Pet Dog World contains affiliate links. If you click one of these links I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, thank you! Please see my Disclosure Policy for further information.

Training dogs can be difficult, especially if you want them to form new habits. Many people will teach their dogs tricks, but what about teaching your dog not to use the bathroom in the house? This will always be a challenge for new puppy owners, so here are five tips to help you properly train a dog to use the bathroom outside.

How to Train a Dog to Use the Bathroom Outside

Positive Reinforcement

Whenever you train a dog to do something, you need to use positive reinforcement. This means you should react positively when your dog does something you want him or her to do. For example, if your dog uses the bathroom while outside, you can pet your dog, smile, and say “good boy/girl” in a happy tone.

If you do this, you will show your dog that you like it when he or she uses the bathroom while outside. If you leave *dog pads in your house so your puppy won’t have an accident, you shouldn’t react positively when your dog uses them. This way, your dog realizes you won’t give the same praise when he or she uses the dog pad.

Use Incentives

On top of using positive reinforcement, you should also provide your dog with some incentives. For example, you could use a bone, treat, or something else your dog likes to convince him or her to use the bathroom while outside. First, you should show your dog that you’re bringing treats outside, and you should immediately reward your dog when he or she uses the bathroom.

When you use a treat as an incentive, you teach your dog that good behaviour leads to rewards. Your dog will quickly pick up on the fact that you will provide a treat when he or she uses the bathroom outside. Make sure you continue to use this incentive and then slowly transition to positive reinforcement when your dog gets into the habit you expect from him or her.

Avoid Scolding and Anger

You may wonder what you should do if your dog accidentally uses the bathroom while inside. Many of us think we should scold our dogs and get angry, but this isn’t the right response. Instead, you shouldn’t say anything. Then, clean up the mess and immediately take your dog outside. Doing so will give your dog the opportunity to use the bathroom so you can give some more positive reinforcement.

Most dogs won’t realize why you’re angry. Instead, they will become afraid and stressed out since dogs won’t always understand why you got angry. This means you need to avoid scolding your dog or getting angry so your dog can learn in a positive way. Otherwise, you will make your dog upset for no reason.

Contain Your Dog at Night

As you train your dog, he or she may end up having accidents at night. This is expected since puppies are still learning to control their bladders, but you will still want to contain the accidents when possible. You can easily contain your dog at night by putting him or her into a *crate or *playpen. This way, your dog won’t have any accidents in other parts of the house.

The crate works well if you want to keep your puppy right next to your bed but you don’t want him or her to have an accident on your bed. If you have a master bedroom with a bathroom nearby, you can put your puppy in there with some blankets and other comforts. Once you’re confident that your dog is properly house trained, you can let your dog sleep in your bed or in another spot.

Be Consistent

As you train your dog to use the bathroom outside, you will need to be consistent. Make sure you keep giving your dog treats as you continue to encourage and work through the process. You will also need to take your dog outside regularly so he or she will have plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom.

Remember that training will take time, so you need to remain consistent and patient. Working through this will help your dog to learn faster, and you will instil these habits into him or her. The process will be stressful and difficult at times, but you need to continue working hard so your dog will learn to use the bathroom outside.


Even though training your dog will be difficult at times, you can guide yourself by using these five tips. Feel free to apply these different tips so your dog can learn to use the bathroom when you both go outside.

How to train a dog to use the bathroom outside
Share with your friends!