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

Dog Behavior


Claire Robertson


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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 or indoor dog potties, 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! 

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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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  1. Gordon Avatar

    Never had problems before but our younger dog is having problems learning to pee and poo outside. It’s all too exciting, but I think our older dog has taught him that when in the yard he is on patrol. Your article has given us some great pointers on how to resolve this. Thanks

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Glad you found some useful tips, Gordon. Best of luck!

  2. Judy Avatar

    I have a lot to learn!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      That’s OK, Judy! We could all learn more about doggos.

  3. Yasmina Avatar

    Hi, so I live in the city center in an apartment and I have a King Charles spaniel puppy. Who is always supper anxious and too excited when we go outside. It’s a pretty busy neighborhood. We’re always bumping into dogs , lots of loud noises and cars and people in the street. It’s been 3 weeks of me taking her out 4 times a day and she doesn’t want to pee or poo outside. She’s 4 months old and is used to peeing on a pee pad as she wasn’t aloud out until she was done with her vaccines and I did the mistake of not putting her in a crate or a playpen from the start I started too 2 days ago . Now what. I do is keep her in thd play pen and take her outside when she needs to pee or poo and when she doesn’t I use the balcony . But today she didn’t pooop all day and anc the when we arrived from our even walk she ran as soon as she entered the door and pooped 3 times in random places and still wouldn’t even poop in the terrace . I don’t know what my strategy should be

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Yasmina. That does sound like a tricky situation.

      You may need to experiment, but here are a few ideas:

      1) Pick up a grass patch to use on your balcony. Many owners living in apartments swear by them.
      2) Start taking longer walks. Like, much longer walks. Eventually, she should go, which should start developing the association in her brain (outside = poop). Just make sure your vet is OK with her walking long distances, as 4 months is still a bit young.
      3) Start working on building her confidence. That way, she won’t be as overwhelmed when going outside.
      4) Continue with the crate training. That should work, but you’ll just have to dedicate a lot of time to her while she’s learning.

      Best of luck!

  4. MerryAnne Avatar

    Thank you ffor this! You reminded why my new dog is acting like she is, pooping and peeing in the house.
    I loved every accidents was my failure….Just got this 1 1/2 year old puppy. She lost three different owners as they died. Now she is mine. I have a 13.5 standard poodle with the best manners and has been the greatest dog eveer. Of course there were annual obienence class, cgc, agility….
    Sadie has been with us less than a week. I have to reread your article but you have changed my attitude and today I just cleaned out an small fenced area in our yard. You confirmed my direction…Tip for me to remember..Do not say anything till the dog has Finished….I wonder why she comes upstairs and pees just a little..thank you so much.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, MerryAnne.
      We’re glad you liked the article! Just keep working on things and remember that Sadie has only been with you for a week — she may still be learning the rules of where to poop and pee.
      Stick with it! Best of luck!

  5. Open minded leader Avatar
    Open minded leader

    What really irks me about ppl like you is yall think you know what dogs feel or think . How do you know? How can you Say a dog doesn’t feel guilt or know what they think? Does it tell you lol.
    I’ve watched my dog do very manipulative things. I also watch him hide his fave from me when he knows he has done something wrong.watched him nudge me and go back and forth pacing to the door letting me know he had to use it. Then came home to him having used 1 and 2 on our bed!!!!!! So miss me with your assumptions

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Nobody knows exactly how dogs think, but canine behavioral scientists have accumulated a ton of evidence that illustrates some of the ways in which they do.
      It doesn’t sound like we’re going to change your mind, but here are some dog training and behavior books you may want to check out to learn more.

  6. mariah Avatar

    I just got a 4-5 month old chihuahua. I’ve only had him 2 and a half days now. When I first brought him to my apartment I made sure he peed and was taking him out frequently after eating or drinking water and he was doing great! He still has had a few accidents but when I would notice him squatting I would run outside and take him where he would finish his business. All of a sudden today he did not want to pee or poop at all outside. He did pee in his crate last night but I took him out immediately when I got up and he did no go. Today he ONLY went inside and had 4 accidents. Twice was right after we went outside and came back in. He does get distracted but I stay out with him for 15-20 minutes if not longer and try to take him to the same spot every time so he knows where he can go and then play. I’m not sure why the sudden switch over night. I know I got the stains and smells out from inside because he never went twice in the same spot.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Mariah.
      Well, first of all, you’re only two days into caring for a 4 or 5 month old little Chihuahua, so there are going to be bumps in the road, but here are a few things to think about:

      1) Odors may still very well be an issue — even if he’s only peed once or twice inside. Remember, your little guy’s sense of smell is far, far, far stronger than yours is. So, consider picking up a pet-safe carpet deodorizer.
      2) His crate may be a bit too big if he’s peeing in it. We can’t say for sure without more info, but that’s something to consider.
      3) Is he frightened of anything outside? That could have caused him to start going indoors.
      4) If the switch really was sudden, you may want to contact your vet. Health problems can sometimes lead to accidents.
      5) Small dogs often struggle with housetraining. It’s just part of the small-dog-ownership gig. And your little guy is only 4 or 5 months old — lots of dogs still struggle at that age.
      6) You may (for the time being) need to stay outside with him much longer until he gets the hang of things.

      Best of luck!

  7. Libby Avatar

    Lizzy is a toy poodle and I’d nearly 9 years old. She has two places on the carpet that she will just squat and go whenI can’t see her, even after we have just peed outside. She has never been completely house broken. HELP

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Libby. Sorry to hear about the troubles with Lizzy!

      It sounds like you need to do two things:
      1) Use a good pet-safe carpet deodorizer to eliminate any lingering pee odors that may be triggering her to go.
      2) Really dig in and properly housetrain her. You may want to consider crate-training, as that’s often the easiest approach for some owners.

      Best of luck!

  8. Diane Lilley Avatar
    Diane Lilley

    She has been rewarded when she poops and pees outside. But here lately she waits to come in and do her business. HELP!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Diane. That’s gotta be frustrating!
      Have you tried any of the tips from the article?

  9. Kristen Avatar

    My 11 week old pyredoodle has been peeing outside splendidly while taking her out every hour, and she holds it at night in her kennel.

    However for poop, she went outside a few times but has resorted to pooping on the floor just 10 minutes after we came back in. I imagine she’s distracted while outside? We don’t have a fence yet as it’s a new build.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      It could be distraction, Kristen, but it could also be that you’re simply not giving her enough time outside.
      At 11 weeks, she should be able to hold it for about 2 hours at a time (if not more). So perhaps you should try waiting a little longer between breaks, but making each break about twice as long.

      Also, just keep in mind that 11 weeks is still pretty darn young. Sometimes it takes dogs a while to learn the poopin’ protocols.

  10. Sam B Avatar
    Sam B

    I have a 12 year old Bichon frise male who is all of a sudden peeing and pooping in the house right after going outside. When cleaning the mess up he began to growl at me and act aggressive. He has never been an aggressive dog and has been toilet trained for years. What can I do? I’m really worried as he can become a completely different dog when he gets aggressive and growls and it’s scares me.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Sam.

      Anytime you note drastic changes in your dog’s habits or personality, it’s important to check in with your vet. A variety of medical problems can cause incontinence as well as behavioral changes.

      Let us know what your vet says! Best of luck!

  11. Amina Avatar

    Hi there! I hope you might be able to help me, as I cannot, for the life of me, find any info about my issue online. Basically, we have a chihuahua, it’s about 9 years old and epileptic. Epilepsy is managed as well as it can be through medication. He has regular epileptic attacks that I track in a log, so I know when to expect one. The potty problem I am about to describe is not related to this (at least I haven’t observed any correlation). He is not a smart dog, but he knows he has to do his business outside. However, he doesn’t like cold or wet weather, so it’s always a challenge when the weather is like that. Sometimes, in bad weather, he will hold it in as much as he can, and then will finally go inside. I can understand all of this. What I don’t understand is why he runs for our feet when he does this? It’s happened so many times now that he will run to the most crowded spot in the room and start peeing and/or pooping right on people’s feet or right next to people’s feet. He does this regardless if he knows the person or not. We had our NYE dinner tonight and the worst accident of such kind yet: he pooped next to my mom’s feet under the table, she didn’t notice right away, stepped in it and then walked all over the kitchen Right in the middle of dinner, we had to stop everything, clean and disinfect the floors, she had to go wash her slippers, then it stank of his poop and disinfectant at the table.

    My question is: why? Why does he choose to pee and poop by/on our feet? Why not just somewhere quiet, maybe right by the door through which we let him out into the yard?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Amina. What a difficult problem!

      It’s really tough for us to tell what’s going on from afar, so you should probably start with a vet visit and then consider reaching out to a certified dog behavior consultant for some in-person advice.

      It could actually be related to the epilepsy, or it could be that he’s just anxious and confused (he knows he has to go, but he’s not supposed to go in the house, but it’s cold outside, etc).
      It just starts a cascade of anxiety and confusion, and it ends when he can’t hold it anymore.

      Assuming your vet thinks he is in good health, you may just want to try to manage the situation. Hooking him up with a raincoat to use during wet weather or investing in an indoor dog potty are both good starting points.

      Best of luck!

  12. Michael Avatar

    Our Chihuahua, Sugar, does not urinate in the house for the 2 months while mother is in the hospital. When mother returns home, so does the urination. It is clear to both of us that Sugar chooses not to go outside when she can eliminate her urine and the risk of losing her owner at the same time. She is taken outside every 4 hours, to no avail. Any tips, tricks or magic would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Michael. Sorry to hear about the problems with your pup.

      That’s a bit of a strange pattern Sugar is exhibiting there! You may want to try going back to crate training for a while to help “reset” everything.

      Also, it may help to ensure there are no lingering odors by using a good enzymatic carpet cleaner.

      Best of luck!

  13. Amber R Avatar
    Amber R

    My dog is now 7 , he’ll be 8 at the end of March. He is a mix of a papillon and deer head chihuahua. If he’s mixed with more I’m not sure! I found him on CL,when I went to look at the puppies they were 2 and 1/2 wks old. I wanted to get a female if things went well. However when I got there my little gu head the only one left and the place was dirty and smelt so bad. I asked her how payment would work,so I wouldn’t be ripped off. She told me I had to pay her and take him with me that day. I asked to pay more and have him stay with mom until 6 weeks at least , it was a no go . I didn’t know ANYTHING important about new pups . His eyes weren’t open even. So my daily got together and we googled it all and I bought formula. We made it work.
    My issue is he turns on a gremlin at times , really nasty. He bit my face and fingers while trying to clip his nails the other day. He also goes pee and poo all the time on the house we are in now. I take him out about every 1-2 hours since losing my job . It’s always at night , in the middle of the night. I’ve put down vinegar and baking soda, peroxide, bleach, resolve .. even the black bottle of urine spray. HE DOESNT STOP!!! My bf has been with me since Oli was 4 months old . They’re buddies too. Every evening they lay together on the couch or go play fetch. We go for walks or play Chuck it each night . He does his business and in the AM I have pee in ny grout .
    I went out just this evening to Walmart for the fresh pet food . Waiting on Amazon delivery for their normal . Anyway, I came back and my dog walks to the front room of the home and went pee and poo. He had treats and food just 5 minutes before. He didn’t make a sound at me or anything! Just walked past me!?
    We currently rent this home and there’s only supposed to be one dog. It’s a mess! My bf has his dog who doesn’t have any accidents at all , and mine always does. My bf said if he doesn’t stop or if I can’t find a way to train him he has to go. Anybody have any ideas?! I’m desperate
    He’s never been fully potty trained , and I did “freak out” whenever he would go in the home.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Amber. So sorry to hear about all of your struggles with Oli, but we’re glad he ended up with such a loving mom!

      There are a number of reasons he may be nipping and biting, but lots of dogs hate having their nails trimmed. You may want to consider using a grinder rather than clippers, as some dogs adjust to this better. But if that doesn’t work, it may be better to just take him to a groomer for regular nail trims. You’ll need to warn the groomer about his attitude, but many groomers have equipment and tricks for working with agitated doggos.

      As for the housetraining issue, it really just sounds like you need to go back to square one and housetrain him properly. In fact, you’ll probably have the best luck if you crate train him, as small dog breeds often present more housetraining challenges than larger breeds.

      Just hang in there! Best of luck!

  14. Barry Avatar

    I have a 2yr old female Chinese crested powder puff I bought as a rescue. I don’t have a history of her puppy year other than that she was owned by an older woman who died the first year she had the dog so the breeder took her back and that’s when I got her.
    She’s a very sweet dog and loves to sit in my lap. She likes her walks and will pee and poop, first thing, in the same grassy lot near the house providing there are no distractions. then we proceed around the block. She gets very crazy and tries to run after every car, squirrel or person that goes by, barking her head off. When we walk around the block, she can hardly contain herself and everything is her business. When we get back I take her off the leash and let her run around our fenced yard. This is how it went today. Then we go inside. If I don’t have the gate up in the hallway, she will sneak off and pee and or poop on the bedroom carpet. And that’s right after she peed and pooped on the walk. She will also secretly poop on a rug in the dining room sometimes. I had another Chinese crested that had the same behavior. I chalked it up to little dogs, 10lbs or less, just thinking that that was ok. But I k ow that’s not it. How can I change this behavior?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Barry. Sorry to hear about the problems with your pooch!

      Well, there are a couple of important things to understand and do:
      1) Small breed dogs are often much more challenging when it comes to housetraining. But most can be taught the rules about poopin’ and peein’ with enough practice.
      2) Dogs often have to poop and pee multiple times during a walk, regardless of their size. So, you may just need to increase the duration of your walks.
      3) You may want to think about crate-training her until she’s figured out that she is not supposed to poop in the house.
      4) You may also want to pick up a pet-safe carpet deodorizer to help eliminate any odors that are potentially triggering her to relieve herself.

      We wish you the best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

  15. Kayla Avatar

    My dog is about to turn 5. And rarely ever had accidents in the house as a puppy (he was also crate trained) but over the last couple years, on & off, when we leave he’ll go downstairs, to the concrete floor & pee/poop. Even after letting him out, watching him go to the bathroom, before we leave. He’ll go months without this behavior, then start it back up again. He’s starting to do it again recently, no matter how many times or how long we let him out for before we leave. And we purposely watch him/make SURE he goes, to avoid the mess when we get home, but it’s still happening. Even if I’m gone for 45 mins. I am getting so frustrated. WHY is he doing this? Please help

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Kayla. That is a relatively common and extremely frustrating problem.

      A couple of things:
      1) We can’t determine the exact cause for the issue from afar, so we’d recommend reaching out to a behaviorist who can perform an assessment and point you in the right direction. It sounds like it *may* be separation anxiety, but we can’t be sure without seeing him.
      2) Regardless of the reason for his potty problems, you should clean the concrete with a pet-safe floor cleaner to help prevent any odors from triggering him.
      3) While waiting for the behaviorist to perform an assessment, you may just want to go back to using his crate when you leave. Management solutions are often the simplest fix for four-footer problems.

      Best of luck!

  16. Tracy Avatar

    Our daughter moved back home with her nine month old puppy and everything was going great until we introduced another (7 month old) puppy we rescued into the mix. The two pups get along very well but now have started peeing everywhere in the house. We use odor eliminating cleaners and take them out frequently. They give no warning before doing it and it often happens after they have just been out to pee or for a walk. The oldest isn’t neutered yet – could this be part of the issue? Someone is home with them over 95% of the time. We just aren’t sure how to proceed.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Tracy. That sounds frustrating!

      If they’re peeing right after returning from a walk — especially if it is in the same spot — it may very well be lingering odors. Even if you can’t smell anything, your dogs may be able to. So, it’d be wise to at least consider upgrading your carpet cleaners.

      Whether that’s the problem or not, it’d probably be helpful to start using a crate to house-train them again. It may just take a “brush up course” to get everyone back to a good routine.

      Best of luck!

  17. Kim Avatar

    Help!!! I have a 9yo Shihpoo who I love dearly, but for the last 3 weeks, he has been pooping in the house at least 5-6 times/week. I am at my wits end. Today, I took him outside, he was out there for prob 25 minutes, and then came in. I left to meet friends for abt an hour and he pooped in my bedroom. I’m soooo over it.

    In the mornings, he has no problem taking care of business alone in the yard. But, the rest of the day, if I leave him out there he just stands and does nothing. And that’s beyond irritating. THEN, if I do stay out there, half of the time I’m out there w him, he either chases squirrels or lays down in the grass. Im so frustrated!!!

    What can I do to fix this?!

    Thank you!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Kim. That sounds really frustrating!

      For starters, it’d likely be a good idea to check in with your vet since he seems to have suddenly begun exhibiting different bathroom habits.
      But aside from that, you may want to make sure that there aren’t any lingering odors that may be triggering him to go (especially if it seems that he’s found a specific place he likes to go).
      Check out some of our favorite pet-safe carpet deodorizers and see if one of those helps!

  18. Amanda Avatar

    My pup is 5 years old and potty trained…. His mom has been with us this whole time but she just went to doggy boot camp to learn not to be dog aggressive toward other dogs. Since then he’s been going inside and refuses to poop outside. He will pee, just not poop. Not sure what to do.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Amanda.
      Sounds like your little guy is upset about his mom being away!

      Given that his mom probably won’t be gone too long (perhaps a few weeks), we’d recommend just trying to implement management techniques until she gets back. Hopefully, that’ll have the little guy feeling better again and allow him to get back in the swing of things.

      So, do things like keeping him in a crate for the few hours before he’d normally poop until you can take him outside, going on really long walks to help encourage him to poop outside, and even using puppy gates to sequester him in easier areas to clean if need be.

      Best of luck!

  19. Natasha Avatar

    HELP – Iv took on a 4 month old puppy, he’s very good at holding pee in, in fact too good…
    I have spent hours waiting for him to pee making sure I focus on the usuals after food, sleep, playtime! He goes approx every 4 hours and sleeps through the night. He just does not understand outside peeing, the MOMENT he walks into the house he squats and pees, so I pick him up and take him outside… NOTHING, go back inside and instantly pees! I pick him up each time he pees and quietly take him outside to try and get him to finish outside but all this has done is cause a negative reaction and he’s now very anxious about peeing in general and cowers inside looking at me :(.
    If I do manage to literally wait him out (approx 45 mins wait even after 8hours of no peeing during the night) and he relieves outside I of course give him lots and lots of praise. On a lead he will just sit and stare at me if I walk round the garden ignoring him he just calmly walks by my side or worse sits and watch’s me. Iv tried leaving pee mats with his pee on outside, Iv even bought some laminate flooring to put outside incase it’s the surface!
    Iv even tried from garden to crate and he’d rather pee in the crate than in the garden so this doesn’t work. Pulling my hair out here!!

    1. Natasha Avatar

      Ps 45 mins as a minimum I’ve sat for 2 hours even after he’s held it for 4 hours already!
      Pooping isn’t an issue he naturally takes himself outside and goes on the grass

    2. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Natasha. It sounds like your little guy is really testing your limits!!!
      Have you tried crate training him? It may really help “break the pattern” and establish a new one.
      Fingers crossed for you!

  20. Norah Avatar

    My dog Is a rescue. Living here happily for a year . Across the road from the park and beach. He has three trips to the park daily and a short round the block pee walk at night. All was well but now if I have visitors overnight, family home for weekend, he pees,in the house. Everyone who comes is very fond of him but he started peeing in the house at night. This week he has graduated to cropping in the kitchen, today destroyed with two big,poops and wee everywhere. He never does this in my daughters place only here. I am very fed up and worried as my flat mate gets up very early and faces this. I have to get up really early to clean and it si affecting my sleep! HELP.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Norah. So sorry to hear about the problem with your pooch.
      Some doggos will start pooping and peeing indoors due to stress or fear, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here. It is possible that — due to the excitement of having new people come over — he’s drinking more water than usual, and that’s causing him problems over night.
      Regardless of the reason, you may want to think about crating him at night for a while to break the cycle. Try that for a few weeks, and then see if that solves the issue.
      Best of luck!

  21. Donna Collins Avatar
    Donna Collins

    I need help I am so frustrated! She tells me she wants to go potty but she just goes outside and eats grass, moss rocks then comes inside and goes potty She rolls on the ground plays tug with the leash Ugh I just marked off a smaller spot today 10x 10 and I’m hoping this will work We’ve praised her when she does potty outside but then goes out a couple of hours later messes around gets distracted then comes in the house and pees/poops. She’s almost 12 weeks and is a lab mix

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Donna.
      First of all, don’t panic — she’s only 12 weeks old! It takes some dogs longer than others to get the hang of things.
      But, you may want to go back to square one and start implementing a crate training regimen. Give that a try and see if it helps!

  22. Brenda Camire Avatar
    Brenda Camire

    Our 6 month old puppy, which we’ve had since she was 6 weeks old, has been hard to potty train, & is still peeing & pooping inside after coming in from outside. Tonight, for the first time, she decided to squat & pee on our bed, where she normally sleeps. She’s never done that. She’s also been jumping up on our couches & peeing on them. She’s healthy. Very stubborn. Can be aggressive toward my husband & me, but sweet to all other people. Can also be very sweet. She’s a Great Pyrenees/Pitbull mix, so she’s already 54 lbs.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Brenda. It sounds like it is time to call in some professional reinforcements (especially given her aggression issues).
      Check out our article about finding a certified dog behavior consultant. That should help you get moving in the right direction.
      Best of luck!

  23. Nicole Avatar

    I have just brought home a 12 week old shih-poo. She wont go potty outside at all. I take her out approx 10-15 times a day. No success. We even went to the park for a little over an hour and nothing. Nor will she use the pee pads. She will use the carpet beside them though. I am not sure what to do. I haven’t found anything that addresses this particular problem. Any suggestions would be wonderful.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Nicole.
      You may want to reach out to the breeder for some explanation or tips (it sounds like she developed a substrate preference for carpet). But that aside, I’d probably just go outside with her and wait until she goes. At 12 weeks of age, she’s probably going to have to go within about three hours, so just bring a book and commit to it! One time probably won’t fix the issue completely, but it’ll get you started in the right direction.
      Best of luck!

  24. Jeff D Avatar
    Jeff D

    Thanks for the information. I have a puppy that is about 12 weeks old. After reading your article I realize I need to set a place for her to go and then praise her, not just let her walk around. Also i need to have more PPP when she goes.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Glad you found the article helpful, Jeff! Best of luck with your little woofer!

  25. Deedee White Avatar
    Deedee White

    Not sure what to do!! I rescued an 11 year old Chihuahua mix 1year ago as he ran loose on a very busy street. . At the time I couldn’t believe it when the owner told my vet some balarky that they had given him away and wasn’t sure why he was running loose. Long story short we ended up keeping him but figured out why he was probably running loose. He pee’s in the house-not all the time but just now and then. What we can’t figure out is why. So many times we can be outside and watch him pee but when we come back inside he will pee again in the house. Sometimes he will go weeks without doing this and then will pee twice in the house in one week. The vet said he is healthy just getting old. Any suggestions. I’m thinking about putting a dog diaper on him because I don’t want to have to leave him in his kennel all the time when I can’t keep an eye on him. Help!!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Deedee. That sounds frustrating!

      It’s hard for us to know exactly what is happening from afar, but it could be related to his age (senior dogs require different kinds of care) or it could be that he’s being triggered by lingering urine odors. For that matter, some dogs (especially small dogs) simply struggle with these kinds of problems throughout their lives.

      The doggie diaper idea is definitely worth considering if you can’t figure out another solution, but you could also consider using dog gates to help keep him in a portion of the house that’s easier to clean.

      Best of luck!

  26. SueP Avatar

    We are fostering a four month old female Australian Shepherd mix. Since coming to our shelter she has consistently done her business inside. Her prior Foster was putting pee pads down for her. She’s only been with us for two days. She is pooping outside and she has gone pee a few times outside. Yesterday we took her out every hour and a half, and she peed her crate a couple of times. Today, we are taking her out every half hour. I caught her mid stream peeing a throw rug so I picked her up and took her outside, nothing. She has not peed since. If she doesn’t pee then she goes back into her crate when she comes inside. Any suggestions?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Sue.

      We’d recommend you start by having the shelter vet assess her and make sure there aren’t any medical issues at play (especially if she’s truly not peeing for extended periods of time). That’s almost always the best first step.
      But assuming she’s healthy, you may just need to be patient — she’s only been with you a few days and it can take time for her to learn different rules about where she’s allowed to relieve herself. For that matter, it may take her days or weeks to simply relax and feel comfortable in her new home.

      But in general, we’d recommend you just keep doing what you’re doing: Take her outside frequently, and try to establish an association between the outdoors and pottying. Also, be sure that her crate/kennel space don’t have lingering urine/poop odors.

      Best of luck!

  27. Charles Avatar

    Our daughter’s 2 1/2 year old Pomski is let outside in our privacy fenced large backyard whenever she wants, but in the last two weeks has chosen to again start peeing on our kitchen rugs repeatedly which I finally removed from the kitchen. This evening, she was let out several times and then just chose to poop all over our hardwood floors in the kitchen. She has to be gated off at 2 1/2 years old to confine her to the kitchen and den because we can’t trust her to roam around the house.

    In contrast, our adult son owns a Shiba Inu which is an incredibly tough breed to train. She has impeccably good behavior. The vet compliments him whenever he brings her in and states that he has never seen such a perfectly behaved Shina Inu. He takes her to the dog park and she has been trained to not even pick up another dog’s toy. She is extremely intelligent and he was hard on her when needed including yelling at her when she was doing something that she knew was wrong. She did show what could only be described as sorrow when she misbehaved and he got mad at her. Regardless, I have never seen an owner and dog who loves each other more.

    Our daughter’s dog is not sick. She knows what she is doing is wrong. We believe she is just being rebellious because she does not get to be around us all of the time because of work schedules. Nothing is getting through to her and our 21 year old daughter is as equally frustrated. She’ll be moving into an apartment within the next year or two and this dog will be a nightmare to put up with if the behavior doesn’t improve.

  28. Evan Avatar

    Hello there! We are 1 month in on getting out pup off pads. He’s a perfect little angel when we are home, but when we are out it’s a bathroom free for all. How do we get across to him that potty rules apply even when we aren’t home?

  29. Dee Avatar

    We have a 3 year old lab/heeler mix. He’s fully potty trained, and has been since he was 2-3 months old. His new thing is if we go somewhere new, he poops in their house the first 5-10 minutes! I took him potty before going inside, and he pooped outside. Is he doing this to show dominance? It’s embarrassing and frustrating. (Note: he’s met these people before, but on his own turf. This was the first time in their home.) We travel often for work, and meet new people every 6-8 months. Is this going to continue forever?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Dee. Sorry about your pupper’s pooping problem.
      It’s hard to know for sure what is causing him to do this, but it is definitely not “dominance.”
      Honestly, the easiest solution is likely just to make sure he’s completely empty before taking him inside new places for a while. That alone may be enough to break his newly developed habit.
      Best of luck!

  30. Leanne Avatar

    I’ve had my dog for 2 years (a rescue) and she pees and poops in her crate sometimes right after being outside…has no problem laying in it – help!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Sorry to hear that, Leanne.
      Have you tried any of the suggestions from the article yet? Has your vet ruled out any potential medical causes?
      Let us know and we’ll try to help.

  31. Kay Adams Avatar
    Kay Adams

    I am 70 and hate the cold also have no intention of getting up to take our 12 week old puppy out at night either. She sleeps in my bedroom in a pen with a puppy mat one end which works for us.
    It’s winter and I really don’t mind her using a puppy mat indoors, puppy pads are too tempting to play with.
    She sometimes misses the mat but having solid floors they are easy to clean.
    Am I setting myself up for future problems to go potty in the garden?
    I do take her out but she rarely performs and if i wait for a cue its too late to get a coat on!
    We have just started walking her outside and today, day 3 she went while on her walk.
    I’m hoping that warmer weather in the spring will encourage us both to try harder.

    Now if she could just watch a few videos on how to do it………

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Kay.

      It’s impossible to know in advance whether using potty pads or mats will cause problems in the future, but some dogs do present some challenges when learning to switch to going outdoors. You didn’t mention your doggo’s breed, but understand that small breeds generally present greater housetraining challenges than large breeds, so keep that in mind.

      All that said, it’s usually not an impossible problem to fix — you will often find it helpful to gradually move the mat or pad closer to the door, and eventually just move it outside. From there, you can start phasing it out entirely.

      And as for the video, we don’t yet have any published about housetraining, but we have tons of other videos you can watch, and we’re increasing our library as quickly as we can!
      Best of luck!

  32. Kimberly Scott Avatar
    Kimberly Scott

    My dog is 3 and she recently started popping and peeing in the house, kennel after we take her out .Don’t know what to do.It is becoming a problem.

  33. Veronica Avatar

    Hey, so recently my dog and I moved into a new house where another dog is present. She is a very aggressive dog and they have yet to get along. Ever since we moved he hasn’t been wanting to go to the bathroom in the backyard at all. There isn’t much room to work with because the pool cover over 80 percent of the yard. At times he will go to the side of the house and use the bathroom there since she doesn’t go there, but now he just won’t. He either chooses to go inside or on the concrete rather than the grass. I’m not sure what to do or how my dog is feeling. Any advice would help!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Veronica.

      We can’t know exactly what’s going on from afar, but it definitely sounds like the resident dog is intimidating your pooch. This can have pretty serious ramifications for your dog’s quality of life and overall wellbeing, so it’s important that you figure out a solution. Honestly, we’d focus more on your dog’s mental and emotional health than the bathroom issue at this point.

      There are some things you can do to help introduce your dog to an aggressive dog, but they’ll take some time and the two may never get along.

      As for the bathroom problem, it’s not surprising that your pupper doesn’t want to relieve himself in the yard if he’s not comfortable in the home, so you may simply need to take him for walks several times a day (which is important for the wellbeing of most dogs anyway). You may also need to use barriers indoors to keep the dogs separated, so your pooch doesn’t constantly feel threatened.

      Best of luck!

  34. Antonia Pindar Avatar
    Antonia Pindar

    I have a 1-year-old rescue Great Dane who I know was raised in a public kennel till the age of 4 months which is when she came to me. She was very difficult to potty train at all, and consistently eliminated indoors despite regular trips outside. She is very reluctant to go in front of me at all but on the odd occasion that she has I have praised and treated her. During the summer months, when the door to the house was constantly open, she started to get better, however, with the recent dark mornings, she will go outside to pee and then wait till I am not looking before pooping indoors.

    At night I have had to resort to a crate or she will always have accidents in the house. She has a hard and fast routine and seems otherwise happy and affectionate. I never tell her off for any of this behaviour and I have special enzyme sprays to eliminate any odors.

    Do you have any advice?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Antonia.
      It’s hard to say from afar, but it sounds like your pooch may have a confidence issue. It would probably be wisest to reach out to a certified dog behavior consultant, but while you wait, you could try some confidence-building strategies. You may also want to check out our article about dogs who’re afraid of going outside for some additional tips.
      Best of luck!

  35. Michael A Braselton Avatar
    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 ?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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?

  36. Sarah Avatar

    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!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  37. Jake Avatar

    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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.

  38. Jenna Avatar

    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!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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?

  39. KJ Avatar

    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  40. Isabella Avatar

    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  41. Linda Valentine Avatar
    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 ❤️

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

      1. Mary Avatar

        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.

        1. Ben Team Avatar

          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!

  42. Anon Avatar

    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

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  43. Carol REITANO Avatar
    Carol REITANO

    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?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  44. Annoymus Avatar

    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?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

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

  45. Ronni Avatar

    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?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  46. andrey Avatar

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

    1. Ben Team Avatar

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

  47. Patricia Mitchell Avatar
    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  48. Jill Avatar

    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  49. Leah Avatar

    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!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  50. Amy Botticello Avatar
    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!

  51. Mr Paul Banks Avatar
    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.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      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!