4 Pee Problems that Delay Potty Training

You may be following all of the correct potty training protocols and still have difficulty with your puppy’s lack of bladder control. This may be related to your puppy’s sensitivity level or an instinctive response that occurs naturally in canine social structure. It is also a possibility that your puppy may be experiencing a medical issue that needs attention. This article will describe 4 distinct behaviors that relate to inappropriate urination and how to resolve them.

1) Submissive Peeing

If your dog is participating in submissive urination, you will notice the dog lower their head slightly followed by a lowering of the rear while urinating. This is an appeasement behavior and often the dog will urinate in a submissive manner when they feel intimidated. This behavior probably developed out of canine social structure in order to let a higher status dog know that the lower status dog is not attempting to challenge the other dog’s status. 
You can tell the difference between submissive peeing and excited peeing by observing the dog’s body. The dog’s body will be still during submissive urination whereas you will see a lot of movement in the body when they pee because they are excited.

Common causes of submissive urination

  • Direct eye contact- some dogs are more sensitive than others and may view staring as challenging behavior.
  • Hovering over the dog-Dogs may view you hovering over them as threatening.
  • Gender differences- You many notice that the dog only urinates when greeting men.
  • Scolding the dog- Often sensitive dogs will pee in a submissive manner if you scold them.
  • Meeting other dogs-This is completely normal and will usually go away as the dog matures.
  • Greetings- You may notice your dog urinates submissively only upon greetings. This is sometimes due to past interactions of the owner scolding the dog when the owner arrives home and discovers destructive behavior. The dog begins to associate being scolded with the owner arriving home and attempts to appease the owner.


  • Pay attention to the situations that are causing the submissive urination and change up your behavior or manage the environment in a different way.
  • If hovering or standing over the dog causes peeing, you will want to kneel down and let the dog approach you on their own terms.
  • If direct eye contact causes peeing, you will want to let the dog sniff you before making any eye contact with the dog.
  • If you notice the dog urinates only while meeting men or only while meeting women, you should incorporate treats during greetings. If the dog urinates only while meeting men, you will want to give various men a few treats to toss to the dog so they start to form positive association of men.
  • If your dog urinates when meeting other dogs, let the dogs meet outside of the home initially. The submissive dog will usually only urinate upon the initial greeting.
  • Many times, dogs will urinate submissively only upon greeting humans. If this is the case, ignore your dog for a few minutes when you first come home after you have been away. Let your dog approach you and withhold petting or hovering over the dog for a few minutes.
  • If scolding your dog is causing the submissive urination, you will need to change up your behavior.

2) Excited Peeing

The dog urinates when they get very excited. This behavior usually occurs while greeting owners or new people. The dog is usually wagging its tail enthusiastically and you will see a lot of curves in their body. You can tell the difference between this type of urination and submissive urination because the dog will display a lot of movement in the body whereas submissive urination will be associated with a lowered head and a still body.  It is very common with young friendly dogs to exhibit excited peeing.

Common Causes of excited peeing:

  • Ninety percent of time you will witness excited peeing during greetings.
  • You may notice that your dog does not piddle when they greet you, but will when they meet a new person or a friend of yours.
  • You may notice the behavior during other times such as picking up a leash, but this is fairly uncommon.


  • If your dog piddles when you come home, you should avoid eye contact for a few minutes
  • If your dog is in a crate when you come home, you should wait a minute or two before you let the dog out of the crate. Take them straight out of the crate into the yard before you give them any attention. If you do not have a yard and have to take the dog out on leash, try to remain calm and neutral so you do not add to the excitement.
  • Take your dog to places where they will see lots of people so they become accustomed to being around large groups of people. These public outings also have the effect of showing the dog that not every human showers them with attention as soon as they see them.
  • Most dogs grow out of this behavior as their muscle control develops. Practicing the recommended resolution procedures will help tremendously, but you will see optimal results once your dog matures. Dogs usually grow out of this behavior once they hit 1 years old, but may take until almost 2 years for some dogs to completely stop in all situations.

3) Marking

Male and female dogs will use their urine to mark objects and areas, but the behavior is more prevalent in male dogs. Male dogs will usually choose objects that are raised off of the ground such as chair legs, couch corners, and door frames. Often, the behavior is exaggerated in multiple dog households.


  • I recommend that you treat this as a house training issue. Resolving marking behavior should incorporate supervision, confinement protocols when unable to supervise, and allowing ample opportunities to empty the bladder. Refer to house training tips or go our member’s area for complete house training tutorial.
  • Daily walks should be incorporated to give the dog an outlet to be able to mark in appropriate areas.
  • Neutering or spaying other dogs in the household will also help

4) Unusually Frequent Urination

If you notice your puppy or dog peeing in small amounts very often throughout the day, it is probably a medical issue. Your dog may have a urinary tract infection, a thyroid problem, or incontinence.

Symptoms of Bladder Infection- The most common with puppies

  • Puppies will pee in small amounts and may urinate 3-5 times within a few minutes.


  • Take your puppy or dog to the veterinarian for a checkup so they can be placed on antibiotics


Published on July 23, 2017

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