Toilet Training (peeing, pooing, or marking indoors)

Bladder control isn't fully developed until a dog is around eight-months-old, and smaller dogs have less control than larger dogs, so make sure your dog is going out often enough for comfort. Never leave a pup for long in a crate, since he will end up having to wee in his den. Always leave the door open and fence off a safe area with a toilet for him, if you have to leave him for any length of time. Little pups need to go out when they wake, when they have eaten, after playing, and when they've sniffed the ground. Try gently carrying them out before they wake up, so they don't have a chance to wee on the way out.


Always stay outside with a pup, or he'll just want to come back in with you, and won't want to wee. Developing a routine and waking the pup at a set time also helps him to learn to control his bladder. 'Paper training', or training pups to wee on paper indoors is training them that indoors, rather than outdoors is the place to wee. This can lead to problems when the pups become adults. There is more on puppy toilet training in the article 'Bringing Up Your Puppy'. Adult dogs that have never lived indoors can take a while to learn where to perform. Treat them as pups, and keep them near you when you're at home, so you can take them out at the first sign they need to go.

Dogs that are nearly housetrained but still poo at night often just need longer walks last thing at night, until they poo. An emptied dog is less likely to leave you a little present on the floor overnight. A short walk is generally a much more effective way to get a dog to perform than just standing with the dog in the garden, though ball games in the garden can help trigger bowel motions.

Check with your vet if your dog is very slow at learning to perform outside, or suddenly regresses. There may be a medical problem, like a urine infection. Dogs can also regress after disruptions like moving house, and may need to be retrained as though they were pups. Spayed bitches may suffer from incontinence, which can usually be treated. There are special nappies for dogs, who develop incontinence for medical reasons, or you can use women's stick-on hygiene products, and make a Velcro-fastened belly band and nappy holder. Washable floors are essential if you often have to clean up after dogs, so confine incontinent dogs to rooms with easily washable floors, not carpets. Cleaners with deodorants tend to get rid of the smell better than vinegar.

Marking can be a problem with males, especially if a visiting male dog has weed in your house. Then your dog of course has to wee where the visitor has weed. Watch visiting male dogs, and check for any damp spots after they leave, because it's quite common for male dogs to wee in a strange house where there are other dogs.

Some dogs grovel or roll on their backs and wee, what's called 'submissive urination'. This can be in response to a stern tone of voice, or because the dog is afraid you are annoyed and doesn't know why. Check how you give commands to the dog, and make sure they are clear,  and easily understood, and if your dog is soft, sensitive and very deferential, give commands with sensitivity. Dogs may also wee out of excitement, for example, when owners come home, and this often happens when they have had to hold it in for too long. Try greeting the dog outside, where the garden permits, and see if you can arrange a walker to take the dog out for a wee if you have to be away for a long time.

Older dogs may need to urinate more frequently, and may be disoriented if they're blind and deaf, so it's worth taking them out more frequently to avoid accidents indoors. Blind dogs can take themselves out for a wee in the garden if you're home and the back door is open, They learn where furniture is, and can be disoriented if it's moved, so it's worth keeping chairs and other small items in the same place, to allow them to find the back door.