Potty Training a Senior Dog

Potty Training a Senior Dog


An older tan and white hound dog is laying on a beige couch with its owner, an elderly lady wearing blue jeans, a red tee shirt, and a white sweater while reading a book titled "Potty Training A Senior Dog."

Potty Training A Senior Dog

Potty training a new puppy is stressful, but potty training an older dog is even more difficult. This post is for you if you have recently adopted an older dog or are having difficulty toilet training your pet. We realize how annoying accidents may be, but with the appropriate strategy and patience, you can effectively potty train your older dog.

We will cover everything from understanding your dog's potty habits to how to train them using a pee pad, using positive reinforcement techniques, dealing with setbacks, and additional tips and tricks for successful potty training. You will have a better grasp of how to potty train your older dog and what to expect during the process by the end of this article. And if you're still having trouble, don't worry: our Porch Potty  can make potty training easier and more effective for pet owners with older dogs.

Can You Potty Train An Older Dog?

The simple answer is yes, you can potty train an older dog. Although it may take longer to train an older dog, it is never too late to teach them new habits. You may need to be more patient and consistent with training an older dog, but it is possible to train them to use the potty.

An older golden retriever dog lays its head on its owner's foot

An old yellow Labrador dog is asleep on shiny hardwood floor, with its head laying on its owner's slippered foot.

Understanding Your Older Dog’s Needs

The first step in potty training an older dog is to understand their potty habits. Observe your dog and take note of when they usually need to go potty. Most dogs need to go potty after eating, after waking up from a nap, and after playing. Understanding your dog's routine will help you anticipate when they need to go potty and prevent accidents from happening.

It is also important to understand your dog's potty preferences. Some dogs prefer to go potty on grass, while others prefer concrete or gravel. If your dog has a preference, you can use it to your advantage during potty training. Additionally, some dogs prefer to have privacy when going potty, so you might want to consider providing a designated potty area that is out of sight from neighbors or passersby.

Lastly, pay attention to your dog's body language. Some dogs will sniff around and circle before going potty, while others may whine or scratch at the door. Learning your dog's signals will help you be proactive in taking them out for potty breaks.

An older yellow Labrador is laying on carpet in the of a torn up puppy pee pad

An older yellow Labrador dog is laying down on tan carpet in the middle of a chewed-up puppy pee pad.

How To Train Your Older Dog To Use a Pee Pad

Before starting potty training, it is important to have the necessary equipment and supplies. You will need to purchase a leash, collar, and waste bags for outdoor potty breaks. For indoor potty training, you will need puppy pads or newspaper. You may also want to consider purchasing a crate or playpen to confine your dog when you are not able to supervise them.

It is important to choose a designated potty area for your dog both indoors and outdoors. This will help them associate a specific area with going potty and make the training process easier. Make sure to choose an area that is easily accessible and visible to your dog.

One effective way to potty train an older dog is to use a pee pad. A Porch Potty serves a similar purpose; it makes a dedicated potty space available when you can’t easily go outside. They also make it simpler to train a dog to use their indoor bathroom.

To train your older dog to use a pee pad, follow these steps:

  1. Introduce the pee pad to your older dog by placing it in the potty area.
  2. Encourage your older dog to sniff the pee pad and explore it.
  3. When your older dog sniffs or uses the pee pad, reward them with treats or praise.
  4. Gradually move the pee pad closer to the door or outside area.
  5. Eventually, your older dog will learn to use the pee pad on their own.

It is important to be consistent with using the pee pad and to clean it regularly to avoid unpleasant odors.

Is An Older Dog Ever Too Old for Potty Training?

No, an older dog is never too old for potty training. However, it may take longer to train an older dog than it would a younger dog. You should also be aware that potty training older dogs can come with its own set of challenges. The most common challenge is breaking old habits. Your dog may have been used to going potty indoors, and it may take some time to break that habit.

Another challenge is dealing with medical issues that may cause your dog to have accidents. Incontinence or bladder infections can cause your dog to lose control and have accidents. If you suspect a medical issue, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before starting potty training.

Another challenge is dealing with anxiety or fear. Some dogs may have anxiety or fear related to going potty outside, which can cause them to hold it in or have accidents inside. It is important to be patient and understanding while helping your dog overcome their fears.

Some dogs may be stubborn or resistant to training. This is where patience and consistency come into play. It may take longer to potty train a stubborn dog, but it is important to remain consistent with the training techniques and not give up.

A line of older dogs laying down in the grass

A group of eight dogs, including a brown terrier with a red collar, a large black and white dog with a black collar, and a silky-haired black and white dog in a gray harness, are all lined up and laying down outside on a flat grassy area.

Does Breed or Background Affect Potty Training Success In Older Dogs?

When it comes to potty training older dogs, many pet owners wonder if their breed or background can affect their success in this area. While some breeds may be more stubborn than others, any dog can be potty trained with patience and consistency. It is also important to keep in mind that dogs that have been rescued from shelters may have a history of neglect or abuse that can affect their potty training. These dogs may require extra patience and understanding as they learn to trust and adapt to their new surroundings.

If you are struggling with potty training an older dog, don't give up! It is never too late to potty train an older dog, and with the right approach, you can help your furry friend develop good bathroom habits. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key, and using a pee pad can be an effective tool in the training process. Remember to be patient and persistent, and if you need extra help, there are resources available such as professional trainers or online training courses. With time and effort, you and your older dog can successfully navigate the potty training process together.

Additional Tips and Tricks for Successful Potty Training

Here are some additional tips and tricks for successful potty training:

  • Be patient and consistent with your training techniques
  • Avoid punishment or scolding for accidents
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise
  • Establish a consistent routine for feeding and potty breaks
  • Choose a designated potty area both indoors and outdoors
  • Gradually transition to outdoor potty training
  • Be understanding of your dog's fears or anxieties related to potty training
  • Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect a medical issue

An older border collie sits on hardwood and offers its paw to its owner

A sweet-looking white dog with black patches on its eyes and ears sits on a beige couch and puts its front paw into its owner's hand.

Successfully Potty Training Your Older Dog: Consistency, Patience, and Positive Reinforcement

Consistency and patience are key when potty training an older dog. Use positive reinforcement and rewards to encourage your dog to use a designated spot to go potty. Keep in mind that health issues or anxiety may affect the process, so be patient and understanding.

Potty training an older dog may require more effort and patience than training a puppy, but it's definitely possible with the right approach. By understanding your dog's needs, using positive reinforcement, and being patient, you can successfully potty train your older dog. Don't forget to check out our product which can help make the process easier and more effective!

For more information on potty training and taking care of your older dog, check out these articles:

How to Transition Your Dog to Porch Potty

How to Support Your Aging Dog

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.