Training Your Dog to Potty in One Place

Training Your Dog to Potty in One Place
April 2, 2018

Training your dog to potty in one place can be a huge advantage! No more hours spent searching for dog messes to clean up, no more endless hours outside waiting for your dog to go; the benefits are endless!

  • Designate a ‘bathroom’ area in your yard, and mark it with a white, squared off clothes line (6- 12 foot is recommended) or a tree (something to alert both you and your dog to it’s location).
  • The first portion requires you to walk your dog over to this area when it is time for them to go, via lead; show him/ her what it is you want.
  • Every time your dog goes potty in this area, reward them with a small treat, but don’t reward any acts outside of the designated area. Be consistent- EVERY TIME!

In the beginning, your pet won’t understand why they are being rewarded, or what they did to earn it; just that they did something right to make you happy with them (such is the canine thought process).

 Pay Attention

Take your dog, on a leash, directly to the designated potty area every time they need to go. If they begin to go in the house, immediately take them to the designated area (if you are able to catch it in time).

Try to monitor your dog closely during this initial training period; it’s very important that you catch as many accidents as possible! Every time your dog potties in the house, or anywhere they shouldn’t be, it reinforces the idea that they can.

Correct undesired mistakes with direct eye contact and a stern ‘No’, but it’s not a good idea to go beyond that. Losing your temper and yelling will cause more anxiety than needed, and anything physical could induce fear.

 You should NEVER correct your dog with a physical reprimand!


From a Dog’s Point of View

Eventually, however, they will certainly catch on. See, from their point of view, they need to successfully potty in this area to earn that reward from you they enjoy so much; it is a very straightforward and rational way of thinking.

This is actually the exact same basic ideology nearly every reward- based trainer today uses, whether they realize it or not. Reward the dog for desired behavior, and eventually they will begin to expect and desire the reward; this is their driving force to perform.

For the Genius Dogs

In my opinion, all dogs are extremely intelligent animals. However, some dogs were selectively bred to perform more complex tasks than others, and thus tend to catch on to things you may not expect a bit quicker than other breeds. Border Collies or German Shepherds, for example, are highly intelligent dog breeds.

That being said, it’s possible your dog may not really have to go at all, but realize you will reward them if they go out to a particular spot.

If your dog doesn’t go to the bathroom, don’t reward them. If they urinate just enough to get your attention, don’t reward them.

Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning

In psychological terms, you’re training through ‘Operant Conditioning’, a theory conceived by psychologist B. F. Skinner. Skinner believed that the best way to understand behavior was to look at the causes of a behavior, and its’ consequences; he set out to identify the processes which made certain behaviors more likely to occur.Operants can be described as ‘initial actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment.