so that it becomes a safe place to be in, and consequently, go to the bathroom in. 

After all, going potty puts you in a vulnerable position. I probably wouldn’t go if I was scared that a bear was watching me. 

And even if the yard doesn’t seem to strike that level of concern within you, the fear is real for Fido. They may just be windchimes to you, but to Fido they’re a potential threat. 

Some dogs don’t have an issue with the outdoor specifically, but rather, being on a leash. This is a common issue for rescue dogs who have never been leashes up before. Some dogs won’t pee while on a leash, no matter how hard you plead. They are just too terrified! This requires slow and gentle desensitization to the leash.

Just understand that desensitization training is a slow process. The rules you need to remember when desensitizing your dog to an area is that the pooch must be the one dictating if it is fun or enjoyable — not you. 

Start slowly and gently when addressing these types of problems. Walk into the back yard, then enjoy a cookie or a toy, or maybe just some compliments and petting. Then go back inside. 

The key is, nothing bad or upsetting happens while you’re in the back yard. 

Keep these sessions incredibly short and sweet. If each and every time you go into the backyard, you can ensure your dog has as good a time as possible, you’ll slowly build up your dog’s confidence in the yard, and his ability to navigate the yard will grow. 

Sooner or later your dog will start being able to go out for longer stretches of time, or even start really enjoying the yard. Once he’s not stressed, he’ll likely be able to go to the bathroom. 

Just note that if your dog is truly concerned about going potty outside, you will need to ensure there isn’t something in the space that is making it too challenging for him. 

Do you have a neighbor dog that fence runs and barks aggressively? Does the yard art you thought was pretty cute actually look like a mountain lion to your four-footer? 

Look around your space and try to see it through your dog’s eyes. Could something as simple as taking away the giant Halloween blow up thingy ease his mind? (Side note: Halloween and Winter Holiday inflatable yard decorations weird out a lot of dogs — and people — too.) 

Address any such frightening stimuli and you’ll likely see your dog become more comfortable in the backyard.

5. Consider Your Dog’s Substrate Preferences: Ew! I’m Not Going There!

Substrate preference is a dog’s innate or learned, preference for the texture or footing he goes to the bathroom on.

Dogs have substrate preferences

For example, dogs often prefer relieving themselves on dirt, grass, or similar surfaces. These surfaces will absorb the odors of feces or urine, thus making marking territory all that more effective. 

That is often why dogs will have accidents on carpeted areas or bathmats. It feels like the right surface to them. 

It’s not uncommon for dogs who lived in puppy mills or shelters to unlearn their initial substrate preference and begin preferring to relieve themselves somewhere else.

Most kennels have concrete floors, or wire mesh floors above a pan that the human can pull out and clean without having to move the dog. 

These dogs will often go to the bathroom on hard/slick surfaces like tile floors, concrete (inside or outside), or just “anywhere” because their original preference has been altered or trained to be ignored. 

The solution however is fairly straightforward: Recognize your dog’s personal surface preference and accommodate it. If your dog really only wants to potty on grass and you’re on a walk, find a nice grassy patch.

Conversely, if he really wants to go on concrete, that’s fine too!

By knowing what your dog’s natural preference is, you can help ensure he feels comfortable enough to go. 

6. Weather Can Be a Factor: It’s Hard to Make Yellow Snow

Inclement weather can also make dogs reluctant to relieve themselves outdoors.

For example, some dogs just don’t like to get their feet wet! Of my personal dogs, Sadie, a 3-pound-and-change poodle mix, will go out on wet grass, snow, mud, sticker burrs, lava — you get the idea.

My boys on the other hand… 

Hank, the 43-pound lab-pointer-mix dreads getting his footies wet. Chico the Chihuahua shares this trait, while adding the additional drama of looking miserable when I insist he potty outside. 


The guilt is real, guys.

Some dogs hate rain

Just remember that some dogs don’t like going outside to poop or pee during bad weather. That’s okay — it’s up to their humans to figure out ways to work around this (in other words, keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly).  

If you live in a place prone to poor weather, you might want to reinforce that pottying must still happen in inclement weather from a young age.

Rain Gear for Dogs

If you live in a place with frequent rain or snow, you may find it helpful to invest in a high-quality dog raincoat and a set of dog booties for your pooch.

These types of garments don’t work for all pups, but they’ll help others feel comfortable going outdoors in downpours, when need be.

As a bonus, these things will help keep your pooch from getting your couch and carpets wet and muddy!

7. Premature Praise Can Cause Potty Problems: I Made a Tinkle, Where Is My Cookie? 

Prematurely praising your pooch may distract him and preclude him from “downloading” everything he needs to.  

You’re so excited that your pooch is pottying outside, you start your PPP too early! Mid pee, your puppy looks up, elated that you’re elated, and stops going to the bathroom so he can join the party. 

Now your puppy has a half empty bladder and a mouth full of cookie. It’s not until he’s back inside that he realizes he still needs to finish the job. 

don't praise a dog too fast

If you’ve found yourself with a four legger who doesn’t fully empty himself when outside, but always comes back to you super excited that he did anything at all, you might be a premature treat deliverer. 

If you’re realizing you fall into this category, don’t despair. Simply start waiting for your pup to fully finish the job before praising him.

If he stops mid-bathroom break and looks up at you expectantly, smile but don’t praise or give treats. Wait until he potties again and then celebrate. 

Your potty training routine will need to reflect this knowledge, and you’ll want to instill a new rule of “two poops” or “two pees” before reinforcement happens.

With a few weeks practice, your pooch should start going all the way the first time. 

8. Lingering Odors: If It Smells Like a Bathroom…

Poop and pee odors sometimes linger. And that’s not a coincidence; in the wild, these poop and pee odors help keep a dog’s territory marked.

These odors will hang on through rain storms and hot summer days, and dogs can smell them for a long, long time. And this odor tells them where they should go.

It’s a honing device and a smell fence all at once. 

lingering dog odors

If you’ve had accidents in the house (or rather, your dog has), and you’ve cleaned them up but he keeps going to the bathroom in that area, you might have an odor problem.

Not all household cleaners are effective at eliminating these types of odors. Not all laundry detergent does either. 

So if you’re having difficulty with your dog going to the bathroom in the same area of the house repeatedly, you might need to tweak your cleaning routine and use a heavy-duty carpet cleaner designed for dog urine.  

Once you eliminate the odor of urine or feces from your carpets and floors, you’ll likely find it easier to restore order and get your pooch to start going outside again.

9. Lifestyle and Home Changes Can Cause Elimination Problems: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes  

I’m pretty sure David Bowie was thinking about potty training challenges when he wrote Changes

Many types of changes can throw off your dogs normal potty routines. From a change in his schedule, to a change in the household (guests, new pets, etc.), to changes in his diet, disruption can cause poopin’ problems.

dogs don't like rapid change

Whatever the change may be, if you see a sudden change in your dog’s potty habits, he may need your help adjusting to the new norm. 

If at all possible, and you know a change is coming, start slowly transitioning to the new routine before it’s actually happened.

For instance, you might be getting a new job, or restarting school. Before, your dog was getting a potty break at 3:00 PM, but now you’re not going to get home until 5:00 PM. 

So, before you start the job or school, start pushing out the afternoon potty break back little by little. On the first day, wait till 3:15. The next, wait until 3:30. So on and so forth. 

This way your dog can adjust more slowly and not suddenly have to hold it for an extra two hours. 

If a change in diet is necessary, do your best to slowly acclimate your dog to the new food.

Say your dog eats one cup of food for breakfast, and one cup for dinner. Day one, I’ll feed ¾ cup old food, ¼ cup new food. I’ll do that for a few days, then switch to ⅔ cup old, ⅓ new. Keep going until your dog is getting a bowl that only contains the new food.

As for guests or new pets, it’s a bit trickier. If it’s a new pet who is going to live in the house permanently, then introduce the new pet and older dog slowly and in a low-key manner. 

Have them spend time together outside, on walks, in a quiet room, and also give them some separate time. Don’t just throw them both together and hope it works out. After all, not all of us are social butterflies.

There is a reason I didn’t have roommates in college!

For houseguests or visitors, I’d suggest reverting back to a previous potty training schedule. This means lowering your expectations for your dog’s potty training and providing him with more guidance and supervision. 

And if he’s really having trouble because people are over, you may want to consider adopting a desensitization protocol while you’re at it. 

10. Scolding Your Dog Can Lead to Elimination Anxiety: Stay Positive!  

Scolding your dog after an accident usually just teaches your dog not to poop in front of you.

Which, of course, can actually make things even worse because it might cause him to stop pooping outside if you’re there with him. 

Dogs who have been scolded or punished for going to the bathroom inside often have a habit of “sneaking off” to go to the bathroom.

Don't scold dogs for accidents

I’ll then have clients say “You know he knows that he isn’t supposed to go inside because he sneaks off! And he looks guilty too!”

To which I say, “Actually…” and smile. 

Dogs don’t feel “guilt.” At least, not the way people do. 

Instead, they display appeasement behavior. 

This means that your dog sees you being mad or upset, and then tries to appease you. It has nothing to do with his behavior being “right” or “wrong,” or him feeling guilty. It is about trying to make you feel or behave better. 

And the reason he’s sneaking off? Because he has learned you tend to lose your dang mind when he poops in front of you! Better to just avoid all that drama and poop behind the sofa. 

The first thing you need to do to turn this around, is to start praising any outside potties. And give him plenty of treats for doing so.  

The second thing you need to do is vow to never reprimand your dog for going to the bathroom inside. Ever. 

I personally view any accidents inside as my own failure, not the dogs. After all, why did I leave the dog who is struggling with potty training alone, unattended? 

11. Age Can Change Your Dog’s Bathroom Needs: When You’re My age, You Get Up a Lot in the Middle of the Night. 

This is something we’ve all heard from grandparents, aunts, parents, and random strangers who like to disclose their nighttime bathroom routines.

But it’s true! As you grow older, your need to go often increases, and your ability to hold it decreases

This is true for your dog as well. Whenever I’m faced with a dog who’s having potty training problems, I always consider his age.

Elderly dogs can become incontinent

Is he too young to control his urges? Is he getting older and struggling with age-related incontinence? 

Sadly, there isn’t some magic training solution for this one. If your dog simply needs more potty breaks, you have to provide them in order to avoid accidents. 

But once you identify that this is what is going on, you can accommodate and adjust your schedule so the potties aren’t happening inside anymore. 

So that’s something.

But, you may also want to investigate incontinence products, such as incontinent dog beds, that’ll at least help prevent your elderly dog from making a mess.  


It can certainly be frustrating to deal with a doggo who likes to relieve himself after coming back inside the house. But rest assured, this is something you can fix.

Just start by figuring out the reason the problem is happening. Is your pooch frightened of the backyard? Is he suffering from a medical problem? Does your carpet still smell like pee from a previous accident?

Once you figure out the reason he’s pooping or peeing inside, you can implement some of the strategies discussed above.

With a little effort and patience (and maybe a fresh round of potty-training practice), you’ll likely be able to put an end to the problem.

If you’ve had any experiences or questions about pups pooping or peeing inside, let us know in the comments below! 

Recommended For You

How to House Train a Puppy

Written by

Claire Robertson

Claire is the owner and founder of Candid Canines Dog Training, as well as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a CARAT assessor, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), an AKC evaluator, and certified in canine first-aid and CPR. She strongly believes in humane, positive reinforcement-based dog training with a focus on building human canine relationships.


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Michael A Braselton

Our dog is 21/2 years old . He was potty trained but now he has started pooping and peeing in the house mostly during the night . Help !! What do we do ?

Ben Team

Hey there, Michael.
That certainly sounds frustrating, but there’s not much we can do to help without knowing more.
Have you taken him to the vet yet to make sure he’s not suffering from a medical issue? Have you tried any of the tips provided in the article?


Hello! We have a 3 year old shiba inu/blue heeler mix. We moved to a brand new house 7 months ago. We have an unfinished basement and she was going down there and peeing and pooping. We put up a gate at the bottom of the stairs and it all seemed to be good. But then she started going on the landing on the carpeted steps. We take her outside, she doesn’t like to be alone out there still, also mostly dirt. She will go the bathroom outside and we celebrate loudly but she still goes in the house. Also it is when we are here, not when left alone all day. Help!

Ben Team

Hey there, Sarah.
It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on based on your description, but we’d make sure that you’ve addressed any lingering odors with a dog-safe carpet deodorizer first. If that doesn’t help, you may need to just completely block off access to the area she likes to go in.
Best of luck!


Honestly, I don’t agree with this approach at all. I’ve had a younger dog that vocalized needing to go potty, Then I have this almost 2 year old that despite 4 to 5 walks a day will insist on going inside and pooping in my Childs room, I think the dog is simply just not smart enough or simply scared of life. 6 months without an accident? can a grown man even pee that long without hitting the seat? quite the expectation.

Sorry, not sorry.

Ben Team

Hey there, Jake.

You’re obviously welcome to disagree, but — short of neurological problems — all dogs are smart enough to learn where to relieve themselves. Some definitely pick up the pooping and peeing protocols faster than others, but associating a given location with evacuation needs is well within the capabilities of canines (and often important from a survival standpoint, when discussing wild canines).

Fear can be an issue that causes accidents, but you’d undoubtedly see other signs of acute fear.

I don’t really know what you mean with the toilet seat comment. Most grown men have no trouble navigating the complexities of modern bathroom technology, but YMMV.


I just got a new puppy and she has always been super good at going in the grass and going right away too. I took her to my boyfriend’s house and spent around 2 hours outside with her trying to get her to go and she refused. We went on a walk, tried the grass and the dirt and still nothing. As soon as I took her in the house, she peed even though there is no lingering odors and I was watching her. This happened about three times where I would spend lots of time with her then as soon as we came inside she would go. Then, as soon as I took her back to my house, I took her outside and she went right away in the grass like she usually does. I’m confused!

Ben Team

Huh. That is kind of puzzling, Jenna.
It may be that she was frightened or nervous about the trip to your boyfriend’s house. Anxious dogs will often “hold it” until they feel more comfortable.
Is she normally on the nervous side?


My 17 month old Lhasa apso is semi trained to the grass mat on the deck. Every now and then she will pee or poop directly on the deck for some reason but I still count that as a win since it’s outside. When she does go inside, I can usually pin that to me missing her cue or getting home late from work. She does well for about a week.

Then we will visit my parents where she can run and play freely. When she returns to my home she refuses to go on the grass mat on the deck. We start all over with the potty-training.

After seemingly holding it for 2 days, she will have a big blowout in her crate despite the frequent trips outside. And then after that she will eat her poop and lick her pee. So I actually can’t tell if she won’t go outside because she already did and hid it, or if she’s truly protesting. This will last a little more than a week until she finally starts going on the mat (or deck) again. Rinse, wash, repeat. It’s a disgusting and frustrating 2-week cycle.

I want her to be able to stretch her legs out in the country but not to the detriment of our daily living. And of course I can’t not visit my parents. I haven’t tried crating her and limiting her at my parents’ house. I’m hoping you have something better. Oh—and she excites pee. So many layers here.

Ben Team

Hey there, KJ.
There are many layers there!

First off, just understand that a lot of small breeds present potty-training challenges. Many will eventually become completely housetrained, but some percentage never become fully trustworthy. Secondly, it’d probably be a good idea to discuss the coprophagia (poop eating) with your vet, as that can be a symptom of underlying medical issues — issues that may be thwarting your other efforts.

As for the crux of the issue, the simplest solution may just be to start taking her on proper walks for bathroom breaks, rather than just letting her poop on the grass mat on the deck. Those grass mats work great for some dogs, but it sounds like yours may not love going there (as evidenced by her occasionally going on the deck). The walk will help “get things moving,” and it’ll also give her other substrates to use.

Just hang in there! We know it can be frustrating!


My 3 month old puppy will always go poop outside (which is amazing). But whenever he’s outside with me (for around 2-3 hrs) and we’re doing almost nothing he doesn’t go pee, but as soon as we step inside he goes pee on the carpet, it’s the same place every time too. I try to keep that spot off limits and it’s kind of working but not really. We got him not even a month ago. He does sometimes go outside and I praise him but he still ends up going pee inside the house.

Ben Team

Hey there, Isabella.
That certainly sounds frustrating. First of all, 3 months of age is still pretty young, so try to remain patient (especially if your pooch is a small breed — they tend to take longer to get the house-training idea).
But we’d recommend making sure that you’ve completely eliminated any lingering pee smells from your carpet/floors — it may just be that his “pee switch” is getting flipped by the scent of old urine.
Best of luck!

Linda Valentine

Hi, my husband had heart surgery last week & our Shitzu dig Chloe stayed with a friend. She did amazing. She came home this week & she’s been popping everywhere! I’m so stressed, please help with any suggestions. I take her our all the time. Thank you hugs ❤️

Ben Team

Hey, Linda. Glad Chloe (and presumably, your husband) did well!
It’s tough to know what’s going on from afar, but we’d bet that she’s just a little out of sorts from the strange week and different routine. Also, there may have been dietary changes involved, which could have added to the challenges.

You may just want to run her through a house-training “refresher.” Make sure you’re taking her out frequently and praising her when she poops outside. And you may want to consider crating her when you can’t supervise her for a week or so until she remembers the rules of the house.

Ultimately, we bet she’ll return to her old ways with a bit of time and patience.
Best of luck!


I am desperate my uncle had a bigger litter of rat terrier/miniature pit bulls.
I took one on and she is 5 to 6 mons. He lives in the country and they all pottied outside.
Now I have her in my home and she won’t go either poop nor pee outside. I took her on a 3 hour walk and as soon as we walked into the house she went off in the house and did bottom the carpet. She always goes on carpet but it doesn’t matter where she hides it where ever. The next evening I started to get concerned because she hadn’t gone all day so I walked her again 2 to 3 hour walk and no poop nor per. This time I took her directly to our fenced in back yard and put her back there until it got dark. Total outside time 5 to 6 hours. As soon as she came in, she did both on the carpet.
I don’t know what to do. Please any advise.

Ben Team

Hey, Mary. That sounds pretty frustrating!

You didn’t mention how long you’ve had the new dog, which may be part of the issue. If, for example, you’ve only had him for a few days or so, you may just need to give him more time to settle in to his new home.
Also, we always recommend checking in with your vet to make sure there aren’t any health concerns that are causing the problem.

But, if he’s had plenty of time to adjust to his new home, and he’s healthy, the best option would probably be to crate train him — that works really well for a lot of dogs. You may also want to try some poop sprays, which may stimulate him to go wherever you spray them.

Best of luck! Just hang in there!


Hi! I am hoping you can help me with a very frustrating problem. Last year I rescued a golden retriever who had lived in a cage for 4 years. He was potty trained as he as at a vets clinic who did their best but there was only so much they could do with limited resources and working in a busy clinic all day. For the last few months he he started peeing (and sometimes pooping) inside but only when I have left my apartment. He will have gone outside and has no problem going in front of me. I clean the smell away wifi all the recommended cleaners, I praise and reward him for going outside and he gets long, regular walks. I sometimes get frustrated with him (I’m only human) but I try not to. I can only assume it’s an anxiety thing since it only happens when I’m not here. I live in China so I also have limited resources but I need help with this. I’m so exhausted from cleaning up smelly pee and poop every time I come home

Ben Team

Hey there, Anon.
That certainly sounds frustrating. It’s hard to tell from afar, but it sounds like it may be separation anxiety.
Check out our article about managing separation anxiety — we bet that’ll help!
Best of luck!


Hi I just got a three yr old shih tzu who has never been potty trained she always used puppy pads she doesnt like the grass. I bring her out often but doesn’t seem to want to go outside she preferrs the potty pad any suggestions?

Ben Team

Hey there, Carol.
That can be a tricky problem, but we’d suggest you start by setting up a potty pad outside. Then, wait for a time when your pooch is *really* gotta go (perhaps first thing in the morning) and take her outside.
If this works, you can gradually try to get her comfortable with peeing outdoors without the pad.
Best of luck!


Can you add the fact that some young puppies don’t eliminate themselves all at once because they haven’t learned yet? So people have the puppy pee outside once but they haven’t fully eliminated so they do it again… when the owner brings it inside the house?

Ben Team

Hey there, Annoymus.
We do pretty much say that in the article. 🙂


I hope you can help, or point me in the right direction. I found an abandoned dog a couple weeks ago, running around frantically in the storm. After two weeks of actively searching for her owner we’ve decided to adopt her. We believe she’s a JRT mix, maybe a bit of rat terrier too, or dachshund (longer body shorter legs). She’s very sweet and loving. Vet trip revealed that she’s definitely a senior, 8 – 10 years, blood panel showed good organ function, no diabetes, kidney or liver problem, or any other senior type issues. Heart murmur but no CHF, not yet anyway.

She’s crated when I can’t actively supervise her, and has no problem staying clean in there, even overnight. I tether her to me or crate her if I’m not going to be able to watch her for more than 15 minutes, though there’s some wiggle room in that if I she’s just peed. I take her out frequently, (every hour or two) and she has a clear pattern. She always pees twice lol! In the morning and evening after I feed her, she also poops.

Here’s my problem. Sometimes within minutes of bringing her back inside, she’ll pee again. Not often, maybe 5 times in the two weeks I’ve had her. She’s never peed in the same place twice, maybe because I’m crazed about liberal use of an enzymatic cleaning product. 4 times on different rugs, once on the bare kitchen floor. The kitchen floor episode was just yesterday, and it was in the literally 5 seconds I took to bring her inside from her potty break, (where se peed twice as usual) and while I was hanging up her leash she trotted off. I headed after her and there was the puddle, right in the middle of the kitchen floor, with her blithely trotting away from it. (newly laid floor a month ago so unlikely that there was residual odor of anything enticing.)

I’m not unfamiliar with basic dog training, and feel like I’ve covered all the basics, including a health check. I just don’t know where to go from here. Can you help? Or point me in the direction of further resources?

Ben Team

Hey there, Ronni.
Sorry about the problems with your new pooch, but we thank you on her behalf for giving her a good home.

It does sound like you’re doing most things right. You’ve had your vet check her for health problems (including, I assume, UTIs), and your bathroom-break schedule and procedure sound pretty spot-on. New floors mean that you’re probably right — it isn’t likely related to lingering odors.

If she’s only peeing inside after going outside to relieve herself, you may simply need to give her a little longer to empty her bladder completely before coming back inside. Dogs are rarely “empty-empty,” but you can likely make sure that she doesn’t need to relieve herself by giving her a bit longer outside. That’s certainly not guaranteed to work, but it’s a reasonable and easy strategy that may solve the problem.

But ultimately, you may need to have a professional trainer or behaviorist look into the situation. There are a lot of subtle signs that owners often miss, which are blatantly obvious to experienced pros. Small breeds are often more challenging to housebreak in the first place, and maybe she’s never really been taught or learned proper peeing protocol — hard to tell since you don’t know much about her history.

If you don’t have a trainer already, consider reaching out to Journey Dog Training. They offer a variety of long-distance solutions, which may prove helpful in your situation.

Best of luck! We hope you’re able to figure out a solution for your little gal!


i wany to have a pup and i want to train him to poop in one special place in the house

Ben Team

Some owners do exactly that, Andrey!
Check out our article on the subject: How to Teach Your Pup to Use Potty Pads.

Patricia Mitchell

My pet is using bathroom in the house in the middle of the night. how do I handle this.
She is an older dog, but she doesn’t try to waken me or ask to go out or indicate . just leaves her bed and go to the living room do her business and go back to bed.

Ben Team

Hey there, Patricia.
Sorry about the problem with your pooch. It’d probably be a good idea to start by taking her in to the vet for an exam to make sure she’s not dealing with a health issue. Assuming that the vet doesn’t find any medical cause for the issue (and that this is a new problem for her), you may want to try management solutions, such as letting her out or taking her for a walk later in the evening, or trying to reduce the amount of water she drinks or food she eats before bed. If none of those solutions work, you may want to consider changing her sleeping location (having her sleep in an area with easy-to-clean floors) or using doggie diapers during the night hours.
But ultimately, this may (unfortunately) be part of the aging process that you’ll just have to manage the best you can.
Best of luck!


My 3 month old puppy pees outside but will only poop outside in the early morning. He will pee outside but then play and pick up everything. Staying outside only lets him play longer. He will come in and poop in the house. I have tried everything for a month and he still poops in the house.

Ben Team

Hey, Jill.
Have you tried putting him in his crate immediately after coming back inside (not forever — just until he learns to associate going outside with pooping)? That may be helpful. Also, be sure to check out our article about teaching a dog to poop quickly.
Best of luck!


I have read so many articles about the issue of what I thought were potty-trained dogs going inside and feel like I have truly tried everything to the best of my ability and I still deal with this issue…constantly. We have a 5 yo chihuahua mix (male) and a 2 yo female mix approx. 18 pounds (we really have no idea what she is but they told us chihuahua and beagle at the rescue facility). Our male was definitely house-trained until we brought the new girl home a couple of years ago. Now, I feel like they are in some potty competition. She will go on any surface, but tends to prefer our living room rug – then he will tend to “mark” any area she goes. After they ruined that rug I recently broke down and bought another one hoping that eliminating that scent would help…it didn’t work. Within 20 minutes (not joking) of us laying down the rug and after she went outside for quite awhile she decided to #2 on it. I realized yesterday that someone (didn’t see which dog) peed on it and then today it happened again in a different spot. I feel like I truly can never turn my head. We close doors, we bought a gate to block them from on side of the house if we aren’t there, we built a fence for them so I can let them out hourly while working at home, I’ve even fed them treats or their meals in certain areas to attempt to keep them from using the bathroom there. I am fighting a losing battle and I know it’s our fault somehow but I can’t figure it out. The articles all make sense and I implement every suggestion (including powerful, highly recommended scent neutralizers). Maybe I am not keeping her attached at my hip enough? Help!

Ben Team

Hey, Leah. So sorry you’re dealing with all this!

I certainly feel your frustration. I’ve experienced the same kinds of problems in the past, and they can be maddening.
It’s really tough to provide specific advice from afar, so (if you haven’t already), I’d really encourage you to work with a force-free trainer or behaviorist. There are a number of subtle clues your dogs may be exhibiting that fly under your radar, but would be instantly obvious to an experienced trainer. So, give that some thought.

If you don’t want to go that route, I’d take things back to step one and re-housetrain them completely. Treat them like they’re puppies and completely prevent them from being able to “practice” going inside. Give them potty breaks every two hours or so and simply confine them with crates and baby gates (or outside, if you have a safe, fenced space) whenever you can’t monitor them. Don’t keep them locked up in a crate for hours on end or anything, but make sure that they are supervised anytime they’re indoors (especially in places they like to tinkle/poop).

This will obviously not be easy, as you’ll need to make lots of time to supervise them and take them outside, but it’s probably one of the best ways forward at this point.
We really hope this helps. Our fingers are crossed for you!

Amy Botticello

Hi there! When my daughter and her dog come over to our house he goes tinkle or poopy when he hears me make any sound in the kitchen, even if he just came in from a walk. The problem is that my husband and I like to make a cup of tea frequently or unload the dishwasher…I think it is because in her apartment she doesn’t make a lot of noises in the kitchen.

Ben Team

What a strange little problem, Amy!
Assuming the pooch is completely house-trained, it sounds like he may be frightened by some of the kitchen sounds. A a little desensitization training may help her get over these fears.
Let us know how that works!

Mr Paul Banks

My dog never does any toilet business in my home but frequently does toilet business when l take her to my friends and family’s homes. Why is this? Any help or insight into this problem would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Ben Team

Hey there, Mr. Paul.
That’s a pretty common issue, which can occur for a few different reasons. Your dog may be smelling old pee/poop spots on the carpet, or she may be inclined to impart her scent on “unscented” carpets and floors.
Try taking her for an extra-long walk before going inside unfamiliar areas — this may “empty” her enough to end the problem. If that doesn’t help, you’ll probably want to reach out to a trainer for personalized instruction.
Best of luck!


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