Signs That a Dog Has to Go Potty

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Seasoned dog owners are pretty good at detecting when dogs have "business" to attend to, but for the first-time owner, knowing when a pooch needs to potty for house training purposes can be tricky at first. With careful observation, you will learn what your particular pup does to let you know she has to go pee or poop. While some puppies may let you know directly, others are more focused on finding a spot to potty. That's why you must know the telltale signs in order to prevent accidents.


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Sniffing the Floor

If your puppy starts sniffing the floor, it may be time for her to go out. Dogs will hunt out an area to potty, especially if she smells where she has gone to the bathroom in the house before. If she starts sniffing the floor, take her out immediately and praise her for going to potty. This will help reinforce that the outdoors is the place to go potty.

Turning in Circles While Sniffing

Sniffing the floor may not be a foolproof method. Sniffing can mean your puppy is looking for food. However, if he starts turning in circles while sniffing, there is no question about what's going to happen. Circling is a natural behavior in dogs that signals the dog is going to poop. Grab him up as quick as possible when you see this and take him outside. When he potties, praise him enthusiastically for a job well done.


Scratching, Standing, or Barking at the Door

Puppies that are doing good with housebreaking will usually let you know they need to go out. If she scratches or paws at the door, take her out immediately. If she's standing at the door, she's more than likely telling you she needs to go out. Another hint may be her barking at the door. However, this last action could also be her letting you know that someone or something is outside.



Whining in a puppy can mean a number of things. However, if he combines whining with the behaviors listed above, he more than likely needs to go potty. Even if your puppy is just lying in his bed and starts whining, take him out. If the dog hasn't gotten the hang of housebreaking he may not know how to tell you that he needs to go, but may still understand that it's bad to potty in the house. If he just cries and cries for no reason, he may need to potty really bad.

WebMD: Teaching Your Dog to Ask to Go Out
K9 Magazine: Housetraining a Puppy

About the Author
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.