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Basic Training

How to House Train an Adult Dog – Stop Peeing and Pooping in the house

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Potty Trained Dog Sitting Beside His Pee Pads
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There may be a variety of reasons why an adult dog has not previously been potty trained. You may have acquired a dog that has always been kept outside. And it doesn’t know not to pee and poop in the house.

No matter what the reason is, knowing how to house train an adult dog is important. Since your pet can certainly be potty trained, with time and patience.

House training an adult dog is no different to house training a puppy. The only difference is the time it takes to train them. It usually takes longer to train an adult dog. Especially if it may have acquired bad habits over the years.

With time and patience, you can successfully house train your dog within a matter of 5 weeks. Your pet can learn how to be totally clean in the house and do their business outside.

How to house train an adult dog: The basics

When learning how to house train your adult dog, a degree of effort and consistency is required.

Understand that your dog will have many accidents before being fully house trained. So you have to be watchful and aware of what your dog is doing.

Here are the most basic yet important things you should remember during the training.

1. Create a routine

Dog Peeing At A Park During Walk With Owner
Masarik / Shutterstock.com

Dogs learn quickly from repetitive actions. Start the training by taking your dog outside on a leash once every two hours.

Create a routine for them. Take them out immediately after eating, before sleeping, and in the morning when they wake up.

Take them to the area where you want them to pee in the future. However, sometimes dogs do not always think the spot you have chosen for them is the best choice.

Often, they have their own preferences. A male dog might prefer a tree or post. A female may prefer a grassy area. Sniffing helps stimulate elimination. So allow your dog to have some choice.

After a spot has been chosen, stand with them and give them a command. The command can be any thing you choose, but once you choose one or two, you have to use them all the time.

You should make the words you say sound fun and exciting, like it is a game!

2. Positive reinforcement

Owner Petting His Dog For Peeing In The Right Place - House Train An Adult Dog
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

When learning how to house train an adult dog, you must remember positive reinforcement. Dogs learn habits through repetition and reward.

If your dog does not pee or poop outside after three or four minutes, take them back inside. Then try again in 20 or 30 minutes.

If your dog does actually pee or poop when you take them outside, praise them, pat them, play with them or give them a treat.

Let them know that if he goes to the bathroom outside, you become very pleased with them. Make them feel good about what he has just done.

Rewarding your dog with an excited response for a positive outcome will work wonders. Some would resort to scolding, which is not something you should be doing when you’re learning how to house train an adult dog.

3. Constant supervision

Dogs In A Crate Being Supervised By Owner
candy candy / Shutterstock.com

Don’t let your dog have the run of the house. Try to contain them to the room you spend the most time in. So you can watch them most of the time. Close all bedroom doors and barricade other areas that do not have doors.

If there are areas with no doors, baby gates are a useful tool.

Constant supervision is necessary. You need to be very aware of any signs that your dog needs to go to the bathroom.

The ‘umbilical method’ is another choice. To do this, you have to put the dog on a leash. Ans then put a belt around your waist and attach the dog. Your dog is now in the position of having to be with you at all times. This way, you can have constant supervision of them at all times.

4. Don’t resort to punishment

Owner Scolding Dog For Peeing On The Carpet
MCarper / Shutterstock.com

When your dog has an accident in the house, accept some of the blame yourself. Perhaps you could have been watching them better.

Praising your dog for doing the right thing will always work far better than punishing them for doing the wrong thing. Don’t get angry. Don’t go overboard by yelling and screaming. Learning how to house train an adult dog takes a lot of effort.

If you find the mess or puddle after, do not rub it in their nose. This is not acceptable and is an old fashioned idea that doesn’t work. This only serves to make them afraid of you and confuses them.

5. Be firm, not angry

Owner Learning How To House Train An Adult Dog
Matthew Ennis / Shutterstock.com

When you catch your dog in the act of going to the bathroom in the wrong place, tell them firmly but calmly words like, “No don’t pee there.” You do not have to scold them, but you must let them know that this is unacceptable behavior.

Then take them outside. You may have to pick them up and carry them out or put them on a leash and let them do their business.

Once outside, tell them in a very ‘happy’ voice what a good boy he is. Always praise your dog for any positive outcomes. And never use punishment for negative outcomes.

When learning how to house train an adult dog, this is the part that requires a lot of patience.


Don’t have unrealistic expectations when it comes to house training your dog. They may have plenty of accidents before they get the message of what is expected of them.

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