Reasons why your dog might be having housetraining accidents

There are a lot of reasons puppies and older dogs have housetraining problems. Besides normal factors such as maturity and lack of motivation to go potty in the right location, there can be other issues that can cause a dog to have accidents.

It is important to understand some of the issues to avoid focusing on the wrong reason and getting frustrated.

 If your dog is not housetrained yet, you can view FREE housetraining videos on my other website, Watch and Train.

Here are some of the issues that can contribute to housetraining problems.

Separation Anxiety

There are many symptoms of separation anxiety including accidents when alone, following a person around the house and not being able to be alone, scratching at doors and on the crate, barking for extended periods of time, not eating when alone and heightened anxiety when a person returns home.

If you think your dog has separation anxiety, you can purchase my Dog Separation Anxiety EBook to solve your problems. Separation anxiety can be one of the most frustrating dog training topics, but I can help bring clarity to a frustrating situation. Be patient and you can do it.

Submissive Urination

This can occur if a dog feels threatened and wants to tell the approaching dog or person that he means no harm. Puppies can often outgrow this, but if it is present in an adult dog it usually means there is a fear component. There are four specific triggers that usually trigger this response.

  1. Approach and eye contact
  2. Looming or bending over a dog
  3. Touching
  4. Talking

This often occurs when family members or guests approach or when a puppy is taken out of the crate. To help a dog get out of the habit of reacting this way, try and approach him in a submissive way.

You can turn your body to the side, avoid eye contact, crouch down and put the leash on. Every time that you successfully put the leash on and take him to the potty area without an episode of submissive urination occurring is one day closer to him changing this behavior.

There are also some other strategies you can use to avoid the repeated pattern resulting in submissive urination.

  1. Put your dog on leash and wait for your dog to calm down before someone approaches. Then, have the person sit down and have allow your dog to approach the person. If a dog approaches a person, there is less of a chance of submissive urination occurring because it is less confrontational for the dog.
  2. You can also try throwing a toy down the hallway for your dog to chase and give him something else to do besides being the center of attention.

Bladder Infections

This can happen to young or old dogs. It can be quite frustrating. There are specific symptoms that are present and this can usually be treated with antibiotics. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions.

  1. Frequent urination (often in unusual places)
  2. Bloody urine
  3. Dribbling urine
  4. Straining to urinate
  5. Weakness
  6. Depression
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Vomiting and pain

Moving or a Change in the House

Dogs can have housetraining regressions when the family moves or if there is a new member of the family (marriage, baby, etc.). These new situations can be stressful and disorientating to the dog. Be patient and pay close attention to your dog's habits and routine during the first few weeks to avoid problems.


Just a quick note, never put your dog's face in the accident if one occurs. This is abusive and increases anxiety. It is not helpful.

Do you have any housetraining stories not covered here? Share them in the comments to benefit everyone.

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