House Training With a Doggy Door

Doggy doors let both dogs and cats in and out at will.
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When house training your pooch, you'll have to take him out several times a day to give him a chance to eliminate in his outdoor potty spot. Fortunately, with a doggy door available, Fido can let himself out as he needs to, preventing accidents in your home. During house training, you'll need to show your pup how to use his special door to come and go as he pleases.

Using the Doggy Door

Train Fido to use his doggy door. Bring him to the doggy door and go outside, without allowing him to come out the main door with you. Hold open the flap to the dog door and tempt him over with delicious treats, recommends the Doctors Foster and Smith website. Use a treat to lure your pooch through the door. Once he's outside, give him the treat and praise him. Repeat the procedure from the inside. At first, you may have to prop or tape open the doggy door until Fido gets used to going through it. Eventually, you can tempt Fido to push through the closed door on his own.

Going to the Potty Spot

Once Fido can use the doggy door, make him go through it each time you bring him outside to go potty. Associate using the doggy door with a command, such as "door" when you approach it. When Fido goes through the door himself, follow him outside and attach a leash to his collar. Walk him to the designated potty spot and give him a command to eliminate, such as "potty." Once Fido does his business, praise and treat him as a reward, recommends the Humane Society of the United States. If your pooch doesn't eliminate, go back inside, wait about 15 minutes, and try again.

Eliminating on His Own

Slowly train Fido to go outside on his own when he needs to go. Start by having him go outside through his doggy door. Say "potty" and let him go to his potty spot without a leash, or you by his side, to eliminate; when he does, praise and treat him. After he consistently goes to his potty spot without you, only bring him to his doggy door at bathroom times and let him go through himself; watch him eliminate through the window. After he comes back inside, praise and treat him. Eventually, Fido should learn that when he needs to go, he can use his doggy door all by himself.

Monitoring Him Indoors

Between potty breaks, monitor Fido for signs that he needs to eliminate, such as pacing, whining, sniffing or circling, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Immediately command him to the doggy door to go eliminate if you notice these signs. If you catch him in the act of eliminating indoors, clap your hands to interrupt him and command him out the dog door to finish. Clean accidents thoroughly to prevent the scent from tempting Fido to eliminate there again.


Purchase a doggy door that is large enough for Fido to comfortably exit when he needs to. If your pup has free access to the outdoors, secure your yard with fencing tall enough so he can't jump over it, and keep all gates locked to prevent his escape from your yard.