How To Potty Train An Older Dog

How to Potty Train an Older Dog

When it comes to potty training, there is very little difference training a pup and an older dog. The biggest challenge would be you— your patience.

It is hard to accept that a dog that only had a few accidents in a week or only in a single location is not fully housebroken.

And if you are getting regular accidents inside your home, then there is something about the concept of potty training that your buddy simply does not understand.

So, unless you have an older dog that is experiencing issues of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or incontinence, then your best bet is to be patient and spend more time on potty training basics and to make sure that your pooch is on board.

How to Potty Train an Older Dog

Before Potty Training

Before Potty Training - take note of his usual potty frequency

Before you start potty training your pooch, you need to take note of his usual potty frequency. For the first 2 days of the potty training, examine and watch your dog in order to determine how often t goes and make a note of actions which precede a potty trip.

Also, try to eliminate or remove the scent of previous accidents before starting the training. Dissolve a baking soda in soapy water and clean the spots where your dog soiled previously. You can also add bleach to areas that won’t sustain damage.

1. Start a schedule

Start a Potty schedule of your dog

Start a schedule that perfectly matches your dog’s habit. And once you have taught him to go outdoors every time, you can start adjusting the schedule in order to fit your own schedules. Make sure that you clarify every location that they are allowed to do their thing.

You can also give the action a name. As your pooch squats, say “business” or “hurry up” or whatever word you prefer to name the activity. The timing needs to exact in order for your pooch to associate his action with the word.

2. Reward and Praise

Reward and Praise Your Dog

Be a cheerleader and always praise your dog if he completed the act at the appropriate location. Make sure that you carry around some treats in your pocket and always reward him if he does a good job. Your feedback needs to be instantaneous; if you try to wait until you return home to praise and reward him, your dog will never understand why.

If your pooch is allowed to do it in the yard, then make sure that you also praise and reward them there and not just on walks.

3. Scolding Him

Scolding your dog

Try to catch him in the act of having an accident and always remind him where he is supposed to go. This is very important so that your dog will easily understand the concept of housebreaking.

If you see your pooch pooping or peeing where he should not, immediately make some noise (clapping your hands or saying “No!”) in order to interrupt his activity and get his attention.

Immediately get your pooch and take them gently to the correct location to do his thing. Hover in that location with your buddy for a couple of minutes.

Potty Training an Older Dog

If your dog starts doing it again in the correct location, reward and praise him heavily. Otherwise, you can return inside and immediately clean up the mess.

Again, it is important that you remove any odor or trace of his previous accidents with enzymatic cleaners in order to dissolve pheromones which regular household cleaners cannot remove. Dogs tend to go back to locations where they smell their pheromones and then defecate or urinate on it again.

Do not chase or yell at your dog when you catch him having an accident. Scaring your dog can actually cause him to have more accidents. Also, you should never, ever, punish your dog for having accidents that you do not see happen. The moment you find the accident, your dog already forget that they have done it at all. Punishing or hitting him for something he can’t remember can cause him to be scared or aggressive. Just clean it up and catch him next time.

4. Supervise, supervise, supervise

potty train an older dog fast

In case you are not home or not watching your pooch, prevent him from entering rooms or accessing plants and places that they always pee on. You need to confine your pooch to a safe space where accidents will not matter such as the kitchen or bathroom with a crate or X-pen.

If your pooch had an accident in the confined space, it is okay. You need to teach him that everywhere else in the house is off-limits for pooping and peeing. When they learn that, it will be much easier to generalize the concept to the final confinement location.

If you are supervising or hanging out with your dog, make sure that you block access to other rooms which they may sneak in and have accidents there.

If your pooch constantly poops or pees in the same location, clean that place and block it with a piece of furniture in order to complete the housebreaking. When he learns that such place is off limits, you can remove the furniture, but make sure you watch him in order to prevent him from soiling the place again.

In case you are using potty pads, try to avoid spreading them out all over your house or in every location that your dog has pooped or peed before. Instead, place a potty pad in a single location only!


Most people think that is quite hard to potty train older dogs— it’s not! With consistency, patience and proper methods, you can teach older dogs to do their thing properly in just a short amount of time.

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