My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Will Not Go Outside


You walk your pup or dog outside for a long time and nothing happens. However, when you get in, the pup goes immediately – often to his papers (or to where they used to be). He simply will not go outside.


Usually, this is a puppy who has been quarantined indoors for a month or more. These earnest little ones have been trained to use papers and use them they will! They hold their urine and bowels responsibly until they can race back inside to their former spot. While this drives their owners to some frustration, it is an excellent sign. Once these dogs know what they are supposed to do now, they will do it just as responsibly.

Or, if a pup has been punished for making mistakes in the house, he may now be inhibited about relieving himself near you – period. For this situation, a retractable lead may give your pup the distance he needs to feel comfortable. (PS: If this is the case, whatever you did that may have caused this, stop doing it.)

Yet another possibility is an adult dog who was raised in a quiet rural or suburban area who is new to the city. For these dogs, the noise is distracting and the pavement baffling. They have always gone to the bathroom on grass, and this bold, new city world is not the least bit familiar.

What to Do

Water – here’s the key. Try tanking up your pup. Early in the morning on a nice day when you have plenty of time, warm up a few cups of salt-free chicken broth and let him drink and drink and drink. Then, take a good audiobook, some excellent puppy treats, and outside you go. And outside you stay. Walk your pup, rest, walk, meet a friend and walk some more. Eventually, your pup will have to urinate, and when he does – praise him! Pet him! Give treats! Leave no doubt in his mind that peeing outside is JUST what you want.

Now, you can take a brief break inside for half an hour, then out you go again to walk and wait some more, because one puddle is not going to get all of that liquid out of his little body. Usually, once a pup has been praised for relieving himself outside a few times, he will be happier to do so in the future.

Confinement? You bet. You will start using the crate more and more as he starts going outside. Until he is going outside consistently, you can only crate for short and supervised times so you can shuttle him out if he needs to go.

If you must leave him, please confine him with his papers (gated in a small, puppy-proofed room or exercise pen) until such time as he is urinating outside three or more times a day and defecating at least twice a day for several days in a row. Then, by all means, crate him without access to the papers. But until he knows he can go outside, don’t take away his previous support – the papers.

Remove the bedding in the crate. A stressed animal can make confetti out of it and a dirty dog may use the absorbent material to mask his mistakes. The exception to this is if you have a tiny, toy breed puppy or sighthound mix or some other thin-coated dog; they need the padding to be comfortable.


If your pup urinates and defecates outside, then supervised playtime inside is in order. If he does not, give him his playtime outside then either crate him inside or keep him on lead RIGHT next to you (or ideally on your lap, if he’s small enough; do what is possible).

You know he is “loaded,” so don’t give him the opportunity to unload inside.

However, if you must go to work or leave a pup who has not gone to the bathroom, put him back on the papers, shrug and try again tonight. Crating a puppy who has not urinated or defecated will only guarantee a dirty crate, an upset puppy and a longer housebreaking period.

Signs a Dog Needs to Go Out

Each dog will show you in a different way. One of my dogs would come up, put a front paw on my knee and stretch. Another would stand in front of me and yawn. Dogs do try to tell us; it’s just that sometimes we don’t recognize their signals.

Their usual signals include panting, restlessness, circling, whining, trying to leave the room, trying to get behind something, staring at you, pawing you, and going toward the door.


Set aside extra time for the next week or so, because everything will probably take longer. Expect extra walks to be the norm.

Going On Command

Urinating and defecating do not embarrass dogs. For them these things are just behaviors — like sitting or eating.

It is easy to teach your dog to go on command. We use “Hurry up” for urination and “Get Busy” for defecation. When you see your dog about to start, say the words calmly, then praise quietly. Once she is finished, praise her more enthusiastically and give treats. Usually, with just a few weeks practice, your dog will go when you say the magic words.


None. Your pup has no idea yet he is SUPPOSED to go outside, so scolding him for going inside where he has gone for weeks will only upset and confuse him.

Common Mistakes

Getting angry at the pup for holding it outside then racing back in to go. You taught him to go inside so don’t be angry now that he learned it so well. He has no way of knowing that you’ve changed your mind. Be patient, he’ll get the hang of it.

It’s not really a mistake, but folks bring dirty puppy papers outside in the hopes of stimulating the pup to go. We’ve never found that to help, but it is an easy trick so heck, give it a try.

Further Advice

Once your pup is going outside regularly, then pick up his papers, clean underneath them and put the crate over that spot (or simply block it off). That should help prevent future errors in that area.

It is usually easier to get a dog defecating outside but if your dog is “holding it,” try a briskly walking him back and forth in one location. The exercise can get things moving and he will go. If you go to the same place every walk (we recommend someplace close to your home) your pup will soon learn what is expected at that location and not dawdle too much. After he relieves himself, then, as a reward, go for a nice long walk. That way, the long walk serves as another reward for a job(s) well done.

By Sarah Wilson


  1. My 4 month old lab Pitbull mix will stay outside for hours I’ll put him on a leash and put them outside from 11 a.m. till 7 p.m. and he will hold all the time and only use the bathroom once I let him inside in the crate what do I do and I’ve already made the mistake of getting angry because I’m pregnant and frustrated

    • First, that’s an amazing amount of self control for a young dog so once he gets turned around and going outside, he should be a super clean dog. The place to start is to keep him on leash with you when inside and get him outside with you frequently. Praise and reward him for going outside. It takes a while, sometimes. If that is a challenge, working with a local trainer can get things on the right course. Good luck with your puppy and your soon to arrive baby. – Sarah

  2. My pup is 10 months old and still goes inside the house. She will absolutely not go outside. I’ve tried taking her for walks, giving her a treat (she went a couple times outside but that’s it) she holds it all day, no matter how many times we take her outside. Then she comes back in and she will relieve herself inside. I’m so frustrated I can’t take this anymore.

    • Hi Kristyna – Your pup is frustrated, too, and this has gone on a long time. It will take a long time to fix properly. Follow the guidance in this post and things can turn around. Takes a LOT of commitment and good weather. Good luck – Sarah

    • Hey, I have similar issue with my 8 month old. Has your pet starting going outside, if yes then what did you do?

  3. I have two mini dachshunds who I just began crate training. They are 6 months old and were previously kept in a small playpen with a training pad where they would eliminate both ways (usually). When in their kennels they are able to hold it while I am at work with the occasional accident (only #1). When I get home I immediately let them out but they hold in their #1 until they are back inside. They are way better about going #2 outside but always seem to go #1 indoors. They even go on their bed they have for when they are not kenneled. My wife and I work and make it home during lunch to let them out but we are having major issues convincing them they need to go #1 outside only. Any tips on getting them to go outside only given our work schedule? Tips would be greatly appreciated!

    • Well, you have two very well papertrained pups. My first question is do you need them to stop using the papers? Why not just keep that up and start walking them a few times a day. Often with that approach they will start going outside over time. If you REALLY want to untrain them now – and you are untraining them – then give them broth so they drink a lot then go outside and stay outside until they go. If you come inside, CARRY them – do not crate, do not put them down. It will take a few hours but will work. Eventually. Pick a weekend day with good weather. 😉

  4. I just adopted a 15 week old mutt..not totally sure what she is. She came from Florida but we don’t really know too much about her. The first day we had her, she went outside perfectly fine. Now, she refuses to go down the stairs or out to the sidewalk and waits to get inside to go the bathroom. I work from 6am until about 430pm and my boyfriend gets out around 2pm. I come home around 1030am to give her a bathroom break but she insists on going inside and refuses to go for walks. We do live on a busy street with not much grass around (which she tries to eat every chance she gets) Basically, what do I do??

    • Hi there – Carry her on the stairs for now, if you can safely, and teach her how to go up and down them. Is the sidewalk hot in their weather? Tender puppy feet can get burned, just like ours. If the sidewalk would hurt your feet, it can hurt hers. So, carry her to the potty zone and walk back and forth there. Stay in one area, give her time to get used to things, see if that helps. Good luck!

  5. My 5 mo puppy has been successfully going outside for the last several weeks. I was taking him outside 6-7 times daily to get him acclimated to eliminating in the proper places. Soon as his “puppy puberty” started, he just holds it until the last minute. While outside, he’s more interested in what is going on with other dogs, people, and stimulants. I’ve been using “go pee” as the command, and it has worked…up until about a week ago. I started driving for Uber recently, but still stop in every few hours to take him out. He hasn’t been going in the house, but it has to be uncomfortablr for him…

    • Hi Courtney – My guess is your pup has learned that going means back inside. So, instead, walk back and forth boringly by your home and when he goes THEN take him for a bit of a walk. Even if it’s just for a minute. That is a good reward and should speed things up if that’s the cause.

      • I just wanted to say thank you as this is the problem I’m having with the lab I just got. I never even thought of this reason!

  6. Hi! I have a 7 month old Cocker Spaneil. She is still having trouble going outside mostly #2. She will not go outside by herself at all. She will only go outside if one of us goes outside with her. She is very good about #1 hardly has an acciden with that and goes on command when taken outside. She however keeps going poop in my sons room same spot. I’ll even sit outside with her for 20-30 minutes let her back in and then try again in about 10 minutes and we come back inside and then she will go poop in my sons room ! Help I don’t know what else to do. We praise her with good behavior outside and take her out frequently.

  7. Hi Sarah, we have a 3 month old male Maltese. We\’ve had him for 4 weeks. I generally confine him in a large playpen with wee wee pad in my home office. he is very good about using the wee wee pad in the playpen when confined. He\’s also very good about pooping outside in a designated area. I would say he poops outside 95% of the time. So far so good! here\’s what I\’m struggling with, I cannot get him to pee outside. He only pees inside and when not confined to his playpen he goes on bare floor. He won\’t pee on our carpets, just the floor. I also have an additional wee wee pad in the family room where we spend most of our time but he refuses to use it. Should I try using belly band?

    • Hi Mark –

      Have you taught him to run back to the papers yet? I’d be crating him then putting him on the papers while saying “Papers”. When he goes, praise and open the playpen up. As he gets better, put him down a few feet from the open pen, say “Papers: and encourage him to walk back. You can take him on lead if you need to. This is te step most people miss. Hope this is helpful – Sarah

  8. Hello Sara

    I just recently brought a puppy on sweetest day of last month of October and when I got him he was 7weeks old and now he like 12 to 13 weeks now and I’m trying to get him to use potty n poop outside and he won’t I can take him outside n walk for like 30 mins sometimes to hr with him and he won’t use the potty at all so I go back inside n like five mins later he does his business inside home it’s getting lil frustrating sometimes but what can I do to help him to go do his business outside.

  9. My chihuahua puppy, Bonnie won’t go outside. We can take her outside all day and she will hold it until she gets into her kennel. And when she has to relieve herself, she doesn’t even let anybody know, she just goes and then cries in her kennel until somebody cleans it up. We have a divider that came with the kennel as it is bigger than what she needs and we placed it inside but it doesn’t stop her from going inside her kennel. And when we take her out of the kennel and let her run around inside, she’ll go on the carpet.

    • Well, Bonnie thinks she’s inside trained. Any reason not to paper train her? If you are DETERMINED not to paper train her then, on a nice weekend, in good weather do as the article suggests but it may take all day. With a small dog, paper training can be much more convenient for everyone. If you go that route, I suggest using a puppy pad frame as that helps the pup stay on the pads:

  10. We have a yorkie/Pomeranian/Maltese little girl who is about 6 months old. Prior to getting her she was allowed to pee on the carpet (the owners said she used pads but I dont see evidence of that as she doesn’t use the pads). So now we’ve started taking her outside all the time to her new potty spot but she refuses to go. She has tried to go in a back bedroom so we’ve blocked that off. We have started keeping her on a leash so we are always watching her and the second she starts acting like she needs to go we take her outside. We are on day three of this and no potty outside. Instead the second we are distracted she goes. We are going to try your chicken broth method next and hope it works!

    • Crate or carry and, if she hasn’t gone for a while, carry. I use a sling for little ones when doing this tedious work:

      Good luck.

    • We have a 14 week old basenji
      He will pee outside, only if we wait a long time but has yet to poo outside in 2 weeks of having him, just whines and cries, then we’ll walk and he’ll be ok for a bit, sniff around then whine and cry.
      Stay out for an hour and only will pee eventually. At home have fake grass pad on balcony and he even goes to door there and waits to go out, doesn’t go inside. But will not poo outside at all

      • Hi Dan – then keep him on your lap and on leash in the house then take him out again and then again until he goes. It’s a hassle but he’s got to go eventually!

  11. I recently rescued a sweet border collie/blue heeler mix from being a stray. She is an extremely scared and timid girl. She had a puppy with her that we also saved and she is potty trained completely. How do I get her mama to follow suit? My first dog was a stray pit mix and he came basically perfect. This is my first time potty training, help please!

  12. Sarah, we have a 5 month old yorkie. He was doing really good for a couple of weeks going outside #1 and #2, but here recently he will not do either one outside. I work 8-5 everyday so he stays crated up all day until I can get home and let him out. He was going to the door to let us know he needed to go potty, but will not do that now. I lifted him up on the couch just last night to lay down and he immediately squatted and peed on the blanket! I am getting really frustrated with his changes and need all the help I can get! I will take him outside a good 5-10 minutes at a time knowing he needs to go, and he will not go until we come back inside now. I almost wonder if he is frustrated from being in the crate all day long and he does not want to please us by going outside.

    • Hi – How frustrating for everyone. My first guess is he is now worried about pottying in front of a human. So, has anyone been getting angry with him for these makes. That OFTEN happens – as this blog says – follow the walking hints here and everyone calm down. Is he holding if from 8-5 at 5 months? That would be unusual so check his bedding. If he is forced to potty in his crate that can undermine his house training.

      • Thanks for your reply Sarah! He does not hold it in his crate from 8-5. We leave two puppy pads so it will absorb the pee, I do not think he poops in the crate though. Can you break down what you mean by being worried about pottying in front of a human for me? I just want to fully understand and need to learn patience and understanding. His crate in my opinion is too big for him. It is probably 30 inches at the most.

  13. We just got a puppy (shorkie) about 13 weeks old, she is the sweetest thing but prefers to go to the bathroom in her crate. Take her outside for 30 min and she won’t go at all, I put her back in her crate to reset and she goes almost instantly. We’ve only had her 3 days, but I really don’t want to make things worse or create bad habits. Help!

    • Hi, Amy – Use a pen for a while as you teach her to go outside. Once she is going outside easily, THEN go back to crating. Until that time, crating will just make her dirtier. She can get it together, she just thinks she’s papertrained.

  14. I have recently gotten a chihuahua puppy. I will take him out to the garden every time I see him getting a little restless, however all he does is run back inside and then relieve himself.

    I’ve only had him for a week. Reading the article above, I will be patient, but are there any other tips??

    I also set alarms to take him out every 2 hours at night.

    I’ve never had such a hard puppy to potty train.

  15. Hi—we just adopted an 8 month old mini Australian Shepherd. Her previous owner/breeder said she was house broken but also said she used the puppy pads inside for “accidents”. We chose not to use the pads inside and have been taking her outside every hour…. she refuses to go and would hold it all day and potty on the rug. We removed all of the rugs and tonight she pottied in her bed. Any other tips? We’ve had her for one week and are really struggling with this. Thank you!

  16. We just got our beagle a week ago, when he was 8 weeks old. We have been taking him out every hour to go potty and he was doing great and would be praised and rewarded with treats…up until a few days ago. He started having accidents inside the house, which is to be expected but its been continueing to get worse each day. To the point that now, we can have him outside but he wont go until he gets back in the house. Is it common for puppies to degress once their settled into their new home? Its frustrating since he was doing so well at first!

  17. Hey Sarah, we have a 1 year old shorkie that I have been trying to train for a year. We previously moved from a place where she peed and pooped on a rug (which has since been tossed because it got so soiled to a point that no amount of spray could clean it). Also it was on the 4th floor and it took a long time to get down to the potty area. We just moved to a new apartment and I’m am determined to break this habit. We’ll go outside for 15 minutes and come back inside, she’ll start to go, I’ll stop her, we’ll go outside another 15 minutes, same thing. Repeat this enough times and she’ll just go inside no matter what. I am willing to admit my own faults, I get really frustrated because I’ve been at this a year now and we didn’t crate train her at the first place, she just went on that rug. Any advice?

    • You have a long road ahead of you. She thinks she’s supposed to go inside. I’d probably try a sling/carrier since she is small (I am assuming). I’ve had good luck with those.

  18. We’ve got a chihuahua puppy she is 10 months old now as I’m so close to giving up with her.. we tried the pad training for in the night which she pees on but pooped anywhere.. we can have her out all day and she will come in run up staires or some where n poop.. we have to go find it..I have 3 other dogs too all trained.. they go out together and I’m wondering if this may be part problem.. she’s too busy playing and getting into trouble with them..

  19. I have a 8 month old chihuahua, we think she may be part mini gray hound. She is very thin and extremely short hair. We live in upstate NY and it’s cold. We have made many mistakes with this since we got her, a big one was my husband’s lazyness and let her go in the house. Now I can’t get her to stop. She won’t use their pads, she just stops and pees then goes on her way. I can not live like this. I’m at the point I want to re-home her. I also have a 3 year old boy chihuahua and of course he is picking up on the behavior. We have started crating her the last 2 months but she still won’t go outside. I know the weather has a lot to do with it but I’m just at the end of my rope. My house us getting destroyed and stinks like urine. When I do get her to pee outside I calm say go potty and praise her. When she is done I give her massive praise and love her up. She just doesn’t seem to care if she goes in the house. I made the mistake of yelling at her etc at first. I don’t crate her at night because I feel bad to have my boy cuddling in a warm bed and not her. I’m crying daily because I can’t take living like this. We have her in puppy class and that helped with naughty behavior but not the potty. It’s breaking my heart to consider rehoming her especially since I have a child. I just don’t know what to do. We both work. I spent my entire 12 days off dealing with going outside and having her attached to me and she would still pee while right next to me. Any help you can give I would appreciate it.

    • Hi Melanie – It IS frustrating but this isn’t her fault. So, she is ON LEASH or in a pen with pads or crated. Period. There is no other option. If your husband won’t follow those rules, then rehome her ASAP to a home where she can succeed and enjoy your older pup. Get all the carpets cleaned regardless because if it smells like urine then both dogs will be confused. Good luck – Sarah

  20. Hi! I have a maltipoo she’s 3months old . I got her when she was 8weeks and she was not being potty trained. I struggled the first couple of week breaking her habits and finally got her to pee on the potty pads inside and she pees outside now. But that was a big struggle to get her to go outside. When it comes to pooing though she won’t do it on the potty pad or outside it’s always a new hiding spot ; under my bed , couch , kitchen , pantry and behind the toilet etc..I be tried to time it and watch her closely but she’s so fast and small . She fits everywhere I don’t lol and she beats me. I have 2 other dogs and when we go in walks the pee and poop and she just smells it …and nothing! We can be out for hours and she won’t go. It’s so odd! Then the moment we get home she goes . I’m very patient but I’m staring to worry about her and get a little frustrated. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Ana – keep her on leash then or in her crate so she can’t repeat this new game. Close doors behind you, use gates, use boxes to block under and behind places she’s hiding and if anyone is scaring her after accidents with emotional scolding or physical spanks – stop. That will only make matters worse. For that size pup, consider using a sling. Helped me a lot when I had a hard to house train shi-chon in a few years back. Here’s a link: Then compensate for all the limitations with more walks and play outside, as weather permits. – Sarah

  21. I have a 6-8 month rescue that we have had since November. He will pee outside with no problems, but he refuses to poop outside. He will hold it until we go back in, but if he is off leash I.e. at the park, he goes with no problems. I am at my wits end. What can we do?

  22. I have a 6-8 month rescue that we have had since November. He will pee outside with no problems, but he refuses to poop outside. He will hold it until we go back in, but if he is off leash I.e. at the park, he goes with no problems. I am at my wits end. What can we do?

  23. Hi Sara! We have a 5 months old mini Aussie and have had problems with going potty ever since we got her about a month ago. As far as I know she was never pad trained but is crate trained. She was going outside really well like every two hours in the snow but when the snow melts she refuses to go and will hold it all day if she has to. This is soggy ground and dry ground! She will go poo in various places inside if she can’t hold it any longer but even when she lets us know she needs to go we take her out immediately and she won’t go. We’ve tried taking her as soon as she eats or half an hour after she drinks and plays and she still won’t go. I’ve started keeping her in the crate when she won’t go outside but I don’t want to keep her In there forever 🙁 Please help I am so frustrated with her
    Also she refuses to go on walks she is so timed so my only option is around the yard with no fence cause of where we live.
    Thank you!

    • In her world, you potty on snow. No snow, no go. She’s trying REALLY hard and the world has melted away. She doesn’t know WHAT to do. She must be incredibly uncomfortable as she waits, trying to do the right thing. Try running her around outside. Movement can cause, well, movements. Long walks, play with other dogs, just keep her out and keep her moving. Bless her dedicated little heart. Once she’s straightened around, she’ll be one UBER housetrained pup.

  24. I have a miniature American Eskimo that is about 4 months old, he has never been outside before we had gotten him at 3 months. ( the breeder was very afraid to let him outside) We taught him how to use puppy pads, mostly used them unless we go outside and as soon as we get inside he’ll pee on the floor. He is crate trained but I can’t put him in the crate for more than a 5 hours or so before he starts to cry.
    I’ve tried putting him in the crate , carrying him outside then putting him back in the crate multiple times but nothing is working.
    We’ve tried the chciken broth method and he just held it 11 am until the next day at 8:00 am… he peed everywhere when we let him out of his crate.

    • What a good puppy! He is trying so hard and good for you, too, for working so hard. Take a vacation for now, meaning, let him use puppy pads when he needs to but get him outside and walking around a lot when you can. Get him around other dogs so he can see and smell them pottying outside. Then, in a few weeks, try again. He’s just confused and trying REALLY hard to do the right thing. Once he’s turned around, he’ll be great!

  25. Getting Extremely frustrated with my 4 month old Labradoodle. He will not go outside to use the bathroom by himself. I have to personally walk him down the stairs onto the grass. I can’t even stand on the stairs or he will come running up. I’ve tried leaving him on the deck for over 15 minutes and as soon as I let him in he’ll pee on the floor. Ill leave the deck door open enough for him to get out but he wont step foot out without me…. I put down pee mats in his go to spot but He has now started peeing right beside them… I’m a stay home mom so I’m able to let him out a lot but having to leave the kids 3 and 6months inside to take the dog out every hour is very frustrating.!

    • Yup but, on the other hand, he’s doing great on his housetraining. Use a crate routine to get him on a schedule, give yourself a break and reset the “every hour” pattern. Hold him at the top of the stairs and have one of your little ones go scatter some biscuits or kibble in the yard. Let him see it happen then escort him down and have him explore. Hang back as much as you can. Then start baiting the yard while he is in his crate. This should draw him down into the yard on his own. Good luck! You’re ALMOST there.

  26. I love the idea of a early Easter hunt dog addition lol thank for that great tip!

  27. I have a four month Weimaraner X Staffy girl who will not pee or poo outside. On walks if she needs to pee she will just pull on the lead until she’s choking, whine and try to run away. I take her on the garden and spend around 20 minutes at a time walking her around and telling her to ‘do a wee’ still she does the same. As soon as I bring her back inside she squats and pees. I tried bringing her pads out with us but she won’t use them and has now stopped using them in the house too. I try to stay calm and not scold her but it’s getting really frustrating. She is not crate trained and I don’t plan to crate train her. If anyone can give me some advice or tips it would be much appreciated! Oh and she has also started going on her bed which she never did before, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    • Good for you for not scolding. She doesn’t have an option right now. I’d pick good weather and plan to be outside as long as it takes. Expect it to be hours. She’s REALLY, REALLY paper trained, bless her earnest heart. As I say to people all the time, How long would you have to be outside before you squatted in the garden? A whole lot longer than 20 minutes! It helps to have a friend take turns so you can get inside for a break and food. Good luck!

  28. Hello Sarah. I have a 14 week spaniel lab mix that I just adopted this weekend. I don’t think she likes the cold weather here in Pennsylvania and we have had snow on the ground recently. She came from a rescue in alabama so she’s not used to the cold. We will walk her several times a day and try to go out every hour for potty breaks. She rarely goes and then comes inside and does her business. I crate her at night only. Right now, I work from home and I am trying to keep her confined to my office so I watch every move. Any tips on what to do to get her comfortable with eliminating outside more?

    • Hi Megan – In this sort of situation, the crate is your best friend (if the pup is clean in it). You can carry your pup, keep your pup on a short leash or crate your pup to encourage her to hold it. Then dress warmly and outside you both go! Play with her there, get her moving to, well, get her moving.

  29. Hi, I have 2 puppies. One Italian Greyhound ~12weeks and one Frenchie ~11 weeks. We have had them for about 1-2 weeks now. We crate train them at night and we will wake up every 2.5-3 hours to let them potty outside. My IG is really good with going #1 and #2 outside unleashed but not good at all leashed so it\’s a bit hard to praise him. I think the breeder had him potty and stay outdoors a lot because he loves being outside. My Frenchie will #1 outside but has resorted to #2 inside of her crate only or if we leave her crate door opened with a fake grass potty mat, she will go there. We got her one week before the IG. When we first got her, we had her in a playpen and she will go on the fake grass mat inside and she understood this very quickly. However, now that we crate the two pups, we close the crate doors and now she will only poo in her crate and is ok with it. She used to scream and howl when she #2 on the mat until we cleaned it up. We will be very frequent with potty outside but it\’s like she holds #2 in until she is in her crate which is unusual since dogs instinctively know not to mess in their sleeping area. We have resorted to set up a safe playpen area for them outside and they are both very good with knowing where to potty (not in or near crate). Will they eventually understand not to go potty inside because we will now raise them outside? We have a doggy door which we are teaching them how to use so I would love for them to know when to go out etc

    • Leave your Frenchie access to the fake grass for now. You cannot crate train a pup who will not keep the crate clean so job #1 is getting control over #2. Feed in the crate and see if that helps. Manage your two pups separately so crate the IG and pen your Frenchie. The outside pen will help (assuming it has a top so it is safe from other animals getting at them). And, once they know how to use the doggy door, setting up a pen around that door can help with house training. Good luck.

  30. My 8 month old terrier/chihuahua mix will not use the potty outside for any circumstance! We want him to be house trained and get him off of using training pads. He will hold it the entire day if he has to until we finally put a pad on the floor for him to go. We take him on walks, bring him to the dog park, and let him outside in the backyard. We’ve tried putting pads outside (clean AND used), we’ve tried training sprays, we are desperate at this point. It was hard to move the pad out of the hallway so we moved it little by little until we reached the back door. We have a step from the back foot to outside so we can’t have a smooth transition to moving the pad inside to outside. Do you have any last suggestions? Thank you!

  31. HELP!!!
    My Lumine eats puppy pads so we had to take them away. No matter they amount of toys and treats we leave he always shredded the pads. He holds his pee and poop until in the crate unless we let him off leash. But he doesn’t come when called anymore. I bathe him and clean his kennel many times a day. Please help me!

    • I’ve had success spraying pads with an anti-chew product, letting that dry and then using them. Also, a training pad frame can discourage that ripping, too.

      Stop using the crate for now. He needs at least a month of no crate dirtying and of going outside easily before you try that again. For now, walk him on the right schedule and use the pads inbetween. Now that the weathers nice, get him some good outside exercise time – walks, fetch, play with other dogs – he needs some tiring out! Good luck –

  32. So confused and don’t know what to do!

    My husband and I have a 15 week old Shih-Poo puppy. When we took him home we were told he was ‘paper trained.’ He pretty consistently goes on newspaper in a designated area of the living room (where he is gated in), however we have read to ignore his going on the paper and never to praise him for going on the paper or correct him if he goes off the paper (he has a few times, we use enzyme cleaner). Is this correct or should we be praising for paper use and labelling ‘go pee’ and ‘go poo’ so he knows we want him to go on the paper and so that he knows what ‘pee’ and ‘poo’ means? We work full-time jobs and know he will have to go inside between outdoor times and understand that potty training will take longer.

    Aside from small walks, we take him out when we see him circling for pee/poo and on rare occasion he has peed (to which he gets praise and treats) but he will often not pee even if we are outside for long periods of time after he signals and will go on the paper area immediately after coming in. With poo, he has never gone outside despite putting his poo on the lawn, bringing out newspaper when we see him circling to poo and even interrupting his poo to take him to finish outside (he doesn’t). He spends most of his time outside eating things on the grass and looking at people/other dogs (we have an open backyard that cannot be fenced). Any advice is more than appreciated!

    • Well, he considers himself paper trained and is a fine size for it, so why not go with it? Get him out for longer walks and socialization periods. Gate him in a smaller, more narrow room when you leave him with papers in the back (typically a puppy-proofed bathroom). The living room is way too big and not narrow. And start praising paper use. Good luck!

  33. Hi Sarah,
    I have a very well trained pee pad 7 month border collie lab.
    Unfortunately, her aim has become somewhat poor and sometimes the stream over hangs the pee pad thus peeing all over my expensive laminate flooring. My flooring is beginning to bow grrrr.
    Anyways – She was recently spayed and is now not peeing only on the pee pads, but everywhere in our house – the bathroom, office, basement, hallway, even in our bed at night!!!? Because this is so uncharacteristic of her – I’ve began investigations to rule out UTI/ other kidney problems with her veterinarian … I’m desperately trying to train her to pee outside, but I swear she has a bladder the size of a watermelon because she absolutely refuses to pee outside. Long walks, crating, nothing will work.
    She also has separation anxiety – so crating is incredibly difficult because she will continuously cry and bark if she knows I’m inside. Bringing her outside alone simply won’t work because she is so stressed.
    I just need some suggestions – or reassurance? I feel like I’ve failed her as a dog owner. She was such a quick learner in puppy school, but this I cannot seem to help her master. I’m exhausted and I’m not sure what else I can try.

    • Oh, that’s a big puppy for pads. First, get a large entry mat with a rubber back and, flip it over so the rubber is up. Put the pad on that. I also make frames from PVC to help with the aim. But, all that said, sounds like you need hands-on training help ASAP to get all this sorted out.

  34. We just recently brought home yellow lab last night. She has yet to pee or poop in the house. She has only went to pee and has not pooped since about 5:00 am. She was kept outside with the previous owners and was never inside. Is it possible that with her only being 9 weeks old that she already feels more comfortable going outside than inside?

  35. Hey Sarah. I have a 3 month old puppy (jack russel mix), he is potty trained on a paper in the bathroom and doing great without me supervising him until a week ago he got too excited then jumped on his bedding and peed on it. My dad got frustated and hit him once. Since then, he always had at least 1 accident on the floor per day. This got me really worried as my dad is starting to get impatient about him.
    Well previously, in the bathroom sometimes he refused to go on the paper but the floor instead. We let him because its easy to clean the bathroom floor. I think he started to learn that its okay to pee on the floor anywhere. Now I’m back to supervise him to pee in the bathroom but when I’m gone he’s back peeing on anywhere floor. I always change the paper dry after he used it but the accident keeps on happening. I dont crate him because that made him frustated but I do limit his access to another rooms. What should I do? Any suggestion would really help!

    • Well… not sure I would call them “accidents” as much as he was never truly paper trained to begin with. I’d gate him in the bathroom (small space), clean under the papers with an odor neutralizer (urine can get into the grout or other flooring and make the whole area smell like a potty) and get him over his crate issue (he needs to be crate-able in life). Then freedom after he’s used the papers and/or on leash with you when out of the paper area. I hope you are taking him out a lot for socialization and general fun, too. Good luck.

  36. I got a 10 week old chihuahua/dachshund as a birthday present about a week ago and they said he was puppy pad trained. The first night I had him he went #2 on the pad but never went pee. The next day he didn’t use the pad at all and pooped in the kitchen and peed everywhere. I take him out regularly and sit with him for about 30 minutes and still doesn’t. I have started taking him on walks and he doesn’t even sniff around he just messes with leaves and grass. I feel like I’m doing evrhtbing wrong and I’m getting super frustrated with myself

    • Hi Hannah –

      No 10-week-old puppy is ever truly papertrained to house trained yet. So not your fault or his, just not possible. He CAN be clean though, with your help. #1 – set up a narrow pen/pad area for him – bed, food, water in front – pad in back. That’s where he hangs out when not with you. Kitchen is way too big for him at this point.

      Continue to take him out so he can get used to the outside world. When he doesn’t go, and you have time, bring him back in and hold him on your lap – then take him out again in 1/2 an hour or if he gets restless. Do NOT put him down! If you have to get on with your day – put him in his pen.

      Good luck!

  37. Hi Sarah!
    I am so impressed with your thorough responses! I wonder if you can offer any advice for how we should proceed with our 10 week old corgi.
    The breeder had a large yard and he is pretty well trained to go on grass. He’s had no accidents in his crate at all, either overnight or for short periods during the day. But we’re city dwellers, and he’s only had one round of vaccinations so far, so we’ve been told not to take him out anywhere where he might be exposed to parvo. This means he’s restricted to a small piece of fake grass in our patio area for now.
    We were doing well the past week with interrupting his accidents and getting them outside, but yesterday he yelped during a slightly soft morning poo and didn’t finish until he’d been let back in the house. Now he won’t poo outside anymore, and waits until he can go in the living room. He won’t even continue to go outside when he is carried there in the process.

    Yesterday he did this when he peed as well, so I used the command “peepee” and a treat to encourage him, and am getting regular pees on command now. Unfortunately he hasn’t caught on to what “poop” means yet, and only looks confused and refuses to go no matter how long we stay outside.
    I assume this is some negative association with the place after yesterday’s pain, but we don’t have another option without the association. How can I get him to poop outside again so I can properly reward him and make some better memories?

    • Hi there – raised many pups in Manhattan and had no issues walking them on the street in stable areas – my rules are no parks, no pet stores, and no place with stray dogs around. FWIW. No reason you cannot, at least, carry him around the city. As for the pooping, when he doesn’t go – carry him around and try again or crate for a bit and try again – or… take him for a carry around the block then try again.

    • Also… getting him to run around on the patio, if safe to do, can “get things moving”.

  38. Hi Sarah! Thank you for being available for these various scenarios! We have a recent issue with our boxer/hound rescue. We adopted him back in February at the age of 1.5-2 (their best estimate at the time). He had lived outside on a farm prior to making the move up to Chicago. We had him in a moderate sized apartment. He pooped and peed just once each in the first couple of days we had him. Otherwise, we took him on regular walks down the street where he would poop and pee in the same places about 4-5x/day. We really had no accidents otherwise and could leave him alone for up to 10 hours. We have since moved a couple of times. The first house we were at for a month. He would poop and pee in the backyard off the leash no problem. Towards the end of the month, he did start to hold it more and more but was also dealing with a strained tail and my frustration one day when he wouldn’t go and I had to leave. When I would take him on walks, he would always go. He never peed or pooped in that house and I always left him in the crate when I left which he didn’t mind. Fast forward to now. We are in a different house without an enclosed yard. At first, he peed and pooped out there while on a leash no problem. My husband wanted him to get used to peeing and pooping out there so we didn’t take him on too many neighborhood walks. When we did, he would pee and poop then as well. We have left him in the house initially with no accidents or maybe 1 bc that’s what we used to do in our Chicago apartment without an issue. We exercise him as much as we can in the house with his toys and wrestling with him. We also take him to the dog park about 1-2x per week, where he always pees and poops. He has progressively taken longer and longer to pee and poop out back. Initially it was 5 min and now we’re up to 30 min. He has to run around quite a bit before he finds the “perfect” spot. We have tried walking him back and forth multiple times out there and he has been refusing to go. He just comes back inside and had been holding it even up to 14 hours. Unfortunately we have come home to pee and poop in the house a number of times which he never used to do. This is despite taking him out back prior to leaving the house for as long as 30 min and he does nothing. We take him out back at least 5-6 times a day. My husband did unfortunately scold him once definitely after the fact when we found poop. We now know that did not help and may have made the problem worse. We also tried crating him right after he didn’t go when we knew he had to for about 20 min. Didn’t help at all. Again we avoid walking him around the neighborhood bc my husband wants him to get used to peeing and pooping in the backyard plus he has some aggression while on a leash when he sees other dogs and it’s too much for me to handle as I’m pregnant and due in 2 weeks, I really don’t wanna fall. We give him treats immediately after he goes outside in the backyard and praise him heavily. Despite this, it feels like we’re going backwards with him refusing to go outside there. Any advice would really help as we’re getting really frustrated and my husband is sick of cleaning up after him. Not to mention we’re due to have a baby in 2 weeks. Thank you in advance!

    • First, congrats on your baby – that is wonderful!! Now, in this case, do what your dog needs – which is a walk. Take the easy route. Then work on the backyard issue. I know, the timing is not perfect but it is what it is. It’s more important for him to be potty trained right now than backyard trained. And, he sure you walk him for another minute or so after he goes otherwise he may start holding it to avoid going back home quickly. I suspect that’s what’s going on outside – he likes being out and learned, when he goes, he goes right back inside. Dog lesson? Don’t go!

  39. Happy to have found your article on my desperate hunt to find some help with potty training my 12 week old german Shepard mix. When we first brought him home he refused potty pads; he just ate them and never learned to potty on them. We also made the mistake of not crate training him as we didn’t know it was important/neccessary. He’s had free roam of the house since day 1 and i never knew that was a no no, too, till recently. We live on the top floor of a 3 story apartment building and since he couldn’t go outside till his vet gave clearance, we were training him to pee and poop out on the balcony on a rug. Took about 1.5 weeks, but he got very good at it. He would go to the balcony door everytime he needed to go and house accidents completely stopped. Then we got a complaint from the downstairs neighbor that his pee was dripping down to their balcony (i guess a patio rug isnt very absorbent) so we had to stop that and start taking him downstairs to the grass. I was naive to think he’d instinctually understand to pee and poop on the grass, but he just isnt getting it. We can be out there for hours and he’ll just eat grass all day with no pee or poop, but as soon as we get in the apartment he goes on the carpet. Sometimes he’ll go outside, but hes been very inconsistent. I have him on a feeding schedule and take him downstairs as soon as he wakes in the morning, after every meal and nap and water intake. He also still goes to the balcony door and cries to be let out. Is he confused? Does he still think his potty is out on the balcony? Have we just completely confused the poor guy and now he doesnt know what hes supposed to be doing? We treat and praise everytime he is successful, but we also have scolded him and spanked him for going in the house; how do we undo the damage that has caused so that he feels safe enough to allow us to correctly potty train him? Please help and thank you for your time!

    • Yup, he’s confused. He is trying he BEST to stay clean and do what he was trained to do. I know it’s frustrating but not HIS doing. He’s doing what you wanted and what he was rewarded for doing. Now, when the weather is good and you have time, outside you go and you tag-team each other for hours – if necessary. Won’t be easy but will happen.

  40. I have a 14 week old german shepherd. Since he was 8 weeks old, he was raised on the water in the northwest with lots of nature and a huge yard to run around in, etc. At 10 weeks he was great at going potty outside, but slowly he started going inside more and more, although I had the same routine. He’s crate trained, and immediately in the morning noon and night I take him outside strait out of the crate ( as well as giving him at least 2 more opportunities if he doesn’t give me a clear sign he has to go. Currently, he will absolutely not go potty anywhere accept inside the house. I try not to get frustrated, but the constant handling and cleaning up is so stressful. HUGE puddles of pee…its awful. I want what’s best for him but I’ve tried everything, including the steps you’ve layed out and nothing works. I’ve waited up to 3 hours coaxing him outside…but nothing. I don’t know what to do other than get him an oversized litter box or something.
    I’m pretty patient, but I cant see any improvement at all.

    • Well, HUGE puddles of pee means he is holding it, we just don’t know why. Now, I don’t know what you mean by “2 more opportunities”. My gut says he may have learned that he goes back inside, maybe to his crate, when he goes so he’s started to hold it? I’d find good hands-on help locally to help you sort this out with him. When pups who change their pattern like this, something is going on and it should be fixable.

  41. Hi Sarah – I just adopted a six month old chiweenie (3 days who) from a really well run Rescue. She was used to being crated and never (fingers crossed) goes in her crate with them or me now. At the rescue she had two brothers and they were put out into the fenced yard a few times a day. Fed at 6am and 6 pm. I’m following same feeding, same food even. And I have a 1/3 acre fenced yard. But she will not go when I take her out. I’ve tried on leash, off leash, etc. She’s gone #1 and #2 outside once but more often in the house but I truly thinks she knows not to and either I haven’t picked up on her signals or she’s maybe too frightened of the new yard/surroundings? Plus I really thought she’d need to go more often! I’m home all day for the rest of this month, so I want to have her trained so that when I need to be gone, others can take her out and it be successful. It’s frustrating to to be doing the vigilant puppy training of taking her outside after eating, after playing, every couple hours and she just refuses to go. She’ll walk around and sniff and run back and forth but nothing. There are two other friendly dogs in the yard but 95% if the time they are not out there when I take her. My other dogs always went as soon as they got outside… so this behavior makes no sense to me. Any advice?

    • Keep up the schedule and keep her on-leash in the house or in your arms, then walk her again. Tank her up on a day you have time and just keep at it.

  42. My very young pup (just 9 weeks) is absolutely fine with peeing outside, in fact he now asks to go. However, when it comes to pooping, he simply won’t. No matter how long we go out, go back in, go out. He will not defecate around me, although I’m sure to be gentle and kind every time. He previously pooped outside three times, had two accidents I thoroughly cleaned, and now no longer goes outside. Please help..? Am I just not waiting long enough for him to go outside? Did I do something wrong to make him uncomfortable pooping around me?

    • Hi Skye – I’d keep him on leash inside so he can’t move away from you. When he starts to try, take him out, walk him on a lazy circle until he starts to sniff and tripod.

  43. We just got a 5 month old Dogo Argentino and her previous owner would only have her relieve herself on the cement patio outback. Now that we have her, we bring her for walks to the same grassy area right around the corner from our house and she does not go. We will stay there for 30-45 minutes and she refuses to go. When we get back inside she has held it for so long that she goes to the bathroom once she gets in her crate. It’s getting extremely frustrating. We don’t want her to think it’s okay to go in the crate, and are afraid that by not letting her go outback and essentially forcing her to have an accident in the crate, she’s learning she’s supposed to do this. We have brought some of her poo and papertowels from cleaning up her pee to the area we want her to go and she still doesn’t go even after sniffing them multiple times. What can we do? We have to work, so we cannot stay out for hours at a time. We bring her out immediately in the morning, every time she comes out of her crate, and right before bed, but with no sign of her understanding what she’s supposed to do. She has not gone to the bathroom outside with us at all, so we haven’t been able to praise and give her a treat for doing so.

    • Hi Meridith – She’s frustrated, too. Try walking her on pavement and using a longish leash so she can move off a bit. Pick a nice day and go to a local park and plan to stay there for the day. When she starts to go say NOTHING and don’t stare – praise afterward. She’ll get it, she’s clearly a VERY clean puppy.

  44. Hi Sarah,

    I have a 10wk old cavalier who’s had a bit of house training regression/general struggle. I’ve only had her for 4 days-She went on a pee pad the first day (pee and poop with assistance) and then held it for HOURS the next two days until she finally peed on the rugs. I was trying to train her on the pads but since the first day she will not pee on them. I was worried her “holding it” was unhealthy…the second day she waited almost 8 hours. On the 4th day I had a trainer come in who suggested I take her outside upon waking on a pee pad (to prevent parvo etc.) for 10 mins and if no pee/poop, crate for 20 and repeat until she goes. The problem is, if she doesn’t feel comfortable, she’ll hold it for HOURS. She also has some anxiety in the crate and I can’t let her “cry it out” due to neighbors so I’ve been doing vigilant supervision. I’ll catch her in the sniffing/warning signs, bring her outside, where she sits and does nothing. Pick her up, bring her in, see her sniff, repeat outside, nothing. I did this process of 10 mins outside, 20 mins inside after her lunch AND dinner to no avail (no poop or pee at ALL) Finally, almost 8 hrs since lunch and 5 since dinner, I sat outside and waited for almost an hour with her last night and she wouldn’t go…until I set her down in the House one last time and then an instant giant puddle. A few hours later, she pooped inside near a pee pad. That night, I took her out of the crate about 3/4 hrs after our last trip outside, nothing. Put her back in, 1 hr later she had peed in the crate. I’m struggling because her potty schedule is so strange and she’s able to hold it for so long sometimes, and other times it’s less than an hour before she has an accident. Either way, I can’t get her to go outside and I don’t know what to do. I’m at my wits end-help!!

  45. Hi we just got a 2 month old Rottweiler, she started off good with either reliving herself on the puppy pads or outside when going for walks,then out of nowhere she won’t pee/poop outside at all, it’s like she waits until we put her in her kennel to go, we started off with a schedule but now she doesn’t seem to agree to it lol please help!

  46. I have a 6 month old rescue puppy (have him 1 week) , not sure what he is but there could be some whippet and definitely some lab in there too. I’ve been taking him down to his pee spot every hour/2 hours to ‘Go pee pee’ but most of the time he will just sit and stare at me or lay down and go to sleep. He’s peed out there a few times and when he does he gets his favourite treats, lots of praise and we have a little game of fetch too! Recently though he has started peeing on the door mat on our balcony and waiting until he has access it to go pee. He has never peed in the house (not yet anyway), never been paper trained and i’m not planning on crate training him. He’s really good and goes no. 2 always on walks but we absolutely not pee whilst walking! Sitting outside for hours and hours everyday is starting to take its toll and i’m worried i’m confusing him!

    • Keep him moving back and forth outside boringly – don’t stare at him – just walk back and forth slowly. And, since you have a system that works, let him use the balcony (with excellent clean up) for now. Keep walking him. Keep exploring the neighborhood. My guess is that in a week or two, he’ll be all comfy going outside.

  47. I have a six month old male maltipoo who I got off of craigslist. they were living in an apartment and were not allowed to have dogs.. so he was inside most of the time. We also live in apartment.. on the 2nd floor.
    We will take him outside and wait and wait… I mean we have been outside and about .. our longest is 4 hours and no go… as soon as he comes inside he wants to pee.. and it is hard from the 2nd floor down the hall, down the steps,, and around the building to get him to grass. they say he was crate trained but as soon as you close the door he goes bonkers… i have to take him back out because am afraid he will hurt himself…i have a 17 month old female maltipoo.. and well she was sooo easy to train… she is fixed and so is he…. i have had him almost a month.. i have resorted to putting him into diapers,… he does not do anyone thing when he is about to go, unless iam missing something suttle… he is smart.. i have already taken him to a training classes.. we have tried several things but he just does not seem to stick.. usually the most success i have had is first thing in the morning… as soon as i get up i pick him up and do not put him down till we get outside… i have one of those grass mats.. that have a built in pee draw.. and they will both lay on it but not use it…

    • Sigh… I’d definitely set up a pen with papers for him. I have a free mini-course on that at Then walk him on schedule. Walk him with her. But pen him instead of crating. See if that works better for everyone. In a month or so, try the crating again.

  48. Hello!

    I have a 18 week old female husky puppy who’s really testing my patience. For a while she was getting the hang of at least pooping outside. Then out of no where she is now pooping inside all the time. Don’t even get me started on peeing 🙁 she will literally 2-4 times every 5 minutes at times. But yet when we take her outside she won’t do anything. We bring her back in and she pees inside again.

    Another thing: she doesn’t seem to be fully squatting while she pees. A lot of times she will go standing – including when she has a toy and doesn’t want someone to take it she will just start going wherever she is standing – over and over, she’ll run around our living room peeing as she tries to hide herself/her toy.

    Please help. We’ve tried everything

    • Oh THAT sounds frustrating for everyone. Peeing that often can be a UTI and peeing while running isn’t normal, so I would talk to her vet, and get a stool sample tested to make sure everything is okay there. Is she clean in her crate?

  49. I have a 6 month old miniature dachshund and she will no go outside whatsoever! I was reading this article because this just happened: I fed her, she ate & she drank…. I took her outside immediately after (in the rain) and she layed down in the wet grass. I brought her back inside and then brought her back out about 15 minutes later… she still didn’t go and we were out there for 20 minutes. Then I had to ‘go’ so I left to the bathroom and she pooped on the floor! I am at my parents new house so the location is a little unfamiliar to her however, she would ‘go’ inside at their old place too! I am beyond frustrated because I have never taught her that ‘going’ inside is acceptable. I take her outside all the time and have a schedule for her but nothing seems to be working. UGH

    • Hi Karli – Keep her moving back and forth (on leash helps) and, if she doesn’t go, then crate time or carry her and take her outside again soon. At 6 months, it’s going to take some serious dedication to get her going outside so now is the time! Good luck!

  50. I have a male Cocker Spaniel who just turned a year old. I adopted him at 9 months, and his previous owner potty trained him well. However, he suddenly began his puberty around 10 months and took interest in smells, and started raising his leg and marking outside. I had no idea this would be an issue, so I let him have his fun. He now refuses to potty unless he is marking a tree, fence post, whatever it may be. When he does mark, it’s only a few trickles so he can have plenty left for the next mark. Sometimes there isn’t time for all of this, and since he’s not empty, he will immediately relieve himself in my kitchen floor. Therefore I put “pee pads” there. Sometimes he hits them, sometimes he does not. I’ve done the majority of your steps besides filling him up with broth and having him outside all day. I live in Northern in Japan and this winter is harsh and will last the next 5-6 months. There’s no way we could survive a whole day outside. He also does number 2 in the house, unless it is literally “walked” out of him outside. We never take him in immediately after pottying. I always reward for the potty. I don’t know what to do. One thing I can say, he WILL NOT potty in his crate. Ever. He also will not potty in the house, in front of me. It’s only when I’m distracted… My 3 month old female boxer is 100% potty trained and does number 1 & 2 on command, it took a week to achieve this. I am nearly 4 months into potty training my Cocker Spaniel and I’m not sure what to do anymore. Any advice much appreciated.

    • Hi Kenzy – Sounds like he’s not neutered. What is the Japanese tradition around male animals? Leave them as they are or castrate companion dogs? Since he goes readily outside and keeps the crate clean, you have options. First, do not let him pee all along a walk. He pees once or twice right in front of your home or in your yard and then you walk. Do not allow him to pee any more. When you get home, give him another chance to go, then keep him on leash with you or crated. No other choice. Do this for a week or so, things “should” get better. That should manage the pooping, too. Good luck! – Sarah

  51. Sarah my husband an I just got a blue heeler she is eight weeks old an has done good about going outside. We left her to go out to eat an we come home she went out an relieve herself an come in an went in corner an peed . She done that three times. What to do. ?

    • Hi Jennifer – she was way, way too young to be left uncrated when you leave. Crating usually takes care of this sort of thing. If you have to leave her for a long period, set her up in a pen or a puppy-proofed bathroom. That should get things on track!

  52. Hi Sarah, we just got the sweetest little toy Aussiedoodle 4 days ago. He is 5 months old and was the runt of the litter on a farm. They never had him inside so he is not familiar with crates or pads or peeing on command. So far, he has only peed outside for us one time in the 4 days we have had him. We keep him in a small bathroom with a pad and he has used that every single time he has went, yay! We started with crating in the beginning and it was not good so that’s when we moved to the bathroom….muuuuch better for him (and us, haha). My issue is that we are taking him out aaaalllllll the time trying to get him to go so that we have the opportunity to praise but he is just not interested. We have tried taking him on a leash and off of a leash…he will just follow me and then sit or lay down in the grass and is perfectly happy just sitting there. We will feed him and give him lots of water and take him after 10 min and then keep taking him in and out for hours….like 4-5-6 hours and he just doesn’t go. No accident either, he just waits until he gets in the bathroom and will go on the pad sometime while we are gone or in bed (I didn’t think a puppy that young could hold it that long!!) How can I get him to go outside for us so we can start that training? Don’t get me wrong, I am crazy thankful that somehow this puppy trained itself on the pee pad….but of course I don’t want him on pee pads forever.

    • Oh, what a good puppy you have. When the weather is good, head out to the park for the day. Some people bring a dirty pad outside to see if that helps. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (Usually no, but it’s so easy you might as well try it.) Hard for me to believe that they “never had him inside” if he only wants to pee inside. They may never have had him in the house but my guess was he was in a kennel or box inside the entire time. Keep taking him outside. Take him for long walks. Let him play with other dogs who WILL use the outside so he can watch and sniff that. Hopefully, the dime will drop soon. Good luck!

  53. Help! I have a almost 5 month old mini Aussie that is pad trained and I cant him get to transition outside.
    We live in an apartment and had to keep him inside until he was fully vaccinated therefore we trained on grass pads. I have removed the grass pad and just have the tray with a wee wee pad now but I am trying to move him outside to potty.
    He will let me know he has to go if the door is closed to the room where his pad is and I will take him out. He poops outside but waits until we are back in to pee no matter how long I take him out or how often. I kept him off the pad and outside for an hour at a time the other day and he held it for 6 hours and then peed on the tile. Yesterday he let me know he had to go so I tried walking him 3 times and he peed on the carpet. I feel like we are going backwards.
    I wouldn’t mind him peeing on pads until we have a yard and a house however he is only trained at home. When we take him to my in-laws who baby sit or to daycare for socializing he pees inside wherever he feels like it even if he has access to a pad.
    We have a grass pad at my in-laws and he wont use it. He will poop and pee on the carpet every time.
    He is supposed to stay with them for 5 nights while we are out of town next month so I am really hoping to make some headway before then.
    I have tried keeping him out for several hours.
    I have tried the chicken broth.
    I have tried tethering.
    I have tried taking the pad outside.
    I am at a loss. I keep hearing it takes time but we have been at it for 3 weeks with not one pee outside.

    • Crate overnight. Carry him outside. Give water/broth outside. Stay outside all day. Have you and your hubby tag team but you stay out, go to the dog park, walk, read, listen to books on tape. That’s the only real trick.

      He’s EXTREMELY well trained – just to something you don’t want. At your parents, I’d pen him in with the pad and a crate – so in there or outside. When he starts using the pad there, THEN he can have some freedom. A huge hassle for all and so hard on him. He’s really TRYING to be a good boy.

      • Thank you. Unfortunately we did not crate train. He is a very vocal Aussie that wouldn’t give in to the crate and we live in apartment. Our neighbors weren’t having it.

  54. Just rehomed a 2.5yr old part German Shep part golden. She is a sweet kind timid girl. Her old owners had a magnetic screen on their back door and she could go in and out as she pleased in warm weather. They said she would let you know when she has to go out in the cold. It’s been 5 days and she has pooped twice (one inside one outside) and peed only a few times outside (twice inside). We go for long walks every night and we take her out at scheduled times. Shes so smart but im worried it’s the stress of being rehomed.

    • Hi Shannan – My guess is that your new dog ONLY ever went in her old backyard and NEVER on leash. When that happens (and it’s common), dogs don’t want to go other places and/or on leash. She will adapt – walk her in the same place every time (make it convenient). Once she potties, then walk her around town. Be casual in the potty zone, don’t look at her too much, keep her moving in boring circles. Report back. Once she transitions, it sounds like she’ll be a clean companion.

  55. I just adopted a dachshund mix 9 month old puppy that won’t pee unless inside. She has no problem pooping outside but she will hold her pee until she can come inside to do her business. I live in an apartment complex so she gets easily scared by all the people and cars that come and go. I’ve tried taking her to spots to where she can’t see other people but she still won’t go.

  56. Hi Sarah,
    I got this adorable 4-month Havanese and I’m trying to get her on a schedule. She seems to be ok pooping outside both morning and night, but #1 is the struggle.
    She’s crated when I’m not home or also when I’m working from home but can’t fully focus on her, she hasn’t released in the crate, although I did indeed find some “drops” but when I rush her outside she just chills or pulls the leash to get back home. When I release her from the crate, that’s when she goes pretty much immediately. She’s not going on the pads, she’s not using them.
    Should I try your “tanking her up” method? I’m getting quite frustrated and I don’t know what I’m doing wrongs

    • Hi – Sounds like she’s scared outside. Set a pen up inside or use a small puppy-proofed bathroom with a gate. Focus on socializing her (be careful if it’s hot where you are), but confidence comes before relaxing. Sounds like both of you are trying hard, she’s just a bit confused and concerned. Keep walking her on schedule, visit friends with a fenced yard if you have any, so she can wander about, take her to stores where pets are welcome – good luck!

  57. Hi!
    I just rescued a 4 month old lab/boxer mix, and she is having a lot of issues with holding her bladder until she’s inside. I think it may have to do with how she was fostered, as she used to live out in the country and her foster mom would let them roam for acres, but I live in the city in a townhome. I’ve tried everything on the list, and the only other thing I can think to do is to let her off leash, but I don’t have an area good for that, as I live next to a somewhat busy road.
    She listens good and is extremely well trained for the puppy pads, but I can’t use the pads forever.
    Thank you! 🙂

    • Keep her on schedule, give her a chance to settle in a bit to urban life and get used to being on leash. Then you can push it a bit with crating and longer walks. Sounds like she’s confused. You might try a 10′ leash and walking her on grass in lazy, boring loops. That can take 1/2 hour or more so be prepared.

  58. My dog is 6 years old and having this problem. She refuses To go outside all of the sudden. Help?! I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Joyce – That is very odd at 6-years-old. Either it’s some sort of medical issue or your dog is scared to go outside for some reason (storms, large scary predator animals, another dog threatening her) or new food is changing her body rhythms but a clean adult dog does not become unclean without cause. Good luck finding the reason and I’d talk to her vet. – Sarah

  59. We adopted a 9 month old hound mix puppy who was rescued from a hoarder who beat her with a plastic baseball bat. He broke her jaw and a leg and was kept in a crate. She is coming around and getting over her fear of people and has gained confidence around our other dog. We found out after we had her home that she had never been outside. She has done #1 outside but will hold #2 for 2 days and go inside if you look away for a moment. I’m retired so I am home most of the time. Today we spent several hours outside, over several periods walking with no results. I can’t really crate her because she is terrified of the crate.

    • Maybe a dogwalker would help with this – if your new dog is confident enough to go with one. The more time you can spend outside, the better, as she explores this bold new world. As she relaxes, she “should” potty outside.

  60. Hi, 4 days ago we got our 9 week old westie. We know it’s early days, but he absolutely will not go to the bathroom outside. He will hold it for hours, whimper and run back and forth. We know he is desperate to go but he refuses.. We then take him inside and wait until he squats, and then take him back out again, and he still won’t go. We live in the UK and it is currently very cold and wet, and we are taking him out in the dark a lot as we both work during the day (I go home every 2 hours and take him outside each time). I am worried that we are distressing him and wondering whether he is too young to be going outside for such long periods in the cold? Should we continue to use puppy pads and start this approach again when he is a bit older? I don’t want to traumatise him! He gets so wound up when we keep him outside for so long and he is desperate to poop inside.

  61. We rescued a 3 year old male mix. He has been home with us a week and has only pooped outside once. He pees when we go out but refuses to poop but will when we get inside. We stay out for long periods of time. When he’s pooping inside he doesn’t sniff around first or hide. He was noted to be potty trained.

    • Some dogs just are slow to go in new places. Keep him on leash with you inside so you can notice and scoot him out. Once he catches on, things should get easier for all of you.

  62. I have a 3 month old German Shepard puppy. When we got her she was 11 weeks and he had told us she isn’t potty trained. I made the mistake of getting puppy pads for the first week. I thought if I moved the pad back on the back deck of our apartment it would get her used to being outside..wrong. She refuses to go outside. My fiancé and I have tried the whole seeing when she’s about to go and then hurry and take her outside. Nothing is working. I honestly thought about taking her next poop and placing it outside on this specific area to see if she will go that way. But I need help. This is our first dog. I’m a newbie but I need to get her to go potty outside.

    • Hi Danielle – On a nice day, give her a big bowl of low-sodium broth and then stay outside on the deck with her. Take turns keeping her company – this may take a few hours. She is actually VERY clean – just in the wrong direction. She’s like you – how long would you have to stay on the deck before you peed out there? Once she’s gone out there a few times, she should be over that hump. She’s trying REALLY hard to be good and just needs your help to get her to understand that the rules have changed. Good luck!

  63. Hello! I have found MANY of these comments helpful. I adopted a puppy 5 days ago. He is 11 weeks old and I live in a high rise apartment in a large city. Based on the home I saw from the breeder. I think that they just let the puppies hang out on the screened-in porch (pee/poop/eat) all in the same room. I take the puppy out every few hours (right after we eat or drink). He refuses to potty outside. He only potties once we have gotten back into the apartment. I know I have not had him long, but he has not peed or pooped outside (period). What should I do? When he does start to poop or pee in the house, I immediately pick him up and run down the stairs (quickest exit). We stay outside for at least 5 minutes in the same area, and he doesn’t potty. Then we come back inside, he lays down. And, as you guess. Pops up and potties inside. What am I doing wrong?

    • When the weather is good – go out and stay out. He just thinks he’s supposed to go inside – sweet boy. You have to outlast him! If he’s small enough, carry him inside and only put him down outside. Good luck!

  64. My dog is 7 years old and she was trained to use the doggy door, but since we moved were having a hard time training her to “ask” to go outside. She is afraid of going outside by herself and when we go out with her, she often times just sit in front of the door asking to go back inside.

    • Hi Kenny – Put her on leash and walk her around in lazy circles in the back area. Don’t look at her or speak to her – just calmly keep her moving. Deal with the getting her going outside first and then the going out by herself. – Good luck!

  65. I just got a 11 month old chihuahua and he’s from pet land. I will spend about an hour with him after he eats or drinks and he’ll play but never uses the bathroom I get him inside and he uses it instantly. I have a puppy pad off in a corner and one in his kennel but he chewed that one up. I’ve only had him for a few days but my fiancé doesn’t have much patience now bc he went on the couch. I have used the “house breaking” spray. I sprayed some in the grass and when I take him out I take him to that spot every time and I also sprayed some on the puppy pad but he doesn’t seem to be attracted to it.

    • 11 Months? Your pup is indoor trained so focus on that first while you work on outside socialization. Trying to get him to potty outside right now will stress everyone. Go to and view the paper training course (it’s free). Start there.

  66. Hello,

    I have an almost four month old Blue Heeler mix. I fostered her, her siblings, and her mom since she was three weeks old. I had her using a potty pad because she couldn’t go outside until she got her vaccinations. I finally started to try to take her outside to potty, but she won’t go, and then goes once back inside. I take her out every hour, for quite a while, but she doesn’t go. I’ve tried walking her in a small area hoping that would stimulate her, I’ve been following advice about taking her inside, putting her in her crate or keeping her tethered to me, and as she starts doing her normal sniffing around, and then starts to circle like she’s going to go, I take her right outside, but she still won’t go. I’ve tried getting her to drink water, and eat. I take her out 30 minutes after she eats, but still doesn’t go. My schedule is not as free now to take her outside every hour because I work, and I’m afraid she’ll go inside. Should I keep puppy pad out for her to still use while continuing to work on going outside? I’m one frustrated dog owner.

    • She is very well trained. 🙁 So, you need to find a nice day and get some help and keep her outside. If you have any friends who have a fenced yard and you can socially distance with, take her there and spend the day. Even better, they have a dog she can hang out with, observe, and play with. You have to untrain her — not her fault, she’s doing what she’s done nearly her whole short life. And she is SURE that is what you want. Sweet pup. Frustrating, I know, but she’s trying hard to be a good girl. – Sarah

  67. Hi Sarah,

    I know this article is a few years old, but it’s the first one that really helped me potty train with my dog. I got him 5 days ago and he WOULD NOT pee outside. 2 hour walk, no peeing (but the moment he’s back home, pees). Going outside every 15 minutes for 3 hours, no peeing.

    When I read your “load up on chicken broth” idea, I thought it was brilliant. I tried it this morning and HE FINALLY PEED OUTSIDE.

    I literally started crying. I’ve been unbelievably frustrated the past few days and your article saved the day. Hopefully this is the breakthrough he and I needed to get him on the potty training train!

    • YEA!! That is wonderful and I am so happy for you and your pup! He’ll do just fine, once he understands that the rules have changed. And yes, the article is old but nothing has changed about a puppy’s mind or bladder so it still can help. So kind of you to let me know about your success. Only those of us who have lived that frustration know exactly how sweet those first outdoor pees are. Enjoy your pup!

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