Zen and the Art of Dog

How to Stop an Adopted Dog from Peeing In the House

Disclaimer: We have never potty trained a puppy but we have plenty of experience with adult dogs peeing inside the house. We have adopted 3 adult dogs (approximately 1.5, 1, and 4 years old at the time of adoption). One of the benefits of adopting an adult dog is that they were usually potty trained at some point. This is not the case for all adult dogs. My sister adopted a 1 year old dog that had lived most of her life outside and was taught to eliminate on a towel when inside the house (that lead to some not-so-pleasant surprises when she came home).

Our dogs spent varying amounts of time in the shelter before getting adopted and the longer they are in the shelter, the longer it took for them to consistently use the bathroom outside. Our dog Chloe was the oldest when we adopted her and she had already spent more than half her life in a shelter setting due to being part of a dog abuse court case. Animal shelters do their best to get the dogs outside but there just aren’t enough volunteers to get every dog outside as many times as needed to use the bathroom. Long-term shelter dogs like Chloe get used to living in their own excrement and become an adopted dog peeing in the house.

Here are the tricks we used to get our adult dogs to use the bathroom outside:

  • In the early days, take them outside more frequently. This can be a pain and you might have to call in some favors or hire a dog walker. But, it will be worth the extra effort. They will be able to hold it longer and longer as they become accustomed to going outside on a schedule.
  • Crate training. Most shelters keep their dogs in a kennel type area so there is a *little* bit of separation. Get the right size crate for your dog, something that is not too big and not too small. Dogs do not want to lay in their own excrement.
  • After an accident, disinfect and clean the area with an odor eliminating spray. We like this one. It is important to remove the odor because they will usually seek out where they have eliminated in the past.
  • If eliminating the odor doesn’t do the trick, we will feed them in their elimination spot. After the area has been disinfected, we will sprinkle dry food or treats directly on the floor. If you’re concerned about mess, you can try to let them eat from their bowl. But, putting it directly on the floor seems to work better in my experience. They don’t like to crap where they eat!
  • Learn their cues. Each of our dogs has a telltale sign of when they need to go outside. Denver will whine and stand by the door. Benji will hop by the door. Chloe will move from her nap spot and just stare you down until you let her outside.

Hopefully that helps! Let us know down in the comments what tips you have for stopping an adopted dog peeing in the house.

And here’s another article that might help with your adult rescue.

1 thought on “How to Stop an Adopted Dog from Peeing In the House”

  1. well i am disabled cant make it outside with em but go biggg dog dog they all fit threw easy my 2 girls go outside the boy i adpoted last year was kept in a dog crate probally about 12 hours a day..the guy worked 3rd lived alone and slept in the day time.anyhow other than this peeing in the house he a great dog…i just never had one (rescue dog) that took this long(a year) to fiqure out they pee outside…lol..
    iam not much on scolding mine cause they all had enough abuse before i got em.Ill try the feeding in the same sport they pee in..and letcha know..I use the same stuff ya did to deoriderize or clean up with..so i already got that part..and stuff here in my house.!


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