If your dog needs some guidance with potty training, set them up for success by limiting access to their indoor preferred toilet area. Consistency and kindness are the keys to successful re-learning.
Supervise and Confine
• Plan your dog’s daily schedule and include several potty breaks throughout the day.
• Keep a close eye on your dog. If you are unable to provide undivided attention, use baby gates, X-pens or a large dog crate to limit access to areas where your dog has been eliminating.
• Look for signs your dog needs to eliminate: circling or sniffing, digging at carpet, standing up after a nap or exiting the room after eating.
• Decide on an acceptable potty area that you and your dog can get to easily.
• Keep a leash and treat container near the door. Also, keep a daily log of what time your pet urinated and defecated, and where.
• Take your dog out to the desired elimination area frequently and bring treats. Reward for using the preferred toilet area. You can also use play or going for a walk as a reinforcer.
Focus on Reinforcement
• If you give rewards to your dog for using the potty area you designated, this will decrease the indoor accidents.
• If you do happen to catch your dog in the act, gently interrupt them and proceed outdoors to the potty area. Using punishment will confuse your dog and they may be frightened to eliminate anywhere in your presence. This can lead to hiding and eliminating in closets or under beds.
• Slowly discontinue use of baby gates when you see improvement. Two weeks without accidents is a good place to begin increasing access to more areas of your home.
• If you begin to see setbacks, take note of any environmental changes. Go back to confinement and remember to heavily reinforce for going outdoors.
• Confine your dog to a smaller area
• Stick to a daily feeding schedule
• Praise for using appropriate toilet area
• Track progress
• Use enzymatic or oxygenated cleaning products
• Rule out medical conditions if trouble persists
SMART TIP: A dog’s nose knows
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. Even though you cleaned up those accidents, your dog may still be able to sniff out pee spots. Use a product such as Anti Icky Poo or Fizzion to inhibit your dog’s ability to detect indoor potty zones.
We are always here to help! You can find additional behavior and training resources at pasadenahumane.org/behavior.