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Why Your Dog Has Started Pooping in the House (and How to Stop It)

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and author of the online dog training course "Brain Training for Dogs."

If your dog has started pooping in the house, you'll need to determine the cause of this behavior in order to address it.

If your dog has started pooping in the house, you'll need to determine the cause of this behavior in order to address it.

Why Is My House-Trained Dog Suddenly Pooping in the House?

If your dog has started pooping inside the house, you may be wondering just what is going on in his head—especially if he's house-trained and has had the whole potty routine down for a while now.

This issue can surely be frustrating, especially when you spend a lot of time outside waiting for your dog to potty only to come back inside and witness Rover having an accident right after coming through the door. Perhaps everything has been going according to plan during the day, but you've been waking up in the morning to find that he has pooped inside the house at night.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento, DMV, MVSc, Ph.D., explains, "Dogs can’t talk to us to tell us what’s wrong, so we have to look at their behavior and other signals that may alert us. Often these signals are in the form of changing their routine or doing something that is not at all in their character. If a dog is suddenly pooping in the house, he may be signaling that something isn’t right. This can be stress-related or related to other health issues."

In order to better understand the dynamics taking place, it helps to put yourself in Rover's shoes. There are many things that could be causing this behavior—ranging from mental to physical to situational—so you may need to do some investigative work in order to figure out the exact trigger.

Dogs that are fully house-trained may suddenly start soiling in the house due to medical conditions. If medical conditions are ruled out, examine whether you have recently moved, changed schedules, or introduced a new pet or baby to the home.

Sometimes, dogs poop and pee due to a loss of control when they feel scared or extremely stressed out. Perhaps you've been leaving your dog at home for longer periods of time than he is accustomed to. Identifying and removing environmental stressors can definitely help eliminate this behavior in certain cases.

The following are some of the most common causes of dogs pooping or peeing in the house overnight or after being outdoors. Each is discussed in greater detail in the sections below along with possible solutions. Below the list of causes and suggestions, you'll find an FAQ section and a helpful video.

11 Possible Reasons Your Dog Keeps Pooping in the House

  1. Overstimulation During Potty Time
  2. Fear and Anxiety
  3. Changes in Schedule
  4. Poor Diet
  5. Past Accidents That Weren't Thoroughly Cleaned Up
  6. Substrate Preference
  7. Separation Anxiety
  8. Old Age
  9. Recent Changes Like New Pets or Family Members
  10. Being Inside for Too Long
  11. Medical Condition

1. Overstimulation During Potty Time

In many cases, the problem of a dog peeing or pooping after coming inside may stem from the environment outside the house. The area designated for potty time may be too overstimulating or distracting to the dog.

Have you ever had a moment after being out shopping with friends when you felt an irresistible urge to go only once you inserted the keys and turned the doorknob? Dogs can be similar.

Why Does This Happen?

Dogs who don't get enough time outdoors may get distracted once they are let out. After being enclosed in the home for most of the day, they can't wait to sniff everything and romp around to get rid of pent-up energy.

With all this sensory overload and the excitement of stretching their legs, dogs can get distracted to the point of forgetting that they need to go potty. Only once they go back inside do they realize the urgency, and then they have an accident right on the spot. This is often seen in puppies.

How to Deal With It

Make it a routine for your dog to potty right away when he gets outside before playing. Avoid talking and interacting with your dog when he is sent out to potty; let him concentrate on sniffing around. If you play in the yard with your dog, don't begin to play until after he has gone potty. If feasible, take your puppy or dog out when it's quiet. If he gets distracted by neighbors, wait for the neighbors to go inside.

Don't let your puppy back inside unless he goes potty. Once he goes potty, calmly praise (making sure you don't interrupt him) and reward him and let him spend some time in the yard playing and exploring before going back inside.

Encourage your dog to go potty before allowing play time.

Encourage your dog to go potty before allowing play time.

2. Fear and Anxiety

If your dog is scared of something in the yard or something he encounters during walks, he may not feel comfortable enough to do his business. Perhaps there are too many noises, or perhaps other dogs and people make him feel on edge. When dogs are not comfortable, they tend to hold it in until they are relaxed again. When a dog is over threshold, going potty is the last thing they think about because they may be fearing for their life.

At times, dogs who live in yards surrounded by invisible fences, also known as electric fences, may get so fearful of the shock that they become terrified of being outside near the perimeters. In these cases, they just stick to the porch area with a worried look on their face. These dogs are often referred to as "porch sitters."

Why Does This Happen?

Going potty puts a dog in a vulnerable position. First of all, it takes time, which can be stressful when every second counts. A dog who senses danger will typically want to be on all four legs ready to spring into action.

On top of that, dogs who pee or poop leave traces of themselves behind, which can put them in a vulnerable position if they feel threatened by something. Fearful dogs want to hide as much as they can, becoming small and almost invisible. They may not want to leave traces (like urine or feces) behind, as these may attract predators. Of course, nowadays, there are usually no predators threatening your dog, but those instincts may still prevail.

How to Deal With It

If you have recently rescued a fearful dog, it may be worth it to temporarily train him to use pads inside until he has adjusted to the changes and has more confidence.

Take your dog outside when things are quiet, if feasible (e.g., avoid going out when the trash truck is around). With the help of a professional, you may want to work on desensitizing your dog to whatever he fears.

If you own an electric fence, you may want to take it down and invest in a true fence or walk your dog on a leash to potty. It may take some time to undo the emotional damage. Be patient and use high-value treats.

Feeding your dog and taking her outside at the same times every day is a good way to prevent unexpected accidents.

Feeding your dog and taking her outside at the same times every day is a good way to prevent unexpected accidents.

3. Changes in Schedule

Dogs are creatures of habit, and they may be used to going potty at certain times of the day. They love their routines. Puppies tend to naturally go potty a few minutes after eating, drinking, playing, or napping. Adult dogs tend to go first thing in the morning, at midday, in the early evening, and right before going to bed.

Why Does This Happen?

Have you ever felt the need to go to the bathroom right before an interview or an exam? A sudden change in your dog's life or schedule can cause anxiety, which may result in him relieving himself as a reaction.

A change in schedule might also mean eating and drinking at odd times, which can make bowel movements unpredictable. Without 24/7 access to the outdoors, a dog has no choice but to poop when he feels the unpredictable urge to go.

How to Deal With It

Feeding your puppy or dog at the same times each day and keeping their routine the same can translate to predictable "outings." It's a lot easier to predict when a dog will need to poop if he is being fed at the same times every day.

You should also establish scheduled "potty times." This means taking your dog outside first thing in the morning, right after meals, and once before bed. Make it clear to your dog that he should do his business first before playing. Keep this schedule consistent, and you'll likely see an improvement right away.

Low-quality diets yield larger and more frequent stools.

Low-quality diets yield larger and more frequent stools.

4. Poor Diet

Feeding your dog cheap food from your supermarket may yield more frequent and bulkier bowel movements. For this reason, premium dog food, even though it is more expensive, is preferable, as more nutrients are absorbed, and less waste is produced as a result. This means smaller stools and on a less-frequent basis.

Sudden diet changes may also cause an upset stomach and a sense of urgency, especially if you have switched to a lower-grade food with lots of fillers and grains.

What to Feed Your Dog

Dogs prefer eating real food, and if you have the time to make them at home, healthy, vet-approved homemade dog food recipes are a great way to go.

If you use kibble, be sure to educate yourself on how to select high-quality dog foods by reading the labels. As a rule of thumb, go with natural, organic brands whenever possible. Most commercial brands contain fillers, meat or fish by-products, animal fat, liver meal, BHA, BHT, and other chemicals and additives. Stay away from these!

5. Past Accidents That Weren't Thoroughly Cleaned Up

Dogs have a natural instinct to relieve themselves where they have done it before, so if your pup can smell her urine or poop, she will recognize the area as an acceptable potty place and relieve herself there again.

How to Eliminate the Smell of Dog Poop and Urine for Good

  1. Spray the soiled area with distilled white vinegar.
  2. If the area is carpeted, wear latex gloves and work the vinegar deep into the carpet fibers.
  3. Blot up excess liquid with a paper towel.
  4. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the area, making sure to cover the entire spot. Again, if the area is carpeted, work the baking soda into the carpet fibers with your fingers.
  5. Let the baking soda sit for at least 1 hour.
  6. Vacuum the area to remove all traces of baking soda.
  7. Follow with a commercial dog stain and odor cleanser if necessary. Alternatively, Nature's Miracle is a wonderful product known for eliminating traces of odors courtesy of its enzymes.

6. Substrate Preference

This is a little-known fact, but puppies tend to form a substrate preference by the time they are 8.5 weeks old. This simply means that they develop a preference for a surface upon which to relieve themselves and become so accustomed to it that they have a hard time eliminating on new surfaces.

Why Does This Happen?

So, if a puppy was trained to pee on paper indoors and then is adopted into a new home where she is expected to pee on grass outdoors, she may seek out surfaces other than grass. She might hold it while outdoors and then use the carpet once she comes back inside.

The same goes for older dogs. If your dog is used to eliminating in a kennel or somewhere enclosed, it will take some time for her to get used to using soil or grass during potty time.

How to Deal With It

When adopting a puppy from a pet store, rescue, or breeder, it's always a good idea to ask exactly what surface was used to let the puppy go potty. If the puppy was trained to use pads or newspaper, you can gradually transition the puppy to grass by taking a piece of newspaper or pad outside and encouraging the puppy to use it. You can then gradually remove the newspaper or pad or reduce its size so more grass is available. Do this repeatedly until the puppy learns to potty exclusively on grass.

Separation anxiety can cause a number of strange behaviors in dogs, including defacation.

Separation anxiety can cause a number of strange behaviors in dogs, including defacation.

7. Separation Anxiety

Some dogs do not do well when they are left alone. Most dogs do not do well if they are left alone for long periods of time (four hours or more). If you come home from work and find messes around the house, your dog may suffer from separation anxiety. To confirm your case, record your dog's behavior when he is left alone. Signs of anxiety and distress include whining, pacing, barking, howling, panting, digging, and pooping.

Why Does This Happen?

Dogs are social animals. When they are left alone, they may feel abandoned and not understand the reason why. This causes nervousness, which can lead to urinating or defecating. Some dogs may even suffer from coprophagia, which is when they eat their excrement in order to hide the evidence. Obvious signs of this are bad breath and possible traces of poop left on the floor.

How to Deal With It

Try not to leave your dog alone for more than half a day. If it can't be helped, have a neighbor, family member, or friend visit during the day to feed and walk the dog. You can also use a service like Wag to hire someone to visit your house during the day to take your dog on a walk.

Be sure that when you are at home with your dog, you give him plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in the form of games and outdoor play. You can also try leaving your dog a yummy bone to chew on or hide treats around the house so that he has something to occupy him while you're away. Check out these additional tips for helping dogs with separation anxiety.

Older dogs, like older humans, may not be able to hold it as long as they used to.

Older dogs, like older humans, may not be able to hold it as long as they used to.

8. Old Age

Some dogs develop a condition known as ''canine cognitive dysfunction'' as they age. This is sort of like the dog version of Alzheimer's disease. Affected dogs may have a hard time with a variety of tasks, and potty training is one of them. Your dog may forget how to go outside or forget to give you signs she needs to go.

On the other hand, some older dogs may not have cognitive dysfunction but simply may not be able to hold it in.

How to Deal With It

  • Limit your dog to only a few areas of the house. If you can limit her to an uncarpeted area, that would be preferable.
  • Cover the areas your dog has access to with pads.
  • Don't punish or yell at your dog. She can't help it. You will need to have patience and give her support. Cleanups are a must at this stage of her life, and you shouldn't expect her to do better.
  • Use doggy diapers if it's a serious problem, but ask your vet before you purchase them. Some dogs may find it so uncomfortable that they hold it in when they have to go, which is harmful to their health.

9. Recent Changes Like New Pets or Family Members

Anything stressful added to a dog's environment may cause a regress in house training. It is not unusual for a well-house-trained dog to have an accident in a new home briefly after moving. A dog may also become upset if a new dog is added to a home or if there are guests or a new baby.

How to Deal With It

Scolding the dog for these accidents will only worsen the anxiety the dog feels. The best thing to do is to set a routine after something new is introduced. Feed your dog at regular times every day and take him outdoors to potty before or after each meal. He will soon get used to the routine, and the accidents will stop.

Also, make sure to give your dog time to adjust to changes. Pheromones plug-ins, Bach flowers, and other calming aids can help during transitions.

Dogs can only hold it for so long. If you leave them alone for long periods of time, accidents are inevitable.

Dogs can only hold it for so long. If you leave them alone for long periods of time, accidents are inevitable.

10. Being Inside for Too Long

This may be obvious, but it is certainly worth mentioning. If you are at work all day and come home late, it is not your dog's fault for soiling in the home. Dogs should not be left at home for too long, and if this is your situation, your best bet is to hire a pet sitter or a dog walker so your dog is free to go outside as needed.

If your dog is properly house-trained, he will have tried to keep it in as long as he could but just couldn't hold it any longer because you were away for too long. He is the last to be blamed in such a scenario. Never scold your house-trained dog for soiling in your home.

11. Medical Conditions

There are some disorders that can cause an increase in bowel movements. Some intestinal disorders may cause a sense of urgency and more frequent stools, making it harder for your dog to hold it in. Intestinal worms can also cause more frequent bowel movements and are something that should be ruled out. All dog owners should have their dogs' stools checked for parasites at least once a year.

Possible Medical Causes

  • Intestinal worms
  • Parasites
  • Pain squatting
  • Pain lifting leg
  • Bladder infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver diseases
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Addison's disease
  • Dietary allergies or reactions

What to Do

If you suspect a medical problem, see your vet right away to rule out medical causes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When it comes to house-trained dogs pooping indoors, these four questions are the ones I hear frustrated owners asking most often.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Pooping in the House at Night?

If your dog has started pooping inside but only does so at night, it could be due to one or more of the reasons listed above. In many cases, however, pooping at night could be related to a medical issue, and your dog could be in pain. If it is exclusively a night-time issue, and your dog is not old and spends plenty of time outdoors, I would recommend visiting your vet immediately to determine whether the behavior has a medical cause.

Is My Dog Pooping in the House on Purpose?

Well . . . no. Dogs do not conceive of complex concepts like revenge. They also don't think of poop the same way we do. They're not disgusted by it. Even if your dog poops right after being scolded, resist the temptation to assign human motivations to the act. The cause is likely one of the 11 things listed above, and the solution is far more likely to be effective if it relies on positive training instead of punishment.

Why Does My Dog Poop in the House After Going Outside?

If your dog spends plenty of time outside but still poops indoors, chances are he may feel somewhat uncomfortable outside. Perhaps there are too many distractions going on, and he can't seem to focus enough to relax and poop. In order to poop, dogs have put themselves in a bit of a vulnerable position, and it requires a bit of concentration. If it's a matter of overstimulation and stress, try taking your dog to calmer, more secluded areas to play and potty, and be sure to reinforce outdoor pooping with praise and a treat.

If your dog had a home before yours, it's also possible that he was not well house-trained by his previous keepers. In any, case, it's important to make sure he has ample opportunity to poop outside. Taking him on a walk may help, as motion can helps trigger bowel movements in dogs. It also helps to feed your dog on a strict schedule so that he poops predictably at a certain time, and you can be sure to take him out at that time.

What Can I Do if My Dog Won't Go Potty Outside When It's Raining?

If your dog hates going out to potty when it rains, you may find this article helpful.

Resources and Further Reading

  1. Debra Horwitz and Gary Landsberg. "Dog Behavior Problems: House Soiling." VCA Hospitals. 2013. Accessed February 11, 2019.
  2. Niki Wardoll. "Is Your Dog Revenge Pooping?" InterMountain Pet Hospital. December 1, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  3. Lisa Rayburn. "Where Is the Bathroom?" Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue. Accessed April 8, 2019.
  4. "Separation Anxiety," ASPCA. Accessed April 8, 2019.
  5. Mara Bovsun. "What To Do When Your Old Dog Forgets Her House Training." AKC. May 15, 2015. Accessed April 8, 2019.
  6. "House Soiling (Marking) by Dogs." PetMD. Accessed April 9, 2019.
  7. Lindsay Pevny. "Is Your Dog Pooping In The House On Purpose?" Little Dog Tips. January 19, 2019. Accessed April 19, 2019.

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: My dog is almost three and recently he has started pooping in the same spot some time during the night after his last walk, why?

Answer: If your dog has been perfectly housebroken until now, you should consider medical reasons. Increased motility can cause accidents as it happens with diarrhea and some other digestive disorders. Other things that come to mind is that he might be stressed or perhaps he isn't pooping during the day as he normally should. Clean up the spot with an enzyme based cleaner and perhaps see whether placing some object over that spot (chair, furniture, large box) may prevent him from pooping there, but first things first, a vet visit may be in order.

Question: My two-year-old dog recently started going to the bathroom whenever he has to, no matter where he is. The door will be wide open, and he will go pee in the living room. We moved into this house and gained another dog at the same time, but that was five months ago; this behavior just started about a week ago. I work from home. I'm going to make him an appointment with the vet tomorrow. What might be his reasons for doing this?

Answer: You are doing the right thing by seeing the vet to help rule out medical problems. Behavior-wise, several things may be going on: it could be that something in the yard has scared him or he doesn't want to pee or poop in the same areas your other dog goes, or he has associated the yard with something unpleasant. Some dogs may pee and poop in the home suddenly out of stress, or they may see that it brings the owner's attention and the dog may be craving that.

Question: We have recently adopted a dog, she is lovely and seems to love it here. About a month in, she started pooping in the house; usually in my daughter's room or my office. We take her out often, and she will be outside with us for a good long time and then still come in and go poop. How do I stop this behavior?

Answer: There are chances that she may feel somewhat uncomfortable outside, or perhaps there are too many distractions going on, and she can't seem to focus enough to relax and poop. Pooping in dogs requires them to be a bit in a vulnerable position, and it requires a bit of concentration. It could be she wasn't well housetrained in her previous home too.

In any, case, it's important to make sure she has ample of opportunities to poop outside. Taking her on a walk may help as motion helps trigger dogs to have a bowel movement. It also helps to feed her on a strict schedule so that she poops predictably at a certain time and you can take her out at that time.

If she fails to poop outside, make sure you keep her nearby the door in an unobstructed view area so she can't sneak in a bedroom or behind some furniture to poop. Keep an eagle eye on her. This way you can promptly escort her out as soon as you notice some pre-potty signs (circling, sniffing, lowering her bottom).

It may help, if she has an accident, to collect the poop and place it in the designated area, you want her to poop outside. This way she can smell her poop there and hopefully help her recognize where her new "bathroom" is.

Also, never punish a dog for pooping inside the home. This only leads to dogs associating pooping in front of the owner as punishment. This means the dog will always sneak in a secretive spot to poop so that the owner won't see them poop. This may also interfere with pooping outside in front of the owner.

Question: I have a Great Dane. He is six years old. Why would he start pooping in the house?

Answer: If your Great Dane was always remarkable in the potty training department, and now is having accidents, it may be that there's a medical problem at play. Six years old is considered senior age for a dog. Maybe he has joint pain or some digestive issue. Are there any changes in his surroundings? He could be scared of something outside, or he could not want to go outside due to unusual weather.

Question: I have a seven-year-old dog; he is trained on the pee pad. He has been peeing and pooping on the pee pad since we got him at three-month-old. Recently, he started to poop in my bedroom or my sons' bedroom. He has a pee pad in the usual spot all day long. It's been going on for over three weeks now. How do I stop it?

Answer: It could be stemming from a health disorder such as joint pain or a UTI. (Dogs associate the pee pad with pain.) It could also be a behavior issue, (stress, anxiety, fear). It may help to have a health check-up and determine if any changes may have caused stress or fear (loud noises, new people moving in, etc.) If none apply, you may need to go back to basics and restrict his space to the area where his pee pad is, and praise or reward him for using it. Only once he reliably uses the pee pad for several days, you can then give him more freedom. Make sure the area he poops in is cleaned well with an enzymatic cleaner. Alternatively, you can try to keep the bedroom doors closed and see if he goes back to using the pee pads. Pheromone plug-ins may help ease anxiety.

Question: Two years ago, I got a pit mix from the pound. The dog was 2 at the time. It took over 6 months to house train him, he was a slow learner. The last year has been good, no accidents, no tearing up, no guarding issues. I remodeled my living room and now the dog is pooping and peeing on my couch every night. To correct this behavior we have tried bedtime walks, praise and treats for going outside. Nothing is working. Any ideas?

Answer: You can try removing the couch in question or covering the part he sleeps on with books or other items. With no couch to go on, you may be able to see signs he has to go potty. Take him out at the slightest signs. Also, aim on training him to go potty on command so that you'll help eliminate the need to pee or poop in the evening. Make sure to clean all traces of accidents with an enzyme-based cleaner. Make sure you always have a clear view of your dog (remove bulky items that do not allow you to see your dog clearly).

Question: My dog has a doggie door; he can basically go in and out whenever he wants. Why has he started pooping in the house?

Answer: There may be several possibilities. For instance, perhaps something in the yard startled him enough to make him not feel comfortable going out. Is your dog a senior? If so, consider a potential beginning of cognitive dysfunction. At times, there may be medical reasons. Are there any new diet changes? Is there any chance he got worms? Anything that may cause an increase in motility/diarrhea can cause accidents. Can it be the doggy door malfunctioned and he got caught? Where is the poop exactly? If it's near the door, there may be chances he made an "attempt" to go out but was unable to which may point to a medical problem.

Question: My dog is a year and a half old, and I clean his litter pan monthly. With the same litter in the same place. This time though, he decides to poop all the way across from the litter pan for no reason. Why would he do this?

Answer: If he has always been perfect in using the litter pan, and this is a new behavior, it may be worth giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he has some medical issue going or is stressed by something? Or maybe you need to clean it more frequently as he doesn't want to get dirty.

Question: My chihuahua mix is 9 years old and today he pooped in the house. When I woke up he was laying down next to door instead of his bed. Did he poop becuase he couldn’t hold it in or is he sick? He greeted me with his tail wagging like usual.

Answer: Hard to say as there can be so many causes for this. Perhaps he didn't go potty earlier and couldn't keep it any longer since he was by the door, or perhaps he is not feeling too well or got stressed by something. The fact he is wagging his tail as usual is a good sign. Keep an eye on him, and if it happens again, mention it to your vet.

Question: Why is that when my dog is outside he doesn't poop and then comes back in and poops on carpet?

Answer: This can be a very frustrating situation! There are many possibilities. It could be your dog gets distracted when out in the yard and forgets about going only to remember when he comes back in. It could be that he is fearful of something outside or just insecure so he holds it until he's inside and feels safer. If you are using an invisible fence, that sometimes can trigger some dogs to avoid pooping outside because of negative associations with the yard. Sometimes, the behavior can be due to the dog feeling cold outside and not wanting to stay long in the yard. Dogs with low thyroid levels may resent being outside due to feeling more cold than usual so they may want to go back inside fast. If this is a new behavior, it may be worthy of telling the vet just in cases there's something medical going on.

Question: I have a 5-month-old puppy and he has no trouble going to the toilet outside but he still pees and poos inside even though he's taking out several times a day how can I stop this?

Answer: It sounds like you need to do some troubleshooting. When do these accidents happen? If you can log on when it does, take your puppy out 5-10 minutes prior so that he can be put up for success since he's already outside when he needs to go. Walking him can further help stimulate him to go potty. Then once your puppy is empty, bring him back inside until the next potty time. Keep your puppy on a feeding schedule so that his pooping times are more predictable. Watch out for excitement and submissive peeing which is not really a potty training issue.

Question: Our 12 year old Pyrenees is having hip issues and starting to poop when he stands up, as if he has no feeling. Any thoughts?

Answer: Sometimes dogs with hip issues are in immense pain and crouching down to poop may hurt too much causing these dogs to hold it until they are no longer able to hold it and then they will have an accident. You are right for being concerned about the fact he poops while standing up. Sometimes, this can be indicative of some nerve problems; this is definitely something worth mentioning to your vet.

Question: I have an eleven-year-old Min Pin. He has always done well with potty training. My daughter brought home a boxer pup about a month and a half ago. Now he is beginning to poop in the cage and house. What can we do to stop this?

Answer: This can be attributed to the stress of this new addition, but it can also be due to a medical problem. It would be a good starting point to have your vet assess his health and rule out possible medical issues. There are several medical issues that can cause issues with bowel movements.

A puppy can surely be overwhelming to an elderly dog. It may help to keep the two separated when the puppy is overly exuberant (if your older dog shows signs of stress) and maintain the min pin's usual routine. Keep a close eye on your min pin and an unobstructed view so that you can recognize signs he needs to potty and escort him to the yard/potty area immediately and praise/reward for going there.

Question: My four-year-old Maltipoo is house trained, however, if she has an accident she ALWAYS has used a rug in the downstairs hallway. My dog got scared by another dog visitor, and that is when she started peeing upstairs in our room at night. He has been gone for a month now, and she is still peeing in our room. How do I stop this?

Answer: You may need a combination of calming aids (pheromone diffusers, calming pills) and going back to basics in potty training her. You may have to crate her besides your bed at night to prevent this habit-forming behavior. Most dogs won't soil their sleeping areas, and by keeping her in the crate she will likely avoid peeing in it or give you enough warning to take her outside at night. If she has never been in a crate before, you may need to condition her to like being in there with treats, praise and toys. Alternatively, you can try a playpen. Then, first thing in the morning, take her outside and praise and reward her with high-value treats for going outside.

Question: My one-year-old dog has started pooping in the house. I’ve had builders in the house recently would this unsettle him?

Answer: Anything that causes stress can certainly cause a dog to regress in the potty training department. It could be your dog is scared to go outside if these builders are loud and are carrying around large, scary tools. Dogs can have a hard time sometimes coping with strangers in the home and especially builders.

Question: My 4 year old Bichon started pooping in the house when we leave. I am sure she has separation anxiety. What can I do for this problem?

Answer: If it's truly a case of separation anxiety (record her behavior when you leave the house and then see what she does, and possibly show the recording to your vet or a dog trainer) then you will need to implement behavior modification. This is often done using desensitization and counterconditioning, and in some cases, behavior modification needs to be accompanied by medications. There are several books on separation anxiety in dogs. Dog trainer Malena De Martini specializes in dog separation anxiety and has published a great book. Ideally, have a dog trainer/behavior consultant to help you out.

Question: I have a two year old dog who has always been fantastic when it came to potty training. She loves to be outside and she would sit and lie down by the door to let us know she wanted to be out. However lately I’ve been letting her out at night around 11 to do her business and I always give her half an hour, but then for the past week I have been waking up to poo on the floor. What might be going on?

Answer: There can be several things going on and this may require some investigation. It sounds like she is failing to poop in the yard when sent out for a good half hour. Then, in the home, the urge may be too strong and she has an accident. So we need to find out why she is no longer pooping in the yard. Perhaps there are noises that concern her and make her not feel safe to potty? Perhaps there are critters in the yard which distract her causing her to be too focused on sniffing and digging? It may be a good idea to get a flashlight and see from a distance what may be happening. You may need to see whether she poops or not during the half hour. If she does poop, and then she poops again the morning, then we may be dealing with a different problem.

Question: My mother has given me her 6 month old collie. When my mother had her she never soiled in the house. I've had her about 3-4 weeks now and even though I'm letting her out regularly she is soiling in my house. It's always in the same spot and at night and mostly happens straight after being outside. Never have a problem during the day. Spoke with my mum about the issue and my mum has not had this problem. Why is she doing it and how can I solve the issue?

Answer: When dogs change routines, it's not unusual to see setbacks in potty training. Usually, these are just temporary. In your case, you would need to do some troubleshooting and take some steps to prevent it. It could be many things going on. Perhaps your mom wasn't providing access to water several hours prior to bedtime? Are you making sure she goes potty when outside? It could be she isn't due to all the distractions in your yard. Are you crating her at night? That can help her hold it. Are you getting upset when she goes potty inside? That can cause dogs to become reluctant to potty in front of you when you bring them outside and cause setbacks. Make sure to clean areas that are soiled with an enzyme-based cleaner. I am a big fan of Nature's Miracle.

Question: I have a three-year-old Shih Tzu. It took a year to house train her but ever since she has been brilliant at going outside. I am now pregnant and coming up to my due date she has now started going in the house again once every few weeks, could that have to do with the pregnancy or is it something entirely different?

Answer: It is difficult to determine exactly what may be causing these setbacks, but it could be possible that your pregnancy is affecting her. Most likely, as your birthing day is nearing, you have had several changes going on that are disrupting your dog's routine. For example, for a sensitive dog, even re-arranging furniture can be enough to trigger stress and stress is a big reason why dogs start pooping in the house.

Question: My Frenchies are 4 yrs old, we have had them for 1 month now and we have had no problems with them until now. They used to be in the kitchen in a cage which neither of them seemed to like very much, we moved them upstairs at the end of last week into their own room with beds, the first couple of days were fine then 1 or both of them has started to wee and poop in the room. Why is this happening?

Answer: If they were kept in a cage previously, this could have helped them "hold it" better considering that dogs have a tendency to not want to soil where they sleep. That's the main purpose behind using dog crates for potty training dogs. If now, they have their own room with beds and they are no longer kept in cages, this may have triggered them to eliminate. You may have to choose a potty training method and stick with it. 1) You can keep on crating them until they are fully potty trained and monitor them when out of their crates so they can be escorted outside as needed to their designated potty area (you will need to work more on creating positive associations with being crated though) or 2) you may have to create an indoor potty area using a play pen lined up with pee pads or 3) you can train them to use a doggy door and keep them nearby so when they need to potty they know what to do.

Question: My dogs have been pooping a lot since we moved. Is this bad?

Answer: Unless there are dietary changes, the only thing I can think of is that the stress of the move has increased your dog's gastric motility, causing shorter transit times and an increased in pooping. Sometimes stress may also cause colitis, which starts with voluminous stools, followed then by mucus and sometimes blood, soft stools and then potential diarrhea.

© 2011 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 13, 2020:

Rachel and Sam, any type of stress or anxiety can surely play a number on dogs and cause them to have accidents. Changes, our absences, and even dietary changes (can your dog be eating something odd when escaping the fence?) can surely play a role.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 07, 2020:

Hi Janet, if there's an underlying medical cause it's important to get it addressed as it can be a culprit.Feeding plain canned pumpkin (not the pie type with added spices), can sometimes help dogs with anal gland issues form firmer stools.

Janet Chadd on September 06, 2020:

My 5 year old male Boston Terrier/Jack Russell began having impacted anal gland issues about a year ago. When this happens, he pops in the house during the night. I even get up to let him out and it doesn't help! He seems better after I bathe him and let warm water run over it several minutes. We changed to a better kibble that is grain free a few months back and it seemed to help, now the same issue. He does get about a third of a can of wet food daily also. Any ideas?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 31, 2020:

Hi Kristin, I really think that a vet visit is in order since he seems in pain. He could have torn his ACL which is very painful and may have caused him to associate going in the yard with pain.

Kristin on August 31, 2020:

My dog is 6 years old, a 50-60lb mutt of some kind ( I think he may actually be inbred.. he was a rescue from a humane society). He has recently starting pooping at night on the one carpeted area in the house. He has never repeatedly done this, only when he’s clearing not feeling well or we had to switch his food. He’s been in the same food for years now with no issues. We have 2 kids and he’s never acted out of sorts with their arrivals (2.5 yr of & 7 months old). I have noticed recently that his rear left leg is rarely being used, he’ll limp around the house, never crying or whining, and won’t put weight on it unless absolutely necessary. We thought he pulled a muscle from coming into the house as there are 2 sets of stairs to come up and he often runs in too quickly and slips however, it’s been several months since he’s done that as he’s very cautious now. He also refuses to stay outside for longer than Approx. 2 minutes. He cries immediately to come back inside it seems.

Any thoughts? Should I take him to see the vet?

Rachael Stone on August 17, 2020:

Our 2 year old pitbull started jumping the fence and going to bathroom inside our house for the past 2 months. She has even peed and pooped on couches and beds. I let them outside every 2 hours for at least 40 mins. The jumper is now attatched to a running leash while she is outide. Last night she proceeded to go and pee on my bed after not only being outside for about 2 hours but also after had a cuddle and loving on session with my husband. It doesnt matter if we are home or away.

Sam on August 08, 2020:

My dog is a fully trained service dog and just came home from a trainer he’s been fine for a week and I decided to keep him home yesterday while at a friends house, he has been super clingy today and both times I’ve told him no or to get off the couch or correct him in any manner he poops on the floor he’s done this 2 times today and I have taken him outside multiple time. I’m not sure if dogs hold grudges or not but that’s what it seems like. He is always with me and I don’t know if he’s pooping on the floor because he’s mad at me or if that is even a reasonable explanation

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 26, 2020:

Hi Jonathan, I think you are correct. A recent study has come out showing that dogs suffering from canine atopic dermatitis were found to exhibit several problematic behaviors as a result of their intense itching. Affected dogs were also found to be less trainable, possibly due to sleep deprivation and associated stress.

Jonathan Lee on July 26, 2020:

Hi, I have a 4 year old Shih Tzu called Bailey, she has been perfectly toilet trained in the house and we've never had any issues. The last week she has used our carpet, sofa and bed to relief herself. She has been suffering from a lot of itching and licking (Dietary problems we believe) which i believe is some form of allergy. She is regularly walked etc. I am wondering if this itching and licking maybe causing some form of stress, she has gone to the toilet whilst we are in the house and often passes her matt (Which she has used for ages) to go. Is there anything you can advise?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 11, 2020:

Hi Ashley, any time a dog starts pooping in the home out of the blue, it us important to rule out medical conditions and then after that, we can consider other predisposing factors such as separation anxiety, stress, fear of outdoor noises etc.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 11, 2020:

Hi Tia, please mention this to the vet so to rule out any underlying medical conditions. It can be he is very stressed or in pain.

Ashley on July 10, 2020:

My pup is 8months old and honestly only had two accidents in the house.. she is let out while I’m at work my a friend to go potty, but I’ve notice here recently she has started pooping in my dining room even after just being outside?

Tia on July 08, 2020:

My dog got cut at the groomers on his paws. They scooped it to low and he was in pain for sometime. Since then he has been peeing and pooping in the crate when I leave him. He even pooped in the back seat of the car. I can just take him out and leave for not even three hours and he has done something by the time I get back. He has been terrible since leaving the groomers, he even pooped in the crate at the vet. I don’t know what is wrong with him but I’m getting frustrated

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 13, 2020:

Successful potty training requires a multi-faceted approach. Praise and reward when the dog goes potty where they want to. Keep an eye on the dog all the time if possible. When the dog cannot be watched, should be held in an area where we want them to potty. Scheduled meals. Cleaning messes with enzyme-based cleaners. Recognizing signs a dog needs to go potty. Training a dog to go potty on command can help. Mishaps can happen, but should decrease gradually over time

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 13, 2020:

Hi Joshua,

The goal her would be putting your puppy on a feeding schedule (dogs fed meals twice a day, morning and evening are more likely to poop at certain times of the day, keep tabs on that), taking her out before she has a chance to poop, and training her to go potty on command

MKRudy on June 12, 2020:

Hello, We have the sweetest one year old golden. She potty trained rather quickly in a gated area in our backyard. She didnt always want to go in, but with coaxing she'd enter and do her business. She never pooped on leash walks but we'd take her out back and after she went, we'd go on a walk. When schools closed and we were all in the house more we started taking long walks each day giving her some time off leash. Less than a minute after running around she'd poop - no matter what time of day or when she'd last eaten. We started noticing she'd only poop on those off leash walks. In fact, she wouldnt poop at all on days we didnt let her off leash, no matter how often we took her to her gated area in the yard. Although we started to notice a couple mornings there would be a very small piece of poo near where she was sleeping. We think she was waiting for us to fall asleep, poop, then eat the evidence : ( We had her stool tested and everything was healthy. On the advice of the vet we bulked up her food with more fiber and took her out every 45 minutes in the yard. She wasnt going at all, and by afternoon she had pooped a ton inside the house. Poor thing couldnt hold it anymore. Since then we've had several accidents in the house. Many of them right after she had just been outside. We've been tethering her to us in an effort to re-train her, but this morning I let my guard down. She pooped in the morning and I let her play for a few minutes to get her wiggles out. She ran right upstairs and pooped AGAIN. She's such a good girl but we're at wits end. We didnt have luck crate training as a puppy as she would just cry and cry and hated going in. I'm going to try with her again, but I just dont understand where we went wrong.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 08, 2020:

Hi Lisa, unfortunately until we tackle the health issues completely, house training will be challenging. Since she screams, she is likely in pain when she goes and she may associate going in certain places with the pain. Rest assured, your dog is not doing this out of spite, but because she has some underlying medical disorder. It may be time to see a specialist to address the pooping all over the house so to go to the root of the problem. Pooping so much is not normal, as you can attest your other dog is not doing this. Hang in there. Try to keep your dog restricted to an area with a washable floor in the meanwhile. Coating the floor with pee pads can help make cleanup a little easier. Constipation in dogs is not very common, it might be something else.

LisaandAaron on June 07, 2020:

I have a 9 year old French Mastiff that suddenly started having bowel movement all over the house nightly. Mostly on her dog bed, in my daughters bed at night, in front of the back door, and in front of her doggy door. We have a big fenced in back yard and she has availability to come in and out and she pleases. She also occasionally screams when she has bowel movements and there are blood streaks in her stool. I have taken her to the vet when this started and they said she had colitis and treated her with Sulfasalazine, She completed the entire course and this did not help AT ALL. She eats a high quality grain free diet all of her life, has always been up to date on all vaccinations, and has been in the same home her whole life. I also have a 13 year old male mastiff who does not do this.. I have added pumpkin to her dog food and fiber treats to help with constipation... Please Help....

Ali on May 23, 2020:

My almost 12 year old Westie was potty trained for years, but all of a sudden a few years ago, after we went on a vacation (that we had gone on years before), he started peeing and pooping in the house when we’re not looking. Do you have any tips?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 18, 2020:

Hi Rola,

It could be stress playing a role as being dropped off in a new place and being given a bath, restrained and using odd tools around them can be scary. Of course, there may be other things going on, but going to the groomers can play a role as many dogs act a bit different when they return. I would make sure he's is OK by seeing the vet though if you notice anything unusual.

Joshua Philip on May 14, 2020:

My 4 month puppy is constantly making a mess in her crate. When she poops, she has the habit of eating it. So when we go to take her out, all we see are stains. We taker her outside every hour, and sometimes she will go to the bathroom. We then put her in the crate, and she goes to the bathroom again (urine and stool) in the crate. When outside we reward heavily when she goes to the bathroom. However, we do not let her eat it. Please Help!

2years old mini pinscher on May 11, 2020:

Have adopted a 2yrs old dog almost 2 months ago and despite all the walks during the day, he keeps pooping during the night.

Sometimes he doesn't. I don't tend to leave him any food etc as i thought that was the issue. He used to sleep in my room but he once had an accident so I installed a safety gate downstairs to avoid similar accidents. Despite that, he has 1 poop in the same spot at night. Lovely present in the morning!

He's pretty needy normally..he follows me everywhere most of the time. I doubt this has anything to do with his healthy though.

I really think it is a separation issue consequence as he starts panting, pacing and whining until I let him out. Once out he starts licking me and jumping like crazy.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 07, 2020:

Sonja, please read this:

sonja on April 30, 2020:

she keeps going in the house right after she goes outside by the way her name is bailey.?

Claudia Torres on April 30, 2020:

Hello , my 6yo Yorkie and 2yo Kerry Blue are fully trained , they have an always open doggy door, they have free access to the whole house when we are present, when we have to live they have their fenced area inside the house with the same doggy door access. Somehow the Yorkie found the way to open the fence and both dogs poop and pee in every singles room they found open , specially when we are out for a extended period of time. We fixed the fence so she cannot longer open it , but now they poop in the middle of the house after we arrived ( only after long human absence ) they wait for us to open the door and as soonest we get busy they do it . Help pLease I love have them around us , but I am always scared of this accidents . Now with the Covid19 we are in voluntary quarantine ( almost 2 months now ), but the other day I had some errands and left home for 2 hours when we came back and open the fence the dogs get access to the whole house , 1hr later we found poop in two rooms .

Rola Ayache on April 28, 2020:

I have had my 11 month old King Charles Cavalier for 3 months now. I took him to the dog groomer for the first time a few days ago. (I don't know if he has ever been taken to a groomer before) He is now pooping and peeing inside the house after being housebroken for a while. Do you think that this is significant, or could there be another reason?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 27, 2020:

Hi Lummine, any recent diet changes? Stressful events? Schedule changes? Has your dog seen the vet to rule out parasites?

lummine frog on April 26, 2020:

my dog is potty trained and is 2 years old. he has recently started pooping were ever he wants to, sometimes even after being let out of his cage for pooping (ie, he got put in the cage for pooping, gets let out and then immediatly poops again) I dont know what to do at this point.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 24, 2020:

When there are all of a sudden changes in a dog that was doing well in the potty training department, something must be going on. First, we may want to rule out medical causes (pain? urinary tract infection?) and then evaluated whether there may be something scary happening. Perhaps the doggy door flap startled her, maybe she saw something scary, maybe she felt pain outside for some reason and now feels safer going inside. Regardless, make sure to clean accidents in the home with an enzyme-based cleaner, keep her in area where you can carefully monitor without obstructed views and coax her quickly outside at the first sign of needing to go potty. Keep rewarding for going outside. Is she spayed? If not, hormones can play a role in causing accidents in the home. You may need to crate her if she is crate trained when you cannot supervise.

Dalmationowner on April 24, 2020:

I have a 6 month old female dalmation that is fully deaf. We have had her since she was 12 weeks old. She is fully potty trained with a doggy door and has full access to a fenced in backyard. I also have a 2 year old male hearing dalmation. The last 4 days all of a sudden my girl dal is peeing and pooping in the house. Sometimes she will go outside and poop and pee and others she will do it in the house. I looked for triggers as to why she might not want to go outside. My male dal has no issues. I dont see anything that has changed. She knows when she has done sonething wrong by her demeanor but for whatever reason she does it anyway. She can go and come outside as she pleases, no diet changes, no routine changes. They are feed twice daily 6am and 6pm in addition to treats throughout the day again with no changes. I tried to praise and reward her when she does go but it is still intermittent. Im at a loss???

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 23, 2020:

Hi there,

Hailey, I find it very odd for a dog to start pooping inside the home non-stop especially a dog who has a history of going outside reliably. Something must be going on. The increase in stool frequency since you say "non-stop" can be due to a variety of issues, and I don't think it was all sorted out. I would call the dog food company and see if there any recalls or changes in ingredients and also would google online whether people are having similar issues with the brand. I would have her stool checked by the vet if you haven't done this already to rule out parasites or protozoans. In the meanwhile, I would keep her in a room near the outside door with plain view (no furniture obstructing) so that you can take her promptly out as soon as you see her squatting. I would praise and reward for going potty outside.

Hailey on April 21, 2020:

I have a very well trained 6 year old German shepherd x American staffy and just recently she has been pooping inside non stop, I've cleaned the area thoroughly, fed her earlier, taken her outside shortly after feeding, a couple of hours before bed, and then again just before bed and she still does it, she doesn't have anxiety as nothing in my household has changed and I've lived here for almost 3 years and she always pooped outside but for the past 2 weeks it's been inside, we have ruled out medical condition as we had her checked just in case... What can I do to stop her from pooping in the house as I'm now at wits end and have no idea what else I can do...

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 01, 2020:

Hi there, so sorry your are dealing with this, I feel for you. I am potty training an adult dog at the moment and it's almost a full-time job! If you work mostly at home, you are though at an advantage as you can keep track of things better.

First things first, try to keep him on a feeding schedule (feed him same time each day), this helps you better keep track of when he needs to potty. Write it down when he poops each day so that you know when he's close to being due (some dogs are like clocks).

Next, if he poops in the same area, try to keep that area inaccessible, like put a furniture or box there. And when you see him approach that area take him out.

Evaluate why he isn't pooping outside. Can he be scared of something? Too distracted? When you take him back inside keep an eagle eye on him, watch ever move. Learn what signs he gives before pooping: here are some:

When he potties outside, make it a fun event. Praise him and give him a yummy treat. Get your timing right, he postures, goes, as soon as he's about to get up from squatting mark it with a good boy and toss a treat his way.

Watch on your reaction when he goes potty in the home. If you startle him or frighten him (even if you didn't really mean to) that will cause him to sneak away to poop and refuse to poop in your presence outside. More on this here:

Also, if possible aim to train him to potty on cue: more on this here:

Last but not least, clean up indoor accidents with an odor neutralizer and make sure you have a clear view of your dog at all times when you know he is due to pee/poop soon. If he poop when he comes back inside, watch him like a hawk for a few minutes, and then take him 3-4 more times out until he goes. When he goes, throw a party!

Desperate Aly on March 31, 2020:

Hello! Great article, thanks so much for the insight. If I may, our family needs a bit more.

Our ~ 1-2 year-old rescue/foster Chihuahua is pooping in our house after being outside with us for an hour or more as well as after a good 30 min walk, etc. He will potty outside. He poops in the same spot in the house.

Here's the head scratchiest part for me, we have a family friend with whom he will spend the day on occasion. At that home, he will whine and scratch at the door to alert that it is potty/poopoo time. He does not have accidents there. He does not alert at the door here, ever.

We have caught him in the act and corrected, in the moment by quickly moving him outside, only to have him not finish and just play around or sit on his outside bed. Then he comes inside and squats to go again almost immediately! We take him out again in the moment, and this time walk him around to try to make him focus on the deed and he again, will not go.

Any suggestions for us?? We will appreciate anything at all! We are so confused as to what to do. We want to prepare him as best as possible for his forever home and we are running out of time because he is a real catch and will be adopted as soon as he's allowed a meet and greet once the quarantine is lifted. He's such a cute, good, happy, social dog. A little separation anxiety but very mild compared to others I have seen.

Here's a bit of potty background in case it is relevant:

We took Max in as a rescue/foster about 3 months ago. He was potty pad trained when he came to us and we let him stick to them for the first few weeks while he settled in and got used to us and the new place, etc. We then started taking him outside on several short walks per day and he was doing his business outside just fine, so much so that we didn't need potty pads for a bit, and I even dared to put rugs down on our linoleum floors. At that point, he saw the rugs as potty pads and started using them (yuck and dang it). I put potty pads down to hopefully be able to keep the rugs down as well. Effort in futility because everything was used to potty on. So, up came the rugs and the pads shortly after. It has been since that point that he has continued to poop in the house, again, after being outside for a good while. Like, immediately after. It is getting very frustrating and trying our patience. Please help!!

Note: if we don't catch him in the act, we clean it up without scolding him. We may utter an exasperated Maaaaaxxxx under our breath but he doesn't get in trouble.

Thank you!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 28, 2020:

L'keva Harris,

What are you doing when you notice him pooping or peeing in the house?

L'keva Harris on March 02, 2020:

I have a 4 yr old Shih-Apso rescue, house broken. I've had him now for about three weeks. The first two were great, we kept him on consistent schedule. Lately, even with consistent walking and pooping and peeing during walking, he's still peeing or pooing in the house. I'm trying to figure out why the sudden change?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 19, 2020:

Sybsiss, that's surely an interesting post you have made that goes to show how sensitive some dogs are to changes in their lives. Dogs love routines so it makes sense for their disruptions to cause them some level of stress.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 19, 2020:

With rescued dogs, it could be that their previous owners punished them for going potty so these dogs sneak away to poop. It could also be they were relinquished in the first place for their inappropriate elimination. Keeping these dogs on a feeding schedule, and taking them out at the same times each day may train their bodies to poop at a certain times of the day. Most dogs fed morning and evening tend to poop first thing in the morning, then sometimes later in the afternoon/early evening and before bedtime.

Sybsiss on January 19, 2020:

Our 12 year old Lab has inexplicably started pooping in the house. I take him out for a good hour walk in the am and pm. He also has free reign of his back yard, leashed and in our control of course. Our next door neighbor, who he absolutely loves but the neighbor has suddenly and completely stopped walking with us, as was our routine, every morning. How he loved and looked forward every am, wagging his tail, anxiously waiting to say hello.Our buddy sure looks healthy, we’ve had blood tests etc , have a competent vet. I can only think it’s the anxiety, inexplicable dismissal of love from our neighbor. So sad, but witnessing first hand along with research? Yes, I believe undue, undeserved stress can cause our loyal friends to poop indoors. Poor buddies...they mean no harm but just can’t express their unwarranted anxieties to us.

Craig on January 18, 2020:

Shadow was in the shelter for about 8 months. She has adapted well to our home. We love her and she is almost perfect except that after long walks and trips outside, she still sneaks in the dining room and poops. she almost always pees outside she is around 7 yrs old and has been to the vet

Addy on January 15, 2020:

We just got my dog he is one. We take him out after he eats and doesn’t go to the bathroom but poops inside after how do I stop this? We got him less then a week ago

Jill on January 06, 2020:

I gave a 5 month old teddy bear he has been pooping and peeing outside ever since I got him( I’ve had him since he was 2 months )I take him out right after he eats and every hour now every morning he is pooping in the house he goes out every morning at 7am so I don’t get it

Linda marin on January 04, 2020:

Hello, I have a female chihuahua that will be 2 in May. She has been pad trained sense she was a few months old she took to it the first few times I out her on the pad but now a few weeks ago she started pooping on the floor but still peeing on the pad I'm not sure what to do can you tell me how to help her

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 30, 2019:

Gayle, sometimes dogs do this if they know their owners get upset when they go. They think it's just bad to go in their owner's presence so they sneak away to poop in fear of being corrected. You can read more about this here:

Gayle on December 27, 2019:

My dog will go days without pooping waiting for us to leave the house then go the minute we leave. This just started out of the blue about 3 weeks ago. I have called the vet and there seems to be no reason for this physically. He has always been an anxious dog, so not sure what is going on.

Soni on December 24, 2019:

I adopted a 3 year old pocket bully who was fully house trained. We live out in the country and my closest neighbors live quite a ways away so shes not distracted. I let her out over 8 times a day and still she will sneak off and poop in the 2 year olds room or poop in her crate. I feel like shes stressed but i dont know why. She does poop outside and we even tried deworming her and still its not working. Any idea? I even cleaned up both spots with vinegar and bleach and its not helping.

adnamaniknar on December 23, 2019:

I have a 14.5 yr old dog that had just recently begun to poop in the house. She will go outside to pee ask to be let back in and then poop in the house. This is a new behavior and nothing has changed in her life, aside from getting old. This evening I let her out to pee and she came in and immediately pooped in the living room. I put her back outside while I cleaned up the mess and returned to find her waiting at the door again. Seeing as this was a small BM for her I made her return to the grass to "finish her business". She turned around, reluctantly, and pooped again out in the back yard. She was waiting to come back in the house to finish the job. She does not pee in the house, only poops. I'm at a loss and thinking it might be her time (she has some difficulty getting up and can't get up and down the stairs any longer). I don't want to put her down just for pooping in the house but we're at a loss as to why she's started this.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 23, 2019:

Finn, this surely is something worthy of investigated since it's so odd. It could be a health issue that coincidentally popped up right when you arrived or perhaps there's some behavior component. For example, maybe she's distracted by your presence on walks or stress may have caused her a touch of colitis? You would notice though some messy poops. I would keep track of when her accidents happen and take her out prior to them if there's a pattern and not returning inside until she poops if possible.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 23, 2019:

Sheryl, so sorry for your loss. Changes as such in a dog's life such as moving and losing a caretaker can cause stress which can trigger accidents in the home. It could be he is showing signs of separation anxiety or he may scared of going potty in the yard, just a few ideas.

Sheryl Cordell on December 22, 2019:

My mom died and I had to take our dog to my sistets because I cant have him where I am staying and he started pooping and peeing in her house is he upset that he hasnt seen me in three months

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 21, 2019:

Donna, it could be OK as long as 1) your dog does still well being crated and 2) you have ruled out medical problems first. A dog who is well house trained but starts pooping in the home always raises a red flag for some medical issue. Intestinal parasites, colitis, softer stools from a diet change and other GI disorders may sometimes be a culprit.

Donna harris on December 21, 2019:

My dog who is house trained is now pooping in our basement. Is it OK if I go back to crating him when we’re not home? He was created for a long time but we stopped crating him now. I can’t have my dog pooping in the house

Finn RM on December 16, 2019:

My parents adopted an 11-yo Yorkie from my aunt a few months ago, and she’s very well-adjusted to her new environment, pees and poos outside and everything, even now that winter has come. But since I’ve arrived home for the holidays she’s suddenly been pooping indoors and refuses to poop on her walks. It first happened sometime during my first night there, we noticed in the morning. She has not had this issue before, and I’ve allowed her to get used to me and she seems to enjoy my presence—she climbs into my lap on her own and laid on me or with me all day yesterday while I was working.

There has been no change in diet, she should be overall healthy as my folks have been keeping up with her vet trips and any extra needed care, so I’m the only outlier. But after day one she’s seemed comfortable around me, and now it’s day four and she’s still choosing to poop indoors.

I should note that we have a pee pad inside since both of my parents have funky schedules—she has a walk in the morning, afternoon, and evening as she should, so it’s really a just-in-case since she’s older, and she does pee on the pad a couple times a day even though she pees on walks too, even now. But she hasn’t pooped on the pad before.

Could she still be getting used to me even though she seems comfortable? Or should we be worried about other causes? Any advice would be appreciated.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 11, 2019:

Alice, at your dog's age it would be important seeing the vet especially since this is so out of character for your dog. Perhaps she has joint pain or some GI disorder.

Wendy on December 05, 2019:

My other dog, Rover, just passed on and the change in behavior on my dog, Kenji. He now pee and poo outside of his usual trained location. We thought that it could be due to old age and Alzheimer, and there were also occasion that he do his business in the right place.

Help, what can we do?

ALICE m HOOVER on December 04, 2019:

my dog is 13 years old and has never had any potty issues in the house last few nights she has been going poop in the house for some reason and I don't know why or what to do

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 26, 2019:

You're very welcome. Let me know if you are still facing issues with your dog having accidents in the home and we can do more troubleshooting ;)

Abby on November 25, 2019:

Okay! Thank you so much! We will make sure to try that.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 25, 2019:

Have you removed the bell from the door? If she is afraid of it, then that alone can make her wary of going outside. Can she be afraid of something outside? A vet visit can also be helpful to rule out a possible UTI. I would go back to basics and supervise her all the time (unless when crated) and praise reward for going outside.Make sure to clean up any accidents with an an enzyme based cleaner.

Abby on November 23, 2019:

Hey! We have a female teddy bear dog that we adopted from other owners when she was one, about six months ago. At first she was good about going outside and then she started going in the house about six weeks ago. She will go in spirts where she is good for 3 days and then she will poop in the house for 3 days. We have tried bell training but she is afraid of the bell. She has also in the past few days been starting to pee in the house as well. Thank you for your help! Any ideas are greatly appreciated!!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 22, 2019:

Lori, it may very well be that the pressure along with the energy demands of the pregnancy which can sometimes affect the intestinal flora. Of course, only your vet can tell you with certainty. I know some dogs when pregnant may benefit from the addition of some fiber to their diets, ask your vet though for specific recommendations.

Lori on November 22, 2019:

Will a pregnant dog start pooping in house if close to her due date she has about two weeks to go so im wondering if its not a pressure thing thank you for your help

Catherine on October 29, 2019:

We adopted a 5yo dog, he is amazing!!!! He recently started to poop at the same spot at night (around midnight) even if we put him often during the day. We didn't change his diet. We dont know how to deal with that ..

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 24, 2019:

Puppy mom, is your puppy neutered or is he intact? Here are some tips for the excitement urination when there are guests. Tossing treats to the ground when they first come in may also help remove the focus from the excited greeting.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 20, 2019:

Hi Mariah, lots of possibilities of things that may be going. Can she be eating kitty's food or poop? Sometimes these dietary changes may affect the dog's gut and cause increased bowel movements or more urgency. Perhaps she goes in the yard, but rushes because she wants to be back inside quick to be with kitty or is worried about kitty getting possession of something?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 20, 2019:

Susan, If your dog is hiding in the kitchen there is definitely something going on. Something must have spooked him. Please make sure you don't scold him for having accidents as that teaches dogs to go potty out of sight and hide. Make sure to praise him for going outside and give him a treat. You may need to troubleshoot what is causing him to hide in the kitchen.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 20, 2019:

Aaron, Dogs can certainly sense when there are major changes in their lives and some are very sensitive and can simply sense our stress or may not like furniture moved around and other things going on with moves and what happens prior to moving.

It may help to make sure you feed him at the same time each day, and I always suggest praising and rewarding for pooping outside. You may also find it helpful training your dog to poop on command. You can find it here how to accomplish that:

Aaron Lindsey on October 20, 2019:

Me and my Pit live in a motorhome and we moved about a week ago to a new town quit far away from where we did live. He has been pooping inside for about two weeks now. he started about a week before we left. I have not been getting on to him and I have been trying to set a routine. He is by my side all day and everywhere I go. How long will it take for him to stop this? Are there any other methods I can use to help him? If he doesnt get this under control very soon Im going to be the one needing help!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 15, 2019:

Susan, It sounds like your dog may have be spooked by something or perhaps has something going on medically causing him to associate the outdoors with something unpleasant. It sounds like he doesn't completely empty his bladder. Here are some ideas;

SusanMJordan on October 15, 2019:

I have. 3 year old Pomeranian we have had him for over a year now he always would go out side we have him on a schedule when he goes out the past few days he has been hiding in my kitchen and peeing and shutting in there after I've been outside with him I spend about 30 to 45 minutes with him outside and he will go but then he came back in and did more on floor there is nothing outside to distract him why is he doing this

Puppy Mom on October 15, 2019:

I have a 6 month old puppy. We live in a condo so housetraining has been difficult, but we were getting there by keeping him a regular routine. Recently he has started pooping when he is somewhere that there is a carpet, even though he was doing so great, going weeks without an accident. Suddenly it’s three days in a row inside. I work from home 2 days a week and my husband brings him to work 3 days a week so he is literally never left alone unless we go out to dinner on the weekends. Is this just rebellious behaviour (he is ‘maturing’ elsewhere so perhaps it’s a burst of testosterone that is changing this behaviour?) Seperately, while he knows not to pee inside, he does turn on the sprinklers when anyone comes in the door, and seems unable to stop himself doing that. How can we help him? TIA

Mariah Fleming on October 07, 2019:

My two year old female King charles spaniel has within the last two weeks started to poop and sometimes pee in the dining room. We don't know why, its so sudden. We've had her since she was only about a month, and she's used to us being away at work during the day, and when we get home we play with her and give her attention for hours. We got a kitten about three weeks ago, but she isn't stressed about her, she loves the new animal. We let her outside, and we'll watch her use the bathroom, then come inside and use it again. She's eating fine, drinking plenty of water, still energetic and playful, and her poop is normal looking. We don't know what to do.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 01, 2019:

Jen, with dogs kept mostly outdoors things get tricky. Firstly, outdoor dogs get used to peeing and pooping as soon as they feel the urge. They don't get to exercise much restrain as dogs kept crated or housetrained in general would do.

Secondly, when a dog is kept outdoors and then indoors, one doesn't know when the dog pooped last. So if you let her in at 5 or 6 and she may have pooped last in the morning or early afternoon, and that's a very long stretch so she might need to go bad at 2-3 in the morning.

It may help to let her sleep in the closed bedroom with you or give her a designated area with her bed. Your dog may perceive the area as a den and dogs are naturally inclined not to want to poop where they sleep so she may alert you, but it may take some time.

Jen on October 01, 2019:

Hello! I have a 17 mo old female Newfie who finished her 2nd heat last week. Although she has been house-trained for nearly a year without issues, she is now pooping in the house almost every night (for the past week)!!! But doing so at 2 or 3 in the morning. She eats at 5 or 6 with a cookie or 2 as a snack to come upstairs at 8-9. She is out cold snoring by 9-9:30. She never "asks" to go out because she is mostly an outdoor dog as we live in VT on 5 acres, I put a GPS collar on her and just watch where she roams. I cordoned off where she was regularly pooping, only for her to pick a different spot. My next step is top trap her upstairs and hope she will bark to let me know she wants to go downstairs to poop! Any advice would be amazing--I brought her to the vet 3 weeks ago when she first started going into heat and there were no health issues. I know the heat part will be a beacon for some to say it's that, but the pooping at night has become more regular as her heat cycle was ending and has now ended!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 27, 2019:

Elaine, do sorry your dog has been going through all that. If I recall well, pennies that were minted after 1982 are the problematic ones. Since this is happening just shortly after the hospitalization, it would be best to let the vet know so ensure her recovery is going as it should. It could be just the stress of all this, but there too can be a medical reason.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 27, 2019:

Stephanie, you can try walking him and not coming back in until he poops. Movement stimulates bowel movements. Make sure to praise and reward him with a treat for pooping outside.

Elaine on September 24, 2019:

We have an 11 year old Bichon Maltese female dog. We have never really had any problems with her peeing and pooping in the house (only once in a while when she's not let out). She is the type of dog that is attached to my husband all the time. She has a bit of anxiety meaning when a storm is coming in and believe it or not has anxiety when someone is chewing gum around her (so now we don't do it). She just returned home from surgery after swallowing 2 pennies and not sure how she got them because she has never done this before and along with the surgery had to blood transfusions because the zinc from the penny got into her blood stream. She had a bland diet when she came home and I kind of kept up with some chicken and rice with her dog food and now she's peeing and pooping 2 hours later after she already went outside and did the same. So I'm not sure what is going on and how to correct this with her. It's happened 2 days in a row in our dining room that has hardwood floors.

Is it from being away for 4 days, is it because she's older and the surgery sparked something, her bladder, maybe I shouldn't be feeding her the chicken and rice?

Please help, Elaine

Stephanie Desbiens on September 18, 2019:

Hi my 2 and a half year old dog suddenly started to poop in the house and I don’t understand why. We go outside and wait for him to poop and he doesn’t as soon as we come back in the house he poops on the floor. I don’t know what to do anymore

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 12, 2019:

Valentina, sounds like there might be an anxiety issue at play. Older dogs may like their routines and anything unusual such as having a friend over may cause stress. What happens if you keep your dog in another room or in a crate at a distance to enjoy a Kong filled with some goodies? What if you let your dog meet your friend outside and walk together and then come all back inside? Some dogs calm down a bit if they meet outside first. You may have to get help from a professional if this is an anxiety-based response.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 12, 2019:

Donna, there are supplements and medications to help with cognitive dysfunction. Melatonin can be helped for dogs unable to sleep at night. Your vet can prescribe some meds meant to help dogs with thi condition.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 05, 2019:

Kira, you need to see another vet if your current vet isn't helpful. There are medications for weak sphincters if this is due to her being fixed.

Kira on April 22, 2019:

I have a 9 year old German Shepherd. She recently started having bladder infections and soiling herself.

She has been fixed and ever since then, she started having serious bladder problems. She is on medication but they don't seem to help. She is an outside dog, we just bring her in when it's cold and rainy.

I don't want to leave her outside this winter.

The vet can't tell me what's wrong either. What should I do?

Valentina on April 21, 2019:

My 10 years old dog poops whenever a friend comes into our house. I tried everything I could and it's not working. Please help me! Also, sometimes she doesn't want to go outside. She comes by the door and then leaves.

Donna on April 21, 2019:

What or how do you deal with a dog with canine cognitive dysfunction? I have a pug that seems to have the symptoms of this. I have been taking to the Vet he has not mentioned this but, has brought up acupuncture not sure if that would work but, he was going to investigate.Any opinions would greatly be appreciated.

Lee Y on March 10, 2019:

11yr rescue male Japanese will not alert for pooping or peeing, but dinner time, he is right there ready? Woke up early today, every day, 6 a, to take him out only to step in poop and drag it all through my bedroom, grrrr. Help

Holly on February 19, 2019:

I have a 8 month old tea cup shitzue a Mini Australian Shepard and an old old shitzue. Well the little one is very bossy and temperamental she orders the older dogs around and we have tried to get a upper hand on this but she doesn’t seem to want to bend.... she’s boss that’s all there is to it...... well jude(the mini Australian is very skidish and scared of EVERYTHING well anyways he’s potty trained and so is she buy occasionally she will poop in the house why does Jude seem to poop in the house right after her??? And why and how do we get a hold and fix her bossing them around??? And is squirting them with water a good technique for training? A friend of mine said to do that and I’m not a big fan.

SANDRA KILNER on February 19, 2019:

We bought a Frenchie last September he's now 7mths these last few weeks my 5yr old shih tzu has started to poo during the night despite having been outdoors before bedtime. Could the new pup and this be linked. My other 2 dogs are fine. They all play together. The pup sleeps with the 5yr old and younger shih tzu. Suggestions please.

Rae on February 07, 2019:

My almost 3 year old French bulldog has started pooping in the house after his breakfast and sometimes we find one in the morning. We have recently started giving him wheat free dog food along with his homemade food because he was looking very skinny. This is day two of the new feeding, and after his breakfast he goes and poops somewhere inside the house, straight after eating. I let him outside before he eats so he can go to the toilet, so I don’t understand the sudden urge to poop straight after his breakfast. He’s never done this before up until now. He goes for a long walk late at night before bed, and always goes to the toilet, so I’m confused as to why I’m finding another poop in the morning all of a sudden.

Qwin on January 27, 2019:

My dog is one year old and housebroken. ( she pees and poops on the pad regularly, and she always happily come to us after that for reward ) She has little excitement pee issues since her puppy time, other than that she is very smart and she can hold her pee for hours if she is outside traveling.

However, she starts hold her poop and doesn’t want to go when we take her to, but later on she would poop at the wrong place ( not the same place every time ) Sometimes on the stairs when she was rushing to follow us to upstairs!

I am wondering what can we do? I feel it’s more mental issue but she is well-cared all the time.

Joe on January 06, 2019:

My dogs would die before pooping in the house, but if I don't kenel them and leave the house for more than 10 minutes, when I come back they purposely pooped and peed. I literally know if they did it because they will be hiding in the corner trembling because they knew they did something bad...

What gives? I hate leaving them kenneled when I'm gone, but it feels hopeless. Every time I think I can trust them, they let me down...

PinotB on January 04, 2019:

My almost 4yr old house trained labradoodle has recently started pooping in the house again. In the bathtub, but still, in the house. He is also still pooping outside on walks, as per normal.

Is it possible that he is pooping in the house again because my roommates 1yr old puppy is still pooping in the house? Her puppy has been pooping in the house for a year now (she’s very bad at training him properly) so I don’t understand why all of a sudden he has decided to poop in the house again himself.

The last time he pooped in the house was when he had diarrhea and I can’t blame him for that, but that was over a year ago. Now he’s pooped normal solid poops in the house twice within a few weeks of each other. On Dec 21st and today on Jan 4th. While still also pooping on his walks every morning & night. Can anyone help me figure out why all of a sudden, and how I can curb it? Especially as he’s not pooping while I’m home so I can’t curb it on the spot. Please help!!

Kirsten on January 04, 2019:

My fully house trained 1 yr old GSD recently started using the bathroom in areas my kids play and once on her dog bed in the car when we left her for a quick trip in a store. Can someone help me how to handle this.

Emily H on December 29, 2018:

Our lab is about 10 years old. We never had a problem with him peeing and pooping in the house until recently. We let him out for a while and when he comes in, he pees and poops in the living room. There hasn’t been any big changes or new animals, and we just don’t know what to do.

abigail on December 18, 2018:

we recently adopted a dog, she is 6 years old and house trained. when we were leaving the shelter there were of course other dogs and she didn't get along with them but we thought that's what all dogs did. so a few weeks ago my cousin and her service dog came over and we let my dog meet her, she was very aggressive towards the other dog, nervous, and jealous but the service dog has been here before so she may have thought "i was here first". that night my dog peed then after they left she pooped (keep in mind, she never did that for the month we've had her) i thought she was just stressed until every night after that day she has gone to the exact same spot where the service dog went to potty. then this morning she pooped again in the exact same spot she did the first time which was right beside her bed. you can tell she isn't herself anymore, i'm very concerned and i need answers plus solutions for when the dog comes back. i'm aware the service dog was drinking out of her bowl, chewing her toys, laying on her bed, and playing with me. so what could this be? me and my mom are desperate for answers. thank you.

Lewis Sharese Lew on December 17, 2018:

My dog is 3 years old and she is popping every 30 mins to an hour everywhere I caught her popping in my Xmas gifts I take out out all the time she will even popping in front of me and I don't know why she olny eats iams dog food and water she is very house trained my question is why

Andrew Pugh on December 10, 2018:

My 1 year old husky started peeing and pooping in the house everyday he goes outside more than normal he will go outside and use the bathroom then come back in and use it again he resentley chewed up our couch then peed on it. Hes destryoing everything including the carpet from mot only potty but chewing it up or just plain eating it he will sneek itno our room at night and get anything he can chew he ate my sons sock and pooped it out the next day and my wifes brand new never used boots he eats the insoles out of them. When we leave. We can only be gona not even 10 min and will come back and he would have got on the table and peed on it we are in desprate need of help with him his food and potty time has always been consistant but the past two weeks he has been out of controll

Lisa on November 29, 2018:

My almost 2 year old dog is going into heat and is pooping and peeing in the house? Can someone offer me any tips on how to remedy?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 14, 2018:

So sorry to hear that, I hear you. White cider vinegar is natural and not harmful and does a decent job in removing smells, but enzyme-based cleaners may work better as they help remove traces of odor which often triggers puppies to potty where they've been before. Nature's Miracle is a popular product.

George Curi from Miami Beach, Florida on November 13, 2018:

My neighbor's dog poops in the apartment almost nightly and the stench is insufferable. I've talked to her about it many times, but she refuses to do anything. What are your suggestions? I read white cider vinegar is great to take away the smell. Is it harmful? My Mom has been very sick to her stomach for months now. Thank you.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 04, 2018:

Moving to another area, although short-lived, can cause regression in some dogs. At your pup's age though, it could be he or she is starting to urine mark or the pup may be having accidents due to stress. Clean up soiled areas with an enzyme-based cleaner, keep an eagle eye on your pup, take him out often, praise reward for pooping outside, and see if you can reduce stress from being in a new place.