Troubleshooting 7 Common Puppy Housetraining Problems


Are you currently attempting to potty train your puppy and feel like you keep having setbacks in the house training process. In this article, I will explain how to correct  7 common house-training problems that challenge many puppy owners.

1) Puppy eliminates inside the home after being taken out on a designated bathroom break-This is a fairly common occurrence that many puppy owners experience. Follow these tips:

  • First, you need to make sure that you go out with your puppy to see if the puppy eliminates.
  • If the puppy does not use the bathroom when you take them out on a designated potty break, you should bring your puppy back inside and put them in the crate or play pen.  Leave them in the confinement area for 5 minutes and then take them out again. Once the puppy eliminates in the designated area, reward them with praise and have a fun play session.
  • It may also help if you can get your puppy moving to empty their bowels especially in the morning. A quick walk or tossing a toy in the morning a few times can help get things moving and speed up the bowel movement process.

2) You keep finding accidents in the home- If you continually find accidents in the home rather than catching the puppy in the act, you are losing ground in the house training process. It is crucial that you start supervising closely and confining when unable to supervise.  

Here is an example of what a puppy learns from inconsistent supervision:

Puppy pees inside the home in front of owner and is interrupted.

  • Puppy learns that it is a bad to pee in the home when the owner is present.

Puppy pees outside and is praised

  • Puppy learns that it is a good to pee outside.

Puppy pees on the rug in the hallway when owner is not present

  • Puppy learns that it is good to pee inside when my owner is not present.

If this previous scenario is consistent over time, your puppy will learn that when they feel the urge to go, they should sneak away from you and relieve themselves when you are not watching. Close supervision along with rewarding successful potty breaks are critical in the early stages of house training.

4) Urinating seems too Frequent- Young puppies pee a lot, but if the urination seems abnormally frequent, it may be a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Urinary tract infections are fairly common with puppies especially in females. It can set back your housetraining goals if it is not dealt with. If you notice some of the following signs, you should take your puppy to your veterinarian for an examination.

  • Puppy urinates multiple times within very short periods of time. They will seem to be spreading the urine around in small burst.
  • Urine may be dark in color and may have a strong pungent odor to it.

5) Your schedule requires you to stay away from the home for long periods of time- A puppy between the ages of 8-12 weeks does not have the muscle control to hold it for very long once they feel the urge.

If you have to be away from the home for more than 3 hours during the day, you will want to keep the puppy in a play pen or a puppy safe room while you are away rather than a crate. The play pen or puppy room should have a crate inside with the door open, a pee pad in the corner, and safe chew toys.

 As your puppy matures and they gain muscle control, you will be able to keep them in a crate confined for a few hours at time. You may want to think about hiring a pet sitter that can come by and let the puppy out during the day while you are away.

6) Your puppy is eliminating inside the crate- Here are few tips to stop a puppy from eliminating in the crate. You can experiment with all or some of them.

  • Feed all meals in the crate
  • Make the area in the crate smaller or buy a smaller crate.
  • Have your vet test for a bladder infection
  • Take away access to water 30 minutes before being crated
  • Take out bedding in the crate
  • Always take puppy outside before crating them
  • Place crate beside your bed at night so you can hear your puppy whine if they need to be taken out.

7) Your puppy goes on the floor in front of the exit door- This is usually a good sign that your puppy is learning that you want them to go outside to use the bathroom. You will need to supervise your puppy so you can immediately let them out when they go to the door.

You may also be interested in these additional house-training articles on our blog:

12 Tips to House-Training your Puppy , 4 Pee Problems that Delay Potty Traning

Published on July 23, 2017

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