It can be disheartening to take your dog outside only to have him pee again once back in the house. It is also quite disgusting and something you’ll want to overcome, ASAP. But why does he do this and how can you make sure he pees when he’s outside? Well, here’s everything you’ll want to know and everything that you can do.
So, why does my dog pee in the house after going outside? Sometimes a dog will pee in the house if they were unable to go while outside (e.g., not feeling safe). Other times, health problems (such as kidney problems or diabetes) could prevent them. Some dogs get too excited when they’re outside and forget to go! And sometimes it’s just because they haven’t been housetrained properly.
In reality, there is a multitude of different reasons.
So, it may not be entirely obvious to you at this stage what the underlying cause is.
Besides, it could even be a combination of several of these at the same time.
Let us now continue to explore each cause to give you some pointers before turning into the appropriate responses to get this sorted out, pronto.
Reasons Why A Dog May Pee In The House After Being Outside
If your dog pees in your house after going outside, it could be because he has a health problem, he feels anxious, he has a behavioral issue, or he hasn’t been adequately housetrained. Sometimes it’s simply that he doesn’t like the substrate (surface) he has to pee on.
Your Dog Has A Health Problem
It’s pointless trying to train your dog out of peeing in the house if he has a health problem that needs treatment.
Many health issues can cause problems, such as:
- Kidney problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Internal parasites (such as hookworms)
- Hormone imbalances caused by conditions like Cushing’s disease or Addison’s disease
Other causes could be:
- Degeneration of the joints (typically in older dogs) or injury. If squatting or cocking one leg is painful to your dog, he may not want to go until he’s absolutely desperate.
- Medications. Some medications can cause incontinence. If your dog starts peeing inside shortly after taking a new medication, get him to the vet. Your vet may be able to adjust his prescription.
You can see that the logical first step if your dog consistently pees indoors after being outside is a visit to the vet to rule out these conditions.
Your Dog Is Anxious While Outside
Most dogs love exploring the outdoors, but some dogs can feel anxious or unsafe while outside.
If your dog feels insecure, he will be less likely to want to pee. He’ll be too busy looking around for danger, and he’ll want to go back indoors as soon as possible.
You can tell your dog is feeling anxious while outside if you spot any of the following:
- Low tail
- Ears back
- Hunched back or shoulders
- Pricked ears that swivel to listen for danger
- Panting or struggling while on the leash
If this is true for your dog, you’ll need to get him used to being outside first. Once you’ve trained him to feel safe outside, he’ll then be more amenable to potty training.
Your Dog Is Anxious Indoors
Dogs will sometimes pee indoors to communicate their emotional state to you.
If they are feeling anxious or afraid while inside, they may pee.
Your Dog Is Too Excited When Outside
There are lots of things to sniff and chase when your dog is outside. It could be that your yard or park is just too exciting for your dog.
He may much rather chase bugs and sniff plants than pee.
Your Dog Hasn’t Been Potty Trained Fully
It could be that your dog isn’t ready to only pee outside. Some owners want their dogs to be fully responsible for their toilet habits before they are ready.
Remember the rule for bladder control: a dog can hold his bladder for approximately one hour for every month of age.
There’s no point expecting a three-month-old puppy to not pee in the house if he only went outside four hours ago.
Your Dog Doesn’t Like The Substrate
The substrate is the surface upon which your dog is expected to pee. And sometimes dogs don’t like what we’ve chosen for them.
Most dogs prefer grass or dirt since these surfaces absorb the odors of pee (meaning territory marking is more effective.)
If you have carpeted areas, these parts of your home may feel like the most appropriate surface for your dog to pee on.
If your dog spent time in a shelter or a puppy mill, he probably had to pee on a pan.
In this case, he may choose to pee on hard floors as they remind him of what he was used to previously.
Once you know your dog’s natural preference, you can help him go in the right spot.
Whether it’s a grassy or sandy patch in your yard or a slab of concrete outdoors, you’ll need to find what your dog is comfortable with.
How To Ensure Your Dog Pees While They Are Outside
The best ways to ensure your dog pees while outside is to have a designated toilet spot, wait long enough, and make sure your dog is comfortable.
Have A Designated Outdoor Toilet Spot
One of the most effective methods to make sure your dog pees while he’s outside is to always lead him to the same place to do his business.
Here’s how you do it:
- Take your dog outside on the lead and bring him to the ‘toilet spot.’
- If he doesn’t pee right away, walk him around the spot in circles, making sure it’s as boring as possible. You want to avoid your dog getting distracted – he needs to understand that he is outside first and foremost to pee.
- When he pees in his toilet spot, shower him with praise (and possibly treats, at least at the beginning.)
- Only once he’s peed do you then let him off the lead. Earning his time off the lead will train him that once he’s gone to the toilet, he can then run around and play outside.
Wait Long Enough
Some dogs need more time to do their business outside than others.
If your dog tends to get very excited by all the stimuli when he’s outside, it’s likely he’ll need you to give him longer to pee.
Your dog could even do a bit of pee at the beginning and then decide to chase some butterflies without fully emptying his bladder. If you give him enough time, he’ll eventually finish the job when he’s ready.
Use the method described above for a designated toilet spot so that you don’t have to wait too long!
Ensure They Are Comfortable
If you have a dog who is anxious or frightened while outside, he won’t want to make himself vulnerable by going to the toilet.
Equally, some dogs won’t go to the toilet while on a leash (particularly some rescue dogs.)
If this is true for your dog, you’ll need to desensitize him to the leash first, slowly and gently.
Go at your dog’s pace so that he feels comfortable throughout the process.
Sometimes there could be something in your yard that frightens your dog that you hadn’t thought of. For example:
- A neighbor’s dog runs along the fence barking
- A piece of artwork, a large piece of equipment, or another object that looks frightening to your dog
- Other sources of noise outdoors (e.g., lawn mowers, construction noise, etc.)
Try to see your yard through your dog’s eyes. That huge inflatable snowman might please your children, but your dog may have a very different opinion!
It may be that you need to start by walking outside to simply enjoy a toy, a treat, or some cuddles. Then bring your dog back inside.
Once your dog associates the outdoors (or his leash) with treats and affection, he’ll be ready for further potty training.
How To Stop Your Dog From Peeing In The House
To stop your dog from peeing in the house, you can do several things. Take him out often, make sure he can get outside easily, and remember that potty training will take time.
Take Them Out Often
Here’s a step-by-step method you can try:
- Try taking your dog out on the leash every hour. When your dog pees outside, praise him and give him a treat.
- If he doesn’t go while you’re outside, bring him inside (still on the leash) and keep him with you. You want to avoid him having another accident. Take him out again 20 minutes later.
- Repeat this process as needed until he pees outside.
Over time, you can extend the time between potty breaks (slowly but surely!)
Ensure They Can Get Outside Easily
You can make it easier for your dog to go outside by installing something that will enable him to go out when he needs to. Just make absolutely sure your yard is dog-proofed and well fenced-in!
Try something like:
- A doggie door
- A dog flap
- A screen door with a built-in doggie door
- A screen curtain
- A window doggie door
Many doggie doors or flaps come with smart technology that works with your dog’s microchip so that only your dog can enter your home.
To get your dog to use the doggie door, have someone wait on the outside of the door with some treats. As soon as your dog goes through to get the treats, say “Yes!” and let him have a treat.
You may have to give your dog a gentle push to get started, but he will quickly catch on.
Treat Potty Training Like a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Don’t expect your dog to be potty trained in a week.
Most dogs aren’t considered to be fully potty trained until they haven’t had accidents in the house for 6 months.
Before that, if you leave your dog unsupervised indoors for too long, you can still expect accidents.
One potential solution here is to purchase a doggie lawn, like this one below.
Give Your Dog A Place ‘To Go’ Inside
Make you and your dog’s life considerably easier by getting an indoor dog lawn.
It sets up, and can be cleaned, in minutes.
It’s odor minimizing, cost-effective and enables your dog to go whenever they need to.
This will give your dog a safe place to go indoors and will protect your home all at the same time.
They’re hygienic, practical and effective too.
They’re great if you need to spend extended periods of time out of the house!
Want to learn more? Then you can read my doggielawn review.
If your dog is peeing inside, something is wrong.
What is wrong, however, can vary from dog to dog, context to context.
It may be entirely obvious, or it may require close observation.
That being said, thankfully there are things you can do to stop this behavior for good!
- Why Does My Dog Drink His Pee?
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- Dog Peeing Near Cat Litter Box [Why & What You Can Do]
- Can You Train Dogs To Use A Litter Box?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
- Should I Carry My Puppy Out To Pee?
- How Long Can A Puppy Hold Its Pee?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.