Tips & Tricks for Dog Housebreaking


Most of the dog housebreaking questions we receive consist of two basic problems:

  • Adult Dog Marking: Controlling and stopping wetting in the house. (read below)
  • Puppy Housebreaking: Teaching puppies to become reliably housebroken. (read below)

Adult Housebreaking

Marking is a dog housebreaking problem that can be controlled…

The key to dog housebreaking is to prevent your dog from placing his urine scent in the house. Sounds simple to solve… but often it’s not. Dogs that mark in the house desire to leave their scent on carpets and furniture. They “mark” these items as their territory. Being creatures of habit, they are attracted to repeat their marking in these same spots by the urine odor.

Step #1

The first step to control this bad marking behavior is to clean any areas where your dog has urinated. Use a product made specifically to remove and deodorize dog urine. You can find hidden soiled areas easily with the use of a blacklight. Urine-stained areas will glow when the blacklight is shined on them. You will be surprised at all of the hidden areas you will discover. Once you find the areas that need to be cleaned, use a product made specifically to remove urine stain and odor. Products such as baking soda or club soda won’t break down the urine and thoroughly remove it from your carpet and furniture. Unless the urine is completely removed, your dog will recognize even the smallest scent that you can’t notice. This will draw your dog to re-mark the area.

Step #2

The second step in controlling dog marking behavior is to preventing their opportunity to wet in the house. Your dog should be loose in the house only when you can watch them at all times. This means that if you are busy and unable to watch your dog, it should not be allowed to go into any room where you cannot watch him carefully, even for a few seconds. Many dogs are sneaky markers. A few unsupervised “seconds” can lead to urine marking that you might not immediately notice. Each time your dog successfully marks in the house, it reinforces this behavior and his desire to do so.

dog housebreaking belly bands dog diapers
Ruffled girl bands for dogs in season.

Belly Band Training Help…

Many owners who can’t watch their dogs every minute use belly bands as a dog housebreaking aid. These bands help control urine marking and train dogs not to wet in the house. Bellybands comfortably wrap around your dog’s tummy. An inexpensive sanitary maxi pad or poise pad is placed in the bottom of the band. When the dog tries to mark in the house, urine is absorbed by the pad, and carpet and furniture remain clean. Dogs cannot leave their scent or mark their territory. This prevents soiled areas that would attract them to re-wet in the future.

Dogs dislike wetting in the belly band, and it serves as a constant reminder to your dog not to wet in the house. Many dogs are reliably housebroken with the use of belly bands. For those persistent markers, belly bands help to keep homes smelling fresh, clean and urine-free. Boy belly bands can be found here…  Girl belly bands can be found here…


Using puppy gates…

If you are away from home for a long time during the day, your dog should not be allowed to have unsupervised run of the house. If your dog is unsupervised and allowed to wet on carpet and furniture while you are away, it will be virtually impossible to reliably housebreak him. Ideally, when you are not home you should keep your dog in one room that has an easy-to-clean flooring such as tile. Child gates or puppy gates can be used to block off the entrance to the rest of the house and keep your dog confined to the one room. If you have a doggy door, keep your dog confined to a small area around the doggy door. This will prevent your dog from developing bad housebreaking habits while you are away.


Puppy Housebreaking

Puppy potty training takes patience and consistency. Don’t give up! Keep in mind that puppies are unable to completely control their bowels until they are about four to six months old. You will have some success during the early months; however, you should expect accidents. To avoid difficult clean-ups, keep puppies supervised at all times. If you can’t do this, use a belly band, or keep them on an easy-to-clean surface such as tile until you are certain that your pup is housebroken. Once you allow your pup to urinate in the house, he is likely to return to the same spot the next time he has to relieve himself.

Puppy housebreaking requires that you let him outside often to potty. At first, we recommend that you let your pup outside every hour, if possible. If you are using bellybands with your dog, remove the band before letting him outside. Your puppy should always be encouraged to potty just before you retire for the night. Likewise, as soon as he wakes up in the morning, the first thing your pup will need to do is relieve himself. You should waste no time in taking him outside as soon as he awakes. When your pup hears you get up in the morning, it will be his signal to wake. Attend to him before going about your morning routine.

Potty Pad Training Help…

You can also use a potty pad in the house to train your dog. Washable reusable potty pads train your puppy to potty in one spot. When your dog is older, you can move the pad close to the door where he is taken outside to potty. Eventually the pad can be moved outside. After that, your dog will be trained to potty outside and you won’t need to use a pad.

In the beginning, you are the most important part of puppy training…

Some pups may cry that they need to potty at the first sign of light. If you want a dry floor or crate it is usually necessary to immediately respond to their needs. Your pup will also have to relieve himself shortly after a meal, and will need to urinate more often during the summer when his water intake is higher. As soon as your pup finishes dinner, take him to his outdoor place to potty for several minutes until he relieves himself. At other times, you may notice your pup sniffing the floor for a suitable place to go. He may whimper or start to squat. Scoop him up immediately and place him outside.

As with adult dog marking, the key to puppy housebreaking is to prevent him from leaving his urine scent in the house. Dogs, being creatures of habit, are enticed to mark in these same spots by the urine odor. If your puppy does wet in the house, clean any areas where your dog has urinated with a product made specifically to clean and deodorize dog urine.

blacklight flashlight find dog cat urine
Easily find urine spots and remove the odor.

Blacklights help keep things fresh and clean…

You can find hidden soiled areas easily with the use of a blacklight. Urine-stained areas will glow when a blacklight is shined on them. You will be surprised at all of the hidden areas you will discover. Once you find the areas that need to be cleaned, use a product that will remove the stain and odor. Products such as baking soda or club soda won’t break down urine or thoroughly remove it from your carpet and furniture. Unless the urine is completely removed, your dog will recognize even the smallest scent that you can’t notice, and he will be drawn to re-wet the area.

Another important part of puppy housetraining is to be proactive and prevent your dog’s opportunities to wet in the house. This will take time, effort, and patience on your part. However, it will make the puppy housebreaking process move along much quicker and will pay in the long run.

When housebreaking your puppy, the most important thing to remember is that your dog should be loose in the house only when you can watch him at all times. This means that if you are busy, your puppy should not be allowed to go into any room where you cannot watch him carefully, even for a few seconds. Puppies can wet quickly and without notice. A few unsupervised “seconds” can lead to urine spots that you might not immediately notice. Each time your dog successfully marks in the house, it reinforces this behavior and his desire to do so.

Scolding isn’t a part of training…

If your puppy does have a potty accident in the house, scold him only if you catch him in the act. Don’t scold him even a minute or two after he has made a mess. It will confuse him because he will not know why he is being scolded. However, if you catch him in the act of relieving himself in the house, pick him up and say “No” in a firm voice. Do not yell. Immediately take him to the outside area where you want him to relieve himself or to his indoor potty or pee pad . Never rub his nose in the mess or hit him. This will cause him to fear you and will make future obedience training more difficult. Be sure to clean the soiled area with a product intended for dog housebreaking accidents.

Belly Band Training help…

Many puppy owners who can’t watch their dogs every minute use belly bands as a puppy housebreaking aid. These bands help to control urine messes and train  dogs not to wet in the house. Bellybands comfortably wrap around your dog’s belly and a sanitary maxi pad is placed in the bottom of the band. When the dog tries to wet in the house, urine is absorbed by the maxi pad and carpet and furniture remain clean. Dogs cannot leave their urine and scent, thus eliminating soiled areas that would attract them to re-wet in the future. The bands also serve as a constant reminder to your dog not to wet in the house.

Belly bands do not take the place of normal puppy housebreaking. You should still work at housebreaking your pup. Many dogs are reliably housebroken with the extra help of belly bands, keeping homes fresh, clean and urine-free.

Don’t allow free run of the house…

If you are away from home during the day, your puppy should not be allowed to have unsupervised run of the house. If your pup is unsupervised and allowed to wet on carpet and furniture while you are away, it will be virtually impossible to reliably housebreak him. Ideally, when you are not home you should keep your puppy in a suitable kennel or in one room. That area should have an easy-to-clean flooring such as tile. Child gates or puppy gates can be used to block off the entrance to the rest of the house and keep your pup confined to the one room. If you have a doggy door, keep your puppy confined to a small area around the doggy door.

You can also place a pee pad or housebreaking pad on the floor if your pup does not have quick access to the outdoors.. Washable Reusable Dog Pee Pads can help to train your dog to wet in one spot on the pad. After your dog reliably uses the pad, you can move it close to the door where he is taken outside to potty. The pad can eventually be moved outside. After that, your dog will be trained to potty outside, and you won’t need to use a pad.

To crate, or not to crate…

Puppy Housebreaking can be quickened if your pup sleeps in his crate. Dogs dislike sleeping in a soiled area. Your puppy will soon learn to wait until you let him out of his crate to do his business. Of course, it may take a few months before your puppy is able to hold his bowels all night. As he gets older, he will have fewer and fewer accidents. Expect this, and never scold him for accidentally soiling his area at night.

With your help, effort, patience and consistency, your puppy will eventually become housebroken. Bellybands can remind him not to wet and prevent him from developing a habit of wetting in the same places.


Bellybands Order Online

All site content is copyrighted and owned by the author. You may not use any information from this site without written permission. You may link to this page.

3 Comments

  1. Carol 3 years ago

    Yes Belly bands have been a great aid in keeping my house clean and urine free! My 6 mo old doesn’t mind them and I take him out every couple hours! He pees a couple times and poops 2-3 times a day now and doing great! So glad I found out about Belly bands . We are almost housebroken!! A great discovery!

  2. flyflv 3 years ago

    You mark your stuff by putting your name on it; your dog marks their with urine. We’ve covered why dogs submissively urinate, now here’s how to prevent urine-marking behaviors before they happen in your house.

Leave a reply