What Is And How To Handle Potty Training Regression


You thought your dog was trained to go inside. You enjoyed every second of having a dog, your home was clean, and those dreaded late-night bathroom runs were history. Until your dog’s best friend once again started using the internal bathroom. What is going on?

Although potty training regression can be very unpleasant, it can also be overcome with the right approach. Take a deep breath, then continue reading. How to handle your adult dog or older puppy urinating and defecating inside is explained here.

What does potty training regression entail?

Simply put, potty training regression happens when a dog that has already been house trained and who previously appeared effective at holding its bladder and bowels for regular periods suddenly starts using the bathroom inside once more. These accidents could happen out of the blue or be brought on by certain things (more on that in the following section).

The behaviour is not unusual, but regression after potty training is unpleasant. Many owners report that their older puppies regress to an earlier stage of their house training skills between four months and a year. Older dogs frequently have problems with incontinence.

We’ve all made it through the house training regression that most pet parents have experienced. You are capable of completing this.

Regression during potty training: how to handle it

Similar to housebreaking an adult dog that has recently been adopted, regression in potty training should be managed:

  1. Understand the cause of your companion’s indoor accidents.
    2. Remove the scent that previous messes in and around your home left behind.
    3. Go back to the standard house-training process.

You might rebuild healthy habits in no time at all!


First, understand what might be causing your previously house-trained dog’s accidents.

We understand how stressful it may be to clean up your dog’s messes, particularly after being so confident that all the scrubbing was behind you. Nevertheless, you owe it to your pet to understand the circumstances that lead to their behaviour, regardless of how uncomfortable you find their bathroom habits to be.

Potty training regression can occur for many reasons, such as time or physical changes. Without a clear cause, it can also happen regularly in your dog’s time. Puppies often act erratically because they are so active.

To discover the reason for your dog’s most recent accidents, utilize the following questions.

Did you raise your housebreaking expectations too soon, pups dogs?

On average, puppies can hold their bladders for one hour every month. A four-month-old puppy can often wait four hours, a six-month-old puppy can wait six hours, and so on, up to the 8–10 hours, we could anticipate from an adult dog.

But that’s only an idea:

  • Little breeds have smaller bladders and faster metabolisms than giant breeds. Therefore, they might need frequent bathroom breaks (even more often than one hour every month of their age).
  • Some dogs develop their bodies and brains more slowly than others. Suppose you’ve been lengthening the intervals between your dog’s bathroom breaks without first waiting for them to regularly succeed at the previous level. In that case, you might be moving along too rapidly.

Puppies dogs: Have your attempts at potty training been haphazard?

It’s also possible that you recently missed your dog’s contradictory cues or neglected to take them on a few scheduled bathroom breaks, leaving them unsure of when and where they should relieve themselves.

Do not panic; this does not mean your work is poor. Even the most diligent dog owners occasionally make mistakes since dog ownership is quite labour-intensive!

Just take a moment to reflect on your house training routine. Do all the members of your family concur? There’s a chance you missed your dog’s signals to go outside. You might only need to improve your communication.

For all breeds of dog: For instance, may your pet have a urinary tract infection?

A sudden illness could prevent your dog from waiting till they go outside, even if they have spent months successfully training to hold their bladder and bowels. Dogs prefer not to use the bathroom where they are sleeping, so if they have ruined their bed or favourite sleeping space, this is more likely (more on that later).

House training accidents typically involve health issues like:

  • Cystitis interstitial
  • Stones in the bladder or kidneys
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Kidney disease
  • Genitalia-related infections
  • Diabetes
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • The irritable bowel syndrome
  • Canine cognitive impairment, or “doggy dementia,” is a condition that affects old dogs.

Call your vet immediately if you think your dog may suffer from any of the abovementioned problems. When potty training regression occurs in an adult dog (older than a year) without any other evident explanations, there is a significant chance that medical concerns are at least broadly to blame.

For all breeds of dog: Has your pet undergone any significant life changes?

Stress can have various physiological effects on our dogs’ bodies, making it harder for them to regulate their nervous systems, take in new information, and, you guessed it, their bladder and bowels.

You might have recently noticed: Your dog might be under stress.

  • Moved to a new house
  • Brought a brand-new pet home.
  • You have changed your schedule.
  • Loss of a family member
  • Observed a sudden shift in the season
  • Comparable, etc.

Our dogs aren’t using the bathroom inside in these circumstances to “get back at us” but are confused and anxious.

You ought to be able to clean up their mistakes Rapidly.

  1. Getting back to a routine schedule.
    2. Boosting their confidence through training and play.
    3. Providing appropriate enrichment opportunities to reduce stress.

For all breeds of dog: Are your pet’s accidents linked to other behavioural problems like anxiety?

Sometimes our dogs have serious mental health problems. House training problems can be caused by several things, such as separation anxiety, past trauma, etc.

Has your dog recently experienced anything traumatic? They might have been assaulted while you were on a walk or mistakenly left alone for a long time while taking care of something else. Exist any unusual stimuli in their typical bathroom locations? Have they tried to escape but were scared off by the harsh weather?

You’re not the only one who thinks your friend’s potty training regression might be brought on by chronic anxiety. Consider making up a consultation with a qualified veterinarian behaviourist to figure out what to do next.

Step two is to eliminate the scent of earlier accidents.

Dogs have a natural urge to relieve themselves at the exact bathroom location. This is why many adult pets like to choose the same corner in their yard or on their daily walk to pee and poop. One or two accidents within your home might soon snowball into dozens more if these places are not cleaned up thoroughly.

An enzymatic cleaner needs to be used to scrub down all bathroom problems thoroughly. These special enzymes will remove all signs of past marks! Our dogs can smell a strong, pervasive stink in pee, so regular soap and water won’t help here.

Review the foundations of potty training pups in step three.

Suppose you’ve determined that your dog’s house training regression is not the result of underlying medical conditions or anxiety that you need to treat with a certified specialist. In that case, your next step is simple: Act as if your dog is a young puppy and set aside your assumptions!

We understand that feeling as though so much progress has been lost is upsetting. The good news is that, with a bit of consistency, regression in potty training is often easy to correct. It usually moves faster than your first time at housebreaking did!

Here’s what to do. In other words, establishing a dependable daily routine for your dog will help them behave better.


Schedule a time for your dog to eat.

If you feed your dog regularly, it will be easier to anticipate their bathroom needs.

  • Feed them at the same time every day. Keeping track of when people eat and use the bathroom will help you start to notice their routines. Your dog should consistently digest food at a convenient time. (This schedule allows you to notify your veterinarian immediately if your pet’s appetite or bowel habits change.)
  • Avoid giving them more sweets throughout the day as this may make them feel the need to urinate more frequently.
  • Whenever possible, allow full access to water; nevertheless, monitor any occasions in which they consume more than usual (like after playing or finishing a chew).

Take regular walks outside with your dog (and increase the time between bathroom breaks slowly)

It’s vital to start the retraining procedure in a limited space, even though an adult dog’s bladder should be able to hold more than a puppy’s.

Start by taking your dog outside more frequently than you think is required. Then, once your dog has repeatedly shown it can endure the previous interval, progressively increase the time between excursions outside.

Start by taking your dog outside every two to three hours, as well as right after they:

  • Awaken after a nap or leave your bed.
  • Finish a meal.
  • Play a game or perform any other activity.

Encourage your dog to relieve himself in the exact location to create a regular habit.

We’ve already said that dogs frequently relieve themselves in the same spot. Outside, this may be to your advantage! Try walking your dog in a brief circle around your yard to encourage a good elimination habit.

Use praise when your dog completes a task appropriately.

When your dog has relieved themselves outside, reward them with praise and food before letting them play or run around. You can give them small training treats, physical affection, or a prized toy as payment for a job well done.

(Note: Wait until your dog has finished urinating before interfering with them when they are doing it. Make sure they have had enough time to thoroughly empty their bladder, which can take an adult more than 30 seconds, before giving them a tasty gift or starting a fun activity.)

Please keep your dog in a crate or a pen when you can’t keep an eye on him.

As we mentioned earlier, dogs prefer not to use the bathroom where they eat or sleep. By putting your pet in a smaller area (such as a warm, appropriately sized kennel or wire cage) while you’re away, you can take advantage of this instinctive tendency to prevent accidents.

Consider setting designated potty pads around your dog if you must leave them alone for longer than you imagine they can hold their bladder.

Step five: Should it be essential, get expert counsel!

If you and your dog are still having problems after returning to the beginning, it is a good idea to get in touch with a specialist.

-If you haven’t done so, start with a comprehensive vet checkup. Even if the accidents were previously cleaned up, there’s a chance you missed something if your dog continues to have accidents. An extra set of eyes is usually beneficial.
-Find a virtual or live trainer you can put your faith in. They will be able to learn about your unique situation and offer pertinent suggestions.