Why Is My Dog Peeing in the House and How to Stop Them

Is your dog making the inside of your house a maze of wet spots and pungent smells? Sometimes even a seasoned member of the family that’s been house-trained for years can regress, and start relieving themselves on carpeting and floors. Experts have identified several triggers for this behavior, and even have recommendations to correct the issue of dogs peeing in the house. Read on to learn why this might be happening and how to stop it so you don’t have to live with unplanned accidents.

small dog wrapped up in toilet paper


When your dog reverts to peeing in the house, it’s in response to some issue. Often, the introduction of a new child or new pet into the home may upset the dog, who begins to have accidents as a result. Strangers, such as workmen, may cause your dog some confusion or distress as well. Even the smell of a new carpet can inspire your dog to mark it and make it familiar.

Health problems can also explain this behavior. Female dogs can have bladder control issues due to low estrogen levels, especially if they are spayed or older. Some medications can cause this problem along with serious medical issues like tumors and kidney disease. A trip to the vet can determine if a physical issue is causing the problem. If not, you need to focus on the behavioral issues that can cause a dog to urinate indoors.

dog sitting next to urine stain on carpet with a disapproving finger pointed in their direction


Training or retraining your dog to relieve themselves outside will require some diligence on your part. Try taking the following steps to alter your pet’s behavior and protect your home and your sanity.

Watch for Peeing Signs. Dogs usually have obvious “tells” before they relieve themselves. Watch your dog closely and intervene if you see them sniffing the floor, cocking their leg, or even circling. Get them outside pronto and keep them there until they do the deed. Then, lay on the love and praise. They need to associate outside urination with your approval.

Interrupt the Act. This one sounds messy, but if you make a loud noise when you catch them, they may stop peeing inside long enough for you to get them outside. Don’t let them continue or punish them afterward. Get them outdoors and then praise them for finishing the job there.

Remove the Smell. As a dog owner, you know that dogs who urinate in the house will return to the same spots over and over again due to the smell. Their urine contains an enzyme that powerfully marks the spot. Simply cleaning the area won’t get rid of this special scent. Fortunately, you can use a number of homemade concoctions or pet stain removal products to eliminate the enzyme.

small dog sitting on floor next to small urine spot

Water Spray

Sometimes spraying your dog with water when they begin peeing in the house will discourage them from this behavior. The water is unpleasant but doesn’t hurt them or browbeat them. The shock should stop their urination long enough to get them outside to finish. Then, of course, you must praise them for going outdoors.

Dogs who have been house-trained since they were puppies can regress later in life. Sometimes, they have physical issues that need to be addressed by a vet. If they get a clean bill of health, you will need to retrain them to go outside. Punishing your dog does not work. Encouragement and praise are effective. You will have to be vigilant, but you can get your dog properly house-trained again.

Now that you know the most common reasons why dogs start urinating in the house and how to deal with it, try the tips we listed in this article. If your dog does not take to the listed methods and continues the bad behavior, it is in your best interest to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.

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  • My one -year-old Pitbull continues to pee in the house whenever we are not looking he has a doggie door and large backyard it’s driving us crazy could the fact that he is not neutered have anything to do with it we cannot seem to resolve the problem any helpful recommendations would be greatly appreciated

    • Yes. Neuter him. That should help a lot.

      • I have the same issue and she is a spade female!

  • Our 8 year old also also has,started peeing indoors. Up furniture and hallway up the wall. I have tried encouraging him to go outside a lot, give treats when he comes in if weed but he seems to always do it every day now and at night time mainly

  • I have a 9month old male GSD and a 16week male GSD. They get along great. The 16 wk old is potty trained for the most part. The only problem we are having is that when the 2 are playing, he will just stop and pee. This is even if we have taken him out just 5 min before. We have never had this kind of problem in our 30+years of having dogs. Our 9month old is potty trained and only had 1 accident in the house, ever. HELP! I take the 16week out at least 1 hr, while we are home. I work out of my house. He can sleep all night without having to go out as well. He only does this when they are playing. Is this a dominance issue because they are both males? Also, they are brothers from the same parents, just 6 months apart.

  • Not helpful as my dog only does it at night no matter how many times he’s been outside he’s 8 years old and fit and well

  • My dog is 7 and just had bladder test and urine culture. The smell inside is awful on my couch blanket and front hall! He usually scratches at door but when no one around living room…he pees on same part of floor….may have to give him away to someone with fenced yard!!!

  • My problem is my dog pees in the house everytime i come home from work. Any other time she will go outside. Any advice i can get will be so helpfull please and thank you

    • Any help on this problem my female dog is 12

      • Yes, any response? Mine is 11, female, min pin, spayed…good health

  • My 3yr old Maltese always urinates upstairs on the carpet when we leave the house. She has a doggy door which she will always use when we are home so she can get outside but chooses not to when she is home on her own. I dont know how to stop this.
    She has been desexed

  • Our 12 year old Shepherd passed away a week ago and our 4 year old Shepher/Malanois mix peed on the bed without
    indicating that she needed to be let outside. Could this regression be a sign of grief? How do you retrain? More
    frequent times to go outside? The 4 year old is not showing any other signs of grief such as loss of appetite or not wanting to play. But, the Shepherd was her constant companion and playmate since we adopted her at 3 months, so I
    want to be sure that I am not missing any needs she may have during this period with the whole family is really feeling the loss.

  • My little Yorkie is seven and he can go out all day peeing but still comes in and pees on anything in the house his bed my doors flooring carpets sometimes I can see it other times not it is really getting me down

  • the question I am asking is why dog pee when my wife go out and leave her with our son german shepherd cross

  • my 2 year old dog came from an Iranian rescue center so he doesnt know that he is supposed to pee outside how do I help with that

  • My 4 yr old pit mix goes every night outside before I lock up… Then in the middle of the night will pee on the LR carpet. I replaced the carpet after cleaning and sealing. Also put waterproof pad down.however, it started again. How do I stop this. I’ve blocked off the LR at night and it helped, but when I thought it was safe, I left LR open only to find another pee spot… Each time just waking up to open blinds… NOT a way I want to wake 🙁 thanks!!

  • I have a three year old Rottweiler who has started peeing in the house, the back door into the yard is always open and he does go out but then comes back in and pees. What can I do

  • I am trying to Housetraining my dog in an apartment complex. He is a four month old Pitbull. I live on the fourth floor of the complex so he usually pee’s before I can make it to the elevator on the concrete. Is there any way to stop or prevent this.

  • I inherited my mom’s 11 year old PomaPoo, she’s neutered, she knows how to use the dog door, but she continually squats throughout the house to pee. How can I fix this problem? I put diapers on her at night, putting them on during the day is a problem when she goes outside to pee & they are expensive.

  • Hello I recently bought a five yearold male border terrier ,not considering that he had been kept outside though?,anyway if I am out he will wee inside ,not all the time though, he has another border male to keep him company.

  • My 6 month old puppy … WILL NOT STOP PEEING … It dives me crazy and I cant find a way to make him stop

  • My 10 year old rescue rat terrier won’t stop urinating on my walls. He is causing the baseboard to rot, and I’ll have to replace it before I move. I have tried all types of cleaning products and he still wets that area. What can I do?

  • I’m having some issues with my dog peeing/pooping in other peoples houses. He’s 2years old 4.5lbs Pomeraian. I peepad trained him since he was a puppy and he’s always been using them. In my home he pees 100% of the time on the pads (unless there isn’t one down, then he pees in the place where the pad usually sits). When he’s in other people’s homes, including my boyfriends that he’s been staying in for over 1.5yrs that has a peepad down in the same spot for 1.5yrs. When he’s at my boyfriends – he gets it on the pad 80% of the time and 20% randomly pees in the bedrooms. When he’s in other people’s homes, it’s 70%-30% towards peeing inside their home (even if a peepad is down). 
    In addition to him being peepad trained, I also take him out in the mornings before I leave for work, and I always say “goodboy” in a very excited tone and give him a treat. I don’t do this at home when he goes on the peepad. When I’m in people’s homes, I give him a treat for going on the pad. 
    The strange thing is that he’ll use a peepad correctly throughout the days, and then pee on the carpet randomly. I’ll let him out to pee, which he does, and then 30mins later he pees inside. 
    Sometimes, on the pad and on the carpet, he’ll pee a very small amount.. as if he didn’t really need to go but went anyway. 
    I work 9-6pm so I initially peepad trained him but if it’s causing him to urinate all over peoples homes for the rest of his life – I can’t have that. He’s also 2 years now and is no longer a puppy. 

    Praising him with treats when he goes outside certainly doesn’t prevent him from peeing inside.

    What should I do? 

  • My 1 year old mix breed is peeing in the house very few hours. never pees in his crate so I know he can hold it in. Not sure what to do or the best product to eliminate the smell to deter going back there to pee

  • We have a to year old Saluki and it has been a nightmare house training her. She barks to get out some nites and if we don’t get up and let her out she pees on the floor. We have taken her to the vet and she has no physical problems. We know she can hold it cause when the weather is bad sometimes she does not go our for 12 hours or so and she does not pee in the house. I think it is her way of being mad at us for not letting her out. We have rabbits that she chases at nite. She is not crate trained and sad to say she is very spoiled. She has been spayed. Had dogs all our lives and never had a dog that pees In the house. Usually, if they have an accident they are ashamed but not this girl. She doesn’t give a hoot. Now we have to get new waterproof flooring that we don’t really like. Geesh how can dogs run out lives like this? I don’t think anyone answers these comments but I guess it is good to talk about it.

  • I inherited my mom’s 12 year old Pomeranian/toy poodle, Honey. I’m so frustrated with the bad habits of her squatting to pee when she feels like it in the house. She will even go to the dog door & pee in front of the door. Other times she’ll go thru the dog, pee on the deck or go down to the yard. My other 2 dogs go outside all the time, don’t have a problem with them. My mom trained her on the dog pads & she had a dog door, so when Honey decides to go, she’ll pee where she wants. She is spayed too. How can I get her to stop this?

  • I take my dogs out early in the morning upon getting up. One refuses to go and even tries to run back in the house. I leave him out for about 5 to 10 minutes and he runs back in and unloads his bladder in my living room. He has been doing this frequently even though the old carpet is gone and new hard surface flooring is down. Same spot. And a new subfloor is under it. He is also licking his private area a lot. His urine does not smell strong. I’m so frustrated. Tired of cleaning up puddles. He is taken out numerous times to go outside but for some reason prefers to go in the house. He used to go outside all the time. I even use piddle pads in the spot my other dog uses during the night but this little guy prefers the bare floor.

  • Ok I will try this. See if it works

  • I have a 4 year old teacup yorkie that is pad trained. Since we have been home in quarantine, he has started to pee in another area (not on his pad). Is this because he is confused as to why we are home all the time? How do I stop this behavior?

  • My podenco cross is 3 yrs old & she still goes to the toilet indoors. Can anyone help advise please.

    • I have a 2 1/2 year old Saluki who just stopped peeing in the house. Hoorah, I didn’t think this would ever happen. Knock on Wood. Certain sighthounds seem to grow up slower and are known to do this. Keep the faith. ti may still happen for you and your dog.

  • What is the purpose of this column? There are SO many relevant questions but so few “qualified” responses! Take the VERY important “remove the smell” mentioned in the article. “Fortunately” it says “you can use a number of homemade concoctions”.

    So, WHAT ARE THEY? Only the retail product is linked to more info. Pshaw!

    OK, gotta go now and look for “how to remove pet urine traces in the home” but I will return and share any constructive results.

  • My Cat pee’s in his box….