When you adopt an older dog, they may or may not come housetrained. If it is the latter, it can prove some cleaning challenges for the family! It is important to potty train your pet; to minimise frustration with the owners which the dog can pick up and become stressed. It takes a bit of patience and knowledge to housebreak an older dog, but it’s worth it in the end.

Create a Schedule
Just as with training puppies, you have to establish an unwavering routine from the moment you bring them home.

  • Adult and senior dogs generally have to go to the bathroom an hour or two after eating.
  • Stick to specific feeding and bathroom times. Cell phone alarms can be a great way to remind you of your new pet’s schedule.

Consistency and Praise
Again, just like potty training with young dogs, teaching requires reliability not only in routine, but in praise.

  • Lead your dog to the same spot in the garden or bathroom every time you go outside and use the same phrase, “Go potty!” This helps your pet to link the words with an action.
  • Positive reinforcement is also a major part of this training. Whenever your dog successfully goes to the bathroom, praise them with kind words, a treat, or playtime.
  • If your pet does have an accident in the house, do not punish – this causes the animal to associate going to the bathroom with negative things. Make sure you thoroughly clean the soiled area; the smell will attract your dog, causing them to falsely recognize the space as an acceptable potty area and repeat the accident.

Watch Your Dog
In the mornings and evenings, watch for signs your pet has to go to the bathroom. If you’re not home all day, consider crate training your dog. If you have to run errands, confine the animal to a small area with a baby gate, and leave newspapers or “potty pads” down. Removing your dog’s access to their water dish two hours before bedtime can also prevent night-time accidents.

Potty training an older dog requires lots of patience, time, and attention. It can be easily accomplished, and once it’s done, it’s definitely worth it! Try not to punish your pet, as this can do more harm than good. Reward good behaviour and stick to a schedule, and you’ll have your dog trained in no time!

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