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. This article will discuss circumstances that may lead to an adult dog soiling the house. Also, we will 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, your older dog won’t soil the house; you must make it stop. It is quite possible to toilet train an older dog. However, you must understand that it will take some time before you can get him to stop. Below are some tips that should guide you in the process as you potty train an adult dog.


Consistent Schedule


It would help if you fixed a consistent schedule immediately after you bring your dog home. He must learn 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. Adult dogs may not need to feed as much as puppies. However, a vet should be able to advise you on the amount of food and how frequently you should provide him.

You can estimate the time your dog will likely pass waste by keeping a consistent feeding schedule. 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.

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

It would help if you were consistent with your dog’s other activities. This includes playtime as well as scheduled morning and evening walks. To make this process easier, you should ensure 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. You will also need to watch out for any signs he wants to potty. As mentioned above, you must 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.

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 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 stop in the same place they sleep and eat.

This is your advantage when toilet training an older dog. Your dog will try to hold it as much as possible before eliminating it. Using a crate to toilet train an adult dog at night will make it 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


Sometimes, you may not be able to take your dog outside. For example, taking him out to the potty on time is near impossible if you live in a high-rise apartment; taking him out to the potty on time is near impossible. Therefore, you need an immediate plan to handle toilet training.

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


Clean soiled surfaces


When bringing your dog home, it is only fair to expect accidents. However, refrain from yelling or punishing your dog. Understand that he is now and 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 would take some time before your toilet trains an adult dog thoroughly. However, it would help if you did not give up as you will never have to redo it. You must 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. Before getting comfortable potty out, he will need to get familiar with the surroundings. You may also consider getting a temporary place for him, especially during extreme weather.

Always encourage our dog to keep using the designated potty area. You can 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 associate 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, living with a dog constantly peeing or defecating in the house might be challenging. This is among the top reasons 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 the older dog still soils the house. I am going to outline some of the circumstances that may lead to an older dog fouling the house;


Medical Reasons


This is the most common reason for older dog house soiling. This is especially true when he has been well behaved and is suddenly soiling the house. 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 accidentally defecate in the house. It could be a result of a weak sphincter. We can, therefore, say that medical reasons cause incontinence.

For instance, if your dog is peeing just about anywhere, even potty trained, it could be that he is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI). It would help if you took him to the vet for a check-up to correct that illness.

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

The vet can determine if he is suffering from any illnesses and thus offer treatment as diagnosed.

It could be age-related incontinence if you have trouble with an older dog. Older dogs suffering from senility may soil the house on different occasions. Dogs with dementia might end up polluting 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 before. It could be that your dog was rescued and has lived in a shelter since then. Now, you have a task to introduce your dog to potty training as soon as possible. Note that it will take some time, but you can toilet train your older dog with persistence and consistency.

Dogs who have lived in kennels or outdoors may also have this problem. Also, those half-toilet-trained dogs 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. This could happen anywhere and anytime if you have a toilet-trained dog. Observe if your dog soils only on a specific spot or 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 home. 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 due to 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 after you begin preparing to leave. Besides, he will soil in specific places. It could be your favorite spot on the couch or bed!

Observe your dog closely to determine if your dog has anxiety. The best way to deal with stress is to eliminate the reason behind it. For instance, you may want to increase playtime 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 and observe what is scaring him off, especially in 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 of 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 marking boundaries. He needs 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, he will jump up and down with excitement. He will jump up and down with excitement if you have been away for some time and you get back home. He might even pee a little.

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




If you have adopted a rescue dog who is not potty trained, you have a task ahead of you. However, do not panic; you can toilet train an older dog just as a puppy would. 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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