Why is My Dog Regressing in Potty Training

We understand how frustrating it is to see your supposedly well-trained dog excreting in areas of your house it’s taught not to. If it’s a one-off incident because your pup is sick or is inside your house for too long without a potty break, you can let it slide and prevent it from happening again.

However, if this becomes more of a habit, your dog may be experiencing potty training regression. Witnessing your dog revert back to having accidents inside your house can be upsetting and frustrating, but keep in mind that your dog is not doing it intentionally to spite you.

So why is your dog regressing in potty training you ask? In this article, we will explain why and what you can do about it!

What is Potty Training Regression?

Before we discuss why it happens, let us break down the basics– what exactly is potty training regression? 

When your dog takes a few steps backward from its learning trajectory and returns to the old habit of soiling in places you trained it not to, that is potty training regression. You might think that you did great in training your dog and it’s unusual for it not to apply the training.

However, in reality, house training regression is pretty common for dogs of all ages, especially for pups aged 4 months to 1 year. In the next section, we will lay out the possible reasons that may trigger potty training regression.

Why Does Regression Happen in Potty Training?

No, your dog is not intentionally putting you through all the stress because it hates you. There are a number of reasons why your dog might regress in potty training including:

  • Puppies may regress in potty training because their brains are still developing as they grow. The good news is that as long as you remain consistent in your efforts, your pup should pick up the training again quickly.
  • Significant changes in the household may also trigger potty training regression, as shifts in its daily routine can stress out your dog. Some of these changes may include moving to a new home, getting a new pet, or having a new baby. When your dog gets stressed, they may “forget” their potty training. 
  • Another reason for potty training regression is medical issues such as urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, incontinence, or dementia. Observe if your dog is also showing other symptoms and consult your veterinarian so the underlying cause will be treated.
  • If your dog suffers from separation anxiety when its favorite person in the household leaves, it can lead to potty training issues. If you feel that this is the cause, consult with your veterinarian so they can prescribe anti-anxiety medications that you can administer to your dog before you leave. Also, you can hire a sitter to stay with your dog instead of taking it to a kennel.

What You Can Do When Potty Training Regression Occurs

Here are some tips on how you should deal with potty training regression:

  • Don’t yell at your dog for soiling inside your home no matter how frustrating it is. When you intimidate your dog, it will become fearful and will be less likely to listen to you.
  • Clean up the area thoroughly because they will more likely have an accident in the same place if their scent stays. You can use special products that are designed to eliminate pet odors for better results.
  • Keep track of when these accidents happen so you’ll know how to prevent them. If it is caused by anxiety or stress, understanding the trigger and tracking down the time and area of the incident will help you a lot. Check if there’s a trend related to a specific time or place so you can make the necessary changes. For instance, if it happens whenever you leave it alone, you can change its food and water consumption. Additionally, you can take your dog to the potty area before leaving to prevent such accidents.
  • When you notice that your dog went to the bathroom inside your home, bring its attention to it and take your dog outside. You can also remind your dog where it’s acceptable to poop by picking it up and taking it to the potty area.
  • Stick to the routine of regular potty breaks to prevent accidents. You should also pay attention to its potty habit so you know immediately when it needs to go.
  • Give your dog positive reinforcements for a job well done. You can give it some tasty treats, verbal praises, toys, or increase its playtime. In a few weeks, your dog will pick up the good habit. Also, never punish your dog for potty regression.

The Best Dog Trainers

If your dog is regressing in potty training, don’t worry there’s a way to fix this. Your dog has learned it before, it can surely relearn how to perform the proper behaviors. 

However, if you want an easier and more effective way to deal with potty training regression, contact the best dog training school– Delaware K9 Academy. From private lessons and puppy training to two-week bootcamps, they offer various dog training options depending on your dog’s needs.