How To Potty Train An Older Dog (With Or Without A Crate)

Has a new member of the family been adopted? This article contains all the information you need to potty train an older dog.


You may not have thought about how to housebreak an older dog before. Given that most dogs are learned to use the toilet while they are puppies, you might not have had to potty train an older dog you’ve previously adopted.

Due to unfortunate circumstances or insufficient training, some adult dogs haven’t learned where to urinate, so you may encounter home accidents while you work on this. With or without dog crate training, you can toilet-train an older dog, and we’ll give you expert advice on how to accomplish it.

Why is my elderly dog having trouble finding a bathroom?

If you just adopted a dog, there’s a chance that they haven’t been potty trained. Dogs kept outside in a yard never have to learn that toilets are not found inside homes, and stray dogs may never have been inside a household, much less taught how to use the bathroom.

Dogs might also have had owners who failed to housebreak them or encouraged them to urinate on newspaper inside. When a dog is potty trained, it starts possible for him to forget what he learned and begin having accidents.

In addition to several medical illnesses such as renal disease, canine dementia, back pain, and urinary tract infections, this can also happen due to behavioural reasons like fear or a change in routine or environment.

If you know that your dog was previously potty trained but seems to have forgotten, have them examined by a veterinarian so that any underlying medical issues can be taken care of.

Is it possible to potty train an older dog?

First of all, you might wonder if potty training an older dog is even necessary. But is it still feasible? It is, and that is fantastic news! Older dogs may take a little longer to learn than puppies because they already have bad habits. Still, most are just as capable of being clean as average dogs.

You’ll eventually succeed if you’re patient and take your time. Remember that you’re dealing with an adult dog who has spent years performing certain things in a particular manner and may have even received punishment in the past.

How to potty train an older dog

Good news: Toilet training an older dog is similar to toilet training a newborn puppy. An older dog may give fewer indications when it’s time to go potty, which is the crucial difference. In contrast to a young puppy, an older dog may not circle or sniff the ground right away. They might even try to avoid you if owners have previously employed punishment for toilet training.

The good news is that once you get into the swing of things, you shouldn’t have too many accidents because an older dog has a much higher capacity to hold his pee. So how do you potty train an older dog?

Utilize a crate

Giving your dog opportunities to do it right while reducing their chances of making mistakes is the key to toilet training them. So the first thing is to use a decent dog crate.

You’ll have fewer accidents when you confine dogs to their beds when you can’t watch them since dogs naturally don’t want to pee in their beds. He should enter his crate when you can’t be there to protect him, such as when you go out or while you sleep.

Take advantage of that early morning dew.

As soon as you let your dog out of his crate in the morning, take him to the spot where you want him to relieve himself. He ought to walk alone there as much as possible. You might need to attach a lead or move quickly to keep him moving in the right place. Allow him to pee once he gets there before rewarding him. Make a huge fuss and give him a treat—he got it! Please wait until the initial pee is precisely where you want it before letting him out into the rest of the house. Put him back in his crate and try again in 10 minutes if he doesn’t go the first time.

Take other possible early hours.

Dogs may need to go potty, not just in the morning but also after eating, sleeping, or playing. Let your dog out at each of these times to give him a chance to take. Be ready to make a big deal and give him a treat when he goes to the right place because he will naturally want to repeat this action in the hopes of getting the same response.

Watch a sharp eye out for him.

It would help if you also reduced the chance of an accident occurring while you are there. Try to restrict their movement inside the house to accomplish this; you might need to lock doors or put up stair gates for this. You won’t be ready to take them outside if they show any signs of needing the bathroom if they are sleeping in a room where you can’t see them. Keep an eye out for signs he needs to go to the toilet, such as pacing, sniffing, or circling. When dealing with an adult dog, you might not get much warning; therefore, be prepared to take rapid action.


Ignore accidents

Don’t punish your dog if you find an accident inside. Punishing him won’t do anything but make him more self-conscious about urinating, which will make your job harder. Completely ignore him, don’t even make at him! Anything else might leave his scent behind and tempt him to try it again. Make sure to clean up any spills with an enzyme cleaner designed for pet odours.

Veterinarian advise for struggling to housebreak an older dog.

If your dog is uncooperative and potty training isn’t going well. There are a few things you can try:

  • Attach sure your dog is permanently attached to you when inside the house by using a long line. This enables you to monitor the situation and guarantees that he won’t leave to use the restroom. It won’t persist forever; typically, the habit starts to disappear after a few days.
  • Utilize a dog’s innate desire to scent mark. Where you want your dog to relieve himself, spread some of your dog’s or a friend’s dog’s urine. Next time you take your dog there, give them a chance to sniff first. They almost certainly will urinate, allowing you to compliment them on doing it correctly.
  • Create a detailed timetable to help your dog plan his toilet breaks. Take your dog for a walk, feed him, and give him a toilet break at the same time every day. He can acclimate to his new routine thanks to consistency. Additionally, he will be able to safely hold his urine because he will be aware of his upcoming toilet break.

How to potty train an older dog without a crate

Potty training may be more challenging if you don’t have a crate or your dog can’t use one for any other reason. If you have a large dog, confining him into a small room might work just as well as a crate. If not, you may have to accept the possibility that accidents will happen at night.

One option for keeping your dog tied up overnight is a room that is easy to clean. Ideally, you should be able to restrict access to this room in the future. When he recognizes he should relieve himself outside during the day, the goal is to transfer his nighttime bed to a new room and prohibit him from accessing the previous one, breaking the habit of using the old room as a toilet.

Another option is to have your dog tethered to you while you spend the night nearby. If you see or hear him moving, get up and take him outdoors. This method has certain disadvantages, such as the possibility of encouraging harmful actions like sleeping with you and the fact that it is ineffective when you are not present.


Here’s how to housebreak an older dog, then! It need not be challenging, but patience is a virtue. You’ll get there someday if you keep applauding excellent conduct and ignoring bad behaviour. But if you’re struggling, don’t forget to consult a veterinarian; there can be a medical explanation, or you might need some expert advice from a certified behaviourist.