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Why Does My Puppy Pee After Going Outside?

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Why does your puppy pee right after going outside?

Why does your puppy pee right after going outside?

Puppy Keeps Peeing Inside After Being Outside

If you are in the process of potty training a puppy, some behaviors, such as peeing inside after being outside, may leave you baffled. So why is your puppy peeing after being outside? There are several explanations for this. First and foremost, let's debunk some common potty training myths.

Does the "Month Plus One Rule" Work?

You may have heard about the "month plus one" rule. This rule should give you an idea about how often your puppy will need to be sent outside. It's calculated by calculating the puppy's age in months and adding one to it. So if for instance, you have a puppy that is 3 months old (12 weeks), you add 1 to that, and the number 4 is how often you have to take him out—that is every 4 hours. Forget all about this rule.

For starters, a puppy's bladder doesn't know how to count. It's not like at the four-hour mark, the puppy's bladder will start saying, "Hey it's four o'clock, time to go!" Also, consider that there are many variables such as how much the puppy drank, at what time he ate, if the puppy is active or sleeping, and so much more. For instance, a 12-week-old puppy can often hold its pee in the night for 6 to 8 hours, so waking the puppy up every 4 hours isn't worth it in this case. However, during the day, four hours can be a very long time, especially if the puppy just ate or drank like a horse after playing.

The month plus 1 method therefore is not accurate, and it can lead to unnecessary frustration. I have countless owners tell me, "I follow the month plus 1 rule and it's not working!" And of course, if your puppy is going outside and coming inside peeing, you know for a fact it really isn't working! So why are puppies peeing inside after being sent out? Following are some answers to the mystery...

So Why Do Puppies Pee After Going Outside?

So what gives? Why is your puppy peeing inside right after being sent out? Of course, it's not to make you angry! Puppies and dogs don't act up in spite, so please don't think your puppy pees or poops inside just to make you angry. It doesn't work that way!

Also, consider that dogs don't have the cognitive ability to act in spite and out of vengeance. There are instead other possibilities and I am going to tackle several I have noticed in my experience of potty training young pups.

Reasons Puppies Pee Inside Instead of Outside

  • Your puppy has a medical condition. This is on the top of the list because puppies aren't immune from disorders that can cause increased urination. It would be unjust getting frustrated over a puppy that is suffering from a dog urinary tract infection. In this case, the puppy may be squatting repeatedly and often only releasing a few drops of pee. Also, the pup may have bloody urine, may insistently lick the genital area and ask to go out repeatedly. One dog owner was once desperate because she was cleaning up so many messes and her puppy drank so much, she later discovered her puppy had diabetes insipitus! So a veterinary visit may be very helpful, especially if things don't seem right.
  • Your puppy is not completely emptying her bladder when outside. This often happens in the morning; basically, your puppy is so happy to see you and eager to embrace the day, she fails to completely empty her bladder. So when she goes back inside, she just finishes up. Tip; stay out a big longer and see if your pup pees again. If she does, that's a sign that she doesn't empty enough the first time. Some pups may do this even 3-4 times given the opportunity.
  • You are distracting your puppy. Say, your puppy is outside peeing and you are too fast in praising her and rewarding her with a treat. In this case, you may be interrupting the urine flow. Don't praise and give her a treat until she is completely done peeing and is starting to move away from the potty area. Also, keep the treats out of sight and in your pocket instead...many pups are so eager to get the treats they won't finish up peeing as they should. Walking away may also cause a puppy to not empty the bladder in his eagerness to follow you back inside.
  • Your puppy drank so much, his bladder is overfull. It's science: What goes in must come out. Puppies tend to drink a lot in the morning after waking up (makes sense since they most likely were without water for at least eight hours or more if you take away water a couple of hours prior to bedtime). Also, they drink a lot after eating dry kibble and after playing. What comes in, must come out, and at times, it takes multiple trips to successfully empty that bladder.

Tips and Solutions on Solving Puppy Potty Training Issues

So, now you know some of the possible causes for a puppy to pee inside right after going out, but how can you solve the problem? Following are some tips that will help you out.

  • See your vet. If something doesn't seem quite right, see your vet to rule out any possible health problems. This will save your puppy and yourself a lot of anguish and frustration. With health problems out of the way, you can then focus on potty training your puppy without wondering about a medical issue.
  • In the morning, keep an eagle eye on your puppy. Often, this is when most accidents happen because puppies are all excited and tend to drink a lot of water. Your puppy may need to be taken out more often in the morning than during the day. If you're used to taking your puppy out say every two hours, in the morning try every hour if your puppy has accidents inside.
  • Spend more time outside. Don't just go out and back in after your pup tinkles. Give your puppy the opportunity to empty her bladder more than once. If your puppy pees quickly and then runs off to play in the yard, keep him on leash. Training your puppy to go potty on command can help tremendously in this case.
  • Keep treats out of sight. Treats can be a distraction and can cause your puppy to not fully empty her bladder. Hide them in your pocket.
  • Don't move away the moment your puppy is peeing. Doing so, may entice him to follow you and not finish peeing. Stand still as a statue and then praise/reward the moment she is done-and make extra sure she is done!
  • Don't encourage play in the potty area. This area is just to potty. If you let your puppy play in the potty area, next time he goes out, he'll want to play and won't focus on peeing.
  • Use the right cleaning products. If your puppy pees outside and then pees back inside in the same spot over and over, he may be smelling a previously soiled area. To a dog's nose a previously soiled area is like a restroom sign you see in a department store. Make sure you use an enzyme-based cleaner that removes all traces of odors.
  • Adjust your schedule. If your puppy goes out every hour, and still manages to pee about half hour later after going out, he may need to be taken out more frequently. Puppies under 12 weeks, may need to be taken out very frequently. At times when the pup is excited, running around and very active, you may need to even take him out just 15 minutes after the last trip, explains Patricia McConnell and Karen London in the book Way to Go! How to house train a dog of any age.

For Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: You said that puppies don't do it on purpose to outright be disrespectful, but it sure does look and feel that way. I got two puppies. One last night I took to bathroom with me (potty break) she held it the whole twenty minutes then soon as we got in bed she peed on my dress. Is there any way to look at it than she held it on purpose just so she could be disrespectful and pee on bed?

Answer: The causes for the behavior of your puppy peeing on your bed can be due to various causes, but doing it to be outright disrespectful or out of spite of revenge in not something I would considering being that studies have proven dogs are capable of feeling more primal emotions and spite or revenge is one requiring a certain level of cognitive ability which dogs do not have.

Your puppy has likely peed on the bed because 1) since he didn't go outside, he needed to go so he want as soon as he felt the need, 2) your yard overstimulates your puppy so it is hard for him to focus on peeing when there are so many things going on, 3) your puppy is worried or just not comfortable going in the yard, 4) you have punished your puppy or just scolded him in the past for going potty so now he tries to pee when not in your presence or when he no longer can hold it. It can be a combo of these things, and there can be other reasons, such as 5) he went potty there before and unless it wasn't cleaned with an enzyme-based cleaner he keeps going there because it smells "like bathroom".

Question: How do you potty train a puppy with adult dogs?

Answer: Puppies can learn from adult dogs by simply watching them. It's quite fascinating how they can learn by imitation. Claudia Fugazza and her colleagues in Europe have discovered that dogs can also imitate people. Back to potty training, this is what we do. When we have puppies over for board and training, we will let our adult dogs out and tell them to potty and the puppy would soon catch on and learn where to potty and to do that first thing as soon as going outside.

© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 30, 2020:

Hi Esme, sounds like she is urine marking, but to play it safe, see your vet to exclude a possible urinary tract infection which can cause female dogs to pee frequently in small amounts. When you come back from the walk, if she hasn't peed enough to make a puddle, watch her carefully and take her outside again to make sure she goes.

Esme Jimenez on August 29, 2020:

My 7 year old dog has been trained to go in a pad indoors. Since I adopted her 2 years ago I’ve been trying to get her off that and it’ll work for several days but then starts peeing indoors an hour after walking her. My theory is that she doesn’t pee when we’re outside, however I will see her squatting multiple times and it makes me think that maybe she is peeing? I’m becoming desperate but I can’t afford a trainer at the moment. Any recommendations or ideas???

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 07, 2020:

Hi Peter, this can be frustrating. It could be she's sensitive to how you may have reacted to her peeing in the house in the past and therefore is hiding to pee (in which case read this article for suggestions or maybe she's nervous outdoors and holds it until she feels safe. It takes some time for newly re-homed dogs to learn where to potty and feel at "home." When she comes back from a walk, make sure you keep an eye on her and take her out again in a few minutes and repeat until she goes. Make sure to praise and reward with treats for going potty outside.

Peter Wilkins on May 07, 2020:

We just re-homed a one and a half year old two days ago. We take her out for a long time and even long walks morning, noon and evening. She does not pee outdoors but as soon as she comes in will pee on her bed or in her crate. Any suggestions?

George on December 19, 2019:

when I take my puppy outside sometimes he wee’s, however more recently he will not wee outside and then have a wee once he is back in the house! I spend ages outside with him I and not sure how to stop this behaviour as I reward him when he urinates outside. He seems to know that it is wrong to wee inside?

Mary on June 24, 2019:

I take my puppy out every 30 minutes and I make sure he does what’s needed. We come in and later I step in pee or he’s peed on the dog bed. I mop daily with baking soda, vinegar and Dawn. I wash the dog bed in hot water and tide. So what now? I think he’s doing good until I find the entire house smells like urine, then I discover pee on his bed or in a corner. I’m at wits end.

Kim on March 06, 2019:

So why does he look right at me and pee on the floor? I haven't rushed him peeing outside. Most of the time he lets me know he needs to go and I immediately follow through on his cue but if I'm talking to someone or using my computer and not giving him undivided attention he'll pee or poop right behind me and then sit there beside it and look at me.....within 10 mins of being outside. That seems pretty spiteful yet every article says puppies aren't. He's 13 weeks. He knows exactly what he's doing and that he'll be in trouble but almost like any attention is better than no attention.

Samantha on January 07, 2019:

I just got a 13 week old puppy took her outside she wouldn’t go potty as soon as I brought her in the house he pee on my carpet. I picked her up and put her in her crate! What can I do about this am I doing the right thing by putting her in her crate after having a accident

John G on September 04, 2018:

Your advice about peeing is very good, I am having the same problem about peeing indoors after peeing outside I think I have been praising him too soon and should give him longer with the chance to pee a second time. He is 11 weeks old at present so giving him a bit of leeway. Thanks for your good advice.

Lukas on November 29, 2017:

So my rescue dog is about 13 months we just adopted her week ago and we have issues with her pooping and peeing inside our house after taking her outside for long walk

( 20-30 minutes walk ) any ideas why she does that and also any solutions to our problem ?

Joe on May 20, 2017:

Whoever said dogs don't have the cognitive ability to act in spite or Vengeance obviously has no no business writing anything that has anything to do with dogs

Amanda on March 19, 2017:

I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I leave him at home he pees in the house: on the carpet, on the bed, on flowers..

My husband and I were thinking about taking him to 'doggy school', but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest 'doggy school' is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 24, 2016:

Vet check if she has a urinary tract infection, if this is sudden setback. Then with all clear with the vet: new rule, no more coming inside until she has peed. Try to train to pee on cue, look at my article on training dog to pee on command. When she pees, wait for her to be completely done "good girl!" treat and back inside to play. Give 20-30 minutes of active play while you watch her like a hawk, then in the crate/small play pen with a chew toy/stuffed Kong or leashed next to you (umbilical cord training) and out again for the next potty time.note: The crate is not for punishment! It's to teach the dog to alert you that she must go as dogs do not like to soil in a small area where they sleep. Rinse and repeat. Make sure she's no peeing from submissive urination (when you are upset with her, hovering over her, scold her), if you see a pattern of peeing when you are upset or pet her from the above, try calmer approaches and more positive training..

pearl on November 15, 2016:

my puppy is now nearly 6 month's old. She's been very good in going out for wee. But the last few days she's started doing it on my floor. I've tried put her in create when she's done it. Then when I take her out again and put her outside she still comes back in and do, s it again. What can I do I tell her good girl when she has done one outside and give her a treat. But when she plays with her toys she ends up doing it again help

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 10, 2016:

I would record his behavior on camera when you leave the house. There may be chances he's suffering from separation anxiety if this only happens when you leave the house. Signs of separation anxiety include pacing, vocalizing, eliminating, drooling, panting when left alone. How long is he left at home? Do you make sure he has a chance to eliminate before heading out?

Jenny on March 10, 2016:

I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I leave him at home he pees in the house: on the carpet, on the bed, on flowers..

My husband and I were thinking about taking him to 'doggy school', but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest 'doggy school' is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 22, 2013:

Count your blessings Monis mas, because it can be frustrating especially for pet parents with busy schedules, thanks for stopping by!

Agnes on April 22, 2013:

Thank God my dog didn't do that - it would be frustrating. Great topic though!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 22, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by pflamingo! Yes, the peeing out of spite cliche' is so common and it's important to debunk this myth.

Patricia Phillips on April 22, 2013:

Excellent advice! This is one of the most frustrating issues for new puppy parents. It can apply to older dogs, too. My guys will often pee several times around the yard before they're finished. So important to remind everyone that dogs do not act out of spite, too. Such a common misconception.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 22, 2013:

Thanks for the votes up Pet Artist. I am in the process of potty training an adorable pup and this inspired me to write this,

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 22, 2013:

Thanks Bob, and this can be difficult for those with busy lifestyles and tight schedules. At this point, they're perhaps better off just creating an indoor potty area on an easy washable surface, at least until the pup attains better bladder control.

Pet Artist on April 22, 2013:

Great resource and very detailed. Followed Bob's lead and voted it up as useful and interesting, but only because it really is! Thank you.

Bob Bamberg on April 22, 2013:

Interesting hub, and food for thought for puppy owners. Many owners find the nature call to be inconvenient and are more anxious to get it over with than the puppy is. For those folks, an attitude adjustment would be more valuable than a mop. Voted up, useful and interesting.