Why Won't My Puppy Poop Outside?

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House-training your puppy can seem like a challenge, but with consistent behavior on your part he should be housebroken by 4 to 6 months of age. If your puppy won't poop outside, the likelihood is that there's something wrong with your training method. If you're doing everything right and your pup still frequently defecates in the house, consult your veterinarian to make sure there's no underlying medical issue.


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Watch For Signs

Your puppy usually won't defecate in your house without giving you some warning signs. These can be quite subtle, so be sure to keep a close eye on your pup. When he needs to go you'll often notice him pacing, circling, leaving the room, whining or sniffing around. As soon as you see him displaying any of these behaviors, take him outside and wait for him to eliminate. Your little one ultimately wants to do the right thing by going outside to poop, but just doesn't know how to tell you he needs to go.

Bathroom Breaks


Puppies don't have great bowel control, so if you don't take your dog out frequently, he might end up pooping inside. A good rule of thumb is that your pup can't hold his waste for longer than his age in months, so you should routinely take a 3-month-old puppy outside every three hours and so on. However, he can last longer at night. Certain activities can also increase his need to go to the bathroom, so you should take him out soon after eating, after play sessions and when he's just woken up from a nap.

Positive Reinforcement

Give your pup plenty of positive reinforcement and he'll soon learn to defecate outside. When you take him out, wait patiently until he goes, then praise him and give him a small treat so he knows that he has done the right thing. Don't let him play outside before going to the bathroom or he'll get distracted, but a quick romp afterward can act as another treat. Never punish him, either verbally or physically, for eliminating inside, as this can make him afraid of you and can lead to serious behavioral problems.


Squeaky Clean

As creatures of habit, puppies sometimes like to go to the bathroom in the same spot. Therefore, if your new addition has previously relieved himself in a certain spot in the house, he might go back there to defecate. Thoroughly clean any areas where he has gone indoors with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors that might encourage him to go there again. You can use this love of habit to your advantage—leave a few of your pup's poops in the yard in the area where you'd like him to eliminate to encourage the behavior.

By Lauren Corona



ASPCA: House Training Your Puppy
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: House Training Your Puppy
The Kennel Club: Toilet Training for Puppies

About the Author
Lauren Corona has worked as a writer since 2010. She has penned articles for a range of websites and print publications, specializing in animal care, nature, music and vegan food. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature, and a postgraduate diploma in print journalism.