How to Potty Train a Dog After Moving: Tips for Nervous Dog Parents

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Figuring out how to potty train a dog after moving isn’t as simple as it seems, purely because you never know how the dog might react to the new environment.


More often than not, housebreaking a dog the first time is the most challenging thing we as dog parents have to go through. Sometimes, the whole process is such an ordeal that we consider giving up altogether and placing a diaper on the dog. However, no one can say it’s impossible. 


If you’ve successfully potty trained a dog before, there’s no reason to think you won’t do it again. You have to remember, though, that the process will be similar and require patience and effort from you, not to mention plenty of treats.


How to potty train a dog after moving: Why does the new home now seem like the perfect bathroom?


Now, you might be wondering why the dog is finding it hard to hold it in in the new house. Surely it cannot be that much different from your old home. The dog has already seen how a couch looks like, how a bathroom smells, etc. So, why is your furry friend acting that way?


Well, for starters, you have to remember that dogs don’t get used to things the way we do. For them, we haven’t just moved to another building or house. We’ve moved into an entirely new environment.


Moving often turns the dog’s life upside down


When we move, we change our routine until the move is entirely over. We dedicate all our free time to packing, moving furniture, and setting up everything. What’s more, we get more anxious by the minute because our routine is nowhere in sight. In essence, we lose our inner calm during that whole process — and so does the dog.


Think about it — our furry little friend used to have a spot in the backyard where it could pee and poop all day long. It had a spot on the couch where it would sleep the afternoon away. Even better, it had a feeding schedule, and it always ate its breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a particular room.


When we move, the dog doesn’t have any of those things. The backyard is new, and those smells are irritating it to the point that it wants to pee all over it. The new couch doesn’t smell like the old one at all; it doesn’t smell like the dog, so it has to mark it.


Finally, its feeding routine is all over the place. Suddenly, the room where all the food magic happens is entirely different; it smells strange, and it’s louder in there for some reason.


Do you understand where we’re going with this? Moving into a new house is a complete stimuli bombshell for the dog, which makes adjusting to new routines, neighborhoods, and pee spots that much more tricky. Still, there is a way around it — just build new associations.


How to potty train a dog after moving — Re-associations



Given that moving to a new house means the dog has lost its potty spot, it’s time to find it a new one. At the same time, you should also work on making the dog comfortable at the new house. It has to view it as its new home, not a foreign environment.


How to potty train a dog after moving — 4 tips to live by


#1 Get back to the routine


Yes, you’re now living in a different house, possibly even a different neighborhood, but unless the time zone has changed, you have to get back to your old routine.


Dogs are creatures of habit, and they thrive when they’re on a set schedule. Therefore, if the pooch had breakfast at 8 AM sharp in the old house, it should have breakfast at the same time in the new home.


Similarly, start walking the dog again, even more than before. It will take some time for the dog to adjust to the neighborhood and all the “newness” around it. So, make sure you give it plenty of opportunities to learn more about its new habitat.


#2 Keep the stress to a minimum


As mentioned, moving is a stressful time for the dog as well, so you have to combat that by keeping the energy calm and soothing. 


Of course, sticking to a routine is the first step toward that. However, that’s not all you can do for your dog. Aim to make the transition as smooth as possible by keeping small reminders of the old house nearby, thus removing change-induced stress from the equation.


For example, if the dog’s food bowl was always next to the kitchen island in the previous house, place it there in your new home as well. Furthermore, if its toy crate was somewhere behind the couch, in the corner of the room, keep it there now too. 


These might seem like things a dog wouldn’t pay attention to, but as said, dogs love routines and don’t do well with changes. So, by keeping some things identical, we may help our dogs adjust faster.


#3 Supervise the dog and clean up accidents


Retraining a dog after moving means this definitely isn’t your first rodeo. Because of that, there are two dog housebreaking tips that still stand — you have to clean up the messes and supervise the dog.


Of course, this doesn’t mean you ought to follow the dog wherever it goes. Just keep it nearby so as to avoid any improper elimination. If it comes to that, though, use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up the mess. 


In the meantime, watch out for signs that it might do something (circling around one spot, sniffing the floor, etc.). Immediately get the dog to a spot in the backyard (or anywhere else outside) where it can poop or pee. Over time, it will start associating that spot with its needs — you just have to be patient!


#4 Don’t forget the treats


Finally, in order to successfully potty train a dog after moving to a new home, it’s wise to keep more than a few treats within reach. Each time the dog pees or poops outside. After all, you have to keep positive reinforcement in mind if you want the dog to learn quickly.


Final thoughts on how to potty train a dog after moving


Most dog owners dread the idea of re-housebreaking a dog after a move, purely because the first potty training process probably lasted for a few months. However, do know that memory is on your side here. It’s far easier to retrain a dog than to train it for the very first time. You have to believe that the dog will remember its past behavioral patterns. It only needs a push in the right direction!

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