How to Train Dogs to Pee Outside – Say Goodbye to Indoor Accidents!

how to train a dog to pee outside

Potty training is one of the major hurdles that most people think of when they think of dog training. Getting your dog to pee outside is a big accomplishment, and the training can take months. 

The important thing to remember is that you can potty train any dog with consistent effort, a little patience, and the right steps. 

In this guide, I want to use my experience to help you with your potty training efforts. Follow along, take each tip to heart, and you’ll have no problem house-training your new puppy. 

How to Train Dogs to Pee Outside

Here are some essential tips to follow when potty training your dog: 

Make a Routine For Your Dog

how to get a puppy to pee outside

Establishing a consistent routine is so important because dogs are creatures of habit. From the time they are young, you should be instilling this in them. 

Set regular feeding schedules and have designated bathroom breaks to follow that. This creates a predictable schedule so they know that after they eat, they’re going to go outside for a potty break. 

If you’re walking your dog, be consistent with this as well. Take your dog for a walk at the same time every day, and you’ll start to notice that your dog learns what’s going to happen and likely smells, stops, and uses the bathroom in the same spot much of the time. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of talking to your dog. Verbal communication is important, and it teaches your dog what certain words mean and how they’re associated with certain actions. Words like “potty, outside, and walk” will immediately perk up your dog’s ears because it’s familiar and it’s associated with something they love.

Be sure to communicate these habits with your dog, and you’ll be surprised how fast they catch on.

Designate a Bathroom Spot

how to train dogs to pee outside

In my eyes, when I train a dog to go to the bathroom outside, my focus is to get them to go on their own without a leash. A great way to help this happen is by taking them to the same spot every single time. 

We had a specific potty training spot in the back of my yard where the grass was a little tall. This was an area where no one went, so it was the perfect spot. After a few months of house training, my pup would run outside during her potty break and run right to that spot. 

Introduce a command that signals to your dog that it’s time to go potty. For example, you could use phrases like “Go potty” or “Do your business.” Use this command every time you take your dog to the designated spot. Over time, they will associate the command with the action.

It’s all about reaffirming things over and over. You’re reaffirming potty times, feeding times, certain actions, and expectations. Dogs love this because they know what to do so they don’t get frustrated or upset. 

Lastly, try to choose a toilet break spot that is as free of distractions as possible. When you train a puppy to pee outside, you don’t want there to be a lot of people around, other animals, or noisy traffic. If your pup is too busy barking at everything they see, it means they’re overstimulated and they’ll forget about the mission to go to the bathroom.

Leash Up

Sometimes potty training can be about control. You need to guide your dog to pee outside and having control over where they go can help with their potty break. 

how to train a dog to use the bathroom outside

Choosing the right leash is important because it should be long enough to give your dog some space but not too long that they think they have too much freedom. 

Again, consistency is important so your dog learns that when you attach the leash, they’re going on a walk, but the focus of the walk is house training. 

Eventually, you’ll notice that your dog begins to become more independent, and you can gradually give them more freedom by extending the leash length or eventually allowing them off-leash in a controlled environment.

Use Reward-Based Training

Reward-Based Training

Puppy potty training is all about positive reinforcement. Encourage your dog to make the right choices by providing them with more of the things they love. If your dog takes their potty breaks outside, give them their favorite treat or keep some exciting toys hidden until they make the right choices. 

It’s important that you time your rewards properly so your dog associates the reward with good behavior. As soon as they go potty outside, provide positive feedback by saying “good dog” and then offer them the reward. 

Reward your dog every time they successfully pee outside. Consistency helps your dog understand the cause-and-effect relationship between their actions and the rewards they receive. This encourages them to repeat the behavior consistently.

Introduce Crate Training


Crate training is a valuable tool in the potty training process, and you can use it to teach your dog to have good behavior, but it requires a few things on your end. 

First, you need the right crate. It should be large enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down in various positions. 

As you crate-train your dog, expect them to be upset or concerned in the beginning. They’ll likely cry and whine when they go in the crate, so you’ll want to gradually introduce them to it. 

Provide positive reinforcement by putting their favorite toys in the crate and even establish a routine where you feed them in their crate with the door closed, and when they’re done, you open the door and take your dog to pee outside. 

No Water Before Bed

Dog pee training tips

Remember that all these training tips only work if you do. It’s similar to potty training human babies, right? To prevent a baby from peeing in the middle of the night, you try to limit the amount they drink before bed. 

The same goes for most puppies. In the beginning, expect to take your dog to pee outside in the middle of the night, and this is especially true if you’re crate training them at night. They’ll do anything to get out for a little bit. 

It’s important that potty time is always a happy time, so be willing to take your dog out whenever they need it early on, and they’ll pay you back with years of independent business in the outside bathroom spot.

Try Not to Punish Your Dog for Accidents

how to teach a dog to pee outside

Methods of dog training have changed over the years. When I was growing up in my mother’s obedience business, it was common practice when your dog had an indoor accident, you put your dog’s nose in it. This training method was used for decades, and it was pretty effective because it showed them the mistake they made and what was making you upset. 

Similar to howshock collarsused to be a popular training method that we don’t really use too much anymore.

That said, indoor accidents happen, and it’s not necessarily recommended to train young puppies with violence or punishment. If you have an adult dog having accidents, you can be a little more verbal, but I still recommend positive reinforcement overall. 

Tell your dog that they did wrong, reinforce good behavior, and tell your dog to pee outside next time. 

Be Consistent and Patient

Above all else, it’s always going to come down to consistency and patience. Puppy potty training can be very stressful and demanding in your life. You can’t be available all the time to take your dog to pee outside, but you’re still expected to be there. 

Try to get them on a regular schedule from day one, provide a specific word that offers positive feedback, and train your dog every opportunity you get. 

Everything you do should be a learning experience. When you take your dog out on a walk, use the same types of words to describe the potty break, limit playtime, and make sure they understand it’s potty time. 

When is the Right Time to Switch from Pee Pads to Outside?

When is the Right Time to Switch from Pee Pads to Outside?

Switching from potty pads at the right time is important for your dog’s development. The right time to make this switch depends on your individual dog’s progress and their ability to understand and follow the outdoor potty routine.

The main thing to look for is consistent success. When you house train a dog, it’s on their time, and it’s hard to “make” things happen. They just happen. 

If you notice your pup taking their potty break outside most of the time and not having many accidents, it might be time to get rid of the pee pads. 

You’ll notice that your dog is showing less interest in the pads as well and prefers to have a potty break outside. This is when you know they’re ready. 

The Keys to Avoiding Accidents

how to make my dog pee

If you want your dog to go potty outside every single time, here are some important factors to keep in mind. 

1. Supervise: Keep an eye on your dog at all times in the beginning. Use baby gates to control their location if you’re worried about accidents, but you need to be able to pick up on their cues when they’re young because they don’t know how to tell you that they need a potty break yet. 

2. Frequent Breaks: Even if you have to take your dog out once every half hour early on, do what you have to do. You’re teaching your dog that it’s not okay to go inside the house, no matter what. 

3. Positive Reinforcement: I can’t stress it enough that you shouldn’t punish your dog for peeing inside. A few paper towels, and it’s all cleaned up. Dogs that are punished during potty and crate training will often hold their pee which can lead to a urinary tract infection and set your training back. 

Plan for Your Absence 

Just because you’re not home doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t need a potty break. They still do. It’s important to have a plan in place to ensure your dog continues to follow their potty routine even when you’re away.

Arrange for someone to help out. A friend, family member, or neighbor should be available to take your dog outside to the bathroom when you’re not around. Make sure you train your dog by introducing this person beforehand. 

Enrolling your dog in a reputable doggy daycare can provide them with opportunities for socialization, exercise, and regular potty breaks while you’re away.


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about teaching your dog to pee outside. 

How To Pee Train a 4-Month-Old Puppy?

You train a young puppy just like you train an older dog. Consistency, routines, and positive reinforcement are the keys to success. 

Is Potty Training Difficult for Young Puppies?

Of course, training your dog to do anything is difficult. Just keep in mind that they look up to you. Dogs are den animals, so you need to take control of the situation and show them you’re the leader. If you do this, they’ll trust you and be more willing to do what you say. 

How Long Does It Take To Train a Dog To Pee Outside?

It can vary depending on the age of the dog, breed, and your experience. I expect most dogs to be fully potty trained around six months old. 

Do Dogs Have the Natural Instinct To Pee Outside?

Yes, your dog does not want to pee inside. Not only because it’s wrong but because it makes you mad. Dogs don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep, and they know that the house is a place of rest. If you feel like your dog is struggling to go outdoors, it could be a sign of a medical issue, so you might want to get them checked out. 

What Could Be the Possible Reasons Behind Accidents?

Lack of training or lack of attention on your behalf are the only two reasons why your dog has an accident. Make sure you’re not giving them too much to drink before bed and take them out as much as needed in the beginning but focus on the bathroom when you do take them outside. 

Final Thought

Puppy potty training is one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome as a pet parent but be sure to celebrate the small victories and always be patient. Your dog loves you and wants to make you happy. Give them the right opportunity to make good choices by following all the recommended tips in this guide. Good luck! 

Coty Perry
Meet Coty, a passionate writer residing near Scranton, Pennsylvania. An avid animal lover, he grew up around various dogs, learning valuable lessons about responsible pet ownership. Coty believes in raising awareness about animal rights and strives to improve the lives of pets everywhere. With two adorable cats, Cozmo and Marley, he experiences the joy of having "dog-like" feline companions. Coty's favorite animal, the capybara, holds a special place in his heart due to its gentle nature. With seven years of writing experience and contributions to reputable websites, he's excited to share his expertise in dog training and health with our readers.

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