Q&A: Why will my dog only potty inside?

Buffy was doing great at our previous home in terms of going potty outside. She had a fenced in backyard and went without any issues. She had accidents inside the house, but they were always close to the door to the backyard. We had to relocate to a downtown apartment last week. She walks on her leash 3 times a day and refuses to go potty outside. There is a dog park near our apartment we take her to on these walks where she can run free, and she still refuses to go there! She will only go to the bathroom inside our apartment. She goes on walks with her older dog sister Bella. We have reinforced pottying outside by giving Bella treats each time she goes outside, and we make sure to do this so Buffy can see Bella getting the treats as reward for pottying. We are at our wits’ end! Spanking, yelling, saying no, walks, and sitting at the dog park for 30 to 45 minutes are all NOT working!~Caroline

Potty training can be a difficult task, especially with smaller dog breeds – somehow it takes more time for smaller dogs. For the owner of Buffy I would recommend to take a step back and basically forget how good Buffy was in her previous home. Use a potty pad, but do the regular 3 times a day walks, just like the potty pad wasn’t there. Put the pad relatively close to the door, easily reachable for Buffy, and make sure she feels safe. At first, if an accident happens anywhere else than the pad, put it on the pad and leave it there for half an hour before changing the pad – but clean the place where the accident was immediately.

NEVER shout and get angry with the pup when accidents happen.

Pottying is a time when the dog is very vulnerable. She is there, doing her thing, and couldn’t immediately run away if there were danger. That’s why many dogs look in their owners eyes when pooping. To make sure they are safe. It may be ridiculous to us, but it is serious to them. Give her time to get used to the new place, the new smells, the new objects, the sounds of traffic, meeting other dogs and stuff like that. Do everything you can to make sure that only good things happen on walks. If she is good with the potty pad, you can take one with you on walks, because it is familiar to her, and she may do her thing on that outside (some people won’t understand, but it’s about you and the pup, not them).

The other thing is timing. Always go on walks around 20-30 minutes after eating. On this walk, Buffy shouldn’t run and jump, because it can mess up her digestion, but this is the time it is most likely that she needs to pee or poop.

Don’t let food out for the day, there should be 2 (if she is more than a year old, one, if she is less than half, 3) times when she gets food, and if she doesn’t eat it, you should put it away. Don’t worry, in some days she will learn that this is the time to eat, she won’t starve herself.

With only this much information, these are the best advice I can give.

(Btw reinforcing the other dog when she potty outside is a very good thing šŸ™‚ )

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Junior Watson

Junior is the DogTrainingBasics.com resident "Top Dog". He enjoys walks in the park, chasing invisible cats, and of course... bacon strips!

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