House Trained Dog Started Going Inside

We adopted our 14 month old pup from a rescue home just 2 weeks ago. Save for her first night in (when she was probably confused as hell), she's been really good with her toilet training. She had a few wee accidents, but otherwise she only went potty in the garden or out on a walk (of which she gets 2-3 a day). At night time she'd just stay in the kitchen in her bed, pay us the occasional visit in the bedroom just to make sure we haven't escaped, but otherwise, she'd happily just sleep through the night downstairs. A couple of times she came up to our bedroom at night time and she kind of seemed a bit restless so I figured I'd let her out in the garden to go and do her business. She did, came back in, went to bed, no bother. Otherwise she rarely needed to go at night time and would happily just go in the garden just before bedtime. Happy, poo-free days (and nights)!


We've installed a stair gate in the kitchen doorway, where she sleeps, just to get her used to being on her own (during the day she follows us around the house everywhere). The first couple of nights with it she was absolutely fine, just didn't need to go at all during the night. I kept an ear out (I'm a really light sleeper) in case I'd hear her get restless, but she never did.

Then a few nights ago we woke up to the smell of poop just wafting through the entire house. We thought, fair enough, let's leave the gate open at night in case she wanted to come up and let us know she needed to go, but couldn't because of it. But she doesn't! For a couple of nights she's been refusing to go potty in the garden before bed and simply chooses to wee and poop indoors instead, once we've gone to bed.

Last night I came downstairs every hour and tried to get her to come out in the garden, but she'd either refuse to get up from her bed, or she'd come out and just sit there and stare at me as I'm trying to encourage her to go. Then at about 3am I went down again, she refused to go out, then when I went back to the bedroom she followed me up. I thought maybe she'd changed her mind so I tried to take her out again, but again she was not interested and instead tucked herself nicely into her bed. I went to bed again, but moments later I heard her walking around the kitchen so I ran back down and guess what? She'd literally just done her business seconds after I'd tried to take her out!

I must admit I got really frustrated and perhaps was a bit too harsh with her, but I just couldn't understand why she'd do something like this. Now going in the garden is an absolute no no, she simply goes out and stares at me, doesn't come to me when I call her, she just waits to be let back into the house.

We are running to the end of our wits. I am 4 months pregnant and my partner works 12 hours a day so we simply don't have the energy to wake up every hour every night, and even that is to no avail. What are we doing wrong? Why has something that used to be so straight forward and hassle free (going potty in the garden), now such a struggle and why does she act as if she doesn't know what I could possible expect her to do when we are outside?

We've done it all, praising her when she goes, trying to teach her words to associate with her business (you will often hear me shout "good girl, you went wee wee" in one of the local parks), going out with her in the garden, being encouraging, being patient, the whole list! And apart from last night we never really scolded her for going inside.

Please help, I am genuinely going crazy with tiredness and frustration, and I know Dora the dog is feeling it which is not helping! But it's a mother of a vicious circle!


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January 19, 20190 found this helpful

Make sure there is nothing physically wrong with her that would cause her to have accidents. She may have to be crated if she continues to poop in the house.

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January 21, 20190 found this helpful

I wonder if putting the gate up triggered memories that cause her to feel anxious. I would get rid of the gate so she can check on you if she needs to. A puppy from a rescue situation sometimes has issues others do not. If this situation continues much longer I would consider crate training your puppy. Potty training often takes more than one try.

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January 22, 20190 found this helpful


I think you are allowing her to eat and drink at the wrong time. I take up food and leave only a tiny bit of water about 4 hours before bed. You don't want food available all the time.


It is important to understand that dog food, that is full of corn, is going to cause a lot of outside trips.

There is also a period of adjustment, where there is great behavior. This is like a honeymoon period. This is from the stress of being in a new environment.

I agree the gate might have caused the dog to feel he did not need to use the restroom outdoors. The dog should not even be free in the house intil he is sure of what is expected of him.

It might be helpful to have a crate. Wire ones are easier to clean in my opinion. In this crate the dog would get all meals. He would only be out of it when he is taken outdoors or brought out to play and exercise.

A strict schedule of outside times is helpful. Depending on the dog, he may need to go out every hour or two at first. It helps to keep notes of any accidents that happen.

The information at is helpful.

Good luck and have a blessed day!


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January 24, 20191 found this helpful

My family owned and operated a nonprofit rescue for years and I have worked in animal rescue for many more years. I am so glad you chose adoption and I know this is frustrating beyond words for you, but a reset will help you and your dog. Start as if it is Day 1. Remember and feel the patience you had then. Remember that she looks to you for safety and reassurance. In no way is she deliberately creating chaos. Chaos is the last thing a rescue dog wants or needs. There's a system that's going to ultimately work. It will likely be a combination of things, including body language and responses. Clearly, the gate triggered something and getting back to a calm, natural place is the catch. It could be as simple as her being taken into the garden soon after the gate was put up, and in her mind that means something.


It doesn't have to make sense to you, you just have to acknowledge that it means something to her. I strongly believe the separation from you at night is an issue, and the gate put a face, so to speak, on that separation. I would patiently guide her to sleeping in a crate, preferably in your room for reassurance. Dogs do not like to soil areas where they eat or sleep. Introduce the crate gently and leave the door open every minute of the day. Don't over-excite with rewards for going outside to do her business. Genuine low key praise will have a wonderful effect. She wants to understand this as much as you do. Don't try several changes at once, that's sure to overwhelm her and low stress is so important. You're going to get on the other side of this, you really will!

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February 12, 20190 found this helpful

Beautifuly said!

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