Dealing with Potty Accidents

Updated On: Friday, October 22, 2021 15:00:33 PM America/Los_Angeles

Potty accidents aren’t just frustrating for pup paw-rents, dogs are also affected by them and how we handle them. Read on to find out more about common causes and how to deal with them. 

Photo by Matthew Henry

What Causes Dogs to Have Potty Accidents? 

The reasons for potty accidents vary widely and range in severity. Some common causes are: 

  • Habit resulting from unfinished or insufficient potty training
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Incontinence
  • No access to a dog potty and/or not being taken out for enough walks
  • UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • A move or change in potty pad location
  • Change in daily schedule

If you have an older dog who is fully trained but gradually having more accidents, they may be dealing with a medical condition such as a UTI or Alzheimer’s. If you’re unsure whether or not these may be behind the continued accidents, consider where and when your doggo has them. Are they erratic -- in different locations each time? Are they during the night or during their usual potty times? If there is less of a routine to the accidents, it may be that your dog is struggling with an underlying medical issue. 

The most common culprit is unfinished or insufficient potty training, which can lead to a habit of going to the bathroom where your pup shouldn’t. A big clue is whether or not your dog is repeatedly going in the same location. If so, this likely means that while they may not have completed potty training, they’re learning to designate a specific place in your home as their own personal dog potty. 

How Can I Prevent Potty Accidents in the Home?

Determining the cause behind potty accidents goes a long way in preventing them. Knowing the reason will better help you to find the appropriate solution for your fur baby and your home. 

If you suspect that there’s a more serious problem behind the accidents, check in with your vet to see what might be causing the problem. Even if you feel certain there is a medical issue, they’ll be able to help you pinpoint the specific reason and treatment. 

If the root cause is simply a force of habit or due to insufficient training, clean the affected area thoroughly to eliminate lingering scents as much as possible. Dogs are guided by their noses and if the area is not properly cleaned, they may learn to identify it as their designated dog bathroom. Other times, your pup may need to go more frequently than assumed. In this case, they may need to be walked more often or given access to a pee pad so that they have a place to go between walks. 

Though potty accidents can seem like a nuisance, it’s important that they’re taken seriously. Even a “small” reason like needing to be walked more frequently greatly impacts the health and happiness of our fur babies.