How to Potty Train an Older Dog: Effective Tips for Success

Great thing about dogs is that you can teach them a lot of things. High intelligence of these animals is among the main reasons why we love them so much. However, the ease of training depends on many factors.

For example, training a puppy, or at least starting with it from an early age usually provides much better results. On the other hand, older dogs already have established habits and character, making it more difficult to teach them new things.

The same can be related to “going to the bathroom”. There are different scenarios where you might face issues with that. Some of them include adopting an older dog from a shelter, or moving to a new home.

If you are not sure how to deal with it, one of the solutions is to speak with experts about this topic. There are professional trainers that know the best methods to teach and train dogs, such as

On the other hand, there are some simple methods you can try on your own, I will introduce them in the following sections.

Be Patient


Think of this as a golden rule. Applying force and expressing anxiety towards your little friend won’t lead to any results, it will only make it nervous as well.

Therefore, if you think that it is time to take your pet outside, then go for a walk, check on different spots together, and wait.

Also, keep in mind that the dog might not be comfortable while you are around it all the time. If that is the case, go to a park, use a longer leash, and don’t pay too much attention to the dog all the time. Staring at it will surely make it nervous, and the “bathroom time” will delay.

Never Express Stress Towards It

This is another crucial thing to be aware of. If there was an accident inside your home, yelling won’t achieve anything. Keep in mind that dogs can wait for hours, but when they are in a new environment, it is a huge change for dogs.

A solution for this is to take it outside more often. For instance, once every hour, until you figure out the schedule. The dog will adapt after some time, and find “his spot”.

You should also know that dogs are territorial. Once it determines the right place, it will quickly become a habit, and you will never have to worry about “accidents” inside your apartment.

On the other hand, to create a habit faster, you should repeat it more often. In that matter, try to determine a schedule, and always go to the same place.

Try With Treats

Dogs love their treats, and that is one of the best methods to get along with your little friend, and create new habits.

When you award a dog with a snack after successfully visiting a new spot, he will quickly create a connection.

For example, you get up early in the morning, make quick walk to a nearby park, and wait. Do not give the treat to your dog before he gets the job done.

After he finishes, you should express happiness to it, give him a rub, and then provide a treat.

It might take only one or two times to repeat the same, and you should never have problems with that again.

Try Different Places

As we already mentioned, dogs are highly territorial. In that matter, maybe the place you chose is not comfortable for your dog. The confusing part can be that you took it to a park, an open area in nature, or some other place that seem perfect to you. However, your dog simply doesn’t think the same.

Again, never express stress. Simply keep walking and look for other places. After all, the main focus is on teaching it to avoid accidents at home.

It can be more challenging if you are living in an apartment since you will have to walk around the block and waiting until your dog finds the right place.

On the other hand, if you have a backyard, simply let your dog outside. Having a fence is the safest solution. If you don’t have one, put your god on a leash, but make it long enough for it to walk around the yard freely.

Stick to the Schedule

First of all, this is about the feeding time. Determining the right time for all meals during the day will help you determine the right time to take your dog for a walk.

They usually don’t need a lot of time after a meal. If you are feeding your little friend 3 times a day, prepare to walk it outside after each one.

Things to Avoid


While trying the methods that we mentioned above can make it easier for both you and dog to get along, and avoid accidents inside, an even more important thing for you is to avoid some common mistakes.

We already talked about getting nervous. Trying to force it or punish it won’t lead to any results. Dogs won’t be aware of what is wrong. It will only make them anxious as well.

An even bigger problem could be that they might try to hide the next time, and use some hidden spot inside as a bathroom.

Another mistake is when you don’t create schedules. If you are not feeding your dog around the same time every day, you cannot expect to know when you should take it outside.

Last Words

The most important thing to keep in mind is that dogs prefer to go outside for a “bathroom”. They are not comfortable with doing it inside, especially older ones.

Therefore, take your time, be patient, and try these simple steps we talked about. Positive reinforcement is proven to be the best approach.

Therefore, always bring some treats, walk around the block, and your dog will eventually find the right spot, and make a habit out of it.