And just like clockwork, it refuses to do a Number Two outside, no matter how long you wait- only for it to squat down immediately and let ‘er rip the moment it steps back through the front door.
Yes, I know firsthand how infuriating and frustrating it is when trying to train your dog to poop in its potty area, only for them to run around and play instead of getting down to the important business.
Most dog owners have lamented at some point, “Oh, why won’t my dog poop outside? Why does it poop in the house instead?”
In order to teach your dog to poop and pee outside- and to reduce the rate of indoor accidents- there are some proven tricks and techniques that you can try.
One important aspect to solving the problem is to properly establish the underlying reason. This could range from factors such as age, changes in diet, behavioral problems, or even medical issues.
Getting your dog to poop outside is the goal, but there are many reasons such as age or circumstance that may prevent it from happening. Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons below.
Almost all new puppy owners have thought, “Why won’t my dog poop outside?” and then feared that their puppy is going to be the exception that will never become potty trained (even after 6 months!).
Be consistent with your training methods. Take them outdoors or to the potty pads every couple of hours. When your puppy does go outside, give them over-the-top praise and high-value treats.
Rinse and repeat. They’ll get it. Be patient.
Understandably, these dogs can be nervous. They are in a new home, with new people.
Adopted dogs could feel more relaxed and do certain actions in the presence of some people but not others.
They may be older, but that doesn’t mean they know the rules immediately. Adopted dogs are prone to experiencing separation anxiety more easily as well.
Again, be patient.
Your dog is housetrained and has suddenly decided they’d prefer to go inside on the carpet.
Think about any changes that have been made recently.
● Have you moved to a new house?
● Have you changed their food?
● Have you changed their feeding times?
● Do they seem well overall?
● Are they stressed about anything?
If you can identify the change, then you can help your dog adjust.
Why won’t my dog poop outside?
There may be a few problems keeping your dog from pooping outside. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:
It’s snowing. Or rainy. Or windy. Or even all three.
● This may be your puppy’s first winter or first rainstorm. This weather is new to them, and they may feel too excited or nervous and forget their training.
● Your older dog doesn’t want to go out. Cold weather can make it harder for a dog with arthritis to get into a poop position.
● Just like us, they don’t want to go out in bad weather.
Solution 1: Clear a patch of yard, especially for them- preferably a bit secluded. Scoop the poop often to keep it clear, and turn the back porch lights on.
Solution 2: Put a sweater on your older dog to keep them warm and protect them from stiff joints.
You’re walking in circles in the backyard from 15 to 30 minutes. They’re just sniffing — but no poop. You take them inside, and poof! Poop.
● Trudging around the backyard for 15 minutes may not be enough activity to help along with a bowel movement.
● If a dog spends a lot of time in their own backyard, they may see it as an extension of their home, and they may not want to poop there.
● Is your dog inside most of the day? If so, it’ll be stimulating when they get outside, and pooping may be the last thing on their list.
Solution 1: Movement = poop. Take them for a walk (give them about fifteen minutes to digest first). This also works if your pooch has developed a preference for other grass. When that poop happens (wait for it to finish), praise and reward with a high-value treat.
Solution 2: Don’t let the goal be the end of outside time. If your pet knows as soon as they poop outside time is over, they’ll want to hold on. Play a bit afterward, or keep walking around. Let them know that pooping is not the be-all and end-all.
You can’t predict when your dog needs to go.
● Food moves through puppies quite quickly. They should need to poop within five to thirty minutes after eating.
● Older dogs can take up to an hour, and they have the control to hold it longer if needed.
Solution 1: Unlike with water, of which you should always provide plenty– do not free feed your dog. Keep them on a regular feeding schedule, which will provide a more regular pooping schedule.
Solution 2: Look for signals. There will be signs that your dog has to go, and it’s up to you to recognize them. Pacing, whining, barking, circling. As soon as you start recognizing it, you’ll be ready for it.
Your dog is not only pooping inside, but always in the same place. If it’s worked before, it’ll work again- or so your dog thinks.
Solution 1: Ensure you absolutely clean that spot with an enzymatic cleaner so there is no residual smell to lure them back.
Solution 2: Put something (like a plant) over that spot, and watch whenever they head there. Grab the leash and take them outside. Praise and treat all outside poops.
Solution 3: Work towards outside poops slowly by first introducing designated potty pads where your dog can go to the toilet. Just make sure to change the potty pads as needed to prevent a mess from occurring!
There are a couple of things you always want to avoid if you are trying to get your dog to poop outside:
Being mad at your dog will most likely make it scared of you and too nervous to do anything! Praise good behavior often, and don’t react angrily to inside poops. If your dog poops inside, take them outside immediately.
If you don’t have time to wait, they’ll pick up on that energy, and it may make them nervous. Put time aside to take them for a late walk, or be outside with them until it happens. Bring high-value treats and be ready to praise.
There could also be a medical reason behind inside poops:
- Look to see if your dog is experiencing any weakness in its hind end, especially after vaccinations. This may make them unaware that they need to go.
- Your dog may have bladder issues such as cystitis, especially older dogs.
- It may be experiencing GI issues, resulting in loss of control of bowel movements (and even poop stuck halfway!)
- There may be more serious underlying conditions such as diabetes which cause them to drink more water than usual.
If inside poops are happening out of the blue in an otherwise house-trained pet for more than a few days, it is a good idea to talk to your vet.
Your dog will poop outside, but the training that helps them learn falls to you.
Clues are key.
- Are they pacing or suddenly very hyper?
- Have they just finished napping?
- Are they sniffing around (more than usual)?
- Did they eat recently?
These are all clues that your pooch feels something happening. Have a leash nearby and be ready to take them out.
When they are out, and the elusive poop happens — take note!
- Did they prefer to be further away from you?
- Are they comfortable in the open, or do they want to be near a fence or by a tree?
People have preferences when they ‘go’ — so it’s reasonable to expect dogs do too.
Lastly, you may be tired and cold — but your dog is not plotting against you. They are not trying to keep you from your warm bed in the middle of the night.
They love being with you. Be patient.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.