What To Do if Your Housetrained Puppy Goes Potty in the House

puppy potty training

Quick Tip - What To Do if Your Housetrained Puppy Goes Potty in the House

Housetraining a puppy is difficult!

It is probably one of the biggest problems that dog owners suffer from.

And, it is probably the #1 reason dogs end up relinquished to the pound or shelter.

A lot of times it is because owners don’t take the time to actually effectively potty train their dogs or puppies.

The truth is, that potty training takes time and effort and isn’t easy.

It requires you to monitor your dog or puppy, constantly and get them outside about every 2 hours.

Allowing them to develop bad habits and sneaking off to go potty in the house can turn your potty training experience upside down!

So put in the effort early in your puppy’s training and you won’t regret it!


But, what if your housetrained dog goes potty in the house?

It can happen, and there is no real need to panic!

One accident every once in a while isn’t a catastrophe.


Assess the accident to find out why this happened.

Is he sick?

Did he have diarrhea?

If he did, it really isn’t his fault!

Have you ever gotten sick to your stomach and needed to find a toilet in 0.2 seconds?

Imagine if you were locked in a crate or locked inside with no bathroom… chances are that you would suffer from an accident too!

After all, everyone has an emergency sometimes.

If the accident is not from being sick, assess it anyway.

If it is urine, understand that he may have some kind of infection.

puppy potty training

We see dogs all of the time at the vet clinic where I work that are inappropriately urinating because they have a bladder or kidney infection.

Have you ever had a bladder infection?

Do you know the pain associated with it and how frequently you seem to need to urinate?

Now, imagine being a dog and not having the access to go potty when you need to…

I once had a dog that had bladder stones and was urinating blood and I didn’t know until he was given an ultrasound for a totally different reason.  It taught me that you never know what is going on with your dog’s health unless you have it checked!

Even your vet may not know until he takes a sample and has it analyzed!

If after your vet visit it is determined that it is not health related, then you can move on to worry about behavioral concerns.

If It Is Behavioral

If it has been determined that it is behavioral, assessment is still valuable.

Did it happen during the rain?

puppy potty trainingDid it happen at night?

Is the accident in multiple areas?

If you can break down the behavior you may learn more about why it happened.

I used to work with a client whose dog had accidents every Friday.  After some assessment we realized that the garbage truck came on Friday and the dog was afraid to go outside.  This helped us to set up a training regimen to desensitize the dog to the garbage truck.

Go Back to Square One

There are always those instances where people have no idea why it is happening.

If that is the case, the most important thing to do is go back to square one and treat the dog like you are potty training all over again.

Keep an eye on the dog and don’t let him wander off.

Get him outside every 2 hours at first.

Use a crate if you can’t watch him!

The most important thing to do if you see your dog developing a bad behavior is to break that behavior as quickly as possible so that the behavior doesn’t become a habit.

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  1. Wanda says:

    My puppy is still in potty training mode ~ she’s 8 months & she’s tiny, weights 4.4 lbs. She dribbles every single time we go to pick her up or she gets excited. What can we do to help this, vet said to put a diaper on her….I did not buy an infant . Please help


  2. Krystyna Baker says:

    We have a 3lb Pomeranian which we rescued. When we first got her she was in really bad shape, but now she has come a full 360, except for going potty. Even with me getting her out every 2 hours she will pee outside but, then come back in and pee again. She also barks excessively. Any advice would be helpful. She is on antibiotics just in case of a bladder infection. Again any help would be appreciated. Thank you, Krystyna


  3. VepMed says:

    Hi Krystyna,
    Frequent urination in dogs might indicate a health concern. Increases in frequency can indicate a bladder problem, bladder infection, kidney disease, bladder disease, liver disease or diabetes.

    Any changes in a dog’s frequency, urgency or ability, or discomfort urinating is cause for concern and warrants an urgent visit to the best vet.


  4. S J ARNOLD says:

    I don’t have a comment but a question. Is it ever too late to potty train a older dog. I have a poodle and plan to recarpet my house. My dog is 6 years old. Thanks


  5. pam says:

    We have a 15-week puppy. She knows to go potty first thing in the morning, then she gets breakfast, then she poops and pees and then we go play and go for a walk. After she sleeps we take her out right away and she always goes, but in between, even though we take her out every hour, she still pees two or three times a day in the house. What can we do? She doesn’t have bladder infection. by the way, she’s an active Australian Shepherd.


  6. Mary says:

    My daughter’s golden doodle is a 1 1/2 yrs old. Every time I go over to her house the dog is chained up to go to the bathroom! Before I unchain her she starts jumping up on me & urinating! This happens even when she’s inside & I
    enter the house. She immediately starts jumping up and urinating! I take her out
    so I can clean it up. Then I bring her in and she’s settled down. I stay a few days & during that time she usually rings the bell to go out. It’s usually when she first sees me! She doesn’t like when I talk to the grandchildren and tries to get between us!!!!


  7. Lynn says:

    Having the same problem! My dog is 11 weeks old. I take him out every two hours but he still pees in the house . He’s an Australian labradoodle. He also gets up at 2-3 am and needs to pee. Any suggestions?


    Minette Reply:

    He is a baby. Babies gain bladder control at different times, just like puppies.

    Use the crate and stick to a regimen. Also don’t allow the puppy to be out of your sight, unless crated!


  8. Amanda Dover says:

    I have two Rhodesian Ridgeback babies! Well they are almost 10 weeks old. They do great pooping outside but have accidents peeing all the time inside. They are brought outside very often. Sometimes they pee inside after just being brought out. It’s so strange because some days they don’t make any mistakes. Not sure if it’s there age? Or just poor training on my part.


    Minette Reply:

    2 puppies are always more difficult and take more time. Make sure that they are going potty outside before bringing them in.. it is common for them to play and then come in and have accidents.


  9. krystyna Robinson says:

    I am hoping to adopt an older dog. If he or she has an accident in the house how do I deal with it to show its wrong especially if it happens when I’m out.


    Minette Reply:

    Just clean it up. Instead of waiting for an accident, get the dog out often so that it doesn’t have one. Potty training is up to you not the dog, if you approach it that way you won’t worry about punishing the dog


  10. Mary says:

    I’m having the same issue. My 15 week old golden pup knows that she pees outside but not that she can’t pee inside! I can take her out then come in and do some training with her then play tug, etc and she’ll just squat and pee right in the middle of training or play. Only about a half hour since she went outside. She will even pee in her crate if left for 2-3 hours tops. And it’s a small crate. Xpen allowed her to pee there as well as a full size crate. Even though I’m watching her if not crating she will still pee right next to me. So now she will have to be in crate most of the time unless we’re outside. Hate that! Think I’m not rewarding her all the time for going outside and will be better at that.


    Minette Reply:

    Puppies are like babies. Cut her a little bit of slack, she just needs to learn and learn to control her bladder


  11. Jess says:

    My dog is about 2 years old and is fully potty trained. She started eating socks and toys about 10 months ago, so I have to tie her up in the house when I leave. She then started eating the walls and window frames. Now when I’m home and she’s not tied up, she is peeing on my son’s bed and floor, and pooping on his room floor. She does it when we are not paying attention, so I don’t catch her in the act.

    She sleeps in my closet and that is her safe space, like a crate, if that matters.

    Please help, I don’t know what to do, my son LOVES this dog but I can not allow her to continue to destroy the house.


  12. todd hess says:

    I have a 7 yr. old Female Australian Shepherd, fully potty trained since about 9 mos. She has been spayed and that’s all. Out of the blue she just started peeing and pooping on the living room floor. No family changes, no new grandkids, no moves, nothing. We are baffled. We shampooed the carpet this afternoon and thus far (9:30 p.m.) all good. Hopefully going to be a successful night. Last 3 nights were not a success.



  13. Cyndi says:

    When we adopted our miniature long haired dachshund at 8 weeks she could fit in our hands and it was so cold outside that we decided to train her to use paper inside. She figured it out very quickly. Our plan was to move the paper outside so we gradually moved the paper towards the door which was down two steps and a few feet away . She stayed with the location rather than the paper. She wouldn’t even consider pottying outside. We recognized that our plan confused her and after 6 months of unreliable pottying we had to get serious.

    We had been going outside with her and giving her a treat each time she pottied outside. This ultimately worked however resulted in her insisting that we go outside with her. We eventually began giving her a treat each time she came inside. At 3 years old she now rarely has an accident inside the house (maybe twice a year?) and it can always be traced to a cause.

    We fully recognize that she was ready to learn and would have had it down pat fairly quickly had we not confused her with the paper inside and then moving it. In retrospect we would have just brought her out in the cold and stayed with her to make the trip outside quick.

    Also, because she is so small we have to be careful not to give her too many calories in treats. We get some completely different type of small kibble highly nutritious dog food and give her a single kibble as a treat. We have also been known to give her frozen peas or finely cubed sweet potato or carrots. That way she is really just getting food as a treat. Even with a large dog, it is the notion of a treat not the size that is important. She does well with self regulating how much she eats and to answer the question that is on everyone’s mind, no, she doesn’t ask to go outside just in order to get a treat. If she merely hops outside then immediately afterwards comes back inside she doesn’t get a treat.


  14. Becky Caswell says:

    I have 2 dogs that are brothers and will be 6 years old in April. They are free to roam the house at night and not in a crate. They have started to pee and poop on the floor at night. It’s never been an issue before. I don’t know if it’s one or both of them. Is a vet visit the first option?


    Minette Reply:



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