Last Resort for Dog Potty Training

August 9, 2022by DOGuide6

You’re at your wit’s end. You’ve been potty training your puppy or adult dog, and it’s just not working. Now, you’re asking yourself what’s the last resort for dog potty training.

The good news is that Dog Ownership Guide can help you. We get how frustrating and disheartening failed housetraining can be, but don’t let it get you down too much. There’s more you can do, and you and your pup WILL succeed.

The Last Resort for Dog Potty Training Starts Here

It’s time to understand why your new puppy or adult dog you may have adopted is failing at housetraining. Let’s cover all the reasons the potty training process isn’t working.

Once you have an idea of what may be causing the potty training process to fail, you can start to come up with some solutions for potty training success.


dog potty training


Why Puppy Potty Training Fails

Let’s start with the reasons potty training fails.

Inconsistent Daily Schedule

Puppies, adult dogs, and even older dogs live by a schedule (much like humans do). If you haven’t been following a schedule, this may the problem with your potty training.

Most dog training professionals will advise taking a new puppy out every 1-2 hours starting in the morning. A puppy should also be let out after eating or drinking and sleeping.

Your new puppy will start to be aware of when it’s time to go outside to use the potty. It just needs to be consistent.

Work during the day? Keep reading to find out the solutions for all of these possible causes of failed potty training.

The Crate Is Too Large

Crates should be big enough for your pup to walk 360 degrees and that’s it. Most dogs won’t pee or poop where they sleep, which is why crate training is one of the most widely used ways to potty train a puppy. Of course, there are still some dogs that do as discussed in this article: Do Dogs Sleep In Their Own Poop?

Leaving Puppy in the Crate Too Long

Leaving your puppy in a crate for long periods of time won’t do anyone any favors. Imagine being locked up in a cage and not being let out to use the bathroom for 12 hours. Not a good situation, right? Your puppy isn’t any different, except your puppy’s bladder is much smaller.

Undeoderized Potty Spots

Repeat offenses can sometimes be due to scent. When there are potty accidents, the phenomes are left behind and then your puppy thinks it’s the right place to go potty again. It’s a very important thing to clean any potty accidents thoroughly to remove all scents from the area.

No Dedicated Bathroom Spot

Many pet owners believe dogs should be able to go to the bathroom anywhere outside. It’s not that easy for dogs. Many need a bathroom spot they can associate with their bathroom break.

How to Succeed with a Training Program

  • Frequent potty breaks are the most important thing. If you can’t take your puppy out to use the potty, hire a dog walker to take your dog out as much as possible.
  • Try not to use potty pads because your dog will associate them with the place to go use the bathroom. Dog trainers recommend taking a used potty pad outside to associate the outside with the bathroom spot, but it’s best not to do that since there’s still an association with going inside the house.
  • Puppy classes don’t usually focus on housetraining, but a professional dog trainer with a training program for housebreaking dogs may be an option.
  • Consider teaching your pup to ring a bell – a potty bell – when it’s time to go to the potty spot. That may help in situations in which your pup doesn’t know how to communicate the need to relieve him/herself.
  • Always give verbal praise and if needed, give your pup a treat after using the bathroom spot. Verbal praise and treats are positive reinforcement that’s effective. Be sure to continue to use it until there are no potty accidents at all. This may mean for a long time.


puppy pads for potty training


Issues Making Housetraining Difficult

Pet owners need to consider the possible issues that could be causing problems with not urinating or defecating in the home:

  • Older dogs may suffer from incontinence or another medical issue making it impossible to hold their urine.
  • Severe separation anxiety could make it hard for a puppy or adult dog to hold urine.
  • Stress situations can also cause anxiety leading to accidents. An example of a stressful situation is moving to a new home, having a new dog in the home, etc.
  • Some dogs don’t handle being in a crate or a confinement area well. This could cause anxiety leading to not being able to hold their urine.
  • Young puppies and adult dogs can have medical issues that can keep them from making it to their potty spot as well.
  • Adopted adult dogs or older dogs may need to break bad habits. If their previous homes were ones in which they relieved themselves inside the home with or without puppy pads or potty pads, it’s going to take a lot of time and positive reinforcement for good behavior to retrain your new dog.
  • Another possible situation may be that your adopted adult dog or older dog was crate trained and if you don’t crate train, your new dog doesn’t know what to do not being inside the crate.
  • When bringing a puppy home from a pet store, it can be difficult to get started with your new puppy’s potty training. In the pet store, puppies go to the bathroom whenever and wherever they are, so they continue that behavior in their new home.
  • Diet may be causing increased urination. Read about raw food diets and dogs suddenly peeing in the house.
  • Some dogs need to be able to go outside to use the bathroom whenever they feel the need. Since it’s inconvenient to keep opening and closing the door, a dog door may be the answer. Check out The Best Great Dane Dog Doors for some options even if you don’t have a large breed dog.

What Is the Last Resort for Dog Potty Training?

The last resort for dog potty training is to try all of the suggestions above. If you’ve tried them all, contact the vet to ask for advice. The veterinarian may want to see your dog to assess if there are any medical issues causing the issues.

Your vet may also have some tips on how to succeed with your training and provide additional last resort for dog potty training.

If your vet says that some dogs never learn, don’t give up. Get a dog trainer. Your pup can learn to use the bathroom outside. You just can’t give up.

It’s just when you’re about to give up that your pup will understand. It’s frustrating – annoying – infuriating – discouraging BUT all of the work you do now will be VERY worth it later.

Leave a comment below for additional tips and if anyone has any advice on the last resort for dog potty training – share your knowledge. We’re in this together!

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by DOGuide

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  • Nancy

    December 4, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    I adopted a dog a few days ago.
    I can return him, but that seems so heartless.

    It is a no kill shelter.
    I just feel guilty and confused because the dog and Ijust don’t click.


  • DOGuide

    December 16, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Nancy!
    The adjustment period after adopting a dog can be difficult. I can understand if you feel you want to return him. I felt that way when we first adopted Chelsey. If you don’t feel right about rehoming him, give it some time. You both need to learn how to live with one another. Let us know if you have any other questions, or concerns or need help in any other way to make this transition easier.


  • Mark

    January 14, 2023 at 12:50 am

    We adopted a 4 month old Pomapoo a week ago. It is clear the dog was used to using the bathroom indoors only. He was surrendered by a girl that must not have worked with him at all. I realize a new home is stressful and it has only been a week. He will literally hold his urine and feces until he is back inside after walks and trips to the yard. I have been working with him for hours every day. It just feels like he will not learn. For example, he hasn’t pooped all day, and I have taken him out frequently, to the point I haven’t even taken my coat off. He is in a crate the rest of the time, or on a leash so we can get outside quickly. I just can’t believe I haven’t been able to break the cycle yet.


    • DOGuide

      February 9, 2023 at 10:04 am

      Hi Mark! I’m so sorry for your frustrations. I get it. Been there – done that, just not in the same exact situation. The good news is your pup is still young, so there’s hope that you can break him of this learned behavior. That’s what this is – he learned that he is supposed to go to the bathroom indoors, and so he’s just doing what he was taught. Now, to get him to stop. You’re doing the right thing by continuing to take him outside. When he does happen to go to the bathroom outside – PRAISE – TREAT – just make it a big production. When he goes inside and you catch him, make sure to yell really loudly. No spanking or rubbing his nose in it – just be sure to make your voice a very different tone than when he goes outside. Your pup will understand the difference over time and will put two and two together. The other situation that’s going on is that he has his markers in the house now, so cleaning that up with an enzyme cleaner. The key is to catch your pup in the act and make it known you are NOT happy about it. I would also take your pup outside immediately to try to make the connection that bathroom means outside. If you catch him in the middle of the act, that’s even better because he may finish outside. Just keep doing the NO and praise when outside and sooon your puppy will learn. It’s hard because he will be confused at first, but once he realizes what he needs to do to make you happy – he will be more than motivated to make you happy over and over again.


  • Tonimarie

    February 15, 2023 at 7:58 am

    I adopted my puppy at 8weeks old. I started potty training on a wee wee pad from start. For the most part the puppy pee pees on pD but doesn’t poop on it. all the time . She is almostc10 weeks and I want to know what I am doing wrong?


    • DOGuide

      February 16, 2023 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Toni Marie,

      You aren’t doing anything wrong, so I hope that makes you feel a bit better. For some reason, dogs often get peeing in the right spot quickly, but pooping can be a struggle for as long as 6 months. The most important thing is to stay consistent with encouraging your pup to poop on the pad. This does mean you’ll need to watch your pup like a hawk until he/she poops on the pad without you putting him/her on it. This might mean that you may catch him/her mid-poop and you pick your puppy up and have him/her finish on the pad. The more you do that, the better he’ll understand. Also, when your pup does poop on the pad, go ahead and praise/treat. Even if you had to put him/her on it. Because you want to associate the poop on pad with a good result, such as praise or teat. Eventually, your pup will do it all the time and eventually you won’t have to praise/treat all the time. Hope this helps!


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