Training your dog to use one specific area to eliminate waste can be useful for several reasons. You may want to keep your lawn free of urine-soaked brown spots, make outdoor cleanup quicker and simpler, or just create a safer, healthier play area for your kids. Patience, planning and consistency are your best paths to training your dog to go to the bathroom in one place.
Set up a consistent feeding schedule. Knowing when your dog will poop will help you be a good trainer. When a dog poops depends a great deal on when they eat. If you free-feed your dog, it will be much harder to figure out when it is going to go. Feed your dog at a time when you have time to monitor waste elimination. Before you start the training, watch your dog closely to see what his daily routine is. Watch for tell-tale signs like sniffing the floor, sneaking off or starting to squat.
Choose an appropriate poop area. Most dogs will eliminate on grass or sand, and some may not mind concrete. You may want to choose an area far away from your house or child’s play yard, or a surface that is easily cleaned or sprayed down. Choose an area easily and always accessible by your dog.
Choose a potty command. Short unique commands are always best. Something like "Go potty" or "Poo-poo!" is easier for the dog to understand and remember than "It's time for you to do your business now." Use the same command in the same tone of voice every time and your dog will learn it faster.
Leash your dog and go to the special spot. Use your command word, giving the dog enough leash to sniff around and find a suitable spot. Be patient. It may take your dog a few minutes to be comfortable enough to eliminate waste with you standing there. Try not to stare at your pet, as many dogs find this confrontational. Keep a close eye on your pet from the corner of your eye though because you will need to give a reward as soon as you notice the proper behavior.
Reward your dog. The second you see your dog poop or pee in the area you designated, reward him with praise, a treat, or a favorite toy or activity. If your dog does not go or does not go in the correct area, ignore it and start over.
Mark the spot where you want your dog to go. You can put a little of your dog’s feces in the area you want him to go in and thoroughly water down all other areas to diminish the odor. To encourage urination in a particular spot, try a commercial "pee post," which has an odor applied to it to attract dogs, not only for emptying the bladder, but also for territorial marking.
Repeat these steps as many times as it takes for your dog to "get it," always rewarding him for success, but never scolding him for failure. Clean up accidents as soon as possible so the scent does not linger.
Don't let your dog drift out of his good behavior. If he starts going in an unwanted area, start the training over again until he is being consistent.
Keep your yard as waste-free as possible. If your dog's specified area is not clean, he will find another area to leave waste in.
Items You Will Need
- Pee post
- Pooper scooper
- Garden hose
- Keep your yard as waste-free as possible. If your dog's specified area is not clean, he will find another area to leave waste in.
- Don't let your dog drift out of his good behavior. If he starts going in an unwanted area, start the training over again until he is being consistent.
A freelance writer for more than 30 years, D.M. Gutierrez has had nonfiction, fiction and poetry published in women's, mystery, academic, children's, disability and teen print publications and websites including "Psychological Reports" and "Highlights for Children." She has an advanced degree in psychology from the University of California at Davis.