Is your dog pooping all over the yard? It can be time-consuming to check every inch of the yard for dog poop. Plus, doesn’t it feel like, no matter how carefully you search, you always seem to miss some? If so, you may wonder how to train your dog to poop in one spot. Luckily, with some patience and helpful tips, you can teach your dog where to do their business.
First, we learn to pick the perfect spot for your dog to “go.” Then we dive into the details of training them to potty in that spot only.
Picking Your Dog’s Potty Spot
There are four main factors to consider when choosing the area that will serve as your pet’s potty grounds:
- How much space they'll need. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog a space that’s as long and wide as 5x the dog’s length. This allows them to sniff around and comfortably do their business even if you don’t scoop after each potty break.
- The type of surface you want to use. Most dogs prefer soft and absorbent surfaces, such as grass, mulch, or gravel. If you don’t have these surfaces available, choose any area where your pet will relieve themselves.
- Spaces they’re already using. When possible, use an area where your dog is already going semi-consistently. This can make training easier.
- The surrounding areas. The space should be easily accessible to you and your pet but not in the middle of everything. So, try to avoid walkways or areas with daily foot traffic.
Related content: How to Make a Dog Poop Quickly
Poop Spot Training Method: How to Train Your Dog to Poop in One Area
Training your dog to poop in a designated area requires patience and consistency. As with any type of training, it’s key to pay attention to your dog’s cues and reward them when they go in the right area. Follow these steps to help your pup learn where they should do their business:
- Move a scoop or two of their poop into that area, and clean up the rest of the yard.
- Water the rest of the lawn well to rinse away urine and feces smells. Consider a yard deodorization tactic if your yard still smells too much for your dog to focus on the right spot.
- Supervise your pet, walking them to the designated spot and giving your usual command, such as “Go potty.” Once your dog sniffs around like they’re interested, repeat the order and give them a small treat.
- Don’t play with your pet in the potty space. Instead, encourage them to go potty before letting them play in other areas of the yard. If your pet is insistent on playing before pooping, take them to another area of the yard first.
- When your dog pees or poops in the desired area, give them plenty of verbal praise and a treat. However, if they end up going in another place, don’t scold them. Just keep using positive reinforcement for using the desired area.
- Quickly clean up droppings outside of their new potty spot. Dogs are all about scents. They’re more likely to go where they smell they’ve been before.
- While your dog learns to go in one spot, leave one recent dog poop pile in the area. Apart from this one pile, though, the remainder of the space should be kept clean. Too much poop will discourage your pet.
During training, it’s best to supervise your dog after meals, during a walk, and after playtime, so you can escort them to their potty spot and encourage them to go. Over time, they will begin to understand the routine.
Three Rules for Training Your Dog to Potty in One Spot
- Always reward your dog for peeing and pooping in one spot. Most medium-sized dogs poop 1-3 times per day on average. So, rewarding them when they pee, too, will help enforce the behavior more quickly.
- Be consistent and watchful. Take your dog to their spot for at least two weeks. After, you can let them go on their own and watch them, making sure that they’re catching on. If not, escort them for another week and then try passively observing again.
- Be patient. While some dogs will catch on quickly, others may take several weeks to get with the program. The time spent will be worth it; not only will you have an easier time keeping your yard clean, but you’ll have learned even more about the types of rewards and training methods your dog responds to best.
Possible Problems When Training Your Dog to Poop in One Area
You may run across a few issues when training your dog to use their potty spot. These include:
- Marking behavior. Male dogs are known for this behavior, though females also participate to some degree. This is when your dog pees a little in specific spots (usually where other animal smells are present) to mark their territory. While teaching them to pee on cue is an option, it’s best to know that this small amount of urine won’t cause the brown spots on your grass like normal amounts of urine.
- Going outside the potty spot. If your pet consistently goes outside the designated area, it may be time to consider leash training them until they understand. Don’t scold your pup. Reward them heavily when they do go to the right spot.
- Not peeing at all. Some dogs are a little shy when on a leash. This is an instinct; they don’t like doing their business with an audience. However, there are a few things you can try if this is an issue. First, invest in a longer leash. Second, try walking them around the spot so they can check it out, but don’t interact with your pet, or they may think you want to play, which is the ultimate potty distraction.
- Too much poop accumulation. You might worry that the potty spot will suffer lawn damage, due to accumulation of waste. This is common, but there are easy tactics for protecting your grass.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Doesn’t My Dog Poop in One Spot?
Dogs may be partial to a particular area, but they’re not likely to go in one spot unless it’s kept clean. Think about it: Do you enjoy using an unclean bathroom every time you need to relieve yourself? This is important to remember as you train your dog to use their potty spot.
Is It Possible to Train My Older Dog to Go in One Spot?
Yes! It takes lots of practice and patience, but teaching your older dog to go in one specific potty spot is possible. Admittedly, it is easier to train puppies as they potty train, but your old dog can learn this new trick with the help of positive reinforcement.
Is There a Spray to Make Dogs Poop in One Area?
A few pheromone sprays on the market may encourage your dog to go to the bathroom on whatever area/item you spray. However, we don’t necessarily recommend them. Most are filled with chemicals that mimic dog pheromones and can cause them to exhibit more marking behaviors than before you used the spray.
Other Ways to Keep Your Yard Clean
Training your pet to poop in one area keeps the rest of the yard clean so your family can enjoy your outdoor space without dodging dog droppings. If you’re looking for help with keeping the new potty spot clean to prevent lawn damage and keep your dog’s routine in check, the team at DoodyCalls can help! We offer residential poop pick-up services on your schedule. Call us for a free quote at (888) 659-6558[OUW13] or find a location near you online.