Reader Question: How Do You Stop A Dog From Peeing On The Carpet?

puppy-going-back-indoors.jpgA visitor to this site recently emailed me this question:

I have rescued a puppy and she is a spoiled rotten brat, and she won’t quit peeing on my carpet. What can I do? I’ve tried kenneling her and she gets out everytime. Thank you. — Linda T.


Here are my recommendations…

First, I would ask how she “gets out every time” you kennel her.

With a proper lock on the kennel door, this shouldn’t be an issue. Are you using a homemade kennel, by chance? Either way, that’s your first step… secure the kennel shut.

Also, make sure there is enough room inside the kennel for her to move around — from end to end — and fully turn around inside. (More tips for using dog crates here and here.)

Now, let’s talk about some ways to stop a dog from peeing on the carpet…


2 Tips To Stop A Dog From Peeing In The House

#1 – Stick to a peeing & pooping schedule.

The most important thing is to get your dog used to a schedule.

In the beginning days, it will be the dog’s own schedule that you must adapt to — whenever they’ve gotta go, they’ve gotta go. There’s no time to second-guess “does that mean she has to go outside or not?” Instead, always error on the side of caution and presume that ANY sign from your dog means she’s got to go relieve herself.

This can be quite frustrating in the early days, because you’ll be wrong half the time. And, it consumes a lot of your time when you have to keep your eyes glued on your dog every minute of the day.

Plus, your dog will quickly learn that she can “signal” to get your attention pretty much any time she wants to.

Nevertheless, in those first few weeks, every signal should be interpreted as a sign to go outside. Over time, you and your dog will begin to fine-tune those signals together. Don’t worry about it, or try to over-think it. This will all come naturally as you and your dog learn to communicate together — as long as you are 100% consistent and never show your frustration or anger with her in any way.

puppy-pooping-outside.jpg puppy-peeing-outside2.jpg

Typically, dogs need to relieve themselves at these times:

  • Immediately after they wake up (this includes mornings and any naps)
  • After opening the door of the crate that they’ve been in for awhile
  • After every meal
  • After any rambunctious play time
  • After they’ve ingested a lot of water
  • Right before bedtime
  • Immediately after they wake up in the middle of the night (yes, late night walks are required)

puppy-peeing-outside.jpgAs for the timing of “after every meal”, we always took our puppies out 20 minutes after they ate. Any less than that, and they didn’t have to go to the bathroom yet. Any longer than that, and we’d quickly discover that we waited too long (they usually went in the house). But your dog may be on the 10-minute or 15-minute timeframe after eating… you’ll figure this out right away.


#2 – Ignore the mistakes, praise the successes.

Another very important factor in your dog’s housetraining success: rewards and praise!

Every single time your dog squats, pees, or even looks like she is attempting to relieve herself outside, you should give her tons of praise. This includes lots of high-pitched praise, puppy-talk, and smiles. Your dog picks up on these things.

Also, if at all possible, always give your dog a tiny treat whenever she relieves herself outside. Finally, your dog deserves lots of hugs and kisses with every successful elimination outdoors. You should do all this until your dog truly “gets it”. This means every single time for the next several weeks… or months.

puppy-treats-as-a-reward-for-a-good-dog.jpg hugs-and-kisses-as-reward-for-a-good-puppy.jpg

As a general rule, a puppy can only hold his waste for the same number of hours that he is old, in months. In other words, a four-month-old pup should not be left alone during the day longer than four consecutive hours without an opportunity to go outside. By the time the pup is four months old, he should be able to make it through the night without going outside.ASPCA


Some Things To Try

dog-piddle-pads.jpgI know a bunch of dog owners who’ve had tremendous luck with housetraining pads — otherwise known as “piddle pads”.

Some people use these both indoor and out, say for teacup chihuahuas. Especially when they travel. When that’s all they’re used to peeing on, they sometimes won’t go on the grass or anything else!

wiz-dog-indoor-potty.jpgOthers use indoor dog potties, like the UGODOG indoor pet potty and the wizdog indoor dog potty.

With these, you don’t need to buy refills, there are no messy dog tracks, and nothing shreds and gets messy.

Think: a litter box for dogs… but cleaner!


Tips For Housetraining A Dog


What About When You Catch Your Dog In The Act?

scooping-up-puppy-to-take-him-outside.jpgSome people shout “No!” very assertively right away.

Others simply clap their hands and the loud noise will startle the dog stopping her from peeing at that moment.

Either way, quickly take your dog outside to finish her business. And you clean up the mess later.

Never scold your dog for making a mess indoors. Other than a forceful “No!” at the very moment you catch her in the act, any scolding after that would not be effective at all. Dogs do not associate prior actions with current scoldings… ever. They just think you’re being angry and mean for no reason. (Even if you rub their nose in it… they just don’t get it. So please don’t do it!)

The key is to be firm and consistent, while you learn to potty train a dog, reward them for good behavior. Soon you will find that they are getting the idea and start telling you when they need to go outside. When they do start letting you know, make sure you are watching and let them out right away, or you may find yourself back at square one. Source



Helpful Resources For Housetraining Dogs

  • how-to-housebreak-your-dog-in-7-days.jpgHappy Housetraining: Train Your Dog Easily & Effectively — an ebook that’s very well respected by Gene Sower.
  • Questions & Answers On Housebreaking — a FAQ from dog expert Ed Frawley who writes: “I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon.”


Dogs Learn How To Pee & Poop From Other Dogs

If you have more than one dog, then your task of housebreaking a new dog should be a bit easier. This includes learning where to go to the bathroom and how to go to the bathroom.


Because dogs typically mimic what they see other dogs doing. (But not always.)

These pictures show our youngest male puppy watching closely as the adult male dogs teach him a few things about pooping and peeing:

puppy-checking-out-adult-dog-pooping.jpg  dog-role-model-behaviors

dogs-learn-from-other-dogs.jpg  male-dog-jersey-watches-male-puppy-peeing.jpg

That said, if your dog was removed from the litter (and more importantly, removed from its mother) at too young an age, then your dog may not have properly learned the basics of urination.

This happened to my American Eskimo (the white adult dog in the photo). I got him at 7 weeks of age — which is a little too young for a puppy to be removed from its mother. You should wait until the puppy is at least 8 weeks of age. Better yet, you’ll give your puppy a head start in life if you wait until 9-12 weeks of age before removing him from his mother.

Must read:

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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  • Eric
  • Sbrown

    Excuse me! But pls tell me where and when the ‘Dog Whisperer’ (assuming you mean Caesar Millan), ever claimed that scolding or physically abusing your dog had any positive results… you have just pin pointed your own problem… your ignorance and abusive behaviour is a huge contributor to your own problem!

  • Anonymous

    hi, i just got a puppy and we alredy have another dog and its 10 years old and when we feed both of them, are other dog that we have had for many years attacks the other dogs food so the puppy cant eat

    • FunTimesGuide

      Chelseamatranga – First, I would separate their food stations immediately. Not all dogs have to eat at the same time. Nor do they have to eat right next to each other. Some dogs are food-possessive. Others simply use the food bowl as a way to show dominance over another dog.

      By separating the 2 dogs’ food stations (as in separate rooms, if possible. If not, then opposite ends of the room should work), the immediate food tension should be alleviated.

      After that, it sounds like you need to show the dog you’ve had for many years who is REALLY the boss in this household. (Not physically, or hitting, or yelling… but by your daily actions.) It will be a challenging task that will take some time, but it’s HUGELY important to make it clear to all involved (new dog, old dog, and every member of the household) what everyone’s position in “the pack” is now. You’ll want to research here on this site (aggressive dog, pack leader) and on the Internet.

  • Jaredc1701

    how do I get my 3-6 year old dog (he was escued no way of knowing how old he is) to stop peeing in my living room. This has been a bad habit for almost three years. I give him an angry tone and say no no no out side only, including when he poops.

    When he goes out side I tell him good boy good boy you went out side and I give him a treat when he comes back inside.

    how do I stop him from going in my living room??

    please E mail me at [email protected]

    • FunTimesGuide

      Hi Jared –

      For when you’re NOT at home: Crate him. (It’s not cruel.) It’s a doggie den, and most dogs come to appreciate having their own space — eventually. After the initial “getting used to it period”, the crate typically becomes a dog’s favorite place — a safe, secure & comforting place to be.

      For when you’re AT home: a) watch him like a hawk day in and day out so that you can b) notice when he starts to go and carry him outside before he finishes inside, then c) praise him loudly, wildly, and happily for any minor successes.

      It won’t be “convenient” for you — I know. I too have forced myself to deal with a huge inconvenience like this for weeks on end before in order to work through a particular issue with my dogs.

      So, limiting his ability to roam around the house and instead be confined in the room with you would definitely be a step in the right direction if you want to connect with him and his issue.

      It may mean just closing the door, so he’s always in the room where you are. Or crating him — because most dogs won’t pee in their crates (unless the crate is too large).

      The idea is to always be aware of where he is and what he’s doing at every single moment. You can’t take your eyes & ears off him.

      Then, the moment you notice ANYTHING that seems like he might be starting to pee (or better yet… THINKING about starting to pee!), pick him up and carry him outside.

      If you get even one tiny tinkle outside… praise him like he’s never been praised before! At the same time, congratulate him with “good outside!” (or whatever word you use for going outside).

      Make sure you always have his most favorite treats handy near the door, so there won’t be much of a delay between when he pees outside and when he gets the treat. And, if possible, only give him those most favorite treats when he goes outside — no other time.

      So that’s just my $.02. I speak from experience, along with the things I’ve read. And I know that constant attention, consistency, repetition, and praise are what work best with most difficult dog situations.

      I understand your frustration. I’m sure you’re exhausted and ready to give up. I’ve been there.

      P.S. You never know, there’s also the possibility that he’s got a bladder or kidney problem. I worked at a vet, and that was quite common in small dogs. The vet can offer meds and or other treatment that might cure the problem that way!

  • Michellemohammed26

    I have a 4 month old yorkie-poo. Had him since he was 6 weeks old, Gucci came in peeing on wee-wee pads. There are times he does so well, as far as using the pads, because he is pretty smart! But then theres times he poops and pees in the wrong spots.I believe he does these things to spite me?Its just me and him at home. I think I might of spoiled him, because iI started letting him in the bathroom with me. If Im on the toliet or taking a bath…. Now its getting to be a bit much i want some privacy. When I close him out of the bathroom he has a pile waiting for me or he pees.Im thinking about getting rid of him.He also barks and growls at me.

  • Treasurecarolinepelton

    I have a beagle.
    She used to be a outdoor dog, but now i want her to be indoor to, how do i know when to take her out side to go potty, because every time i turn around she peed or pooped on my carpet. what do i do as soon as she pees or poops on the carpet, ?? do i take her nose and rub it into it and then take her out side were she is supposed to do it, i don’t know’

  • Gina

    my dog is a one year old pit bull an when i take him out he wont go to the bathroom an he keeps peeing on my carpet

    • FunTimesGuide

      Gina – try the tips mentioned in the above article.

  • Jason

    My puppy is 5 months old now and he keeps peeing on the carpet even with maintaining a schedule and with all the other tips and tricks above. Sometimes he will do it less than 30 minutes after I’ve taken him outside. Is this just attention seeking behavior. Please help me!

    • FunTimesGuide

      Jason – the best advice I can offer is to not give up. 5 months is still young. Keep trying. Keep being consistent with the tips mentioned above.
      Most important: Don’t go back in the house until your puppy has done his business outside — even the smallest bit. And the moment that happens (from this point forward until he’s 2 years old… or older!), praise him like he’s never been praised before for going outside. Don’t scold him if he goes inside. Just rapidly carry him outside, wait for him to go at least a tiny bit outside, then praise him LIKE CRAZY. Be sure to call it something (we use “outside”) and incorporate that word into your praise each and every time. Hang with it… it will work 😀

      • brad vaters

        We have a 5 month old Siberian husky puppy also and she is trained to go outside and she can be very good. However when she doesn’t get he way with some thing she will go over to the corner of the room and pee in the same place (entire area is carpeted). For instance we are not letting her on our couches because she will be fairly big and we go to our parents a lot who have big dogs and they aren’t allowed on the couches so we want it to be consistent for her every where. She jumps on them once in a while and when we tell her down, some times she will get down instantly but when she is tired later at night she will curl up and hide her head behind a pillow or blanket and groan. After one of us picks her up and places her on the ground, some times she will jaunt over to her pee corner and go. She will do the same thing if she doesnt get her way in other situations. Any suggestions?

        • FunTimesGuide

          brad – I’ve heard of this happening, but I haven’t experience it myself so it’s hard for me to give you any worthwhile advice. Here’s my 2 cents…The first thing that came to my mind is: it sounds like another dog or baby or recent move was introduced to this dog and she’s having a hard time vying for your attention or feeling at home. In addition to spending an abundance of time with her round the clock to see if this changes her behavior, one recommendation would be to block her “pee corner” so it’s more difficult for her to keep doing the same thing every time. It’s worth noting that dogs will pee in the house when there are health issues, emotional issues, or they’re in pain – among other things. As long as you’re able to rule out those types of things, then your best bet may be to invest in some behavioral training. A dog behaviorist can answer your questions best:

          • brad vaters

            Thank you for your response. We have only had her for two weeks so that could be the issue as she is still “new” and getting use to us and how we behave and our house rules. We have enrolled her in training classes so that should help us work with her better.

  • Hannah Benstein

    My 8 year old dog, Mikey, has decided that the (sunken) living room is his second potty. He goes outdoors w/o a problem. If I leave him alone or don’t notice where he is, he will go downstairs & pee & poop. I have started leaving him in my bedroom, when I go away, & that works. But, often, in the evening, he will still sneak down there. I have the room blocked off, but I am tired of looking at the
    gate. Is there ANYTHING I can spray the carpet with to discourage him? I praise him VERY rambunciously(sp.) when I return home & give him a treat, as well as praise when we are outoors. H E L P! It’s getting expensive to keep cleaning the carpet!

    • Joey

      Any luck getting your dog to stop using the bathroom inside? What advice were you given? I rescued a pit bull about 6 weeks ago and he does ok as long as I watch him but the moment I leave him alone he peas on the area rug in my living room. FRUSTRATING! I know he knows better because he only does it when I’m not around.

  • andie

    I adopted a shelter dog who had to be housebroken.  She has learned to use the wee-wee pads inside successfully, however she thinks area rugs are just bigger wee-wee pads.  I bought thick clear vinyl and covered all the rugs while she is in potty training but she likes to go on the vinyl now.  I don’t want to live with vinyl on all the rugs forever so how do I keep her from going on the area rug or vinyl and just sticking to the pads?  I never catch her doing her business on the vinyl and I can’t crate her because she has over the top anxiety issues.  Even gating off the kitchen (tile floors) in an open floor plan area gets her so worked up she spends the whole day while I’m gone trying to get out. And to top it off, she refuses to use the pads when gated in the kitchen. 

    • FunTimesGuide

      andie – sounds like it’s time to wean her off the pads completely.

  • FunTimesGuide

    Many dogs pee when they’re overly excited, or whenever someone pays special attention to them. Usually, it’s completely involuntary, they cannot help it, so don’t reprimand or punish your dog for it. That only makes the problem worse.

    Here are some things you can try:
    1. Ask your guests not to give your dog any attention — especially don’t look her in the eyes until she is completely calm and unexcited around them. Once calm, they can pet her without doing anything that will excite her. Praise your dog for being calm and give a treat.

    2. Have your dog greet house guests OUTSIDE of the home first. Then, you all go inside the house together, calmly, without excitement.3. Keep your dog in a separate room whenever company arrives
    4. Crate your dog whenever guests are around and give her a fun treat — like a Kong filled with goodies during that time.

  • Skye Taylor

    I have a 1yr old chihuahua x jack russel she has been house trained. When she was a puppy up to a certain age i used piddle mats for her to use indoors after that i would take her outside in the morning, at night and any other times she indidcated needing to wee. She’s not pooing just weeing. She was very good at going to use the toilet outside but all of a sudden started weeing on my bed and on the floor unexectedly. If a visitor walks through the door she rolls on her back and wees even if the person hasn’t given her any attention. She has just been spayed the vets said this may help stop it but it hasn’t, I put her out the garden this morning but she runs back in the house and pees in the dog bed. I have two other dogs but they go outside through our cat flap. I scold her by saying no and then showing her where shes meant to go but she doesnt seem to take it in. Also when i take her for walks she will whine a few times before going to poo and wee it seems shes a little shy to go and will try find the most secluded place possible. Please help as this is very frustrating!!

  • Connie Slay

    I have a 4 year old dog. She used to be a mostly outdoor dog but still an indoor dog too. I moved into an apartment and now she is indoors all the time. She is crated when I’m not home and at night. She is not fixed. It seems like it is always at night (even after coming in from outside) that she pees in the same spot every time. If I am in my living room, I can’t see her, so it is very hard to catch her in the act. I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and she still continues to do it. I’m trying to keep her on a potty schedule. But it doesn’t seem to matter if it has been 1 hour or 4 hours since she’s been out …. it happens. I kind of feel like maybe it was marked by dogs of prior tenants, but I’m not sure. She is potty trained and I never have had issues with her before we moved. This has been going on about 2 months and I just can’t get her to stop. Any other suggestions?

    • FunTimesGuide

      Connie – Okay, here’s my opinion. What I would PERSONALLY do if I were in your situation…

      Keep in mind that she’s had a lot of confusing things going on in her life: was mostly outdoor, then some indoor, now all indoor, sometimes crated, sometimes not, moved, new surroundings, possibly other dogs in the apartment, new smells & new sounds. That’s a lot in a relatively short time, especially with all of the other “stresses” associated with moving — for both her AND you. You may even be home more (or less) than before you moved, and your own personal schedule may be different.

      The very first thing I would do is crate her when you’re in the living room and can’t see her. Inconvenient? Yep, but so is having her pee on the carpet because you can’t see her. If you don’t want to fully crate her, then just try blocking the doorway to keep her in the room you’re in so you can see her at all times. You can use baby gates, boxes, fencing, or anything that’s cheap or something you might already have.

      Personally, I’d also be interested to know if she’d find another spot to pee if you blocked that one spot where she always goes. So I’d put her crate there on that spot and see what happens. I’d use her crate because it’s typically a dog’s most personal space. Will she find another spot to pee? Or stop peeing in the house altogether? If you don’t want to put her crate there, then put something else there. You won’t know until you try. Experiment.

      It’s good that you’re “trying to keep her on a potty schedule”… just make sure that’s it’s HER ideal schedule and not YOURS 😀

      Since it usually happens in the evening, maybe she needs to pee more than you realize when you let her out in the evening. Sometimes my dog will go out to pee right after I get home, but he’s too excited to get back in the house to be with me that he doesn’t really empty his bladder — and soon he has to go back out. You may need to watch her like a hawk when she goes outside and make sure she’s really going… enough. Inconvenient? Yep, but so is having her pee on the carpet.

      A tip: whenever I see my dog “peeing in a hurry” I say (in a deep voice) “You go outside!” and I don’t let him back in the house yet. He’ll go back out and smell some things before he pees or poops again. It definitely takes more of my time upfront to stay on top of his peeing & pooping, but it’s better than getting interrupted many times throughout the evening to go back out (or finding your dog peeing on the carpet).

      Since it happens “if it has been 1 hour or 4 hours since she’s been out”, I wonder if she’s just bored and wants/needs your attention when she’s doing it. Your time & personal routine has probably changed a bit since you moved. She may just be calling out to you that she needs something. And peeing in a familiar spot is just comforting for her.

      Finally, she could have bladder issues or kidney issues or something else health- or age-related going on. Personally, I would definitely mention this little “problem” with my vet. Veterinarians have much more experience with this than any of us.

  • Skye Taylor

    She doesn’t look in pain , She was taken from her mother at quite a young age that might be one reason. She is a very exciteable dog and gets too excited whenever someone walks in the house she mainly does it around my fiance. she sleeps with me in my bed and when i call her into bed she sometimes pees when she gets on in excitement.

  • FunTimesGuide

    Skye – yep, sounds mostly like submissive urination issues. Research that for some helpful tips.