My Puppy Won’t Pee Outside! How to Train a Puppy to Pee Outside

my pup won't go potty outside
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

So you’ve just gotten a new puppy and all’s well, except you notice something tiny yet somewhat frustrating: your dog just won’t pee outside. It seems like no matter how soon or long after you let him drink water and then take him outside, your dog just absolutely refuses to pee until you’re back home.

Dog refuses to pee outside? If you’re wondering how you can get your puppy to go potty outside or wondering why your puppy won’t potty train, read on!

My dog pees in her sleep


Puppy Won’t Pee Outside: Is It Normal?

Now you might be wondering (and worrying) if this sort of behavior is normal if your puppy refuses to go to the bathroom outside. Do other peoples’ dogs also refuse to pee outside? Is your dog just plain stubborn that it will not pee for as long as it has to when it’s outside?

The answers to those questions are yes and no, respectively. Yes, a lot of other pet owners have the exact same problem. And no, it’s not just because your puppy is being stubborn or anything like that. In fact, it’s quite a common occurrence in new pets that have not been housebroken yet.

Now that you’re assured that you’re not alone in this dilemma of yours, it’s best to understand the whys and hows of things. Remember that getting your puppy to pee outside is going to need a lot of your patience and understanding, so that your puppy will not get unnecessarily reprimanded for something that it does not quite understand yet.

Also Read: Help! Dog Urine Incontinence: My dog keeps peeing in its sleep!

Reasons Why Your Dog Might Not Pee Outside

Before reprimanding your pup for peeing indoors rather than outside, you may want to understand the reason your puppy is doing this, so you can better address the issue. Below are some common reasons why your pup may pee indoors rather than outside.

The primary reason that your dog won’t pee outside is because it’s not housebroken yet, or untrained. That’s probably the most common reason why puppies refuse to pee outside, especially if it is a new addition to your family. New pups that are bought or come from shelters may not know the boundaries of peeing yet, and are only comfortable doing it in a familiar place: inside your home.

In fact, some puppies are taken to the shelter because their previous owners can’t or won’t give time to toilet train them. And it just so happened that the responsibility falls on your, the new owner’s, shoulders.

If you have been doing measures to train your dog to pee outside and still achieve nothing, then it might be because your training is not ideal. For example, if you’ve been bringing your dog to pee outside on a leash, your dog may not be comfortable doing its business with you standing so close.

Or, some dogs even have a fear of doing business when you can see them. This can be because of trauma from a previous owner, or really just because it makes them uncomfortable. If that’s the case, you should modify your training to make them as relaxed as possible.

Ineffective House Training

One major reason that your puppy is peeing indoors rather than outside is improper house training. When house training your puppy, you do not want to immediately assume that they are completely house trained because they have gone a few days without relieving themselves indoors.

It takes time and consistency to ensure that your pup sticks to using the restroom outdoors. If you jump the gun and assume your puppy will always choose to pee outdoors because it has been a week since their last accident, you could possibly find that they will leave a tiny puddle on the floor when you come home from work.

House training can take time. It is best to be consistent in your approach to house training and provide many different times when you can take your pup outside to pee.

Health Issues

There are many different diseases and infections that your puppy can develop that will lead to an increase in the number of times your pup needs to relieve themselves. When considering why your puppy is using the restroom indoors, it is best to visit the veterinarian to see if there is some sort of medical condition that is causing your pup to do this.

Three common health problems that may make your pup feel as though they need to urinate more are diabetes, urinary tract infections, and kidney disease. If you find that your pup has developed any health conditions that affect the amount and frequency they urinate, it is best to listen to a veterinarian in order to know how to best approach these conditions in your puppy.



Everyone has heard tales of dogs marking their territory, and it just might be this reason could be the cause for indoor urination. Both male and female dogs can mark. This social action is meant to be a signal to other dogs rather than used for emptying their bladder.

It can become a habit for your puppy to participate in marking, but it is also possible to eliminate or reduce this action through spaying or neutering.


Another big reason your puppy may be peeing indoors rather than outside is that they are afraid. If your puppy has a fear of something outdoors, either through a bad experience, being overwhelmed, or just the environment in general, it may be challenging to get your pup to relieve themselves outside.

Bladder Control Issues

It is highly possible that your pup does not have complete control of its bladder. This is quite common in puppies, and it is important to keep note of the amount of water your puppy is taking in, as drinking too much water can make them really have to pee. Bear in mind that most pups can’t hold it in too well until they are around 4 to 6 months of age.

How to Train a Puppy to Pee Outside

Consistency Is Key

This is the secret to training your dog to pee outside. Choosing the same place and the same time to let your dog pee outside will make your pet more likely to get used to the new routine. Consistency in praise or rewards, as well as in phrases to keep your dog from peeing inside the house, will help your dog understand the dos and don’ts much more quickly.

Set a schedule and stick to it, so that your dog will know exactly where and when it can pee. You can set the schedule around your own observations of your dog’s body’s rhythms. Maybe there’s a certain time when your pup goes to pee, or a determinate amount of time after feeding or drinking that it is sure to go potty.

Use the same door every time you head out so that your dog will signal if it wants to go pee outside by scratching that door once you’ve achieved your training.

Choose a phrase to associate with peeing, and say it before your dog pees. You can do this by getting to know the pre-pee cues that your dog does and then timing the phrase once you see your pup doing these cues. You can also reward your dog after the first few times that it pees outside so that it will associate treats with peeing outside.

Dog’s stomach hard?

Constant Attention

Until your pup is housebroken, it’s best to keep your pup right where you can see it when you’re inside the house. That way, you can familiarize yourself with the pre-pee habits your dog has, and you can utilize those in your potty training.

You will also be able to reprimand them while they’re peeing in the wrong place, instead of saying it after. Smart as we may perceive our dogs, they will not be able to associate a reprimand of ‘bad dog’ while you’re showing them the pee puddle they have created just moments ago.

When you’re keeping an eye on your dog indoors, you can also immediately carry them outside once you see that they are trying to pee.


You’re going to need a lot of patience if you decide to undergo potty training your dog, so it’s best to have a lot in store. Some dogs may pick it up quickly, and some will take some time to get used to what you want them to do.

Remember that supporting your dog will get more positive results rather than constant reprimands. If all you do is scold them without trying to correct their mistakes, your dog may start to fear going potty anywhere near you as they may associate the reprimands with peeing.

When that happens, your dog would think that doing its business is what’s wrong and not where it’s doing its business.

What To Do

Once you have gone to a veterinarian to determine if your pup is peeing indoors due to a medical issue, there are approaches you can take to help ensure that your pup decides to do their business outside rather than indoors.

It is important to note that if your puppy does have some underlying health issue that contributes to them using the restroom indoors, medication given to you by a veterinarian can help to alieve this issue.

Here are some approaches and tips you may want to consider to help your pup pee outside rather than inside:

Get Rid Of Pee Odors In Your Home

It is important to get rid of these existing odors in your home because dogs will often choose to use the restroom in areas where they have done so before. If you leave these odors in your home, it is possible your pup will decide to continue peeing and pooping indoors as they have done so before.

Crate Training Could Be Helpful

When inside a kennel or crate, many dogs and puppies will try to avoid relieving themselves unless they are suffering from some form of medical condition. It’s essential to ensure that the crate you’re using is comfortable and appropriate for the size and needs of your dog. Crate training could help train your pup to pee outdoors as they will learn that they can be let out when they need to relieve themselves.

While this can be used to help your puppy learn to pee outdoors, this is primarily used when your pup cannot be supervised.

Use The Doggie Doorbell

It may be possible that your puppy goes pee indoors because they do not have a way to convey to you that they need to go outside. This is where a doggie doorbell comes in handy. Through the use of the doggie doorbell, your pup can learn to ring the bell when they need to go outside to use the restroom.

When training your pup to use the doggie doorbell, it is important to focus on teaching them the porper way to use the doggie doorbell. You want to start by teaching them how to ring the bell. Then, you want to give your pup a treat along with opening the door to outside in order to signal to your pup that ringing the bell will allow for them to be let out.

Once your pup can start to make this connection, they can tell you when they need to be let outside to use the restroom.

Consider Pee/Poop Training Sprays

A pee or poop training spray uses pheromones that imitate the scent of a puppy’s pee or poop. This can help to signal to your pup that it may be time to use the restroom or to encourage your pup to used the restroom in certain designated locations.

It is important to note, however, that this does not work with every dog.

Pee Pads May Be Useful For Smaller Dogs

A pee pad or a litter box are excellent solutions if you have a smaller dog or if you happen to live in an apartment complex. You will need to be consistent in having your pup use these resources as an infrequent pattern of use and non-use may be confusing to your pup and make bathroom time stressful.

Take Another Look At House Training

Sometimes it is best to go back to square one and review the basics to solve an issue. This can also be the case with house training. During this revisit of house training, you may want to take your pup out on a leash to make sure that they are using the restroom. It is also good to give your puppy treats and stay consistent with your house training approach.

If All Else Fails, Seek A Professional

If you have tried everything to get your pup to pee outside and it is not working, then it is best to seek out a professional trainer to help you. A professional trainer can help with the plan you use for training your pup, and they can give you tips to help your pup learn to pee outside.

Are Some Breeds More Challenging to House Train?

No matter the breed, any dog can learn to relieve themselves outside. If you have different breeds of dogs in your home, you may notice that some pick up house training much easier than others, and this is okay.

There are many different reasons why some dog breeds seem to be harder to house train. Some of these reasons are:

  • The ability of the dog to get down the stairs
  • How close to the ground some dogs are compared to others
  • Relative size in general as smaller dogs tend to have smaller bladder sizes
  • Tolerance for the weather outside because some do not want to go out if there is too much snow, especially short-legged dogs

Some common dog breeds that tend to seem harder to house train are:

  • Shih Tzus: since they are smaller, they don’t hold their bladders as well
  • Dachshunds: they have shorter legs and hair
  • Basset Hounds: With shorter legs and a shorter body, their posture makes it harder
  • Bichon Frise: Similar issue with Shih Tzus, since they are smaller and don’t hold their bladders as well

Puppy Peeing Inside Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should It Take For Your Puppy To Pee Outside?

It is best to give your pup about 15 minutes for them to pee outside. You may want to walk around the area, so your pup can fully empty their bladder.

Can You Train Stubborn Puppies To Pee Outside?

Yes, you can train a stubborn puppy to pee outside. Just remember that it will not magically happen over night, and it normally takes approximately 6 months for a puppy to learn to pee outside.

What Dogs Tend To Be The Most Difficult To Potty Train?

While all dogs can learn to use the restroom outdoors, smaller dogs tend to have more issues when it comes to using the bathroom outdoors, thus making it a little bit more difficult to potty train them.

What Are Some Reasons For Why My Puppy Refuses To Potty Outside?

Two of the most common reasons for a puppy to refuse to potty outside are fear and anxiety. If your pup has had a bad or unfamiliar experience while outside, they can develop a fear of being in that space, and this can make them more anxious when it comes to potty time.

What Is The Best Way To Approach Your Puppy Peeing Inside?

It is best to try to redirect the behavior by picking them up and taking them to pee outside if they try to go indoors. Never yell, scold, or punish your pup for peeing indoors as this can cause sever anxiety around using the restroom and result in them trying to hold it in for longer.

Once they have used the bathroom outdoors, praise them and give them treats as this will reinforce the good behavior.


  • Lisa Jackson says:

    My neighbor has a 4 1/2 month old American Cocker spaniel. She feeds him at the same time everyday, same amount, takes him out the same time everyday, uses the same command “go potty” and STILL he will not go potty outside. She will walk him, stay in a specific area, etc and he WILL NOT potty. She will spend 30 minutes at a time (within almost 1 1/2 hours). Once they come in, he pees and or poops on the floor within 5 minutes of coming in the house. I’m even teeing to help her. There’s consistency, consistent commands and all but he will not even consider peeing/ popping outside. All he wants to do is sniff, pick stuff up like leaves, etc to chew on or eat. It’s like his brain is all air!

    • Stuart lee says:

      No way ,that’s exactly what my lab pup is doing, I take her out and she does a lot of sniffing but little else, and seems more intent on picking up stone ect and won’t give it to me, I literally have to prise her mouth open, but she’s just started doing outside in the morning in the garden at 6am by which time she’s desperate, but later on in the day she’s still doing it inside, and I’ll grab her and pick her up to do the rest outside but no luck, I think it’s just a case of being persistent and just don’t give up and eventually they’ll get it..

  • Linda Neukirch says:

    I have a 8 month old whippet and since we got her at 4 months she will not pee outside. Even when we are with other dogs she holds it till we get back inside. we were even at the park and playing in the water and she held it for 6 hours till we got back home. It is almost like there is no connection between her head and her bottom. Any sggestions

  • Kathy says:

    I have an 8 month old Chihuahua/Papillon mix. My pup won’t pee or poop outside so I’ve been using puppy pads inside the house. Now he won’t use the puppy pads and is going on the floor. I’m at my wits end. What do I do.

  • TONI RANGELA says:

    I have the same problem. Did you find anything out from anyone to remedy the situation? I’ve asked vets and they are no help.

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