Potty mouth: Is your pet house broken or inside broken?


Laura loves Lincoln with her whole heart, and Lincoln loves working at PetSafe, but lately it just hasn't been possible. Read on to discover what new issue she is facing.

By Laura Potts, Digital Marketing Specialist

For me, there is nothing worse than looking down at the big, sad eyes of my dog Lincoln. But every weekday morning, that’s exactly what happens. I have to say, “You stay here” to him instead of bringing him to work with me. And, Lincoln LOVES coming to work at PetSafe! He starts whimpering with excitement when we pull in the parking lot and spends his days bouncing happily from person to person and snuggled up in his bed under my desk. So, why must he stay at home? Unfortunately, he also likes to pee in the office. And while no one here gets upset, I can’t keep bringing him until I have trained him out of that behavior.

His actions puzzle me. Why would he pee at work? He’s been completely housebroken all the years I’ve had him. Isn’t this only an issue with puppies and outside dogs? I take him out frequently throughout the day and he never has accidents at home. Even at his senior age, his veterinarian says there is no physical reason for his behavior. I consulted with two trainers and learned that even though a dog is “house” trained, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s “inside” trained. In other words, while Lincoln knows not to go potty inside our home, he struggles to understand the boundaries in other indoor places, especially where there are many other animals and smells around.

So how do you inside-train a dog and teach them to ignore the other doggie smells and wait to go outside? Fortunately, with the trainers’ advice, there are a couple things Lincoln and I are going to try.

1. When going on potty breaks outside, we are going to begin designating specific spots for bathroom breaks. Using the command, “here” and “not now” and gentle tugs on the leash I am going to begin showing him the difference between appropriate and inappropriate places in the grass to go to the bathroom. Once he has it down, we can begin moving this technique indoors and issue the command “not now” inside and then switch to the command “here” when we go out for breaks.

2. Another option we’re going to try is using a belly band or diaper. He will only wear the band at the office. When he lifts his leg in the band, the result will be a negative experience rather than a positive one, removing the payoff he receives. Once we’re outside, the band comes off and he will hopefully begin to realize that it is much more pleasant to go potty outdoors.

Have you experienced similar problems with your dogs? Perhaps at PetSmart or in friends or family members’ homes? Let me know what you have tried and how it worked.


Laura manages the complete digital media presence for the PetSafe Brand. Laura also donates her time to helping improve animal welfare. She has helped saved the lives of many pets through her work and more directly by adopting two dogs of her own, Ellie and Lincoln who often accompany her to work and to volunteer events in Knoxville.

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15 Responses to Potty mouth: Is your pet house broken or inside broken?

  1. Brenda Anness says:

    Gee, my problem is worse! I was hoping to get a tip from you. My two min pins stay at home while I work. They have their own dog door, as well as a huge fenced yard. However, I often come home and they have left a present in one of two places (front of the tv or the master bedroom dressing area). Wonderful. They are 2 yrs old and I thought I had tried everything. If anyone has a suggestion, please post it.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Brenda, Sometimes we think dogs are potty trained when really they are just good at following your lead while you are at home. When you leave, they may be getting a little stressed out handling the responsibility on their own. You may want to backtrack on some potty training, or reduce the space of freedom they have while they are home – do they have crates? Thanks for reading! We hope this helps! :)

    • sarah says:

      Brenda, I have the same issues. My little dog is great while we are home but when we leave she messes all over the house! We started crate training (I was against this for years but the messes are out of control now) and my little dog loves her crate now. We call it her house and now she even sleeps in it at night with the door open. Good luck with your little ones.

      • Natalie Lester says:

        Sarah, Apparently problems like Lincoln’s are more widespread than we thought! I have been doing the same thing with Emma while we’re potty training, and we call it her house too! She loves it and I often find her playing there even when I’m at home!Thanks for reading! ;)

  2. kara says:

    I need some tips as well. I have two small dogs and they have 576 sqf of running space. They refuse to potty in the kennel unless they can no longer hold it. As soon as I let them in they take a big crap! I have found the remote training collars to be useful. With these I can let the dogs run in the yard several times to potty then let them in with no accidents. Why do they do this?

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Kara, do your dogs sleep in the kennel? Usually dogs refuse to potty where they sleep, so maybe that is why they aren’t going to the bathroom outside. Have you considered giving them more time outside but not in the kennel? I’m glad the remote trainers have enhanced your relationship. Thanks for reading!

  3. kara says:

    They stay in the kennel during the day and sleep in my bed at night. :*) It’s impossible to keep them out of the bed cause they sneak in it in the middle of the night. I usually let them in the house from 4pm-7am and let them out around 9pm and 7pm..

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure. Maybe they need more time outside to take care of business before they come inside.

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