How To Potty Train An Older Dog

How To Potty Train An Older Dog

Bringing home an older dog can be an exciting adventure. You get to skip the puppy stage and already know a lot about your new furry friend. But when it comes to potty training an older dog, things might not be as straightforward as with a puppy. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, teaching an older dog where to go potty requires patience and understanding.

In this guide, we’ll explore some tips and tricks to help you successfully potty train an older dog.

Reasons an Older Dog May Need Potty Training

Everybody knows puppies need to learn where to go to the bathroom, but many people think that once a dog grows up, they automatically know what to do. But sometimes, older dogs can still have bathroom accidents for different reasons:

Old Habits:

Dogs who were used to going on hard surfaces like cement or gravel might get confused when they’re on grass.

Lack of Rules:

In their previous home, they might have been allowed to go anywhere they wanted, so they don’t know they have to go outside.

Loss of Control:

Older dogs, especially females who have been spayed, might have trouble holding their pee and could leak.


If a dog has arthritis, it might be painful for them to squat or move to their usual potty spot.

Fading Senses:

As dogs get older, their hearing, sight, and sense of smell might not be as good, making it hard for them to find their spot or hear commands.

Memory Problems:

Sometimes, older dogs forget to tell you they need to go out or forget where they usually go.

Health Issues:

Things like diabetes or kidney problems can make older dogs need to pee more often, leading to accidents.

7 Steps to Successfully Potty Train an Older Dog

Step 1: Schedule Regular Potty Breaks

To effectively potty train an older dog, prioritize consistency. Create a fixed routine for bathroom breaks, ensuring they occur promptly in the morning, after meals, before bedtime, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Given that older dogs might have reduced bladder control, frequent opportunities to relieve themselves are essential for successful training.

Step 2: Choose a Designated Potty Area

To effectively potty train an older dog, designate a specific area in your yard or outside your home for them to relieve themselves. Consistently bring your dog to this chosen spot, as the scent will prompt them to use it habitually. Establishing this routine will reduce confusion and facilitate the potty training process for your older dog.

Step 3: Observe and Learn Your Dog’s Signals

Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and body language, as these are often indicators that they need to go potty. Sniffing the ground, circling, or restlessness may be signs that your dog needs a bathroom break. Understanding these signals allows you to act proactively and avoid accidents while learning how to potty train your older dog.

Step 4: Positive Reinforcement

Reward your dog with praise, treats, or affection immediately after they go potty in the designated area. Positive reinforcement helps create a positive association with the desired behavior, making your dog more likely to repeat it. Use a consistent phrase like “good potty” to reinforce the connection in how to potty train your older dog.

Step 5: Supervise Indoors

When indoors, keep a close eye on your older dog, especially during the initial stages of potty training. Use baby gates or close doors to restrict access to areas where accidents might occur. If you can’t supervise, consider crate training to prevent accidents when you’re not around while learning how to potty train your older dog.

Step 6: Clean Accidents Thoroughly

Accidents are inevitable during the potty training process. When they happen, clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate the scent. Dogs are more likely to return to the same spot if they can still smell their previous accidents, which is crucial when learning how to potty train your older dog.

Step 7: Be Patient and Understanding

Older dogs may have ingrained habits or health issues that affect their ability to control their bladder. Be patient, understanding, and avoid punishment for accidents. Positive reinforcement and a calm demeanor will contribute to a successful training experience when learning how to potty train your older dog.


Effectively potty training an older dog necessitates a combination of time, unwavering consistency, and the application of positive reinforcement. By diligently following these steps and tailoring your approach to accommodate your dog’s individual needs, you can effectively instill proper bathroom etiquette. It’s crucial to bear in mind that older dogs may pose unique challenges, such as potential health issues or ingrained habits.

However, with ample patience and a generous dose of love, you can guide them towards developing positive habits and ensure they lead a joyous, accident-free life within the confines of your home. Discover the specific strategies and techniques on how to potty train an older dog, turning potential challenges into successful milestones in your journey together.


Hello there! I'm Madhav Mantri, the person behind this PetSavvy Solution blog. I'm a digital marketer and a pet enthusiast too! I spend my time making sure everything here is interesting and helpful for you and your pets. I love sharing cool stuff about pets, from the latest trends to heartwarming stories and useful tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

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