How To Potty Train A Dog That Is Used To Going Indoors


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As the owner of two dogs currently and several in the past, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and training many different dogs over the years, and I understand how frustrating it can be to try to potty train a dog that is already used to going indoors.

It can also be very frustrating to potty train a new puppy.

It all takes work and consistent effort.

However, with patience, consistency, and a little bit of know-how, it is possible to teach a dog to use the bathroom outside.

Find The Problem First

The first step in potty-training a dog is to determine why they have been going indoors in the first place.

Some common reasons for indoor elimination include medical issues, a lack of proper training or supervision, and stress or anxiety.

Once you have identified the underlying cause, you can start to work on a solution.

If your dog has a medical issue that is causing them to go indoors, it’s important to address this problem first (more on this later).

Some common reasons for indoor elimination include medical issues, a lack of proper training or supervision, and stress or anxiety.

Ensure You Rule Out Medical Issues First

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action and follow their recommended treatment plan.

Once any medical issues have been addressed, the next step is to start training your dog to go outside.

Begin Forming New Potty Habits With Your Dog

The key to success is consistency, so it’s important to establish a routine and stick to it.

Take your dog outside to the same spot at the same times every day, and use a specific command, such as “go potty,” to let them know it’s time to do their business.

Reward them with praise and treats every time they go outside and be sure to clean up any accidents indoors immediately to prevent them from going in the same spot again.

It’s also important to set your dog up for success by giving them plenty of opportunities to go outside.

Frequency Is Key

This means taking them out frequently, especially after meals, naps, and playtime, and providing them with a designated bathroom area that is easy for them to access.

In addition to taking your dog outside regularly, you can also use indoor training aids, such as pee pads or a litter box, to help them learn to go indoors in a designated spot.

These aids can be especially useful for dogs that are unable to go outside due to medical issues or living in an apartment or high-rise building.

Just be sure to gradually transition your dog from using indoor training aids to going outside, as it’s important to ultimately teach them to use the bathroom outside.

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Supervision Is Still Required For Best Results

Another important aspect of potty-training is supervision.

When you are unable to directly supervise your dog, it’s important to confine them to a safe and secure area, such as a crate or gated room, to prevent accidents.

This will give them a designated spot to go if they need to use the bathroom, and it will also help prevent them from getting into mischief while you are away.

Finally, it’s important to be patient and consistent.

Potty-training a dog can take time, and it’s important to be understanding of any setbacks or accidents that may occur.

Now that we have discussed some primary methods you can use, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of the specifics.

Methods To Breaking Bad Potty Habits

Here are a few more ideas that dog owners can implement to break bad potty habits with their dogs:

You may find that you need to implement all methods discussed or that you are able to use only 1.

Every dog is different so a bit of trail and error is going to be required to make this work.

Use A Crate Or Confinement Area

As mentioned above, confining your dog to a crate or gated room can be a helpful tool in potty training.

This will give your dog a designated spot to go if they need to use the bathroom, and it will also help prevent them from getting into mischief while you are away. Just be sure not to leave your dog in the crate for too long, as they will need to go outside to use the bathroom regularly.

Avoid punishment: It’s important to avoid punishing your dog for accidents or mistakes, as this can cause them to become anxious or fearful and can make the problem worse.

Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and rewards when they go outside and do their business.

Use a bell or other signal: Some dog owners find it helpful to use a bell or other signal to let their dog know it’s time to go outside.

For example, you can hang a bell by the door and teach your dog to ring it when they need to go out.

This can be a helpful way to communicate with your dog and let them know it’s time to go potty.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Dog

We mentioned this previously.

Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and watch for any signs that they need to go outside. This includes pacing, circling, or going to the door and whining.

When you see these behaviors, take your dog outside immediately to give them a chance to go potty.

Be Consistent

As with any training, consistency is key when it comes to potty-training.

Stick to a regular schedule, use the same commands, and rewards every time, and be consistent in your expectations and rules.

This will help your dog understand what is expected of them and make the training process go more smoothly.

Consider Hiring A Professional Trainer

If you are having trouble potty-training your dog or are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional trainer for guidance.

A trainer can help you develop a customized training plan and provide you with the tools and support you need to successfully potty-train your dog.

By implementing these strategies and being patient and consistent, you can break your dog’s bad potty habits and enjoy a clean, accident-free home.

Other Problems You May Encounter During The Potty-Training Process

Here are a few more problems that individuals may encounter during the potty-training process:

1.) Lack Of Progress

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your dog may not seem to be making progress with potty-training.

This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remain patient and consistent. If you feel like you are at a standstill, it may be helpful to consult with a professional trainer for guidance and support.

2.) Relapses

Even after your dog has made progress with potty-training, they may still have occasional accidents or relapses.

This is normal, and it’s important to be understanding and patient. If you notice a pattern of accidents or relapses, it may be helpful to reevaluate your training methods and make any necessary adjustments.

3.) Medical Issues

As mentioned earlier, medical issues can be a common cause of indoor elimination.

If you suspect that your dog has a medical issue that is causing them to go indoors, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

By understanding and addressing these common challenges, you can help your dog overcome their potty-training issues and achieve success.

As with any training, consistency is key when it comes to potty-training.

The Takeaway

In summary, potty-training a dog that is used to going indoors requires patience and consistency.

If you use the methods we discussed today and remain consistent with your efforts and patience with your new family member, you can undoubtedly overcome previous bad habits.

Stick with it and always set your dog up for success for the best results.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your dog and the journey you have ahead of you.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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