Why Does My Dog Wait Until We Come Back Inside to Potty?

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 "We were outside for 30 minutes with my dog and I knew she had to go! Nothing happened, then the second I brought her back in, she peed on the floor! Now it's becoming a pattern! What do I do?"

This is a very common problem among dog owners, first off, know you are not alone! There are usually a couple factors at play that can create this vicious cycle!

Short Answer:

Your dog is having too much fun, is too worried, or distracted outside and 'forgets' they had to potty in the first place until they come back inside to where it's boring/comfortable/nothing new happening. Like checking your phone to see what time it is, responding to three emails and a text message, putting it away and forgetting to ever check the time.

What To Do About It:

Outside Distractions

Having a calm and rather BORING place to go potty is the best option! I always recommend using the same general area that can come become 'the potty spot.' That way once they see it, they know what they need to be doing. Keeping visual stimulation to a minimum will be helpful too. If there is a way to limit seeing cars going by, people, kids playing, anything that seems more fun that going potty!

A Short Leash

Keeping your dog on a leash will be helpful to keep focus. I always recommend that clients meander with their dog on leash. If you are just standing in one place, they may be waiting for something to happen, or start seeking out something to focus on. By wandering around in your designated potty area, it keeps them moving... and sniffing but without a lot of distraction.

No Begging (Out Loud)

Not talking to your dog while you are trying to get them to go potty will be helpful as well. Otherwise they may start thinking you want to play with them or you want them to do something specific (other than pottying), but any direct interaction is going to pull away from allowing them to 'sniff out' the area.

Use a Time Window

Whenever possible, give them a 10 minute window max. If they don't go, take them back inside (on leash) and put them in their crate. No free time until after a successful outside potty! Give them 20-30 minutes of crate time if possible, then try again by leashing them up immediately and going right outside to the same area to meander around in. Continue this until they go. Once you have success give them a big, unmistakeable praise, and a pat on the head for good measure. THEN they can be let off leash to play outside if you are in a fenced area, or can go back inside and be loose to run and play.


Cut distractions down as much as possible when you go out. Always keep them on a leash, and try to get them to go in the same general area every time. Don't stop moving, meander around and let them sniff, and if it doesn't happen in a reasonable amount of time, they go back into a crate. 3 or 4 times of successfully following these steps can rewire your pup's brain to go potty OUTSIDE, not wait until they come back in!

For more information, tips or questions please visit our website at www.dogtrainingredefined.com or email Andrea at Andrea@theanimaldept.com