5 Key Points For Housebreaking An Older Dog

training-and-older-dog-by-flickrized.jpg A housebroken dog is a dog that can remain in the house for up to 8 hours without having an accident.

If your dog goes to the bathroom in your home more than once every few months, then you need to re-focus on housebreaking that dog.

If you have an older dog that is still having accidents, there are steps you can take to stop these bad habits and housebreak your dog.

Here are 5 important points to consider when housebreaking an older dog…


#1 – How long will it take to housebreak an older dog?

Some claim that you can housebreak a dog in 7 days.  But for an older dog that was not housebroken at an early age, it will take decidedly longer.  It can take as long as several weeks to housebreak an adult dog.

According to the Sacramento SPCA, re-housetraining an adult dog will take a few weeks.

For the first few weeks after you bring him home, you should assume your new dog isn’t housetrained and start from scratch. If he was housetrained in his previous home, the re-training process should progress quickly.


#2 – What steps should I take to housebreak an older dog?

To housetrain an older dog, you need to:

  • Establish a “potty break” routine and stick to it.  This begins with the time you get up each morning and the ends with the last trip outside for the night. Especially at first, this may not perfectly coincide with your own personal schedule.
  • Constantly supervise you dog for “signs” when he has to go outside. To succeed at housebreaking, everything that looks like a “sign” should be taken seriously (especially at first) — even if that means you’re taking your dog outside 20 times a day!
  • Confine your dog (like in a crate or a bathroom) when you cannot supervise him. Dogs are less likely to eliminate in the places where they sleep.
  • Clean any soiled areas inside the house very well to remove the smell and prevent repeat accidents. Dogs continue to go where they’ve gone before.


#3 – Can I housebreak my dog if I have a busy schedule?

If you have a very busy schedule — to the point when you are not able to housebreak a dog — you probably shouldn’t have a dog.

Everyone goes through busy times in their lives where they need to work extra hours or travel, and that is understandable.  However, if your schedule is always hectic, then you will have a very hard time getting your dog housebroken without help from a dog walker, friend, or family member.

Here are some special tips on dog training for busy people.


#4 – How do I teach my dog to go quickly and in the same spot?

A dog can be taught to go to the bathroom on cue.

Taking him to the same spot each time will make “going on cue” easier.

Be sure to use the same word (like “potty” or “go outside”) each and every time, in order to help it sink in faster. Plus, you can then use this word on-the-spot to encourage your dog that you mean business and he needs to go right now.

Here’s how to teach your dog to go on cue.


#5 – What can I do to prevent a relapse in housebreaking?

One thing’s for sure: if you are not consistent with your dog, he will go back to his old habits right away.

You must continue the housebreaking schedule way past the point of success and continue with the schedule — for the benefit of the dog and of your home.

And remember, just because your dog is housebroken does not mean that he can hold it for an unreasonable amount of time.

In addition to regular bathroom breaks throughout the day, dogs also need a long walk every day to burn off excess energy. Why? Because pent up energy can also cause a dog to eliminate in the house out of nervousness and boredom.


More Tips For Housetraining An Older Dog

Andrea Hermitt

Andrea Hermitt

I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future -- which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Google Plus

Fun From Around the Web

  • Moosesmom

    I have a dashound who is brilliant, and who has been housebroken since he was six months old. When we leave the house he has started to test us by peeing while we are gone. Pees on our back packs, brief cases, purses, etc. We believe he is angry with us. What to do???? We have a pug who is housebroken and never makes a mess in the house. Is the doxie mad at us or at the pug? Is crate training the only answer to the doxie???

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      Yes. Crate training. I swear by it.

  • Vasthycarolinamuniz

    I have a yorkie , dat uses to pee and poop inside the house but that is why I ddnt houbreak him right because I wasn’t consistent and now since my has been taking care of her for a couple of months she does her business outside but now that I brought her back to my apartment she only time she pees and poops inside is at night so I have to lock her in the bathroom. What can I do for her not to do that at night?

  • ratwrangler

    I have a female Rat Terrier that I got from a rescue a few years ago who I have never really been able to get house broken, I think she is about 5 years old now. She will almost never go to bathroom when I am around, I take her out in the back yard and she either just stand next to me or begs to be petted. I take her on long walks and she still rarely relieves herself. But when I leave and go to work she often goes on the floor. She can go outside when ever she likes and I have another male Rat Terrier who is house broken.

  • http://www.genesis950.com/ Genesis 950

    This is a very good article. We are so glad to read that cleaning the stained area properly was included. One of the biggest mistakes in issues involving reoccurring pet stains comes as a result from the area not being properly cleaned. Dogs urinate based on scent. If any trace of urine is left in the carpet, your dog is likely to return there. In some cases when the area is not properly cleaned, and the dog keeps going in that spot, it is often blamed on age or health issues. While these factors can indeed contribute to accidents in the house, the odor is often overlooked.

    These spots need to be cleaned thoroughly, and this does not mean just the visible stain, but also the odors. In many cases, the urine seeps into the padding and needs to be removed. Surface cleaning will not remove that odor. The area should be cleaned with a machine so that the cleaning solution can effectively remove what is in the padding.

    Another HUGE mistake in cleaning pet stains is the use of vinegar. Vinegar has the same acidic base as urine with a similar pH level. This similarity can actually draw a dog back to the spot as he/she may mistake the scent of vinegar for that of urine. When this happens, the process just continues and the dog will keep going in that spot.

  • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

    Jessica – Gosh, it sounds like you’re doing everything right! Other than giving amazingly-overwhelmingly-positive praise every single time she goes outside AND associating it with one word each time so she makes the connection that the praise comes every time she hears that word and goes outside… I can’t think of what you could do differently here. A dog’s own willpower sometimes wins out over our own — so it’s up to you to decide if you’ll ultimately let that happen or not. It might be time to consult a professional. Call around and ask for per-session rates. You might be surprised 😀

  • Jessica

    Thanks for the reassurance. I think a professional is the last option. If that doesn’t work I guess I will try to find her a home where she can be an outside dog only.