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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!


  1. My pup is almost 6 months, I had him almost completely trained and now I’ll take him out for 30 minutes and he’ll poop on the carpet. I’m getting super frustrated and don’t know what to do

    • Start by going through the steps outlined here.

      If you know he needs to poop, do not let him off leash in the house. There are many reasons why this could be happening. If you’d like to discuss it, I do phone sessions:

    • Hi! I have a 5 month old German Shepherd Puppy and he’s half trained in which I mean that he’ll call for us to take him outside if he needs to pee but if he needs to poop he slink away to somewhere in the house while we’re not looking. It’s gotten to a point where I sit outside with him for 30 min only for him to go inside and poop. It’s weird bc when we had him the first few weeks he was fine with going outside but now I almost never see him poop outside. Please help!

      • Well, if he’s slinking away and avoiding you then someone has reacted badly to seeing him poop and your puppy took that to heart. Keep him on leash with you inside and don’t get angry if you see him making a mistake. That will only make this worse. Interrupt him and take him outside. Outside use a longer leash and turn away from him so he feels safe. He’s scared to poop in front of you.

  2. I have a 5-6 month old pitbull/lab mix. He is a rescue dog, someone left him tied to a tree for death, since he has been with us he has gained 12lbs. He had no training when we found him, he was aggressive with his food, pooping and peeing in his crate. We have the food under control now but we cannot get him to stop pooping and peeing in the crate. When we let him out he poops and pees outside, but when we put him in the crate to go to bed, we wake up and there is poop/pee in the crate, over the weekend, we had given him 8 baths because he has pooped and peed so much. I have been consistent taking him outside to make sure he goes but he still in consistently doing his business in the crate. We’ve only had him for 2 weeks now and I know it’s going to take a lot of time, but my husband is tired of the house smelling like poop and giving the dog a bath. What can I do? I need help.

  3. We have a female Australian Shepherd. She is just 5 months old but we have only had her for a little over a month. With her previous owner she was crated during the day while he worked. When he was home there was a tray with pellets for the younger puppies. Our problem is she will go out in the morning and do her business but the rest of the time we can be out there for a half hour or more and bring her in and she will mess in the house instead of outside. She only has gone in her bed one time.

    • Hi Karen – She’s just confused. The fact that she’s going outside in the AM is great! Now, unless she has JUST gone outside, keep her on leash with you inside so you can see her signs or put her in her crate until the next walk. She just needs help understanding your new rules. A couple of weeks of this routine should get you a decade or more of a clean house. Good luck! Sarah

  4. My puppy is just almost 5 months old, she was doing great at potty training and would even go to the door to sit when she had to go. but soon enough and very suddenly, she started going in the house again. I think She has separation anxiety, when I let her out in the backyard with my other dog to do her business I say “go potty” and walk back inside. That used to work great before. Now She immediately runs after me and cries at the door until I let her back in. Then when I do sit out with her, if she doesn’t feel like going or if the dogs barking next door spook her, she will continue to run to the door and shortly after go in the house. A lot of the times she knows it’s wrong and tries to hide it by going under furniture. Why is she suddenly doing this and what can I do to fix it?? I’m getting very frustrated 🙁

    • Hi Kara – This is usually because she has learned that when she goes outside you bring her in. She likes being outside so she’s getting slower and slower to go. My suggestions are: if she has not gone outside, keep her on leash inside or put her in her crate and try again in a few minutes. Keep her on leash outside and walk her back and forth in the area you’d like her to use. Once she goes THEN let her off leash to play and have fun. That way pottying = freedom and play rather than going back inside.

      It can take a week or so but that usually gets things back on the right track. Good luck – Sarah

  5. We have had our Shar Pei – Boxer since she was 6 weeks old. The home we got her from already had dogs that were teaching her to use the dog door. I took her out ever half our and praised her until she finally got the hang of it. Now she is 4 months and still having pee accidents in the house after I take her out in the morning. We also have a dog door and a huge backyard so she can go anytime I don’t know what we are doing wrong? Any suggestions?

    • Yes, she is still a baby and only just now beginning to get the muscle control required to be more reliably potty trained. Your best bet is to get her on to a routine and either take her outside every half hour or crate her then take her out. The crating tends to remind them to “hold it” so can help build that skill. With a “go outside – supervised play/training time – crate time then go outside” schedule, you can both be happy and your house can be clean shortly. Hang in there! Sarah

  6. My husband and I adopted a 12 week old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Boxer mix who is now 5 months old. She’s been doing fine with potty training. We use bells on both the front and back door, so whichever door I am closest to is the one to which she will go and wait for me to let her out. She rarely doddles when I give her the command “Go pee”.

    However, our latest issue is that she isn’t holding it, at all, unless she is sleeping or laying on the chair with my husband. I bring her to work with me 1 or 2 days a week and as soon as she cries, we must go outside, or she’ll have an accident. She doesn’t have accidents in her crate at night, so I KNOW she can hold it for up to 8 hours while she’s sleeping.

    Recently (this week) she has started peeing in her crate while we’re away! She is NEVER in her crate for more than 4 hours (unless we’re sleeping). And a 5 month old pup should be able to hold it for up 5 or 6 hours. How can I get her to stop this behavior before she isn’t “crate trained” any more?

    • First, she’s teething and teething can throw off her system. Just get her out more and this too shall pass.

      Sudden peeing in the crate could mean a trip to the vet. She could have a UTI.

      Another possibility is a new chewy of some sort. Many chews that pups consume (and she is teething so you may be upping the chews) cause more drinking and that causes more peeing. So, stop all chews that she can actually consume and see if things go back to normal.

      If she’s whining to let you know. GREAT! Sounds like you all doing just fine at 5 months. She’s still very young so stay the course. You’ll get there soon. – Sarah

  7. I bought our bully breed pitbull when she was 8 weeks. I’ve kept her on a constant feeding and watering schedule. Our entire routine is repetitive. She is not house trained at all. I’m doing crate training and she will pee and poop in her crate! Idk why she won’t house break or why she has always gone in her crate then whines because she’s peed. I’ve taken her to the vet for a bladder infection and that came back neg. help 🙁

    • If she’s been peeing and pooping in her crate since the beginning, then she has, sorry to say it, been un-crate trained, not crate trained. You now have a dirty puppy and need to do fix-it work. That involves no crating for a while but a pen instead, keeping her on leash with you when you are home so you can notice and get her out and feeding her off the bottom of her crate but no closing her in there. First, she must get clean again and then you can use that desire to be clean to potty train her. Good luck!

  8. Hi we have a 5 month old cockapoo. He is great when we are in the house and sits at the door when he needs to go to the toilet outside. However if we leave him in the kitchen and go upstairs to get showered/dressed etc he has a wee. We have had a few dry nights but most mornings there is a poo and a wee!. We have tried everything! he goes out before bedtime, I have tried getting up as early as 5.30am – makes no difference. He doesn’t have a crate as he hated it from the beginning so we sold it. I do think he has separation anxiety as when we leave the room he cries and barks and scratches at the door. Please any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Claire – This won’t be a popular suggestion but I’d get him used to the crate or a small pen. That space is too large for him to keep clean yet. Good luck – Sarah

  9. We have a five month old schnoodle puppy (female) – she’s been very hard to potty train but we seemed to have it, and now she’s started peeing all over the house – including my grandsons’ crib!
    I’m beside myself!! We have hardwood floors and in places carpet. She’s peeing on the carpet (not the floors).
    My question is about crating. We haven’t created her yet. Can I start now? And, do I crate her all the time, only letting her out to potty and eat?
    I am really frustrated.

    • Yes, you can start now. My guess is this is a teething issue and she is uncomfortable. Get her out more often and limit her access to other areas of the house. If it IS her molars coming in, she should feel better very soon and be back to normal.

      HOWEVER, do have a vet check her out. Might also be a urinary tract infection so make sure she is well before all other things.

  10. I have a 4month old maltipoo who was kennel trained at 5weeks.. He has been doing really well going to his peepad but for the last month 1/2 he has been just going where ever he feels… these last 2weeks has been the worst… Not sure if it\’s because he has to much freedom or what… tried kenneling- he goes in there… we are extremely frustrated… My expensive rug, wood floors, tile… everything is a free for all for this little pup… What should we do??

    • Too much freedom too fast, I am guessing. Find a good local trainer to help you get him back on track. If he’s been having accidents for the last 6 weeks then he was never actually house trained. Keep him on leash with you in the house so you can walk him back to his papers and use a pen with papers instead of a crate, for now. Good luck!

      • Hi Sarah, know this forum is a little old now but I was googling and found it. Our puppy is a vizlar/golden retriever who is nearly 5 months old. She had seemed to be completely potty trained and then the last two nights we have been bed training with her sleeping outside our bedroom door in her own bed. She had been crate trained and we had let that lapse and her sleep with us in bed.

        We have woken up both days in the wee hours of the morning to her barking and both tikes there have been poo and pee accidents in the spare room. She also isn’t eating like she used to – had had a very good appetite. Do you have any suggestions?

        • Hi – Sure — you’re just too early. Put her back in the crate at night and try again in a few months. She’s mid-teething and still very young.

  11. We have a 5 and a half month old Aussie who was ornery for about the first two weeks and then had been great! Now he’s reverting back and a couple times a week has an accident at night without giving a sign that he has to go out. Tonight I let him out every time he went to the door (7 times within a half hour) and he peed a lot each time. 15 minutes after going out he had an accident. He’s crate trained and we don’t give him much freedom out of our view, but this happened when he ran out of the room and I wasn’t there quick enough. At first it wasn’t the same spot but these last 2 accidents have been.

    • New snow fall? That amount of peeing means he got into some large amount of snow or ice or water. The body can’t make urine without fluid to match. I’d keep him on leash with you, if this is still an issue, and speak to his vet, too. Just to make sure all is well.

  12. I have a 4-5 month old female Shih tzu puppy. She is in a crate at night and wakes us after about 6-7 hours of rest which I feel is very good. I take her into the garden first thing and she wee and poos within 5 minutes, she gets a small treat for this. She is also dry and clean when I leave her in her basket in the kitchen, sometimes for 2 hours sometimes 4 hours, as I work 12 hrs during a week.My problem is when I am with her she goes to the patio door or kitchen many times even if I have let her out 15 mins before . It feels like a game and I am constantly watching her. Sometimes I let her out and she goes wee other times she just wants to wander, I take her out for about 5 mins at a time then comes in and wees in the house 2 mins later. She only gets a treat and praise when she has been outside. I feel that she is controlling us, she has one or 2 accidents per day, but we can normally work out when she needs to poo as her actions are more urgent pacing and know more or less her timings. She will poo and wee on a walk most of the time. What I am I doing wrong?

    • Sounds like she knows the drill. I’d stop all treats for going outside – brief verbal praise is plenty. And I’d put her on a crating schedule when you are home with more freedom added was she gets cleaner. Shouldn’t take too long. If you want her with you, keep her on leash in the house so she is close by and you can see her get restless. Good luck!

  13. We have a 5 month old golden retriever. He was doing so well and almost house broken, holding it all day when he’s home alone (up to 8 hours out of crate), and even through the night. But when we are home we now keep finding his poops on the one puppy pad we leave out. Should we take it away!? I’m getting very frustrated 🙁

    • Well, IMO, you’re rushing things. Use a crate, you can use a large one if that feels better, and remove the pad. Being a smarty, he may have learned he gets praised and probably cookies for using the pad so he does. He figures you like it. I certainly would NOT scold him, just crate, remove the pad and feed him in that location.

  14. I have a five month old boxer. Does really well going outside when we are at home. She is with another dog and our close friends a lot as we are together a lot. When at our house our there’s she will go outside then come in and go again. Over and over and…. over. I am at my wits end.

  15. My dog is 11 months lab pit mix. He does fine at going out regularly. My daughters are here part time . And he only has #1 accidents in the house while they are here . And only when I’m not looking . Wondering what I need to do to curb this. I have also had him for 2 months .

    • Hmmm – that’s interesting. Is he lifting his leg? Where is he peeing? I might crate him when your daughters are visiting and then help them to work together with your assist. See if that doesn’t smooth things over. If he seems stressed, please talk to a local dog pro.

  16. Hi,
    We have a 5 month old german shepherd/lab mix. She is having a lot of potty accidents in the house, even after we have let her outside. Not sure what do to anymore. She was doing really well, going to the back door and letting us know she wants to go outside. Please help!

    • Hi Tamara – If these are small pees then get to the vet. Your pup could have a urinary tract infection. If it’s both pee and poop then go out with her to make sure she did go outside. Inside, a good crating schedule, more walks and calm handling should get things back on track.

  17. My 5 month old Pomsky puppy keeps on peeing and pooping inside the house. We take her for 4 walks a day, one at 6:30 in the morning, one at 2, one at 4:00, and one at 7 at night. And we feed her before each walk, except the 4:00 one.
    Whenever we take her outside, she either pees, or does nothing. And I know she has to especially in the 6:30 walk, because it’s after the whole night. And also, she always pees in that walk. But whenever we come back, a few minutes later, she poops/pees in the house. It’s honestly so frustrating! And it’s not that she’s not smart, she’s very smart, and easy to train. I started teaching her tricks when she was 2 months old, and she learned it in a few minutes! I really neeed help!

    • Hi – he need a LOT more than 4 walks a day. Try 8 and see how he does: First thing in AM, after his breakfast, before noon, early afternoon, late afternoon, before dinner, after dinner, before bed.

      Keep him on leash with you inside or crated.

      Also, if he’s pooping a lot he has to be eating a lot of no more treats or edible chews. Only his food and a Pomsky might be getting 1/4 cup (measured) 2 x a day. If he’s getting more than that may be part of the problem. Lastly, feed a good quality food. Good luck – Sarah

  18. my husband and I have a 5 month old German Shepard. He was doing GREAT at potty training and only had a handful of accidents when he was 3-4 months old. Now just this past week he has peed in the house 3 times. On monday with me, I had let him out and he used the bathroom. Then he came inside and we were working on sitting, laying down, etc, and he just turned around and peed a little. I thought it was because he doesn’t see me as his “master” and he was trying to see what he could get away with.. but then this morning my husband told me he let him out to pee, which he did, and then he peed in the house again. TWICE. within 30 minutes. Do you have any idea what could be going on or an idea on what we should do to stop this behavior? we’re moving into a house with brand new carpet this weekend and really don’t want the carpet to get destroyed.

    • Deep breath. Now, what did you do when he did that to show him you were “the master”? GSD are sensitive dogs. If you, in his opinion, “attacked him” – emotionally scolding, smacking, pinning, etc (as many humans still recommend you do but I do not) then he may now be submissively peeing in an attempt to calm you both down.

      If he’s peeing a little when he looks at or comes toward you this is not – NOT – a house training issue. This is a relationship issue. Any and all “correction” will make it worse and worse.

      Might be wrong but I’ve had GSD for many years so this sprung to mind.

  19. Hi I have a 4month border terrier who seems to some times have the hang of potty training then others she will pee in her bed. We have tried all sorts but it seems she doesn’t mind going for a wee where she sleeps. She doesn’t have a uti..
    Just wondering how I can try and break this behaviour.

    • She’s still a baby. Take all bedding out of the crate for now and try again adding it back in a year or so. That may do the trick.

  20. We have a 5 month of German shepherd chow mix. We have only had him about a month & he will go pee outside but then 30 minutes later he’ll go poop inside but right by our back door. We’ve tried no-go spray where he poops inside & house breaking aid. He’s crate trained. We crate him when we go to sleep and if he has to go he’s scratch at the door & whine to wake us up.
    But he won’t try to let us know he has to go if he’s not crated.

    • Hi Tazlyn – sounds like a chart keeping track of his bowel habits, being consistent about his food and meal times, using the crate during the day and/or keeping him on leash with you inside should get things straightened out. Good luck!

  21. Hi! We have a micro teacup Maltese. He is 5 months old. He has his pen with a crate wee pad and its where he gets his food. For the last couple months he has been terrific at running to a pads when he has to pee or poop. All was good and then one day recently, he just started peeing on the floor. He won’t use the wee pads. We praise the few times he does to try to get him back on track, but it’s not going so well. We started to potty train again by putting down a bunch of pads in his pen, but he will find the one spot of wood floor and pee. We don’t understand what’s going on. Any suggestions? I was thinking maybe a UTI, but then why would he sit next to the pad and just pee?

    • Hi Lori –

      I’d get a pee-pad frame an teach him to hop into the framed area when you say: “Papers” and I would clean under the pee pad zone with a good odor neutralizer. Lastly, I would switch papers anytime they are dirty. Those changes should help get him back on track. Good luck – Sarah

  22. Hello! Our 5 month old pup recently started having accidents again. We were on vacation for a week, as soon as we got back he got neutered and then started teething….. so I’m just going to assume from the other comments that his system is out of wack and he’s off schedule. I want to get him trained with a bell at the door, he’s not vocal when he needs to go outside, he’ll just stand or sit and the door and stare at us if we’re there and if we’re not and we don’t notice it then he’ll have accident. So, do you have any tips on bell training?

    • How about a bell on him so you notice? Or keep him on leash in the house for a few days as he gets a chance to resettle in or put him back on a baby puppy crate schedule for a couple of weeks. Any of these would help. Such, teach him to ring a bell and training tips generally come with the bells themselves. Good luck – Sarah

  23. Help! I have a 5 mo old aussie mix who is crate trained (can hold it 6-7 hours during the day and 8-9 hours at night with no accidents), he knows the “go potty” command outside and will reliably go when asked but then usually after 30 mins or so in the house when outside of his crate, he has an pee accident. It isn’t always in the same spots and I do always clean them with urine neutralizer. I try and take him out after he has drank a lot of water but it seems that the accidents will happen regardless of whether he has drank recently. How do I get him to hold it longer than 30 minutes when outside of the crate? Thanks so much in advance!!!

    • Hi Katie – try this: set a timer for 1/2 hour then crate him for a 1/2 hour then get him out or, instead of crating, put him on short leash with you, see if being close to you inhibits him a bit and gets you more time. Alternatively, teach him to ring a potty bell. Not sure that would solve this one but many find it a helpful step. Sarah

    • I have the exact same problem. Sometimes it’s within 15 to 40 minutes. I just do not understand why she can not hold it outside the crate

      • Keeping her on leash with you can help with this. Whatever the reason, finding ways to create success is the answer.

  24. I have a 5 month heeler, she has been a handful from the start. I just do not feel she is getting potty training. I have trained her to use the bells but she chooses when she wants to use them. She can hold her pee all night and up to five hours during th day. She has been treated for a UTI. She won’t give any signs that she has to go. She has peed laying down, sitting and just standing there while I am clicking the leash on at the door. I am at my wits end.


    • Hi Dawn – Peeing laying down is usually medical problem. That’s not normal. Have you spoken to her vet about that part of it? Not a UTI type issue as much as missing some hormone that tells her to keep that sphincter closed. That would be young for this issue but have seen it before. Also, tick borne illnesses can cause weird urination things. Had that in my own dogs so know it well. But something isn’t normal when a dog/pups pees just lying there.

      • She did that just once but she has also peed in the sitting position once as well. Happy have spoken to the vet about her peeing but she just said it is because of the UTI she just fished her forth week of antibiotics

  25. Went to vet today she said bacteria was gone but she has crystals and recommended changing her diet

    • Oy! What a journey you two are on. So sorry. So, get her out a lot – luckily it’s summer – and get her healthy. I’m hoping everything resolves for her quickly. Best of luck – Sarah

  26. Hi- We have a 9 mo old cockapoo. We have had her since she was eight weeks old. She was easy to potty train and is also bell trained. She has done well with very few accidents in the house until recently. She sleeps in our room at night and at times will get up and go sleep in the cool bathroom to sleep but we have also found at times she is peeing and pooping in the carpet near the door. We have taken away her water in the evening and made sure she’s gone before bed and can do it just two hours after going to bed. She’s not going frequently So I don’t believe it is a urinary tract infection. We can let her out during the day and she pees then al leave for 15 minutes and come back and she’s Peed on the carpet in the same area. I’ve treated the carpet with recommended things but she still doing it in that spot. It’s so frustrating because she was doing so well. Advice??

  27. Hi I have a 5 month old golden retriever and he is almost house broken. He will go 1-2 whole weeks without and accident and then out of the blue he will have an accident. For example today I let him out in the morning and then when he came back in to eat I waited about 30 minutes, let him back out and he did both #1 & #2 so I let him hangout in the living room and 30 minutes later he decided to go #2 again on the floor. He has these random accidents every now and then but mostly he goes outside in the same spot and he goes immediately after we let him out most of the time. Our main issue is he doesn’t signal us when he needs out we kind of just let him out every hour-2 hours and he goes. How do I get him to signal us?

  28. I have a 4 month old puppy, we life in a 4th floor flat, she gets 5, 25-45 min walks a day. Even if she goes outside she will per 3 more times within the hour. We are still using per per pads because of the frequency. No sign of infection, just a thirsty pup.

    • Hi Erika – Walk her more often but for shorter times. All that walking may be making her thirsty. Soak her food in water before feeding. Use the crate more.

  29. We have a 5month old labardoodle, He’s very smart. And has been quick learning tricks but the Potty training has been difficult since day one. He can hold his bladder for the 8hrs while we were at work. which we have been locking him in the bathroom with his food and water and we take him out to potty as soon as we get home. We had him on schedule and he was doing good up until recently when we moved into a new apartment where now his not going on his pads while we are home and at night and made two accidents on our bed which he has never done before! I know he’s teething. We have tried crating him when he was younger at night and he would just brak and cry and we have tried again which he’s doing the same thing. Is it too late to crate ? Should I crate during the day ? How do I get him back on his way before we moved into our apartment?

    • Hi – It’s not too late to crate and yes, work on it during the day. My guess is the move + teething has thrown off his game. Tighten up the schedule, be sure to play and train him so he knows all is right between the two of you and keep at it. He’ll come around.

  30. Hello. We have had our husky/shepard mix since she was 8 weeks old. Shes now almost 5 months old. She was completely potty trained. With bells. Only eats twice a day with full bowls of water as well. Gor the past two weeks she has peed and pooped inside usually with no indication of needing to go and right behind or in front of me. I am home all the time. I am usually pretty persistent with her going outside on leash no playtime until after she has gone. She wont go on walks either. Im at my wits end. Its stressing me out.

    • Hi Terri – Could be teething. If she was recently spayed, could be that. Any change of food or new treats or chews? Regardless, go back to baby puppy schedules and supervision. Use the leash inside, so you can keep her near you. Enjoy the spring weather and get outside in it.

  31. Hi. I have a 5 month old female beagel and I take her out every five hours even at night. Also she is in her crate most of the time because she peeps and poops inside. But not in the crate unless we want to take her out to go putside to potty. She does it on purpose cuz as soon as she’s halfway out she squats down and pees in her crate need help.

    • How frustrating for everyone. My guess is she squats coming out from politeness, not defiance. Stay calm. Have fun with her so you both laugh and relax together. Keep her on leash inside with you when you can so she can have company and you can enjoy your puppy and follow the suggestions here. Good luck!

  32. Hi Sarah, I haven’t seen this situation online anywhere so I’ve decided to write to you. We have a 7yr old dob/shep neutered dog who lost his companion dog. The house was so sad that after a couple months we found a puppy (Golden/Aussie) female to liven up the house. She was 8 wks old and we were going to crate train her, however our male dog has never been crate trained because he never needed it. When we put her in it he went crazy, growling, whining and barking at us. So we let her out and they are inseperable. We have a dog door and they use it all day to run outdoors to play however, she won’t stop peeing in the house even with the dog door open. We take her out and praise her, and she has no problem with going outdoors but when we’re not home in the daytime and the dog door is open (we work 4-11hr days a week) she pees in the house and every night with the dog door open she still pees inside. What can we do in this situation? She’s almost 5 months old now and even though she watches him go outside, she still doesn’t get it. Also, she is still a week away from getting her final shots and the vet said she can’t go out the front door until she’s vaccinated completely.

    • You could try putting an ex-pen around the dog door so they can both come in and out but she can’t wander. I do a U shape – attaching the ends to either side of the door. Here they are on Amazon:

  33. Hey Sarah, I rescued my chocolate lab when he was 8 weeks old. He’s 6 months old now, super smart and never had an accident since I adopted him. Until starting last week, after taking him outside to go, he always comes back with a tiny amount of pee for my carpet. I checked for UTI, not it. So, I end up sending him to his crate and leave the door open, he stays in there and doesn’t pee. But I don’t want to leave him in the crate all day, I want his freedom, but I know for a fact that if I let him out, my carpet is getting it! Help please?

    • Hey Sam – That is a bit odd. Are you cleaning with an odor neutralizer made for dog urine? You need to. If a specific spot, try feeding him in it. Try keeping him on leash for 10-15 minutes when you come in. Try training him for a few minutes when you come in. If he’s lifting his leg, it’s time to neuter. Good luck!

  34. Hi. I have a 5 month (had her since 7-8 weeks old) old mixed puppy. She seems to really get potty training, but will go upstairs and poop up there on occasion. Then, she barks. I run up there and the deeds been done. She only has accidents like this upstairs, none downstairs. I crate her when I leave the house and she can hold it through the night. I’m frustrated.

    • Hi Heather – block the stairs, keep her in the same room with you then, when she’s been out and is empty, go spend time with her upstairs so she knows that is home, too. Good luck!

  35. Hi I have a 5 month old Siberian Husky. His previous owner worked with him a little and I can tell because he will sometimes go to the door to let me know he needs to go. But if I turn my head for even a second he goes and uses the bathroom in my sons bedroom. Will also take him outside and he will use the bathroom but we will come back in and 20 minutes later he will use the bathroom in the house again.

    • Hi Kelsey – He’s still a youngster and he’s right in the middle of teething. No free roaming yet – keep him close, use his crate and get him out often. He’ll probably go half an hour or so after a major drink so if he drinks, then goes out for a few minutes then comes in then yes – 20 minutes later he’ll need to pee. He will start getting more muscle control soon. Until then, I set my timer when a pup drinks and I keep them in the room with me. Good luck!

  36. 4 month old female labrador puppy had a really good track record of taking herself outside is now having indoor accidents again. She’s just had her jabs and started going for walks outside at least twice a day afew weeks ago. She’s still teething are there any suggestions?

    • Hi Tori – Yup, that combo of teething and vaccines can throw a pup off. In such a moment, increase the number of potty trips, supervise more closely and use the crate when needed (assuming she is clean in there). She’ll get through this and so will you. Just take a few steps back for a week or two.

  37. I have about a 6-7 month old red heeler pointer mix. We’ve been working on getting him fully potty trained but for the past few days it’s been not so good. He’s crate trained all the way. But house trained not so much. We walk him in a leash a lot during the day and I normally walk him until he’s done doing his business. These past few days he’s pooped on my couch twice and today jumped on my bed and peed all over it. Hasn’t gone to the bathroom on the floor but has been going on my furniture with just coming back from outside. I appreciate any suggestions as to what I can do to help him stop before he ruins my furniture.

    • Okay, that’s unusual and I am SURE upsetting! Keep him on leash inside for a bit and get him outside when he starts to get restless. See if that doesn’t get him back on track. He gets off leash time in the house right after he’s done both outside.

  38. We have a 5 month old ridgeback mix and and we can’t get a system down for peeing! He almost never poos in the house but will pee everywhere like every 30 minutes even right after being let out. He never signals for the potty we just have to guessbhe doesn’t cry or anything he just goes where ever he is like it’s nothing and we take him out at least every hour. We’re getting very frustrated please help

    • Hi Maxwell – He’s teething, so this is even worse than normal I am sure. Try keeping him on leash with you in the house. Get him out on schedule (like every 30 minutes) and use his crate, if he is clean in it. After two weeks clean, go to walks every hour. Another two weeks clean, every 1.5 hours. Praise him warmly for eliminating outside. And I’d soak his food before feeding. Good luck!

  39. I have a 6 month mastiff mix male who has been doing well with potty training until recently. He will go to the door and sit, and we let him out but will come back in and pee randomly minutes after. He’s crated during the day for 8hours with no problem. He has also peed on the couch And One time he was told no he couldn’t jump on our bed, and went over to his bed and peed on it. I don’t believe it’s a UTI. Do you think this is some sort of dominance thing? Some times when I’ll make a nose to stop him from peeing he’ll walk away and when I try to get him to put the leash on to get him outside he spazzes out and will zoom around the room all excitedly so I can’t catch him. I feel like he’s trying to mess with me! Any suggestions or thoughts?

    • Hi Rachel – If you haven’t yet, get into training with him ASAP. He’s going to be a big dog so getting mental control now is incredibly important. Is he squatting in the house or hiking his leg? Also, are you going outside with him so you’re sure he goes out there? If not, I would. He’s not trying to mess with you (though I understand why it might feel that way), he’s confused and acting out from that confusion. That’s all. Time for class! Sarah

  40. I have a lab mix who is just over 5 months old. She rarely has accidents during the day and never does in her crate but between 7 and 10 pm at night she pees in the house almost every night. I have tried taking her out more frequently (every hour) starting at 6 pm and she pees when we go out but she still has the accidents in the house. I know she can hold it more than an hour because during the day she is fine. I yell at her and stop her when I catch her and immediately take her outside but she continues to do this every night. I don’t want to have to take her out every half hour because even going every hour is tiring when I know she should be able to hold it for at least 3-4 hours. The vet says all of her teeth are in now and she drinks the same amount of water during the day so why does she have these accidents at night and what can I do to stop this?

    • Hi Emmy – Keep her on leash with you starting at 6 PM. Take her out every hour. When you have two weeks 100% clean – take her out every 1.5 hours.

      She absolutely does not have all her teeth all the way in yet and teething can throw off her system.

      Yelling at her will only make her pee out of sight so that’s not going to be helpful.

      Also, develop a signal so you know when she needs to go. Some people use bells on the door. When she can ask you, things tend to get easier. Good luck – Sarah

  41. Hi!
    Our 4 month old Boston Terrier will go by the door if she has to go #2 but just pees anywhere in the house without going to the door.
    Seems very odd.

    Also our 4 month old Boston Terrier goes in her crate to sleep at night. She will stay in the crate 10-11 hours without any bathroom issues. She will actually stay in her crate even with the gate open after 8 hours or so. So she can hold it.
    In fact she’s never had an in crate incident.
    Any suggestions, please?

    • Hi – yes. Chances are, your pup just got too much freedom, too fast. At 4 months, she is just barely getting true muscle control (despite the fact that she can manage in the crate for such long hours) and she is teething. Closer supervision, more encouragement so go outside with her, keeping a chart so you know when she is “due” to go, soaking her food can all help. Be patient, your pup is growing up as fast as she can! Have a great Thanksgiving – Sarah

  42. My puppy is 5 months old. She is completely pee wee pad trained she does both on the pad nowhere else. Can she stay on the pee wee pad her whole life or is it time for her to go outside. She’s a miniature schnauzer so she will be 10 lbs full grown

  43. Hi we adopted a 2 month old Catahoula Leopard dog and he’s now approaching 4 months. He’s semi house broken. We’ve done crate training and he doesn’t go while in the crate and never pooped in the house. He even will occasionally tell us he needs to go out by circling by our front door. However, no matter how often we seem to take him out he typically we pee in the house at least 1x a day. Primarily in the evening hours when we’re home. We keep him in a confined room with us so he’s not roaming freely. Are we giving him too much water? But he will truly protest if his bowl is dry but digging it in. He loves chewing his toy deer antler, could that be causing some dehydration leading to excessive water? Any support to stop the last stretch of peeing daily in the house would be great!

    • Hi Taylor – he’s teething now so things will be even less consistent. In the evening, free time for a bit and then put him on leash with you. That may help you all get your communication sorted out. Antler? I’ve never heard of that drying a puppy out.

  44. My pup is 5 months has no idea how to ask to go outside. We go outside every hour and that’s usually good enough, but occasionally he will have an accident with no warning, won’t pace or whine or anything. I trained him to ring a bell, and he rings it every time we’re on our way outside, but won’t ring it on his own yet. I guess I just need reassurance that eventually he will get it and learn to hold it?!

    • Hi Savannah – How about putting him on leash inside with you after 45 minutes or so then watching for signs he needs to go? Or crating him at that point, assuming he’s clean in his crate, and walking him in 30 minutes? A routine of out, supervised time with you then some sort of confinement – leash or crate – may help things keep moving in the right direction.

  45. I’m at my wits end. We have a 5 month old husky puppy who is semi potty trained. My husband is livid with her “accidents ” inside the house. She alerts us when she needs to but cannot hold it long enough for us to get her out right away. When we do get her outside she doesnt always go or takes her forever. Last week at my moms she did fantastic. Not one accident. I do believe she is afraid of my husband. She runs from him and hides. Idk what happened, but hes had enough. And I am scared for her. I need help…

    • Hi Vanessa – Sounds like a hard situation for everyone. Your pup is still a baby and JUST NOW getting control over her body. She’s also mid-teething which can throw a pup’s system off. If she’s been yelled at or spanked for mistakes, she won’t think “Wow, I should go to the people who get angry with me when I need to potty” – she’ll think, “Wow, they get really mad when they SEE me go.” Her logical answer: Don’t let them see me go. When that happens, a pup can get very slow to go outside because it’s going in front of people who get angry with her.

      Potty training is all about routine, supervision, confinement, and praise. If you’re not crating, you can keep her on leash with you so you see the signs and help her get out in time. If your husband is really frustrated, maybe now isn’t the best time for a pup. If that’s the case, placing her into another home might be best for everyone – you, him, and your sweet husky. That’s acceptance of reality, not a failure. Doing what’s best for all is loving.

      Hope this helps you all – Sarah

  46. Hi, I have a 5month old Dalmatian and we have had him for about a month now. Its been rather frustrating for the fact that we will take him out (live in a apt) and he wont go pee or poop half the time, within 30 minutes and sometimes sooner he goes inside. we just don’t understand. sometimes he also lets us know he needs to go and sometimes doesn’t let us know anything.

    • My guess is he was kept inside until his shots were finished? If yes, he thinks inside is where he should go – just like you think that. Keep his leash on in the house and be prepared to get him right back out if he gets restless. Try not to get angry with him – that won’t help and will complicate things further. Good luck!

  47. I have a 4 month old German shepherd/ malamute and she has been really good about going potty outside and not inside. But the past 3 days she’s been pooping in her crate every night and I’m getting frustrated. Every day at 4:30 am she’s going(for the past 3 days) But she is teething right now and I’m wondering if that has anything to do with it. Please help.

    • Yes, my guess is it has everything to do with it. Try feeding her later and walk her at 4 AM, if needed. This too shall pass quickly. It’s not her fault, she can’t help it.

  48. I have an 18week old German Shepard, I’ve had him since he was 13 weeks old, his previous owner threw him outside in a run for weeing in the house. I’ve finally got him to start weeing Infront of me as he was scared to when we first got him, I’m really struggling to get him to go potty outside, he has his meals at a set time and ATM he had breakfast 4 hours ago and he has had 2 bowls of water I’m outside with him on his lead every 20 minutes as I know he will need to go and nothing, I just really don’t know what else to do.

    • Keep it up. Take him to friend’s for play in their yard (weather permitting), have other dogs over to play in your yard (where they will pee), keep him onleash in the house with you, take him for really long walks on the weekend. He’ll get it! – Sarah

  49. Hello! I have a 6 month old Morkie who I have been potty training using crate since she was 11 weeks. She seemed to have gotten potty training down; she would run to the pad in the bathroom when I said “go potty.” Unfortunately, I am starting work now and there isn’t always someone home to take her out of the crate. We tried leaving her in the playpen with a pad (initially when we started, the pad was only in bathroom), but she started peeing on the pad and on the floor next to it. Today, she peed 3 times on the pad but 2 times on the floor next to the pad and pooped inside her crate! I am wondering if we should backtrack and go back to crating with strict potty breaks or continue trying playpen since it’s only been 2 days…

  50. Hello, I have a 5 month of border collie puppy, nearly turning 6 months old. She never really came inside the house for long hours until now. When she first started coming in, I would frequently take her out and she would know that when i bring her out and say “toilet” she has to pee or poop. But she never really went to the door herself. It was always me bringing her there. Mornings are fine as we do this, but when its night time, I usually have to wake up every night around 2 in the morning to let her out. How do I train her to wake me up to tell me when she has to go? Especially during day time where I would study in my room with her when the door is closed, and she will do her business on the carpet next to my bed.

    • Hmmm — there’s no reason a healthy 6-month-old pup should need to go outside in the middle of the night. How much is she eating and when? What brand of food? How many treats or chews? Been checked for worms? And for study time, put her on leash and keep her right next to you. She can have toys and chewies but that way she’s not likely to potty or you’ll see if she’s about to and can get her outside. Best – Sarah

  51. Hi! We have a 6 month old labradoodle puppy and he was great at potty training. He hasn’t had an accident for months now and we just recently introduced him to our upstairs floor. Every since he did he has had 4 accidents, three of which he pooped and one where he peed! He hasn’t had an accident anywhere else in the house for a while now even when left alone for hours, only upstairs on the carpet. I’m wondering if it’s because it’s a new space and he has too much freedom? Please help.

    • Good instincts. Yes, it is new and, as far as he is concerned, not part of “his” house. So, gates go back up and take him upstairs on leash after he’s pottyied. Hang out, play games, do that for a couple of weeks then try again. That should do the trick. Just too much too soon. 🙂

  52. Thank you for this post and all the replies to comments over several years. You are a legend. I love all the information here and am taking this to heart with our little pup. I felt we were going backwards but this is really encouraging.

  53. Hi there!
    I have a 4 month old female Boxador (1/2 lab 1/2 boxer). She was doing really well. Very few accidents in the house, stopped bitting and learns to sit and shake. I’ve the last week or so she has started to have several accidents a day, jumping, bitting and not listening. She is also terrorizing our 13 year old cocker mix. Is this normal? We are loosing hope.

    • Hi David – Welcome to teething and, maybe, loosening up on structure a bit too quickly. She’s still an absolutely baby. Up her exercise and her training, use the crate and good chew toys, and help her make better choices. Her mouth is uncomfortable and her system is under some stress. This too shall pass.

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