How To Teach An Old Dog Toilet Training

5 min read Jul 11, 2024
How To Teach An Old Dog Toilet Training

How to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Especially When It Comes to Potty Training)

It's a common misconception that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. While it may be more challenging, it's definitely not impossible! Potty training an older dog can seem daunting, but with patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can achieve success.

Understanding the Challenges:

  • Past Habits: Older dogs often have established routines, and breaking those habits can take time and effort.
  • Medical Conditions: Senior dogs may have age-related issues like bladder control problems or cognitive decline that make training more difficult.
  • Limited Attention Span: Older dogs may have a shorter attention span, making them less receptive to training.

The Key to Success:

Patience is Paramount: Remember, your dog has been learning for years, and changing their habits requires time and understanding. Consistency is Crucial: Maintain a consistent routine for feeding, walking, and potty breaks. This will help your dog anticipate when it's time to go outside. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with praise, treats, or toys when they eliminate in the designated area. This will help them associate the behavior with positive outcomes.

Steps to Take:

  1. Establish a Routine: Create a consistent schedule for feeding, walking, and potty breaks.
  2. Choose a Designated Spot: Pick a specific area in your yard or a designated spot outside your home where you want your dog to eliminate.
  3. Take Frequent Breaks: Initially, take your dog out every 30-60 minutes, especially after meals and naps.
  4. Use a Leash: Keep your dog on a leash while they are outside, so you can guide them to the designated spot and prevent them from wandering off.
  5. Use a Cue Word: Choose a word like "potty" or "outside" and say it consistently when you take your dog out.
  6. Praise and Reward: When your dog eliminates in the designated area, enthusiastically praise them and give them a treat.
  7. Clean Up Accidents: If your dog has an accident indoors, clean it up immediately with an enzymatic cleaner that eliminates the scent.
  8. Be Patient and Persistent: It may take time, but with consistency, your dog will learn to associate going outside with eliminating.

Additional Tips:

  • Consult a Veterinarian: If you suspect a medical condition is contributing to your dog's difficulty with potty training, consult a veterinarian.
  • Consider a Dog Walker: If you're struggling to keep up with your dog's potty break needs, consider hiring a dog walker to help.
  • Don't Punish: Never punish your dog for accidents. This will only create fear and anxiety, making training more difficult.


Potty training an older dog can be challenging, but it's achievable with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By following these steps, you can help your senior companion learn a new trick and enjoy a happier, healthier life together.

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