How to Get a Dog to Stop Pottying on the Rug

Don't get angry at your dog for pottying on the rug -- teach him better.
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When Fido constantly mistakes the rug for his potty area, cleaning up after him can quickly become a nuisance. Even if Fido isn't a puppy any more and you thought he was potty-trained, sometimes illnesses, injuries and dietary changes can trigger unwanted behavior. To put a stop to it, go back to potty-training basics to remind your pet companion that your home is not a bathroom. With persistence and patience you can turn Fido's bad habit to the good.

Take your dog to a veterinarian to make sure he doesn't have injuries or medical conditions, such as a bladder or urinary infection, intestinal parasites, arthritis or a pH imbalance. These conditions can all cause him to have potty accidents. While at the vet, mention any dietary changes you've made and enquire about the best diet for your dog.

Sleep, feed and walk your dog at the same times each day. Create a routine for your pet companion so his day becomes predictable and his internal clock starts telling him when it's time to go outside. If your dog has frequent potty accidents, increase the number of times you take him outside. Once he has fewer accidents, take him outside less often.

Watch your dog like a hawk so you can catch him before he pees or poops on the rug. If he starts circling, squatting or sniffing profusely, immediately take him to his designated outdoor potty area. Say "go potty" and wait for him to do his business. When he does, it's time to party. Give him a big hug and a doggie treat so he associates this pleasant attention with going potty outside. Make a big deal out of it and repeat this routine consistently.

Clap your hands and say "oops" when you catch your pet companion in the middle of doing his business on the rug. This might startle him and stop him from further eliminating. Bring him to his designated outdoor potty area and tell him to "go potty." When does, spoil him with hugs and treats. Repeat this tactic each time you catch him in the act.

Clean up accidents thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to make sure you get rid of the odor. Avoid using regular household cleansers to clean up accidents, because these don't eliminate the scent, which might trigger your dog to go potty in the same spot again.

Stay calm when you find a wet or smelly surprise on the rug -- don't yell at your dog after the accident, because he won't understand what all the fuss is about and he might end up fearing you. Clean up the mess and try to observe your dog a little better. After cleaning, place the poop- or urine-saturated paper towels in your dog's outdoor potty area so it can help motivate him to relieve himself when the time comes.

Place your dog in a crate when you leave the house and can't watch him. Use a crate that's large enough for him to stand up, lie down and turn around. Your dog's instinct will keep him from relieving himself in the area where he rests and eats.


  • If your dog is unaltered, he might be urine marking throughout the house due to hormones. Neutering or spaying your dog can usually stop this behavior.


  • If your dog is unaltered, he might be urine marking throughout the house due to hormones. Neutering or spaying your dog can usually stop this behavior.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Enzymatic cleaner
  • Dog crate