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Dog toilet training – Make him pee outside the house

Training their dog’s bodily functions is one of the challenges that owners have to face, sometimes confusing the dog with conflicting orders, lack of discipline and little patience in educating this habit. Dogs are born with the instinct of knowing how to relieve themselves and choose a site that is right, but when living in a human environment, owners are the ones who have to teach the rules and places chosen for their bodily functions, since it´s impossible for the dog to know this by intuition.

Urinating inside or outside the house is a matter of habit and requires time to be established. The more you repeat the association between positive reinforcement (petting, affection, games) and the behavior of urinating in the place you indicated, the faster this habit will strengthen in him.

What routine should I follow?

  • The most effective teaching is making your dog urinating outdoors instead of inside the house. This will require some time from you and you´ll need to be aware of all the signals your puppy makes before relieving himself, in order to intervene immediately and take him to the street.

puppy smelling the floorImage: “Lucy”.

  • Before 4 months of age you´ll have to take care of taking him to the appropriate place every time you see him wishing to urinate. Only after 4 months his body will be physiologically prepared to control his needs and able to learn this habit. On forums it´s very frequent to read comments from owners desperate because their 2 months old puppy still hasn´t been able to control his needs, but what they don´t know is that their puppy still doesn´t have the ability to control this. What most surprised me was the lack of awareness that owners had on this subject, for the easiest solution that they saw was to give the puppy away for not been up to what they expected from a “nice and educated dog”. 

Moments when he usually goes

Knowing the times of the day when your dog usually goes will help you in teaching him the habit by taking him outside:

  • After waking up.

  • After eating and drinking water.
  • After playing.
  • Before going to sleep at night.

When beginning the training it´s recommended to take him outside every 2 hours, for he will most likely urinate.

Some general tips

  • Knowing the signals before urination will help you act immediately and taking him outside. These are: circling around himself, been a little anxious, bending down, and sniffing.
  • When your dog has urinated inside the house or in the wrong place, say “NO” with a strong and energetic tone, WITHOUT yelling or punishing as he might get afraid to relieve himself and will try to avoid being caught hiding in places such as corners, or behind curtains and flowerpots. What you can do is taking him by the chest, lifting and carrying him outside. 
  • Never use punishments such as rubbing his nose against the urine, locking him in a room, yelling or hitting him with a newspaper.
  • Start spending time in training their bodily functions since the first day, whether he´s a puppy or an adopted adult dog.
  • Patience and perseverance, accompanied by positive reinforcement and no punishment, are important when making him learn the habit. Some dogs take longer than others to learn that they must relieve themselves outside of the house.

owner taking his dogs out

So why does my dog keep peeing inside the house?

Some conditions such as cystitis, diabetes, separation anxiety, changes in home, territorial marking and not taking him out always at the same time to relieve himself, are all factors that may be slowing down the learning of this habit. Age is also to be considered: in the case of puppies and elderly dogs, they have greater difficulty controlling their bladder and intestine than adolescent or adult dogs.

What should I use to clean my puppy´s urine?

When cleaning the place where your puppy has urinated it´s best for you to use white vinegar or detergents that don´t contain ammonia because these smell like urine, and therefore will guide him to make it there again. Nor should he watch you clean it because it may attract him to make it again on that place.

IMPORTANT: It is not recommended to start the outdoor training before he has been vaccinated against all of the most important diseases. You can ask your vet for the appropriate moment to go out.