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Potty Training: My 5-Month-Old Puppy is Having Accidents – Help!


Dogue puppy ImageThis is pretty common. Potty training is rarely a straight line but rather a spiral upward from constant clean up to constantly clean. When pups are around 5-months-old, I often get this call from distraught puppy people: “What happen? Things were going so well; my pup is having mistakes again.

Here’s what can disrupt things at that age:

Teething – Puppies start to teeth, with those needle sharp puppy teeth changing over to their adult set, somewhere between three and four months of age (usually). By the time five months rolls around their molars are coming in. As with children, puppies can experience various symptoms of teething with house training mistakes being one.

Solution? Talk to the veterinarian to confirm this is the issue, up your crating routine for a bit and supply him with some good chewies that are not consumable. 

Too Many Treats – When pups start teething hard, we can give them more edible chewies to keep them occupied. Too many of those can lead to drinking more water (which means more peeing) or more volume in the gut that leads to more volume on the rug. Too many rich training treats can have the same effect.

Solution? Provide inedible chew toys for the time being. Select tummy friendly treats for training or use plain, dry dog food.

Too Much Freedom – It is human nature that, when things are going well, to ease up on structure. Constantly supervising a pup is demanding but a puppy who is clean with constant supervision can make us think – before we should – that our puppy is house trained. He’s not. He’s probably almost there but not quite.

Solution?Keep up supervision. Keep him on leash next to you or gated in the same small room with you or crated. Those are your options. He’s not ready to roam the house yet unless he is roaming with you, on leash, under your watchful eye. Most pups really put house training together somewhere between six and seven months of age. Your house can be clean well before that, but only because you’re on top of the situation.

Urinary Tract Infection – Your puppy, usually female, is peeing in the house a LOT. Each pee is pretty small but it is frequent. Same outside. She may well spin and lick herself after she urinates because it hurts here. More likely with long-haired puppies as the hair, if not trimmed, can wick urine back into the body where infection can grow.

Solution?Trip to the veterinarian is necessary. After meds have cleared up the issue, consider a supplement (approved by your vet) to help prevent this from happening again as well as carefully trimming of the hair in that area. Not confident about that? Ask your vet or local groomer to do the deed.

The Weather Changed – It is very hot out (causing more water drinking) or is has snowed (causing snow eating) and now your puppy is having major flooding accidents.

Solution?More quick walks. Major flooding pees are a good sign – a messy one, but a good one. Your puppy is holding it but what you have is a failure to communicate. If your pup drinks a lot she’ll have to go outside a few times to truly empty. That’s normal. A hassle maybe, but normal.

Change in Schedule – Lastly, a change of schedule can throw your puppy back to start for a few days. Going back to work after summer break can do it. No worries, with a little help from you, all will be right again soon.

Solution? – More supervision and crating, more going outside to reward jobs well done, more correct clean up. I always use a Stain/Odor Remover and, on carpet, I am a fan of the spot cleaning machines.

Have faith. You’re probably almost there! This too shall pass, and soon now, if you can keep that structure, supervision and crate time going. Good luck!


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