House Training an Adult Dog

When adult dogs are adopted, rescued, or moved into the house they often need to be house trained. This is a page about house training an adult dog.


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February 1, 2008

I have a dog that is almost 2 years old and is still not fully house trained. I'm open to any suggestions. Can anyone help?

Tammi from Swanzey, NH


By Brenda (Guest Post)
February 1, 20080 found this helpful

I'm gonna keep an eye on this topic for some hints as I have the same problem with a male Chiquaqua I adopted from a shelter. They think he is about 18 months old. All I get done is clean up floor and furniture. I let him outside very often (when there's no snow out).

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By Linda (Guest Post)
February 1, 20080 found this helpful

I will be watching for the answer too. I have two min pins. Create them at night. First thing in the am I let them out, watch that they do their business. I let them back in, feed and water them. Once they are finished eating I actually set a timer for 20 minutes. I pick up the food and let them out again. Once they are back inside all I can do is watch their every move. Every time they wake up or roam to another room, I let them out.


Come 5 p.m. I feed them again and do the same routine as in the am. Set the timer, let them out, pick up the food. For the next few hours I once again monitor them. Come about 10 pm I let them out one last time. When they come in I create them for the night. However I feel like I am the one getting trained. Because they will go inside if I do not catch them.

My mother has a chi that hates winter and snow. But this dog will go to the back door and bark when she wants out. AND she does NOT have accidents. My mother did less than I am doing now when she got her. Never picked up the food, let her out about 4 times a day. And this was her reward :) There has to be an easier way? I love my dogs. But like I said there has to be a way so that I am not constantly watching their every move. So if anyone has any magic tricks. I sure would love to hear them. Good luck with your dogs also. Thanks in advance. Have a great day.

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February 1, 20080 found this helpful

Start the 'crate training' process with the dog, just like what you do with a puppy. Just google ' crate training dog' and they should give you all the steps you need to begin this. It works with any age dog, any size.

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February 1, 20080 found this helpful

Crate training is the best!

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February 1, 20080 found this helpful

Can't argue with shubunny and junebug -- crate training has saved my home and my sanity!

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By D (Guest Post)
February 4, 20080 found this helpful

Just letting the dog out is NOT enough exercise for your dog; no matter what size your yard is. The same goes for small dogs.


Crating is very helpful BUT only when used in conjunction with a very consistent schedule of feeding and LONG, BRISK walks.

I've taken in many rescue dogs in bad shape and the crate is an interim tool only. After a few weeks, you should be able to leave the door open and let the dog use the crate as a den if it is large enough.

If it takes longer; you need to adjust what you're doing with the walks/feeding schedules until it does work.

How do you know if the walk is long enough? Your heart rate should go up a bit AND the dog will probably have to poop at least once along the way. If he doesn't; keep on walking until he has to go. You'll learn what you need to do quickly if you pay attention.

It will become like clockwork. You'll be able to bet on how far you have to walk before he goes without fail.

Ideally do a long walk (at least 25-45 mins) every morning at the same time. If you need to take your coffee with you; that's what you need to do.


The dog will probably go within 5-10 mins but they (and you) need the exercise.

You can NOT train a dog to "be good" with less exercise. They need it and the more they get, the better their behavior will be.

Sorry if you like to sleep in on certain days. You need to be consistent. Do the same in the evening after the dog eats.

Your dog needs to have some snacks during the day in addition to the main evening meal. Plan them accordingly with your walks.

At night, cut the water a little bit when it gets late. Always keep ample water out during the day and give fresh water frequently.

If you drank a Super Big Gulp before bed; you'd have to pee at least once during the night too. :)

I've found that most dogs respond very, very quickly to a consistent schedule and the long, brisk walks; no matter what the age or background.


Good luck and remember...if it doesn;t work; YOU need to change what you're doing until it does work. With prolonged training problems; it's usually that the dog has trained you instead of you training the dog.

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By Rum Bailey (Guest Post)
February 5, 20080 found this helpful

Most dogs don't get enough exercise resulting in all sorts of neurotic dog behavior.
Ok, Tammi from Swanzey, NH~
If you are still having a problem potty training your dog after exercising him properly and the vet says there is no medical reason for it- seek professional help from a trainer ~ Good luck!

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By Shelli (Guest Post)
February 5, 20080 found this helpful

I could give you all kinds of advice but really it would all be re-hashed from things I have learned from Dr. Patricia McConnell on Wisconsin Public Radio. She's fantastic!

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February 5, 20080 found this helpful

Hi guys - firstly - you cannot punish a dog for a 'boo boo' unless you actually catch them in the act. If you find poos or wees - just let it go and clean them up.


Secondly, if you catch you dog in the act, quickly grab them and drag them outside (even if this leaves a trail of mess behind and then whilst they finish their business outside - praise praise praise - use a high toned tome of voice.
Thirdly, most dogs will need to go within about 20 mins of their last meal. So, time it, take them outside and tell them to 'wee' or 'go'. Wait and be patient and when they go - again praise praise.
Dogs do not understand getting in trouble after the fact. Dogs do understand instant praise!-

And remember - patience!

I keep both my dogs inside (uncrated) while I am at work. I have just got a 10month old rescue dog and it took me about 6 weeks to get him to 'wait' until I got home to do his business. It works!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By jodi (Guest Post)
February 7, 20080 found this helpful

We have a new little one at our house and also one we have had for about 4 yrs now. I found the best way is give a small little treat when they go outside an with a lot of telling how big of a girl she is getting to be just like her big sister. That only took a very few times an that work like a charm.

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By Kat (Guest Post)
March 8, 20080 found this helpful

I know what you mean I have two min pins - one is 6 yrs old she is no prob, but the male I inherited from my son who is in college, he is 4 yrs old. I just can't seem to get through to him. I have tried the crate it worked a few nites and then he started going in it. I feel like I need eyes in the back of my head- I have never caught him in the act. I am wondering if it is to late now, because he thinks doing his business in the house is normal I guess. I am really getting frustated. Any advice please holler bsck. White_Diamonds7(at)grnco(dot)net GOOG LUCK ALL! :)

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June 19, 2013

I got a Shepherd/Husky mix from a breeder at 7 months of age. They told me she was crate trained, but in reality I came to find out she was "pen" trained. I have attempted to crate train as I did with my other dog before her, but it is not working. She has accidents every day when she is not crated. Should I re-crate train her as if she was a small puppy meaning keeping her in the crate 24/7 except when it is time to eat and take her out? I know she can hold it because I crate her all night while we sleep and I also know she knows it is wrong to poop and pee in the house. I've tried everything, the bell on the door, the doors closed, her attached to me, but to no avail, she will be great all day and then when not attached to me and not crated she eventually goes somewhere in my house and I'm so done! I really love her, but do not know what to do. Please help!

By Maggie


June 19, 20130 found this helpful

It really sounds like you're doing a very good job and you're working really hard. You may want to try simply putting her in the crate when you're feeding. After you feed her, put her in there for 30 minutes to an hour and then and then take her directly out for a walk or to where you want her to potty at. Retraining her you may want to use treats or her favorite toy for an incentive when she does.

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June 19, 20130 found this helpful

Try changing her food and go back to crate training to house train as you would with a puppy. Here is a link from that may be of help to you.

Questions and answers:


Hope these help you in your dog training.

Blessings, Robyn from Tennessee

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December 5, 2013

We are having trouble house training a 12 month old St. Bernard. When I first got her, at 5 weeks, my wife told me she was not "weaned" by her mother. She rolled in her own urine and feces, and it took me 8 months to finally get her to stop. When I leave her alone, or leave the house, she jumps on the couches and goes number 2. We haven't had an accident for months. Last night I took her out before I went to bed and not even an hour later I heard her urinating in her cage. I took her out immediately and cleaned her cage. She has done it 5 times since then and also goes outside. My question is, could it be medical or her in need of intense training?

By reaper6niner


December 7, 20130 found this helpful

Talk to your Veterinarian.

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October 1, 2013

My Jack Russel was crate trained from 8 weeks until one year, then I moved and she has a porch with a basket/bed and a door constantly open to the garden so she can do her business whenever. She mainly does do it outside, but sometimes for example when it rains she poos inside and she knows she's done wrong, but still continues to do it! What can I do?

By Amelie


October 3, 20130 found this helpful

Dogs are very sensitive to Rain. The sound is multiplied by almost 100. Sometimes the sound is very annoying and hurts their ears, yes, this is true, you can look it up. Also, make sure there is not a medical problem causing your fur baby to do this in the house. Good luck

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June 13, 2013

I have a 3 year old Maltlipoo dog and she was never really trained to go out. I thought I had her trained and then I found she was peeing on my carpet in the living room. What can I do?

By Dee from Farmington Hill, MI


June 13, 20130 found this helpful

I like Leerburgs answer and explanation on potty training issues.

Here is the link for that:

The short answer is I would backtrack to not giving the dog the run of the house until he is better at not going on the carpet. Enzymatic cleaners will take the smell out and I would take up the water a couple or hours before bedtime or only offer a small amount.

Do you have a crate at all? Clicker training to go into a crate is fun:

Here is another link:

Sometimes I think the smaller dogs are having problems because their bladders are too small. Also a kidney infection could be causing this behavior. Cheap food and food with too many by products and such can cause this also besides other causes. Peeing can also be a way to dump toxins as in food with wheat, corn or soy. Try one of the foods on the market like Rachel Rays foods or the ones from Diamond that have no corn wheat or soy.

Be sure to take the dog to the vet to rule out an infection and then you can backtrack to the last successful step the dog did. This might involve changing the food to a better quality food, and taking up the water at night and trying to make going out a happy event with clicker training or rewards of treats.

Also the more jobs you give your little dog, such as sitting up for a treat, not from the store but a piece of ot dog each day, the better they will be at learning other things.

Hand targeting is a wonderful trick to learn.

Blessings and look at this as a way to start spending more happy times together rather than just training times.



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I'm so frustrated with my new rescue. I've had her for less than a week and evening potty time is very frustrating. She takes so long to pee outside at night. There are no issues in the morning in the backyard or for the dog walker mid-afternoon. Only nighttime potty breaks are problematic.

We literally walked for almost an hour tonight before she peed. Then, right before bedtime, I took her out and she wouldn't go. I come in, brush my teeth and then head towards my bedroom and noticed she peed on the carpet.

Suggestions? Please? I'm at my wits end and losing my patience. I've never had a situation like this, even with my other rescue dog.

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May 18, 2017

My husband and I have a 2 year old Pug. She will go out to use the bathroom or she will at least sit out there and wait until she comes in to poop on the floor, not even 30 minutes later. We've had a trainer come in, but it didn't help. We've tried praising her when she does go outside, but that doesn't work either. I don't know what else to do.

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November 29, 2018

I adopted/rescued a 7yr. Yorkie. The original owners stated he was house broken/trained. It has only been a week, but he keeps peeing in the house (kitchen). I have put up gates between the kitchen and living room to limit the peeing in one area. Take him out several times in the am before work (same time) when I get home and in the evening, within about 20 minutes of being in the house, there is a little puddle in the kitchen.

I clean up the pee and even spray the area that he has touched. He normally will not go back to that part of the kitchen. I have put down pee pads and he just looks at them and doesn't use them. He will go everywhere else except on them.

I have limited his water, as he will drink the entire bowl up if you let him in one sitting. I caught him once starting to pee and raised my voice and took him outside right away. I have praised him when he pees outside. I am not sure what is happening. He is very loving and wants to be with us, but I am worried that he will pee in the other parts of the house. I am not sure what it might be. I just purchased a crate and will overnight him in the crate to see what happens. I am not sure what other things to do or what might be happening that he pees.

Any advise?

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May 16, 2017

My Pit Bull is 4 years old and is sometimes still going pee and poop in the house. If I don't lock her in the bedroom at night she goes potty in the living room. If we're out of the house for more than 10 hours she goes. I have an older Rot/Lab who can hold his bladder for 24 hrs if needed so I know she could hold it if she really needs to. We've tried three cages, but none of them have held up to her strength. She eventually finds a way to destroy them. Also she would immediately pee as soon as we took her out of it while still in the house.

Also she has behavioral problems around other people and dogs and whenever I think she's getting better she goes back to her old ways. Last night she broke out of our room and pulled our crock pot off the counter and shattered it. My boyfriend then locked her back in the room and she peed right there. She's never peed in our bedroom before. Half the time it feels like revenge, but I don't know. Please help with no accusatory comments. I'm trying to learn to be a better fur mom, but I'm having financial trouble this year so training would be very hard to afford.

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November 28, 2016

I adopted a 4 yr old Chihuahua. He was never house broken. I take him outside a lot and we will walk. He just seems to sniff and mark here and there. Then when we are home he will poop and pee in the house. It's like he refuses to go outside. If we don't walk he just stands there. I am not sure what to do anymore. Plus I live in Wisconsin so winter will be here and I'm worried he really won't go outside. Please help.

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May 2, 2015

We adopted my three year old Lab over a year and a half ago. She has always peed in the house. We gave it time, took her to the vet to make sure that there isn't something medically wrong with her, and even tried calm me down meds. It isn't when we leave for work or anything, it's any time we pet her or touch her and it's through out our entire house. I really don't want to take her back to the shelter, but that's what it is coming to if I can't figure out what to do to make her stop. Even if we just let her outside and watch her go to the bathroom then pet her when she comes inside she still pees. We just put all new flooring throughout our house and my husband and I are both simply fed up. Can anyone help us?

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March 18, 2013

I hope that my questions can be answered. Recently I moved into a new place and my 2 dogs have been acting up when it comes to potty training. My Yorkie (3 years old) has recently started to wee against my couches, something he has never done, and my Toy Pom (1.5 years) leaves me a surprise every morning with out a doubt.

Someone told me they eat too late, so I started taking their food away at about 17:30 and water also, then first thing in the morning, at about 06:00 I give them a bowl full again. But still I get the surprises in the morning. Today I have started walking with them when I came home, as someone told me this would help, but I am not too sure.

Can someone please give some advise, I don't want to lose them and also don't want to let them stay outside, but my new place is going to turn into a smelly one.

Please advise.

Thank you in advance.

By Carli B from South Africa


March 19, 20130 found this helpful

This is a new and confusing place for them. You will have to house train them all over again! Confine them to one area and take them out often. When they stop "messing" in their area, give them a little more freedom. Be patient. Very cute dogs!

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March 20, 20130 found this helpful

Repeat all the house training - one main meal a day - feed around 4.00 in the afternoon as they often poop after there main meal - don't let them nibble all day - the more food the more poo!

Take outside often - sleep them in a pen in the garage with newspaper on the floor. If they wee or poop over night then this is easy to clean up. Use a mixture of white vinegar, baking soda & water to clean up .

Their messes as disenfectant etc leaves an odour that may tempt the dogs to go back to that area. Be consistant & don't punish them with hitting - be patient - by the looks of it these dogs are well loved & beautiful & well worth your effort. Good luck.

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March 22, 20130 found this helpful

Hi there! When animals are put into a new situation and place they have to mark their territories and establish boundaries. That is why they are going all over the place most likely. I have an 8 month old puppy who loved to go in the house. I had to crate train her.

At night and when we are not home she goes in her crate. We hated the idea at first, but it has seriously been the best decision we ever had. We tell her "Chewi, bedtime" and she runs into her crate and plops down.

The first thing we do in the morning is take her for a walk around the block and every time we get home we do the same. It is like a treat for her because she loves going on walks so much and it shows her she did a good job. She hated it for the first week but now we catch her sleeping in it even when we are home and she doesn't have to be in it. I know how much it sucks to have to clean up surprises in the morning and how smelly it can be. It's just an option but crate training worked really well for us! Hope it helps!! Good luck!

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August 29, 2016

I rescued a Maltese mix, he is about 5 yrs old. We live in a house with a fenced backyard. We have other dogs, big dogs and small dogs. I am home all day and leave the door to the backyard open, unless it is very hot out or freezing out. All the other dogs go in and out when ever they need and so does he. But I still can't stop him from going to the bathroom in the house, he has even gone pee on my sister's bed. I don't know what to do. Please help.

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July 24, 2016

My daughter has a 9 year old Shih Tzu. He pees in the house often. She has tried everything. Now they have a baby in the crawling stage and the ammonia in the pee is worrisome.
Please advise. Thanks.

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July 24, 2015

I have a 2 year old Pomapoo dog. For a few months he does really good, and does not potty in the house at all. Then he starts acting up and potties. We have a doggy door in our home, and he is fixed. We rarely catch him peeing in the house, but we know it's him. He shrivels down whenever we walk by where he had pottied before we even know he had went. Obviously he knows it's wrong. Once we find where he went, and get him in trouble he tries to be sneaky and hide where he pees and starts going somewhere else. He even pees on our bed! Why is he doing this? And what can we do to help him stop doing it?

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July 3, 2015

We recently adopted a 10 year old Yorkie that may have been abused or neglected. We have no idea how long he was a stray. We are crate training him and let him outside a lot and also take him for walks. The problem is that even when we take him for a walk and he poops and pees he will pee when he comes back in the house within 5 minutes so it's not a bathroom problem. Is he trying to mark his territory? He's only been here less than 2 weeks. What can we do to stop him? We already love him and he is so sweet.

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March 7, 2015

How Do you train a 2yr old Japanese Chin to pee and poop outside? He is my neighbor's dog.

By rb from RI

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January 28, 2015

My 2 yr old male Pug pees in the house. He does not have certain spots, he just does it anywhere. He has not been neutered. We have a doggy door so he has access to the outside and he goes out a lot and pees outside, but he still does it inside. I love him and don't want to get rid of him, but I cannot keep letting him pee everywhere.

By Sherry B. from Ninety Six, SC

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February 10, 2014

My 7 year old Doxie has used puppy pads since a pup, but will not use them in our new home.

By Kathy H


February 11, 20150 found this helpful

Hi, I am having the same issue and would love to find out if you ever found a solution. I have a 4 yr old shihtzu. We lived in New Jersey since we had her. She grew up using the pee pads majority of the time since she was home a lot while we worked it was out. Though, she also knew how to potty outside whenever we get a chance to let them out.

Recently, I moved with her to California. Since we moved here, she would not potty inside on the pads anymore. To be fair, the first 2 weeks while I waited for my apartment to be set up, we stayed with family and space was tight. Do I took her out to the yard or for a walk to potty.

The first day in out new place, she went twice on the pad, then not anymore. It's been storming out, and still she doesn't go on the pad. We just have to wait until storm isn't as heavy of rain and then I take her out. She does her business instantly and we go back in before the winds takes her away. Since this is only an apt., I don't have the luxury of letting her into a yard either.

She is currently staring at me while standing on the pad. Not u set standing me that she has to potty on it. What do I do?

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