How To Train A Puppy To Pee Outside

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how to train a puppy to pee outside

To train a puppy to pee outside you need to help them build a strong association with relieving themselves in the backyard, and remove the association with peeing indoors. The best way to train a puppy to pee outside is by keeping them company. Stay outdoors with your puppy until they give in and pee. It isn’t fun, and it’s often quite cold and wet, but waiting your puppy out always works. And remember, this phase doesn’t last long. Before you know it your puppy will be clean and dry in the home, just take it one day at a time.

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It can be very frustrating to have a puppy making numerous puddles on your carpets throughout the day. Especially when the cause seems to be a puppy that won’t pee outside. And especially when you are trying so hard to help him and keep taking him outdoors. I’ll share the possible reasons why your puppy won’t pee outside, and what you can do to resolve this problem.

Does Your Puppy Need To Pee?

People often find it easier to tell if the pup wants to empty his bowels. He will start to trot about and turn in little circles. But many pups give little or no warning when they want a wee.

This is not naughtiness. The sensation of an impending bowel movement is simply much stronger and the puppy is more aware of it. This means that he will often learn deliberate control over his bladder a little later than he learns deliberate control over his bowels.

Why Does Your Puppy Pee In The House?

An eight week old puppy gets little or no warning that his bladder needs emptying and is physically unable to wait for very long.

So if you shut him in his crate with a very full bladder, or allow him on your carpets, you are bound to end up with accidents.

But why is your puppy not doing a wee when you take him outside. After all, if he would go outside, he wouldn’t need to go indoors!

Why Won’t My Puppy Pee Outside?

If your puppy is peeing in the house and not peeing when you take him outside, there could be a number of reasons.

  • You are leaving him outside on his own
  • You are not spending enough time outside
  • You are letting him wee on carpets indoors
  • He does not have access to grass outdoors
  • The weather is horrid

How to train a puppy to pee outside?

Sometimes new puppy owners expect their puppy to pee outside by himself. However, small puppies do not want to be left alone. You cannot shut a tiny puppy outside and hope he will do his business.

You need to go with him. Otherwise he will just spend the whole time he is outside, trying to get back inside again.

Spending enough time outside with your puppy

Puppies cannot control their bladders. Your puppy cannot do a wee outside until his bladder is almost ready to be emptied.

He will be able to recognise the signs later, but right now, it’s not something he is capable of.

If you don’t spend enough time outside with him, he may not need to pee while you are out there.

Take a chair, a book, and a coat.

Sit outside and wait until he does a wee, then when you bring him in you have a window of ten to fifteen minutes when you can be pretty sure he won’t do another one.

Restricting a puppy’s access to carpets

If you let a puppy with a full bladder onto a carpeted area, he will pee on them.

The soft squishy surface of the carpet is a preferred surface for puppies to wee on.

Once he has wet the carpet, it will smell attractive to him and he will want to do it again.

That’s just the way puppies are.

Pups under three months old need to be kept on a hard washable floor apart from the window of time that follows the last emptying of their bladder.

This window of time is very short at eight weeks and gets gradually longer.

By ten weeks old many puppies can last half an hour, during the day, after a pee without doing another one.  Some take another two or three weeks to reach this point.

You may need to put barricades across doorways into carpeted rooms whilst he is little,  baby gates work well, or you could think about buying or borrowing a large puppy playpen for your kitchen.

Access to grass outside

Puppies often prefer to wee on grass, again, they find the soft surface attractive.

Though there are exceptions. Some puppies that have been raised on concrete or a tiled floor, may prefer to pee on  a hard surface.

Usually however, you will have more success with house-training if you allow your puppy access to an area of grass when you take him outside.

If you don’t have any grass, you will just have to be patient and wait the puppy out. He will have to empty his bladder eventually and he will get used to peeing on a hard surface

Bad weather can stop puppies peeing outside

If your puppy arrived during a spell of nice weather and quickly got used to peeing outside in your yard, the first rainy spell can mean trouble.

Should you suddenly find that your puppy won’t pee outside after previously being happy to do so, consider the weather.

Young puppies are not as weatherproof as adult dogs, and often don’t like getting cold or soaked through.

However, being brave about the weather is something your little dog needs to learn. And he needs you to show him that bad weather is nothing to worry about.

Accompanying your puppy outside, even if you haven’t had to do that for a while, is the solution.

So once again, it’s time to put your hat and coat on, and brave the elements until your puppy has accepted that he has to pee outside, no matter what the weather is doing.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

How long should I wait outside with my puppy?

People often say “I waited a whole ten minutes and he didn’t pee!” But rather than looking at the clock, the length of time you need to wait is until your puppy has emptied himself.

If you think maybe he doesn’t need to pee yet, take him back indoors and crate him or cuddle him for a few minutes, then try again.

The trick is not to leave the puppy unsupervised indoors, unless you are certain he has recently emptied his bladder.

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website

16 COMMENTS

  1. Our labrador is 9 years old. He is perfect in every way except he won’t pee in our back garden. He will do it in any other garden and doesn’t have any issues of any kind. He never pees in the house or even pinch food from the table, but he will not pee in our garden. He will stand outside on a sunny day for any length of time and not pee. We’ve not trained him that way and the garden has a mixture of surfaces so that isn’t the issue either.
    It would be nice some evenings at 11pm if he would rather than the late night walk to the park. Any suggestions greatly recieved

  2. I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I leave him at home he pees in the house: on the carpet, on the bed, on flowers..
    My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

  3. ‘Put your hat and coat on and brave the elements’–Smiling in nostalgia. My Oski was born in the fall before one of the coldest winters in a decade. So there I was, multiple times each night, sweatpants under my flannel nightie, sweatshirt and coat over it, plus hat and gloves. And the flashlight. Took me as long to get dressed as it took for Oski to do his business;D

  4. Very surprised your weeing outside tips did not include the advice to associate a toilet trip with a command word and lavish praise and, perhaps, a treat at first. It certainly worked for my best pal who is five now.

  5. My puppy trained very easily. We did have a few accidents, but she caught on very fast. I was so proud of her. We received her on a Friday afternoon, so we were home with her all weekend. Took her outside every hour or so, hung out with her out there. Took her out after a feeding. Because of the crying, I took her to bed with us. I could feel her moving around during the night, so, got up and took her outside, she did her business, we went back to bed. I would say, within 2 weeks, she’d go to the door when she wanted out, and we always went with her, praised her. Shes 8 1/2 years old now. Yes, she still sleeps with me. Has been the best Lab ever. I wouldn’t change a thing about her!

  6. We have a 7month puppy and when people come he wont leave them alone. If we put him out he barks. (I dont mean the garden) any advice please.

  7. my 4yr old yellow Lab NEVER Barks. Even when the postman or window cleaner etc. call. He will gently howl in his sleep so he HAS a voicebox but thats about the only sound he makes. Any ideas?

  8. We have a 7 month old yellow Lab that house trained very easy. We were outside all the time. Only after she drank a lot of water swimming or attacking the hose did she have an “accident” in the house. Winter is coming soon in Wisconsin. I have an idea to cut some sod and put it in a 2 foot by 1 1/2 foot boot tray over kitty litter and keep it in the garage for the worst winter days. Has anyone tried something like this? Will I be confusing Tilly by encouraging her to urinate “indoors”, but on real grass occasionally? (When the snow and wind are blowing or it’s 20 degrees below zero)

    • I haven’t used an indoor toilet area of this kind for my dogs, but I believe they can be successful. You even find them in airports now, and can buy them online. Artificial grass might be longer lasting than the real thing. Good luck and do join the forum http://thelabradorforum.com and let us know how you get on – we have other members in areas with very cold winters 🙂

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