How to Keep Your Dog from Peeing in the House

By Jennifer Arnold, Dog Expert

There are three primary reasons, other than medical incontinence, that dogs have accidents in the house:

1.) They cannot hold it. If your dog pees in his crate or near an exit, he just couldn’t hold it. Remember that puppies and small dogs have tiny bladders. Increase the number of times you take him out each day. If it isn’t possible for you to get your dog outside frequently enough to prevent accidents, you might want to buy indoor bathroom pads or boxes so your dog can have a legitimate potty spot.

2.) They do not understand exactly where the restroom is. Fixing this problem is all in your hands. You must help your dog understand where you want him to urinate while keeping him from being able to go where you don’t want him to urinate. Show him where his bathroom is, tell him to “go pee” and reward him with praise and treats when he goes in the right spot. Remember, dogs want to keep their dens clean, but what constitutes the den to your dog is limited to the areas where you sleep or hang out. Dogs who potty in rooms you rarely use, such as the formal dining room or the living room, are trying to be polite. If you don’t go into certain rooms very often, consider blocking access to them. Or, keep your dog close to you, in a crate, or in an exercise pen until the housebreaking problem is resolved.

If your dog does have an accident in the house, be sure you clean the area with something specially designed for the purpose, such as Citra-Solv or Simple Solution, so that you completely eliminate the smell. Avoid using ammonia products…they will make the area smell even more like a bathroom.

3.) They are scent marking. Neutered dogs rarely feel the need to mark indoors. If your dog does and you catch him in the act interrupt him by clapping loudly and then calmly lead him outside. Praise and reward him for marking outdoors. If you don’t catch your dog in the act, you CANNOT point out his transgression later. Dogs do not understand the concept that something they did earlier is what you are upset about currently.
If your dog seems somehow unable to control his urination, please see your veterinarian. There are many treatable causes of medical incontinence in dogs.


  1. i have taken on a new bitch, she is 14 months old, a boxer, She had a broken leg when she was 6 months and was put on crate rest for 4 months. the previous owners couldnt handle the peeing in the house all the time and put her up for sale. She peed all over the kitchen the first night. And would pee when we came home or spoke to her and she’d get excited and wee. The excited weeing has stopped now, but she still wees when left. even if left for 1 minute. and even if she has just been for a walk. I dont shout at her when i find the wee, i just clean it up, and always praise her when she pees outside, I have had her 2 weeks now, and dont know what else to do,,,, can anybody help?

  2. Carol Feld says:

    Thanks for the tips. We have found that it helps to use an indoor potty made with real grass, instead of fake grass or synthetic pads. Our dog is attracted to the natural smell of the real grass in her Fresh Patch potty and no longer pees in the house. Plus, we can throw the whole potty away when needed and replace it with a new one.

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