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Why Is My Dog Taking Forever To Potty Train?

Why It's Taking Forever To Potty Train Your Puppy

Are you getting tired of cleaning up puddles and messes around your home?

While some dogs develop good potty habits in days or weeks, some seem to take months until they “get it”. It’s not uncommon for some dogs to have accidents throughout their life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Barring medical incontinence, any dog can be fully potty trained.

Is Your Dog Actually Incontinent?

If you’re struggling with potty-training, you should see your vet to rule out a medical cause.

  • Diabetes and Cushing’s Disease can cause increased water consumption and frequent urination.
  • Spay incontinence is caused by low estrogen levels after spaying. It typically causes your dog to leak urine while she is asleep.
  • Urinary tract infection and bladder stones can cause increased urination and incontinence and can also cause licking around the genital area, cloudy urine and urine with traces of blood.

Is There A Pattern To Your Dog’s Accidents?

If there’s an obvious pattern to your dog’s accidents, breaking the habit is simple. For example, if they always poop behind the couch, you may need to limit their access to the living room for a while. If they always have an accident while you are at work, you can hire a dog walker or crate your dog when you’re not home.

Does Your Dog Know Where “Potty” Is?

Have you noticed how your dog spends a few moments sniffing before squatting down to pee or poop? They use their noses to find their potty area. If your puppy keeps having accidents in the same spots, they might be attracted to lingering scents of previous accidents. An enzyme-based cleaner, like Nature’s Miracle, breaks down the particles that your dog is still able to smell, even if you cannot.

You can create a scent marker in your dog’s designated potty area by soaking up urine from an accident with a paper towel and using it to scent their potty pad or outdoor potty area. Consistently lead your dog to their potty area, and soon they’ll be able to follow their nose to the appropriate spot.

Is Your Dog A Sneaky Pooper?

When a dog is scolded for having an accident, they tend to not understand what they are being punished for. The dog does not have the ability to rationalize “My human does not want me to stain their nice rug, so I better go outside”. They may simply become afraid to pee or poop in front of you.

So your dog may resort to sneaking around and having accidents when you are not looking. They may find quiet potty spots, and you may not find their pee or poop for hours  This is why it’s important to avoid using punishments, or even raising your voice when you catch your dog having an accident. Instead, redirect them to the appropriate potty area.

In the meantime, limit your dog’s unsupervised access to your home. Use baby gates and crates while your dog is unattended. You may also want to try tethering your dog to you with a leash to make sure they do not sneak away from you while you are home.

Set Reasonable Expectations – And Communicate Them Clearly

If your dog is under 6 months old, it might be very difficult for them to control their bladder for hours on end. This is especially true for small breeds, which seem to take longer to develop bladder control and seem to need to go out more frequently even when full grown. Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to go outside.

If you are unable to take your dog outside frequently, you may need to use potty pads or an indoor potty system. Though it can be difficult to transition your dog to only potty outside, it’s better for your dog to use a pad then to continuously have accidents indoors.

Some dogs do not realize that they have to alert you when they need to go out. An easy way to do this is to hang potty bells from your doorknob, and encourage your dog to ring them before you take them out. After a few repetitions, your dog will begin to ring the bells to get your attention instead of simply having an accident because you haven’t taken them out in a while.

Remember to praise and reward your dog every time they go potty outside. Make it very obvious that, yes, this is what you want them to do. Throw a potty party! Make it rain treats and praise your dog in that over-the-top puppy voice.

Speed Up Potty Training With Puppy Potty Camp!

A 10-day overnight stay at Puppy Potty Camp at Healthy Houndz is the fast track to establishing and reinforcing good potty habits. Your puppy will be put on a potty schedule to set them up for success, then praised and rewarded as they learn boundaries in our home environment. After camp, your puppy will go home with written instructions to keep them on track.

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