How to Make a Dog Stop Urinating on an Area

By Melinda Weaver

Dogs don't instinctively know where you would like them to urinate. They don't have the same clearly marked bathrooms that humans do. Thus, you must teach your dog where you want him to go. If he has already developed an affinity for a spot you don't prefer, you will have a little extra training involved. However, you can teach your dog to go to a preferred spot by removing odors from the old spot and rewarding him for going to the new spot.

Preparing an Area

First, decide where you would like the dog to go. Make that area desirable for your dog by including her favorite substrate, such as grass, and providing some type of boundary so that it's a clearly marked area, such as rocks. Lead her to that area when it is time for her to go and praise her for going there. Reward with treats or a favorite game when she has finished urinating. If you don't have a yard, you can do this in your house by moving potty pads to the place you would like her to go and making that a rewarding place to be. Use a leash, even in the house, to avoid chasing her around if she is going in the wrong place.

Removing Attachment to Current Area

Dogs can smell much better than us and rely on those odors when determining where to urinate. Thus, you have to clean the area thoroughly. Soak the spot in an ammonia-free pet cleaner several times so that the cleaner soaks through. Consider replacing carpet or rugs or investing in a professional cleaner. Prevent your dog from access to that area during training. He should never be out of your sight. If you see him sniffing around, lead him to the desired area and reward him for going there.


If a dog is inappropriately urinating, she has too much freedom. You must watch her at all times so that you can catch her in the act. Punishing after the fact doesn't work. Consider blocking access to preferred areas with baby gates. In the yard, install a motion-sensing sprinkler that will go off when your dog enters the wrong area. But above all, put your dog on a schedule and be present when urinating so you can keep her from some areas and reward her for urinating in others. To do this, give her set eating times and notice how long she can typically wait between bathroom breaks. Be sure to schedule bathroom breaks along this timeline so that you are anticipating her needs and can take her out before she starts searching for an inappropriate spot. Lead her to the spot where you want her to go and praise and reward her for doing so.

Eliminate Medical Issues

Before beginning any training program, make sure your dog doesn't have a health problem that may hamper training. If your dog has a urinary tract infection, he may not be able to hold it long enough to make it to the preferred area. A dog with separation anxiety may urinate near entrances because that is where he panics. Intact males may mark their territory. Neutering them may reduce the problem, though some training still may be required.