How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house {Updated for 2022}

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How to keep your dog from pooping inside

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house – it’s easier than you might think!

First, you’ll have to ask yourself if any of the following apply:

  • Could there be medical reasons like parasites or even cancer?
  • Is your puppy not housebroken yet?
  • Could your senior dog be dealing with dementia?
  • Does your pup not get enough outside potty opportunities?
  • Does your dog have the run of the house?
  • Is your dog allowed to graze?
  • Are you feeding a poor quality diet?
Does your dog poop in the house? What to do!

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated in 2022. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house: Rule out Medical Reasons first

The first step of action should be to rule out any medical issues.

Ask your veterinarian for advice and take your pup in for a check-up. 

Your pup could be bothered by:

  • internal parasites
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • inflammatory bowel disease

An injury or a tumor might be another cause for your pup’s fecal incontinence.

Older dogs with dementia have trouble remembering where they’re allowed to go potty, so that’s something to keep in mind.

The easiest solution is to let them go outside for potty breaks on a very regular basis. For example, every 2-3 hours.

If that’s not an option, keep them in an area that’s easy to clean. For example, in your tiled kitchen. You can keep them in that space with baby gates.

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house: Look at Behavioral Reasons next!

Once your pup’s health has been cleared, ask yourself why she could be prompted to poop inside. 

Does she simply not have enough access to the outdoors or are you missing her signs when she’s “telling” you she has to go?

Some dogs have to poop fairly soon after their meals, so you may have to take her out 15-20 minutes after a meal.

Are you leaving your pup home alone for too long? Your dog’s age lets you know how long on average she’ll be able to “hold it”. 

A healthy adult dog should be able to wait a few hours before having to relieve himself (never to exceed 6 hours, tops!). 

A young puppy will have to go potty on a much more frequent basis; every hour until she’s 8 weeks old. 

Your pups’ age in months will determine how long she can wait before she has to go potty. For example, a:

  • 2 month old puppy can hold it for 2 hours
  • 3 month old puppy can hold it for 3 hours, and so on.
  • Never ask your pup to hold it for more than 6 hours, that’s unfair and cruel.
How to keep your dog from pooping inside

How to keep your dog from pooping inside: Outdoors Time

Your pup should be given the opportunity to explore the outdoors at least four times every day. 

If you’re unable to take your dog out on a regular basis due to a full schedule, you’ll have to come up with a plan B. 

You could ask a neighbor or a friend for help, or you could hire a professional dog walker. I used to work as a professional dog walker and had lots of midday clients where I’d pop by for 20 minutes to give their pups a potty break.

If you have a doggie day camp nearby, you could drop your dog off there on your way to work and then pick them back up on your way home. This is not a good option for shy dogs or those who don’t get along with other pups, but it works great for well-socialized, friendly dogs.

There’s also the added bonus of having a pooped puppy on your hands at the end of the day, pun intended!

K9sOverCoffee | Walking 2 Client Dogs On A Head Collar
Walking 2 client dogs to keep them from pooping inside

Should I punish my dog for pooping inside?

No, you should never yell or physically scold your pup for pooping inside the house.

Why not?

Because you’ll achieve the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. 

Your dog will learn not to trust you, fear you, and not to go potty in front of you, so please don’t push their nose into their accident.

That’s an obsolete, ineffective, and cruel way of “housebreaking” dogs.

Should I punish my dog for pooping inside?

Instead, use encouragement and positive reinforcement each time your dog does her business in the right spot. 

You can do that by associating a potty-specific command when she takes care of business. For example, “Go Potty”, “Get Busy”, or something similar. 

Praise her correct behavior with an enthusiastic “Yes! Good girl/boy”, and your dog will be as proud of her behavior as you are!

Unless you catch your dog in the act of doing her business inside, getting upset about it is absolutely pointless. 

Calmly take her outside and WAIT until she does her business there, say the potty command the moment she goes, then praise. 

You can also reward your pup with a yummy dog training treat for taking care of business in the right spot! I like to keep mine in a dog treat pouch that easily clips to my pants or that I can wear as a cross-body bag. Either way is super handy!

Once back inside, thoroughly clean up the accident with an enzymatic cleaner. You’ll want to do that to remove any odor traces. Those can entice her to go in the same area over and over again!

Two of my favorite enzymatic cleaners are Spot Shot and Nature’s Miracle.

Both work great to get rid of:

  • Urine
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
K9sOverCoffee | How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house: Non-toxic carpet cleaner Spot Shot
Enzymatic cleaner Spot Shot is one of my favorites to get rid of pee & poop odors

If you catch your pup in the act, say “NO” in a firm but calm voice (don’t yell!), take her outside, and repeat above mentioned steps.

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house: Restrict your dog’s access to your home

Does your dog have access to the entirety of your home?

A dog’s instinct tells him not to soil his sleeping quarters, so restricting the rooms and areas he has access to will keep him from doing that. 

Close all rooms with doors, and use baby gates or similar obstacles to keep him out of open spaces and ultimately out of trouble! 

You can also crate your pup while he’s home alone – it saved my sanity back in the days when my first puppies Missy & Buzz moved in with me at 8 weeks of age.

K9sOverCoffee | How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house:Puppies Missy and Buzz in their crate
Puppies Missy & Buzz in their crate

There could be Nutritional Reasons for your pup’s accidents!

Does your dog have an established feeding routine?

Many dogs are free-fed, meaning they are allowed to “graze” on their food throughout the day. 

The problem with this is that it’s much harder to  predict your dog’s pooping behavior!

Instead, establish regular meal times.

For example, at 7 am and 7 pm. That leaves you and your dog with a much smaller time window of when to expect a bowel movement.

How to establish a feeding routine for your dog

It’s easy to transition your dog from free-feeding to eating twice per day. 

Give him 10-15 minutes to finish the food you place in front of him. After that time, put it up and don’t bring it back out until the next scheduled meal.

I promise he’ll catch on very quickly that the food disappears after 10-15 minutes. And just FYI, healthy dogs won’t starve themselves to death!

Feeding a high-quality dog food is another factor in the pooping equation. 

Unlike cheap commercial dog foods, raw dog food contains less carbohydrates, which means that your pup can actually absorb more of the nutrients. 

The result is a much smaller amount of poop!

I’ve been feeding my pups raw dog food since 2015 and swear by it.

How to keep your dog from pooping inside the house: Stimulate your dog’s Digestive System  

How do you stimulate your dog’s digestive system?

By walking!

Establish a walking routine. Take your dog for a 30-45 minute morning walk before breakfast every day. It will stimulate his digestive system and give him enough time to relieve himself.

A beautiful side effect of daily walks is the bonding time with your best friend, all while exercising together and getting rid of pent-up energy!

You can even increase their workout by adding a backpack.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally on a walk with his dog backpack from One Tigris
My dog Wally with his One Tigris Dog Backpack

Do you have any additional advice of how to keep your dog from pooping inside? Please share it in the comment section below!

Related Reading:

How to combine house-and crate training your puppy

Why is my dog constipated on raw dog food?

What’s poop got to do with it – Understanding coprophagia & solutions

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Y’all!

    I’m a senior now, but I still get to go out at least 4 times a day. Weather permitting, we go for a hike or long walk everyday. My Human says when I get to be an “elderly” I’ll need more “outs”. Oh, and you’re never too old to get a treat for “do potty”.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. This is a great post! I can see why you highlighted it today! Pretty much all of this advice is applicable for me, as we’ve had some ups and downs on this item. It usually is related to when I’m off schedule and then left by myself for a small amount of time.

    Only thing I would note is that 45 minutes is on the high end of exercise for little guys like me; I hear larger dogs have a higher threshold and need more exercise.

    Thanks for all the pawsome tips!