Most adult dogs are housetrained, but some, especially those kept in kennels before they came to you, may need remedial training. Dogs, like most animals, don't like to soil their own dens, but kenneled dogs sometimes have no option, if they aren't taken out often enough, and the kennels aren't cleaned. So these dogs have actually been trained to do something that is against their instincts. In these cases, you have to treat the dog as though he were a pup, and it may take a while to teach new habits.

Housetraining involves frequent trips outside, whether you are training an adult or a pup, so you‘ll need help if you’re out at work for long periods. If you live with other people, they can help with a housetraining rota. Fellow dog owners can help in exchange for your helping them at weekends, or you can pay for help.


You can prevent a lot of accidents by taking the dog out at key times, like first thing in the morning, when the dog wakes after a nap, after meals, after play sessions, and last thing at night. Dogs often show signs of wanting to go, like sniffing the ground. Watch for signs that your dog is trying to tell you he needs to go. He may give up telling you and just pee indoors if you take no notice.

Some people use indoor kennels, or crates for teaching housetraining, because dogs won't usually 'go' in their den, but they only work if they are used for short periods. If the dog really has to be left alone for a long period, it's far better to fence off a safe area, with a place he can use as a toilet, and to put the crate in this safe area with the door open, so he has his den to sleep in and can still go to the toilet.

Pups can sleep in bedrooms at night in their crates, with the door closed, so they don't wander round and wee on the floor, or get trodden on by a human getting up in the dark. You do have to be prepared to get up in the middle of the night, if the pup needs to 'go'. Pups especially are better off downstairs with a toilet area, if you can't bring yourself to get up for them, because otherwise they may suffer from needing to go, and not wanting to wee in their crate. Adult ex-kennel dogs aren’t really ready to sleep in your bedroom until they’re housetrained.

Dogs do like company when they pee, even if you are falling asleep, in your dressing gown, and it's cold outside. It's no use shutting pups outside and hoping they will perform - they'll just want to come back in again to be with you. There's another benefit to accompanying your pup, you can teach weeing on command. Every time your pup performs, say 'hurry up', or another phrase that you don't usually use. Then you can use the same phrase for times when you want the dog to perform.

Adult male dogs have a tendency to pee on anything upright, and on anything that smells of 'outdoors', like a pot plant at the vet's! They will of course pee where another dog has peed, including doorways to rooms where training classes are held. Dogs may also pee on outdoor shop displays, doorways and car hubcaps, if allowed. Keeping a watchful eye on your dog can help avoid many embarrassing situations, and help you train him to pee only where it's acceptable.

When previously housetrained dogs start peeing indoors, this is less of a training issue than a detective problem. Have their routines been disrupted? If you get up later at weekends than in the week, some dogs may not be able to hang on for their morning pee. Has a visiting dog peed in your house? Have you brought in a large pot plant, or a box that smells of outdoors? Vet checks are usually a good idea, especially with bitches, for example, a dog may have a urine infection, and spayed bitches may suffer from spay-related incontinence, which can be treated.