Puppy Potty Training Regression – How To Get Back To Housebroken
Suffering from a case of puppy potty training regression? Learn how to get your pup housebroken again…
*This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions are our own, as always.
Why Is My Puppy Suddenly Peeing In The House Again?
Their Brain Is Still Developing
Your puppy, just like a toddler, has a brain that is still developing.
Their memory isn’t fully developed or as long-lasting as an adult dog, so they may lapse and forget from time to time.
This can happen with puppies up until their first birthday and is more common with puppies 4 months and younger.
After their first birthday, their potty training should be completely solid!
Luckily, since you’ve successfully potty trained your pup before, it will be even easier to retrain them!
If you’re starting to second guess your potty training methods, don’t fret…you’re doing a great job!
Their Bladders Are Smaller Than Adult Dogs
Puppies have smaller bladders than adult-sized dogs and are not able to hold their bladder as long.
They also need to potty more frequently than adult dogs.
If your pet has been having accidents while you are away at work, out for a trip while they are home alone, etc., then they may have just needed to have the chance to be let outside to do their business.
They Can Smell Their Prior Accidents
If your puppy seems to be peeing or going in the same spot in your home, they may still be able to smell their prior accident and mistake that for a good place to potty.
Here is our favorite spot cleaning machine for pet (and kid) messes.
Stress And Anxiety
Depending on your lifestyle or any changes your puppy has experienced, another reason for puppy potty training regression is stress or anxiety.
Too Much Water Before Bed
Simple enough, but we’ve seen this issue before in a previous puppy many years ago…
Increasing water intake before bed can cause accidents overnight, and that means waking up to a pee-soaked kennel bed or carpet.
Puppies Find Cold Weather Unpleasant
If you live in an area that gets snow in the wintertime, it’s understandable that a puppy would find it harder to relax and do their business while walking around on the icy, cold snow.
They would probably have fun eating it (which results in filling up their bladder more).
You can grab them a winter jacket (like this one we use for our pup), and create a cleared path for them to do their business.
if they have a favorite spot in the yard to go, clear the snow for them so they can quickly access that spot.
There is also the option of using a puppy turf mat (this one is great and has a washable pee pad).
You can use this indoors if your puppy refuses to go outside in the wintertime!
Undiagnosed Medical Reasons
There could also be an underlying medical reason your puppy is experiencing some potty training regression issues – like a UTI.
If you suspect something might be off healthwise with your puppy, be sure to call your vet to see what they recommend.
How To Fix A Puppy Potty Training Regression
Start With The Basics
Restart your potty training schedule with your puppy.
While this may sound like you are starting from square one again, you are really starting from square 7 out of 10.
Your puppy has the basic training you spent so much time earlier on with them in the back of their mind, they just need a refresher course.
Get your puppy back into the habit of going potty outside again frequently.
They should pick it back up in no time.
Reward Successful Potty Trips Outside
Before going outside, grab a couple of treats and stash them in your pocket.
Each time your puppy goes potty outside, reward them with a treat!
Every time your dog pees – give a treat.
Every time your dog poops – give a treat.
Be sure to spend a few minutes outside with them each potty trip so they have ample time to go pee and poop if they need to.
Refrain From Reacting Negatively To Accidents Indoors
While indoor accidents are frustrating for dog owners and unpleasant to clean up – they happen.
And they may continue to happen while your pup is in their brief potty training regression.
Reacting negatively and punishing your pet for these accidents will not help with potty training them.
Puppies react to positive reinforcement.
Negative punishing behaviors may only make them afraid of you as they will not understand why you are upset.
Crate Them When They Are Relaxing
Assuming you are reading this post and have once successfully potty trained your puppy, their crate is probably a safe spot for non-accidents.
My husband and I learned this with our Frug, who was very stubborn at first when it came to potty training.
If there is a spot that your pup will safely refrain from doing their business in – use it.
For example, our puppy will not go potty in his crate (we know that isn’t the case for every puppy).
Before we get busy with an activity like making dinner together, we will take him outside to go potty, and then bring him inside and crate him.
He is safe, entertained with toys, and is to relax while we are busy and unable to keep eyes on him.
We know he won’t potty in his crate, and we won’t experience accidents during that time.
Of course, we take him out after we are done eating and really only keep him inside for puppy naps, overnight, and short periods of time like when we are eating lunch and dinner.
If your puppy has accidents in their crate, try to use a smaller crate – one that is barely big enough for them to do a full circle in.
This will help discourage them from using one part of the crate as a toilet and the other to sleep in. 😉
Sample Crate Training Schedule PDF
If you need some guidance or extra help with your puppy’s crate and potty schedule, we have a free printable PDF sample schedule for you!
This sample schedule has helped many of our readers figure out a schedule that works for them, reduce the number of accidents in their homes, and get their sweet pup back to being housebroken!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like…
Puppy Crate Training Schedule – Successfully Crate Train Your Pup!
Our Favorite Puppy Products (For Crating, Cuddling, and Creating Memories)