How to Toilet Train an Older Dog. This Works

For some reason, you might come across an adult or older dog who still soils the house. While this is uncommon in dogs who were potty trained during puppyhood, some dogs were not fortunate enough to learn properly. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the circumstances that may lead to an adult dog soiling the house. Also, we are going to look at how you can toilet train an older dog.


5 Tips to Toilet train your older dog

  1. Have a consistent schedule
  2. Maximum Supervision
  3. Paper train your dog
  4. Clean up right away
  5. Be patient


Now, for whatever reason why your older dog won’t soil the house, you have an obligation to make it stop. It is quite possible to toilet train an older dog. However, you must understand that it is going to take some time before you can get him to stop. Below are some of the tips that should guide you in the process as you potty train an adult dog.


Consistent Schedule


You should fix a consistent schedule immediately after you bring your dog home. It is important that he learns about the house rules from the very first day. A consistent schedule means that you need to do everything at the same time each day.

For example, you should have a fixed feeding schedule for your dog. Well, adult dogs may not need to feed as much as puppies do. However, a vet should be able to advise you on the amount of food and how frequently you should feed him.

By keeping a consistent feeding schedule, you will be able to estimate the time your dog is likely to pass waste. Now, this will depend on whether your dog has ever been toilet trained before. If not, you may experience a few accidents because he may not hold it. I mean, he is yet to know that he is not supposed to potty in the house.

It will be helpful if you take him out to the potty area 15-30 minutes after every meal. This way, you will be introducing him to the potty area.

You should also be consistent with all the other activities with your dog. This includes playtime as well as scheduled morning and evening walks. To make this process easier, you should make sure that there is someone at home at all times.

Take your dog outside frequently during the day for pee breaks. The goal is to ensure that your dog does not empty his bowels or bladder in the house.


Maximum supervision


Unlike with a potty-trained dog, you will need to know where your dog is at all times. Well, you will also need to watch out for any signs that he wants to potty. As we have mentioned above, it is important that you have someone at home when you are away.

Also, watch for the signs of his urge to eliminate. These may include pacing back and forth while sniffing around. Other dogs may bark and scratch when they need to go to the toilet area.

However, if you are not always at home, or have no one to watch your dog, you can opt to use a crate. This way, you will confine your dog in a small space, thus limiting him from roaming around the house and soiling.

When you are buying a crate for an adult dog, you must ensure it is big enough for him to fit. At the same time, it should not leave any extra space for him to eliminate. Dogs will not eliminate in the same place they sleep and eat.

This is your advantage when toilet training an older dog. It means that your dog is going to try and hold it as much as he can before eliminating it in there. Using a crate to toilet train an adult dog at night is also going to make it so much easier for you.

Always lead him to the potty area immediately after you let him out of the crate. There is a high chance that he needs to eliminate urgently.


Paper Training an older dog


In some instances, you may not be able to take your dog outside. For example, if you live in high-rise apartments, taking him out to the potty on time is near impossible. Therefore, you need a quick plan to handle toilet training.

Paper pads will be great to start toilet training your adult dog. Always ensure that he uses the pads and not the floor. Alternatively, you can use a litter box for the same purposes. When using this method, ensure that the litter box is always clean and remove soiled paper pads.


Clean soiled surfaces


It is only fair to expect accidents when you first bring your dog home. However, refrain from yelling or punishing your dog. Understand that he is now and he has no idea of how anything works in your house but he will learn.

Once you notice that your dog has soiled the house, ensure that you clean that up. Use enzymatic cleaners to clean up the area to remove the smell. This way, he will not keep coming back to the soil in the same spot.


Be patient


In the introduction part of this article, we mentioned that it is going to take some time before your toilet trains an adult dog completely. However, you should not give up as you will never have to redo it. Now, you will need to be patient with your dog, even when he accidentally soils the house.

Even those dogs that are afraid of going to potty outside for some reason, you may need to give them some time. He will need to get familiar with the surroundings before he gets comfortable potty outside. You may also consider getting a temporary place for him, especially during extreme weather conditions.

Always encourage our dog to keep using the designated potty area. You can be able to do this by rewarding him every time he gets it right. For instance, when you take him outside and he goes to the potty upon your instructions, offer him a treat or praise. This way, you are simply associating the potty training with a positive outcome.



Reasons leading to an older dog soiling the house


Once we adopt our puppies, we want them to live under the same roof as us. However, it might be difficult to live with a dog who is always peeing or defecating in the house. This is among the top reasons why most people give up on their dogs.

Before you give up, you should consider giving your dog a chance and toilet train him. You must understand why and the older dog still soils the house. I am going to outline some of the circumstances that may lead to an older dog soiling the house;


Medical Reasons


This is the most common reason for older dog house soiling. This is especially when he has been well behaved and suddenly he is soiling the house. Well, you should probably keep an eye on him to determine whether he might be ill.



It could be that your dog is suffering from any of the following illnesses:


Incontinence refers to your dog’s inability to hold his bladder. In some cases, your adult dog might void his bladder when he is asleep. At the same time, your dog might also defecate accidentally in the house. It could be a result of a weak sphincter. We can, therefore, say that incontinence is caused by medical reasons.

For instance, if your dog is peeing just about anywhere, even if he is potty trained, it could be that he is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI). You should take him to the vet for a check-up in order to correct that illness.

It is also common for a dog to suffer incontinence when after a spay surgery as a result of hormone-related issues. You should always get your dog to the vet care center if your dog suddenly starts soiling the house.

The vet will be able to determine if he is suffering from any illnesses and thus offer treatment as diagnosed.

If you are having trouble with an older dog, it could be age-related incontinence. Older dogs who are suffering from senility may soil the house on different occasions. Dogs with dementia might end up soiling the house as well.


Lack of toilet training at a younger age


Some dogs will soil the house because they have never been toilet trained ever before. It could be that your dog was rescued and has lived in a shelter since then. Now, you do have a task to introduce your dog to potty training as soon as you can. Note that it is going to take some time but with persistence and consistency, you will be able to toilet train your older dog.

Dogs who have lived in kennels or outdoors may also have this problem. Also, those been dogs who were half-toilet trained may start soiling the house just after a few days. This means that you will have to retrain your dog all over again.


Specific liking of a particular surface


Some dogs will also tend to choose places to eliminate their waste in the house. Even if you have a toilet-trained dog, this could happen anywhere and at any time. Observe to see if your dog soils only on a specific spot or just randomly.

For instance, your dog might choose to pee or eliminate on your mat. He will not do it anywhere else in the house other than the soft mats in your house. Your adult dog might also start soiling his beddings. You might have to toilet train your older dog to remind him that you do not appreciate his behavior.




Unfortunately, all dogs are prone to anxiety. It could be as a result of being left alone in the house by his owner, or even having unpleasant experiences. For example, your dog might develop separation anxiety, even in adulthood.

As a result of the separation anxiety, your dog will start acting up immediately you start preparing to leave. Besides, he will soil in specific places. It could be your favorite spot on the couch or even on your bed!

Observe your dog closely so as to determine if your dog has anxiety. The best way to deal with anxiety is to eliminate the reason behind it. For instance, you may want to increase playtime so as to spend more time with your puppy.



Extreme fear of going outside


Sometimes your dog might develop a fear of going outside to potty. As a result, he will end up soiling the house when he feels the urge to eliminate. It could be that he has recently experienced a scary encounter. Also, if there is another dog in your household or he can see the neighbor’s dog, he might be afraid of going to his potty area.

It is up to you to figure out why your dog is afraid of the outside. Watch him and observe what is scaring him off, especially to go to the designated potty area.


Urine Marking


In some cases, dogs tend to display their territorial behavior through urinating. As we mentioned that anxiety is a cause for house soiling, it is also likely that an anxious dog will want to mark boundaries. This way, your dog believes that he is safe from any harm.

Also, if you have an unsprayed/unneutered dog, he might occasionally soil the house when he is marking boundaries. He is in need of a mate and thus he will try to use urine to attract a potential mate. He might end up urinating on your items as well as beddings.




. For example, if you have been away for some time and you get back home, he will be jumping up and down with so much excitement. He might even pee a little.

The same case goes for when you are playing with him. This is referred to as submissive urination.




In case you have adopted a rescue dog who is not potty trained, you definitely have a task ahead of you. However, do not panic as you can toilet train an older dog just as you would a puppy. The above-discussed tips are going to guide you through the training method.

Never yell or hit your dog as a way to punish him, should he soil the house. Instead, clean up and be kind to him. It may take several weeks to months to potty train an older dog but he will eventually get it. Just be patient as well as consistent with the training.


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