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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
I adopted an older dog recently who's already been house broken. 90% she will only pee/poop on our walks. The other 10%, she will go in our yard. She recently had two accidents in the house overnight while everyone was asleep. I'm afraid she won't be able to hold it in over night and have more accidents as she gets older. Any advice on how to teach her it's okay to pee/poop on a pad indoors. I bought puppy pads for her but I'm thinking about getting those faux grass matts. I saw some some sprays like these
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Do they work at all?
 

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Have you had her checked over by the vet? Sometimes changes in potty behavior are a sign of a treatable issue, like a UTI or a painful condition (arthritis, for example) that's creating stress. I'd definitely rule that out before going through the trouble of changing the potty rules.
 

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Have her checked out by a vet first thing.
And, as for your question --- this is not something you want to do. Do not change the potty rules on a dog of this age. An older dog who is properly housetrained will not easily transition to peeing on puppy pads, and I cannot imagine why you would want that anyway. If you attempt to train her that way you will seriously confuse her and the only thing she may learn from it is that it is OK to go in the house, so she will goo in the house but not necessarily on the pads. Very often people ask how to train their dogs not to pee everywhere in the house after training them to use puppy pads.

Just take her outside more often if she gets a clean bill of health and doesn't have a UTI. Older creatures of all types need to urinate more often, and taking her out to let her do that is part of caring for an older dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have her checked out by a vet first thing.
And, as for your question --- this is not something you want to do. Do not change the potty rules on a dog of this age. An older dog who is properly housetrained will not easily transition to peeing on puppy pads, and I cannot imagine why you would want that anyway. If you attempt to train her that way you will seriously confuse her and the only thing she may learn from it is that it is OK to go in the house, so she will goo in the house but not necessarily on the pads. Very often people ask how to train their dogs not to pee everywhere in the house after training them to use puppy pads.

Just take her outside more often if she gets a clean bill of health and doesn't have a UTI. Older creatures of all types need to urinate more often, and taking her out to let her do that is part of caring for an older dog.
Thank you for the input! She got checked by a vet. Clean bill of health. She had one accident in the past 2 months. I think she just drank too much water before bed. I just want her to know it's okay to pee indoors (on the pad) and that she doesn't have to hold it until we go for a walk.
 

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I would put the effort into teaching her to go in your yard rather than on walks. That will allow for quick potty runs right before going to bed, etc. Currently, you need to dedicate so much time each day to go for a walk so she can potty. As she gets older, she will need to go more frequently - meaning you'll need to make more time to go for walks. And let's face it a 10 minute walk at 10:30 pm in a storm is not enjoyable. It's much nicer to get her to run out into her fenced yard, go potty and come back in.

If she gets used to going in the yard, you can offer her more frequent potty breaks. Walks can then focus more on the sights and smells rather than looking for a place to go. And, your neighbors will be appreciative.

To do that, take her out and sit quietly while she walks a bit. Leave one of her poops there for a full day to remind her it's OK to go there during each trip out. When you see that she is getting ready to go, say "go poop" or "go pee". She will start to connect those with the act, so soon you'll be able to take her outside, say " go pee" and she'll get to business. When she goes, praise her profusely. If she is hesitant, you might invite a neighbor dog over to potty - the smell of another dog's potty can quickstart her willingness to go in the yard.

My dogs go in the yard 99% of the time. I send them out to potty first thing in the morning, after meals, before car rides, before walks, when they ask, and right before bed. As Tornado-dog is only 10 months old, I still have to sit outside for the first and last trips of the day to make sure he doesn't get sidetracked with fun and games, but during the day, I just let the both out back (it's fenced) until they ask to come back in.
 
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Okay, if it's happening that rarely, my personal preference would either be to monitor her drinking and make an extra pre-bed walk to really empty her on days she's drinking more, or teach her a signal to go out that will be able to wake you up at night, like hitting a bell. I'm a light sleeper and have the dogs in my room, so when someone's shifting around, whiny, scratches the door, or is otherwise unsettled, it's easy to get up and let them out, and they both like their sleep enough that they don't usually disturb me unless they really do need something (well, the younger one took a bit to get there - we did go through a "I want to sit outside and sniff the wind at 2AM" phase when he was a puppy).

If you do want to offer her an indoor potty spot, my preference is something like the Potty Patch fake grass style setups, or more of a litterbox with low-dust newspaper or wood pellets. Something that looks and feels nothing like anything else in your home, and with sides that make splashing and aim issues less likely. If she's a bigger dog, this will require a good bit of dedicated space to make sure she can comfortably use it without the risk of sticking her butt over the edge. Puppy pads, in my experience, are too easily confused for rugs, bath mats, a shirt accidentally left on the floor, etc., at least when it comes to using them with baby puppies. I'd try setting it up outside first (or bringing it out whenever the weather allows, if it can't get wet like pellet litter), and encouraging her to pee in it until she's using it comfortably and regularly, then move it inside and either keep a little pee in it or keep some soiled litter. That way you're not spending money on products, and it smells like HER potty spot, not just any generic potty spot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you do want to offer her an indoor potty spot, my preference is something like the Potty Patch fake grass style setups, or more of a litterbox with low-dust newspaper or wood pellets. Something that looks and feels nothing like anything else in your home, and with sides that make splashing and aim issues less likely. If she's a bigger dog, this will require a good bit of dedicated space to make sure she can comfortably use it without the risk of sticking her butt over the edge. Puppy pads, in my experience, are too easily confused for rugs, bath mats, a shirt accidentally left on the floor, etc., at least when it comes to using them with baby puppies. I'd try setting it up outside first (or bringing it out whenever the weather allows, if it can't get wet like pellet litter), and encouraging her to pee in it until she's using it comfortably and regularly, then move it inside and either keep a little pee in it or keep some soiled litter. That way you're not spending money on products, and it smells like HER potty spot, not just any generic potty spot.
That's a good idea. I'm having such a difficult time to train her to potty even in the yard. She just won't go and gets really bored. I was wondering if you think the sprays work. Would they trigger a response for her to go?
 

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That's a good idea. I'm having such a difficult time to train her to potty even in the yard. She just won't go and gets really bored. I was wondering if you think the sprays work. Would they trigger a response for her to go?
Is there a reason you cannot take her for a walk to potty? I don't mean a real walk each time, obviously, but just down the road a little ways, maybe 5 minutes, until she pees? This would be the most simple thing, and my philosophy with old dogs is always to keep everything as simple and comfortable for them as possible.
 

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I've never used any kind of potty attractant spray, so I can't speak to their effectiveness. I suspect a lot depends on the individual dog. Since those products try to mimic dog urine scent, a dog who is very into marking over other dog's pee spots will probably be more likely to respond to such a product than a dog who doesn't care about marking. Typically intact males are the most enthusiastic markers, and spayed females the least, but there's definitely many dogs who fall outside that pattern, so you'll have to consider your girl's behaviors and potty preferences.

It will definitely be trickier to teach her to potty in a specific spot indoors if she's not already reliably pottying in a spot in your yard. You can try putting peeing/pooping on cue, but expect it to take some time. While 'old dogs can't learn new tricks' is largely untrue, older dogs do have many more years of ingrained habits than a puppy or young dog, so disrupting those habits to create new ones can take longer. This is especially true if she's ever been punished for pottying indoors, which of course you have no way of knowing for most adult rescues. As others have said, providing more frequent short potty walks, especially right before bed, may well be the easier route.

Another thing that's come to mind, if the nighttime peeing becomes a frequent occurrence and the vet continues to find no treatable medical cause behind it (some older dogs wind up with cognitive decline that can affect their potty habits, but can't really be cured, like human dementia), you could also confine her overnight to a space that's easy to clean up or completely covered with an absorbent material. In this case you wouldn't really be teaching her to potty there - you wouldn't reward her or encourage pottying there - just managing the problem to make it easier and more sanitary for both of you. Just make sure the space is big enough for her to not be forced to lie in her mess - small spaces can help teach a dog with a normally functioning bladder to hold it longer, but if she's struggling due to age then it's not fair to put her in that position.
 

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That's a good idea. I'm having such a difficult time to train her to potty even in the yard. She just won't go and gets really bored. I was wondering if you think the sprays work. Would they trigger a response for her to go?
If she's not pottying in the yard, then she's not going to potty in a box or on a mat.

She has been taught to potty on walks. It has become ingrained that she needs to walk in order to potty. In order to change her habits at all, you have to retrain her first to go potty without the walk. You need to start from the beginning and take her out in the yard first thing in the morning (when her bladder is fullest) and encourage her to pee. When she does, praise her profusely. Take her into the yard to potty BEFORE you take her for walks. Take her into the yard to potty after each meal. And take her to potty in the yard right before bed.

This is why I don't recommend potty walks for puppies - because they grow up needing the walk in order to pee and poop. Use the yard for potties and the walks for enjoyment and life ends up much simpler.

As for the sprays, I wouldn't bother buying what is readily available for free. A neighbor's dog can easily provide the necessary scent to encourage her. The easiest way is to invite the dog over for a potty break one day. Otherwise, just ask the neighbor for a "sample" and plop it in the yard.
 
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