Potty training is a critical milestone for every puppy owner, but what happens when your dog refuses to do their business outside? Whether they're a young pup learning the ropes, an older dog facing some health challenges, or a pet suddenly developing an aversion to the great outdoors, it can be a real puzzle.

In this article, we'll explore some of the reasons your furry friend might be refusing to potty outside, along with practical tips to get them back on track. Let's roll up our sleeves and dive in.

Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet


  1. Why Is My Dog Refusing to Go Outside
  2. How to Train a Dog to Pee Outside
  3. How to Get a Dog to Poop Outside
  4. How Petcube Emergency Fund Can Help
  5. FAQs
  6. Final Thoughts

Why Is My Dog Refusing to Go Outside

This is a question that can leave many pet owners scratching their heads. Before we can tackle the issue, it's crucial to understand some of the potential causes behind this unusual behavior.

Incomplete Potty Training

Sometimes, dogs might seem to regress or forget their potty training. This could be a sign of incomplete potty training, where your dog never fully learned or understood that outside is the place to go. They might need some extra help to reinforce this habit.

Bad Weather

Some dogs are quite particular about their bathroom conditions. If it's too cold, too hot, or if it's raining or snowing, they might refuse to go outside. It might not make sense to us, but to our dogs, it's a matter of comfort.

Fear or Anxiety about the Outside

Your dog's refusal to go outside could stem from fear. This fear could be of other dogs, loud noises, or any other number of things in the environment that may scare them. Identifying these triggers is the first step to helping them overcome their fears.

Medical or Physical Issues

Medical conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), hormonal imbalances in older spayed dogs, cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in senior dogs, or other neurological issues can lead to incontinence or a reluctance to go outside. It's important to rule out these physical problems before addressing the issue as a behavioral one.

Behavioral Issues

Issues like separation anxiety or being locked inside for long periods can also lead to your dog refusing to go outside. Dogs, like humans, can develop a wide range of behavioral issues, and these can often influence their bathroom habits. Understanding their behavior can provide valuable insights into their refusal to go outdoors.

If you are unsure why your dog suddenly won’t potty outside, use a Pet Camera to monitor their behavior while you are gone to look for clues as to why your dog is refusing to pee or poop outdoors.

How to Train a Dog to Pee Outside

According to Texas A&M University research getting your dog comfortable with doing their business outside can feel like a tall order, especially if they're showing signs of resistance. However, with a bit of patience, consistency, and the right techniques, you can guide them back to appropriate bathroom behaviors.

Crate Training on a Schedule

Crate training can be a powerful tool for establishing a consistent potty schedule. Dogs generally dislike soiling their personal space, so they'll usually try to hold it until they're let out of their crate. By cradling your dog for reasonable periods and then immediately taking them outside, you can help them associate the outdoors with potty time. Be sure to stick to a regular schedule - consistency is key.

Bell Training

Bell training is a popular method for teaching dogs to communicate when they need to go outside. Hang a bell by the door you usually use to take your dog out and encourage them to nudge it with their nose or paw each time before you open the door. With time, your dog will learn to ring the bell to signal their need to go outside.

Consult Your Vet About Medical Issues

If your dog suddenly won't go outside or shows signs of incontinence, it's important to consult with a vet. Medical conditions such as UTIs, hormonal imbalances, or neurological issues could be at play. It's essential to rule out these potential health problems first, as they'll require different approaches.

Management for Senior Dogs

In senior dogs or dogs with neurological issues, management may be necessary alongside training. These dogs may require more frequent bathroom breaks, and ensuring they have regular, ample opportunities to relieve themselves outdoors can help avoid accidents.

In severe cases, doggy diapers can provide an additional layer of protection, helping keep your home clean while you address the underlying issue. Remember, patience is vital when working with these pups - they're doing their best!

How to Get a Dog to Poop Outside


Similar to pee problems, having your dog refuse to poop outside can be a big headache. The good news is that there are several strategies you can employ to address this issue and get your pup back to doing their business outdoors.

Checking for a Medical Problem

First things first, rule out any medical conditions that could be contributing to your dog's reluctance to poop outside. Constipation, digestive issues, or anal gland problems can all make going to the bathroom uncomfortable for your dog. Consult your vet if you suspect any health issues are at play.

Go Outside with Your Dog

Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of company to make your dog feel comfortable enough to poop outside. Accompanying your dog outdoors can provide them with a sense of security and encourage them to do their business. Plus, it allows you to reward them immediately afterward, reinforcing the behavior.

Make It a Positive Experience

Going to the bathroom should never be a stressful experience for your dog. Make sure you're patient and positive during potty breaks, and never punish your dog for accidents. Instead, lavish them with praise and treats when they do poop outside to make the experience a positive one.

Safe and Quiet Poop Place

Your dog may refuse to poop outside if they don't have a suitable spot to do their business. Make sure there's a quiet, safe area in your yard where they can feel comfortable. Keep it free from distractions like dogs they may want to play with and scary objects, which might discourage them from using it.

Pooping on Command

Teaching your dog to poop on command can be a real game-changer. Start by saying a specific word or phrase each time they're about to poop (like "go poop"), then reward them when they do. With consistency, they'll start to associate the command with the action, making bathroom breaks more efficient.

The Importance of a Poop Schedule

One of the most effective strategies for encouraging your dog to poop outside is to establish a consistent poop schedule. Dogs are creatures of habit, and by taking them outside to do their business at the same times each day — usually after meals or playtime — they can start to develop a routine.

Maintaining this schedule helps your dog understand when and where they should be doing their business. This predictability can be comforting for them, reducing anxiety around bathroom breaks and helping them adjust to going outside.

Remember, every dog is unique, and some may need a little more time to adjust to their new routine. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are your best tools in this process. It won't be long before your furry friend gets the hang of their new poop schedule, making life easier for both of you.

How Petcube Emergency Fund Can Help

In the unfortunate event that your dog's bathroom issues are due to a medical emergency, such as a young puppy contracting parvo, financial concerns can add stress to an already distressing situation. This is where the Petcube Emergency Fund can provide invaluable assistance.

For just $1 a day, Petcube provides up to $3000 to cover emergency vet bills. This coverage can be a lifeline when faced with sudden and costly treatments that your furry friend may need.

Additionally, Petcube also offers 24/7 online veterinary telehealth access. This means you can get professional veterinary advice at any time of the day or night, which is especially crucial during emergencies. This peace of mind can make a significant difference in ensuring your pet gets the timely care they need.


Why won't my dog go to the bathroom outside when it rains?

Your dog might refuse to go to the bathroom outside when it rains because they find the wet conditions uncomfortable or unpleasant. Try providing a covered or sheltered area for them to use during rainy weather.

Why does my dog pee inside after being outside?

Your dog might pee inside after being outside due to incomplete potty training, a medical issue, or simply because they didn't understand they were supposed to pee when they were outside. Consulting a vet or a dog trainer may help identify and resolve the issue.

What to do when it's too cold for a puppy to pee outside?

When it's too cold for a puppy to pee outside, consider using puppy pads indoors or providing a sheltered, warmer outdoor area. Gradual acclimatization to cold weather can also be beneficial.

Final Thoughts

Getting your dog to pee or poop outside when they're resistant can be a tough task, but with a blend of patience, understanding, and the right techniques, you can help them overcome their reluctance.

Remember, it's vital to rule out any underlying medical issues first and always make their outdoor bathroom breaks a positive experience. Reach out to your vet or a professional trainer if you need additional help.

Was this article helpful?

Help us make our articles even better

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback