How To Train Your Dog To Poop In a Designated Area

How To Train Your Dog To Poop In a Designated Area

Learn how to train your dog to poop in one spot today. Choose a spot you designate for your dog to poop in one spot, then in that spot the dog will often return to that particular area to relieve itself.

Teaching your dog to poop in one designated spot is beneficial for the grass in your yard as well as making clean up easy for you. You can reserve special spaces in your yard specifically for your dog to poop.

Giving your dog his own bathroom space will keep the rest of your yard open and free of poop. So you will not have to worry about children playing in or stepping in your dog’s mess before you can clean it up.

Keeping your dog’s poop in one area of your yard can save your grass too. You can train your dog to poop in one area of grassy space, or you can teach your dog to poop specifically in rocks away from social spaces within your yard.

City-dwelling dogs or tiny breeds can also be trained to poop in one area of your home or apartment to avoid concrete walks outside or extreme weather conditions. Having a dog that will go to the bathroom in a designated place is a real advantage.

No yellow stains marking up the lawn, no standing outside for hours waiting for your dog to go, a handy travel cue to take with you on trips; the benefits are endless! Dogs can make a mess of your yard when they relieve themselves anywhere they want.

Dog pee causes brown spots on grass and makes your lawn less attractive there’s also the chance that you’ll miss some poop with the scoop, only to step in it later. Plus, it’s not very sanitary or appealing to spend time in the yard if your dog does its business anywhere and everywhere, a particular concern for parents. Fortunately, you can teach your dog to relieve itself in a designated potty area.

What should you do when training your dog

1 Choose a spot

Choose a dog potty spot outside of the high traffic areas of your yard. The spot you designate should be appropriate for the size of your dog you want to be potty trained.

A small area might be fine for a toy or small breed dog, but larger breeds are going to need more space. Your dog won’t want to keep peeing and pooping in a tiny area that becomes very smelly and dirty. Sometimes, a dog will choose its own spot.

If your dog often returns to a particular area to relieve itself, try to make this the toilet area. Just make sure the chosen spot is realistic for you and your desired yard use.

Dog pee pads you can order online

 2 Keep the area clean

It’s important that the dog owner or trainer keeps the dog’s toilet area clean. You can leave one pile in the area during training to let your dog know that’s the right spot. But make sure not to leave any more than that. If the area gets too soiled, your dog may look to relieve itself somewhere else.

Stain & Odor Eliminator spray

Pooper Scooper

3 Train to go on command

One of the easiest ways to train a dog to go potty in one spot is to train it to go on command. Take your dog on a leash to the spot you want it to use, and say the cue word. Keep the dog in that spot until it goes, then offer a reward. Only reward the dog when it goes in that particular spot.

4 Confine to one spot

Just as you don’t allow a dog who isn’t house trained to have a free run of the house, a dog not trained to go in one spot shouldn’t have a free run of your yard. The best way to keep your dog from going outside of the area you choose is for the dog owners to keep on a leash. Stand in the spot you’ve chosen, and wait until the dog goes.

Don’t let it explore other areas of the yard until that happens. You can also use temporary fencing to block off the area. Place your dog within the enclosed area and give the potty cue. Let your dog out of the enclosure once it has done its business.

Make Sure You Reward good behavior when they go potty

If your dog relieves itself in the right spot, give him a treat. As soon as the dog goes, praise and let it off leash to have some playtime in the yard. If your dog doesn’t go, take it back inside and try again later. Don’t allow your dog the run of the yard if it has not gone potty yet. There are 1000’s of dog treat’s on Amazon to choose from, who knew there were so many products. Just take a quick look here. 

Read your dogs body language

During the times you allow your dog playtime, make sure there is a person there to supervise. Keep an eye on the dog’s body language. Most dogs give a sign that they’re about to relieve themselves. The pace or spin or sniff.

If you notice your dog engaging in any of these behaviors outside of the designated potty area, interrupt it and bring it to the right spot. If your dog eliminates before you can stop it, then stop playtime and bring the pup indoors. If the dog holds it and does its business in the proper area, remember to reward.

Basics of potty on command for your dog

Getting potty on command is pretty easy. Your dog already does the behavior you’re looking for (peeing and pooping), so all you need to do is grab some treats and capture it! Capturing is all about pinpointing the exact moment your dog does what you want it to do. It’s like taking a photo of that moment. (Because you’ve always wanted many photos of your dog going to the bathroom).

Pick the word you’re going to use that will mean “go pee” to your dog. You could use the classic “go potty”, the police dog cue “empty”, or “abracadabra!” It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say it consistently. Figure out when your dog most predictably goes to the bathroom. The three big pee motivators are: Waking up, playing, and drinking.

What goes in must come out and by setting a schedule for your dog you can predict when he/she will need to go outside. Knowing that your dog needs to go to the bathroom is key in capturing the behavior.

When your dog needs to eliminate, leash him/her up and relocate to your designated potty spot. This could be a corner of your backyard, the tree in front of your building, or the curb. If you have any fear that your dog might go before you get to the curb or wherever, pick him up and carry him there (if you can — if you have a Great Pyrenees, this will not be possible!).

Wait for your dog to go. Give him no attention as you pace quietly back and forth by the pee spot. When he squats or lifts his leg wait, for him to finish. As he’s finishing happily say your cue word “GO POTTY!”

When he is done, give a marker (a verbal “Yes!” or the click of a clicker), then lavish him with praise and something really yummy. After a week or two give the cue “go potty!” just before the pee happens but still wait to “Yes” or click until after he’s completely finished.

(Otherwise, your marker might distract him from finishing his business midway.) One big tip: While you’re teaching this behavior, don’t accidentally punish the “go potty” by returning inside immediately after your dog eliminates it. Give lots of praise, toss the ball once or twice, or walk your dog down to the corner and back to let him sniff his favorite spots for 30 to 60 seconds. Once your dog has mastered the behavior, start to vary your rewards.

Only reward the quickest pees or the times when you tell him to go when his bladder is empty but he squats and squeezes a few drops out anyway. Every potty should earn praise, but the best ones should earn a ball toss or a special treat.

If you want to put bowel movements on cue as well, pick a different cue to use. You should have two separate cues for “go pee” and “go poo” as they are two different actions. Once your dog has the first elimination on command start working on the second elimination with a new cue. Peeing and pooping have never been so fun.

Defining tasks for your dog

Giving your dog a designated space to poop takes repetition, treats, and a little bit of time for your dog to get used to new routines. Plan a particular area before you begin to train your dog and avoid changing this particular pooping spot.

Especially within your home or your apartment, be sure to designate a special pooping spot for your dog, so he does not have accidents elsewhere where you do not want him to go. If your dog is already house trained, teaching a designated area may require a little bit of extra time because you are retraining and asking your dog to forget old habits.

However, if you have a puppy who is house training for the first time, setting your expectations with a place for your puppy to poop all the time instead of having free reign of your yard or home will be much quicker and part of the normal housetraining process.

Getting started with house training your dog

You will need a leash to direct your dog to the proper location for designated pooping. Also, be sure to have on hand a supply of special treats specifically for training your dog. As mentioned above, have your designated pooping area already planned out and decided upon before you begin this training, so you do not confuse your dog by changing spaces mid-training.

If you are training a new puppy, this may take up to six weeks to house train your dog.

However, part of the house training process will include using this designated space specifically for going potty. If you have an older dog used to having free reign of your yard or your home and you are trying to teach him one specific designated area for pooping.

You may require a little more time and patience before he understands the new habit and comprehends exactly what you expect each time he needs to poop. Discussed below are three specific methods that would help you train your dog better:

The designated area method

  • Choose a space specifically for your dog’s potty needs. This area should be free of distractions and kept clean. Take him to his specific area and use a verbal cue such as “Go potty.”
  • Stay in area Keep your dog in that area until he eliminates. Offer your pup a reward in the form of a treat and verbal praise.
  • Reward If you are trying to train your dog to go in one spot, bear in mind you may only want to offer the reward if he uses that spot.
  • Carry on with your day allowing your dog to play and rest.
  • After meals, when you return home from being away, and anytime your dog goes outside, take him to his special potty area. Using your command words such as “go potty,” leave your dog for a few minutes in this area and wait for him to poop.
  • The more your dog uses this space for pooping, the more the area will smell like him and remind him that this is his special potty place. However, be sure to keep it clean because if left with more than one pile of poop, your dog may begin to refuse the area and want to go elsewhere.
  • Reward your dog for good behavior and repeat the steps above. Pay attention to your dog during normal activities and watch his body language. Your puppy may spin around, pace, or wag his behind a little more when he has to eliminate. Knowing these signs will help you to get your dog to his potty place within an appropriate time.
  • If your puppy has an accident or poops outside of his designated area, clean it up quickly without punishing the dog.
  • Take your dog to his special potty place and repeat the steps above, rewarding him if he eliminates again.

The poop spot method

1. Once you have picked your designated poop spot for your dog, place a scoop of your dog’s poop in that spot and leave it in the area. Be sure other areas of your yard or space where your dog will frequent for play are clean of urine, poop, and pee pads

A good poop scooper and bags will come in handy! One I recommend is Petmate, it also comes with free bags. you can find it on Amazon here. It has 1000’s of great customer reviews. Or a local pet supply stores

2. Take your dog to the spot where you have left the poop and use its command such as “go potty.” If your dog begins to sniff around, reward him with praise, repeating the command “go potty.”

3. Avoid letting your dog play in this area and avoid letting your dog into other areas to play until he has pooped.

4. With the scent of the poop you have left in the area, your dog should begin to sniff around with interest and potentially poop there as well.

5. If your dog can poop when you show him his designated spot, give him verbal praise as well as a treat.

6. Avoid punishing your dog if he poops elsewhere. Offer verbal praise and a treat when your dog poops in his designated spot.

7. While your dog is learning that this is his special place to poop, keep at least one pile of poop in the area. However, keep the area clean otherwise because too much poop will deter your dog from wanting to go there.

8. If your dog has an accident elsewhere, clean it up quickly so he does not sniff and relate the space as a spot to use. Give your dog zero attention, praise, or treats. Be sure you are consistently taking your dog to the right area every time he needs to go potty.

9. Watch your dog after meals after waking and after playtime and be sure to visit the designated pooping spot with your dog during training, so he begins to understand that is his spot for pooping specifically.

The leash dog trainer method

  • With your dog on a leash, walk him to the designated poop spot and let him sniff around.
  • Every time you take your dog outside, use the leash, and walk him to the designated spot. Avoid letting your dog play in this area and use the leash to keep him confined to the specific space you have designated as his pooping spot until he has pooped.
  • Be sure to take him to the designated spot on his leash after mealtime, playtime, and waking from sleep.
  • Over time, your dog will get used to going to that specific spot every time he needs to poop. As your dog begins to walk himself to your designated pooping spot you may begin to let him go off his leash.
  • The first few times your dog is off his leash be sure to walk with him, encouraging him to use his designated poop spot. After several days of escorting him to the poop area off-leash, begin to let him go on his own.
  • If your dog begins to play in that area, encourage him to go elsewhere to play, and if your dog has an accident in a zone that is not the designated poop spot, clean it up and take him to your designated area.
  • If your dog has accidents elsewhere, clean up and ignore the behaviour.
  • Reward your dog’s positive behavior with praise and treats every time he poops in your designated spot.

Urban environment & dog training

City canines

So you don’t have a three-acre spread in the country — don’t feel bad. The rope trick can work for city folks, too; you just need to modify the circle to encompass the curb. After all, if you’re in the city, dogs must eliminate on the curb. City dog owners must clean up poops immediately.

Though there are designer pooper-scoopers on the market, I’ve found it very tidy to cover my hand with a plastic bag, pick up the poop, and then turn the bag inside out to surround the deposit.

Inside jobs

Do you have an indoor dog? The circle trick may not be necessary because your dog usually goes wherever the paper is placed. If you and your dog are seasoned travelers, however, a portable rope outlining the paper can help ease the travel transition for your dog.

Indoor potty-training your dog

While many owners toilet their dogs outside, indoor potty training is a viable option for small breeds, particularly those living in cold climates or in high-rise buildings. The following steps will help you get started:

Restrict your dog’s access inside the house

Keep him on a leash with you, in a free-standing pen on an easy-to-clean floor (while supervised), or in a properly-sized kennel.  When he looks as though he’s about to pee or poop, say “potty” (or whatever word you choose) and take him quickly to her pad. 

Give him lots of praise and a small treat when he “does her business” there.  Do not allow him free access to the house yet, as that will only result in making housetraining mistakes. If he pees or poops in the wrong areas, he will return to those areas more and more.

No punishment dog training

If your dog has an accident, simply take him quickly to his pad.  No yelling, no “bad dog” or other punishment. All that will do is teach him to poop and pee when you are not around (when it’s “safe”). 

Clean any soiled areas with an enzyme-based cleaner and follow label instructions carefully.

Set up your dogs “alone” room

When you can’t watch him, or when you are away from the house, leave your dog in a small bathroom with pads covering the entire floor. Leave him some water, toys, and some bedding to lie on. Do this for 2-3 days, then take away one of the pads (leaving all the others).  In two more days, take another pad away.  Two days later, remove another, and so on. 

The idea is to wean your dog off of each pad until there is only one left in the room.  If he pees outside of the remaining pads, put the rest back and start over. AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads are perfect and cheap. Take a look at the price here.

Feed your dog on a schedule

For dogs that eat twice a day, we recommend putting the food bowl down in the morning, wait 15 minutes, and then removing it, regardless of how much or how little he ate. 

He will learn to eat when his food is available, and be less likely to have accidents during the day. Take him to his pad regularly and wait for him to go.  We recommend every 2-3 hours, as well as the following sleep, play, and eating periods. 

Once again, reward him generously when he goes.  I would keep him on a leash to prevent him from wandering away:  simply stand with him at his spot, on a leash, and ignore him until he goes.  Give him 5 minutes, then take him away from the spot. Maintain this routine for about 2 weeks.  If he’s not having accidents at that point, begin to give him a little more freedom and continue to reward successful potty trips. 

If he begins to soil again, go back to the steps mentioned above.

Proofing your dog’s behavior

Proofing is the final step in training your dog in any new behavior. It involves practicing behaviors in a variety of situations with different levels of distraction.

You want your dog to stay wherever and whenever you give the command, not just in the room where you trained it, and this takes practice. Failing to proof behaviors is the reason why your dog may perform behaviors well in your living room, but seem to forget all its training the minute you leave the house.

Think like a dog

To understand why proofing is important, you must first be able to understand how your dog thinks. Dogs aren’t able to generalize the way people do. This simply means that your dog may understand what “sit” means when you give the command in your kitchen, but he may not understand that it means the same thing later on, or in a different place.

Imagine you are sitting at your dinner table, and your mother says, “Get your elbows off the table!” When she says this, you understand that this is the rule for all tables.

You need to keep your elbows off this table and the table at your aunt’s house and the table in a restaurant. But if you were able to tell your dog to get its paws off the table, it would understand only that it wasn’t allowed to put its paws on this table. Dogs are not able to generalize, so they won’t understand that the rule applies to every table.

When your dog is able to perform a behavior on command as perfectly at the dog park as it does it in your kitchen, you can consider the behavior proofed.

Add distractions and different settings

When you begin training your dog to do something new, you usually start off in an area that’s fairly quiet with very low distractions. Once your dog is able to respond quickly to command in this setting, it is time to add some distractions and new settings.

Do this slowly, and work on adding one new thing at a time. Let’s look at how you would prove the command “sit.” Practice the command until your dog is able to respond to the “sit” command fairly quickly. Then begin to slowly add new things. You can start by adding some distractions.

Have another family member come into the room. Practice several times, and then turn on the television while you practice.

Slowly add more distracting things to his environment, like other dogs, running children, and loud noises. Do all this while practicing the “sit” command.

Once your dog is able to sit quickly on command with some distraction, begin practicing in different places, such as another room, the backyard, and the neighbor’s house.

Keep each training session to about 10 minutes, and stay upbeat. After you have practiced a behavior with different amounts of distraction and in a variety of locations, your dog should have a really good grasp of the behavior.

It should now be able to perform the behavior as well at any location as it does in your living room. Once you’ve gotten to this point, the behavior is proofed. If your dog is struggling with a behavior, after about 10 minutes have gone by, you’re probably not going to get it to complete the action.

End the training session with an easy command it already knows, so your dog doesn’t feel like they are being punished. Resume the training when the dog has had a break and can concentrate.

Problems with dog proofing

One of the biggest mistakes owners make when training their dogs is inconsistency. If a dog is not allowed on the bed, but you occasionally let it come on the bed, you’re not reinforcing the rule, and the dog will remember the instance when it was allowed on the bed.

This is how a lot of dogs learn to beg at the table. Someone, at some point, has dropped food on the floor or fed the dog from the table. Your dog remembers that instance and will wait for it to occur again.

Being consistent with training also means being thorough. If you command your dog to sit, and it only sits for a few seconds, or gets halfway down on the floor but doesn’t actually sit down, this is not behavior to reward. Instead, Make sure you keep practicing the command until the dog sits and remains sitting until you reward it.

Related questions

Why does my dog circle before going potty?

Dogs might go around in circles prior to eliminating as a means of getting their digestive systems ready for the task. By engaging in a little physical activity beforehand, dogs might be able to encourage a fast and smooth elimination experience.

Furthermore, dog feet are equipped with handy scent glands. They employ these glands for labelling their turf. By walking around his future elimination site in repetitive circles, your pet might simply be leaving a scent trail behind; essentially communicating to the world that he owns the toilet area.

Dogs might even circle before eliminating as a relic of their wild origins. If a dog out in nature has to “go potty” in a setting chock full of plants, circling can be a way of smoothing the area out and therefore making for a comfortable and tidier bathroom experience.

Why does my dog stare at me when he poops?

The number one purpose that staring at you while doing number two serves for dogs is protection and security. By maintaining eye contact with you, your dog is probably trying to make sure you’re on the lookout for predators while he’s relieving himself.

In the wild, predators can take advantage of this vulnerable position, and having a fellow pack member on the lookout is helpful. By locking eyes with you, your dog is making sure you’re doing your due diligence to protect him from predators.

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