The Right Way to Punish & Discipline a Dog for Pooping in the House

Let’s get one thing straight. Don’t punish your dog if he poops in the house. This applies even when your dog has been potty trained. No dog is the same. Some will get house-trained much quicker than others. If you find yourself in a situation where your dog constantly poops in the house then the responsibility falls on you to guide the dog in the right direction.

Instead of disciplining your dog for pooping indoors, what you are going to do is to reward your dog for pooping outside. More dog owners need to understand that positive reinforcement is an essential component of dog training and it works really well for the poop of a situation you are in.

Why is the Dog Pooping in the House?

Before we get to the fix, it helps to understand why your dog is pooping in the house. Here are some common reasons that may cause this behavior.

Dog’s age: it’s more common for puppies to have indoor accidents because they are yet to be fully housebroken. It can take anywhere between a few months to a year for a puppy to be house-trained. Young puppies also don’t have enough muscular control to hold their feces and urine.

Adopted dog: did you adopt the dog fairly recently? The indoor pooping behavior could be caused by stress and the dog’s unfamiliarity with the new environment and new bathroom schedule. Give the potty training some more time and make sure you use plenty of positive reinforcement.

Stress: did you recently make a lifestyle change? Did you move to a new home, redecorate the house, or start a new job? Your dog can get stressed out any time there’s a change that disrupts his usual lifestyle. Stress can lead to some unusual behavior from your dog.

Medical issue: if this behavior came out of nowhere then it could be worthwhile to take your dog to the vet. Medical issues can cause your dog to lose control of his bowels.

How to Stop Your Dog from Pooping Indoors

Try the following steps once you have confirmed that the behavior isn’t caused by a medical issue. Please note that this isn’t an overnight fix so you will have to be patient until your dog gets it.

1. First step is to be able to detect when your dog needs to go for a toilet break. Common signs include: sniffing the floor, turning in circles while sniffing, whining, and standing by the door.

2. If your dog shows any of the above signs and looks like he is about to do his business then interrupt him with a unique one-word command, then take him outside as quickly as possible.

3. Stay with your dog until he finishes his business. Once he’s done, give him some treats and praises. You can now let your dog do whatever he wants.

For puppies, you might want to take them outside once every hour, even if they don’t show any signs of pooping. Puppies are less predictable with their pooping behavior so you want to increase your chances of getting the puppy to poop outside by letting them out more frequently.

Using a Bell for Potty Training

Some dog owners take potty training a step further by introducing a bell. The goal is to train your dog to use the bell anytime he needs to go outside to do his business. Bell training is a three step process.

Step 1: Touch the Bell
The first step is to get your dog to become familiar with the bell. You are going to hold the bell in front of your dog’s nose and encourage him to touch the bell. When the dog hits the bell, say a command then give him a treat straight away. The command serves as a marker to tell the dog he did the right thing.

Step 2: Touch the Bell at the Door
Once the dog is familiar with step 1, you are going to place the bell by the door and have your dog touch it. When you have your dog’s attention, point at the bell then say “touch”. If the dog touches the bell then repeat the command from step 1. Again, give him plenty of treats immediately after he touches the bell.

Step 3: Touch the Bell for Pooping
The last step is to teach your dog that the bell is to be only used for pooping. Any time your dog shows signs of wanting to do his business, lead him to the door then say the “touch” command. Next, let the dog outside and wait for him to poop. Once done, give him another treat.

With enough repetition, your dog will eventually learn that he will need to touch the bell any time he wants to go outside to poop or urinate.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • Helen Jervis | 29/11/2019

    We used the bell to train our then 3 month old Westie, Fudge. She was so good with every part of her training except potty training,. We tried everything, nothing worked. My lovely husband went on line and read-up about using a bell tied to the door, and within a week Fudge was fully house trained. It even works when visiting, friends and family, the bell just comes with us.

    We now a a Jack Russell pup and will be using the same training method.

  • Danny | 09/02/2020

    This is b*******. I only give my dog treats when she goes outside but she is still pooping inside. Your theory sucks and is not valid

  • Murph | 21/06/2021

    Wow, your anger is not helpful. Maybe the theory isn’t the problem…

  • Paula | 07/07/2021

    I understand your frustration, I have the same problem, I just don’t get it. She was doing fine and now poops in the house almost daily, outside other times. Maybe she just can’t hold it but when she indicates she needs to go and does nothing out there after ten minutes but chase ants, then comes inside and poops instead right away. Why doesn’t anyone address this behavior?

  • Rory | 28/09/2021

    If you take your dog out and they don’t go out them straight into a kennel and try again in ten min do this and repeat if needed the dog will eventually understand that the only place to go is outside also when outside try to avoid distractions as he is a puppy and everything is new a leaf or ant can distract them

  • Lucyann Brown | 21/01/2022

    Dogs Understand Us, Why can’t we be more Smart, they are Selective on what & who they listen too, Dogs are So Smart they got Us Believing They need a “Command” to do right, They Know Dogs are Smart and Understand Everything!!

  • Mary | 15/10/2021

    Ok when I’m home my dog will have accidents but I take him out alot and now I’m working long hours I come home to poop and pee dont know what to do now ! Might have to get rid of him which I really don’t want to do ! Anyone can suggest something please let me know ! I take him out before I leave for work and I work anywhere from 12 hrs to 19 hrs a day

  • Josh | 27/10/2021

    Leave him in the crate while you are gone he is less likely to poop where he sleeps which is why crate training is crucial for house training

  • Mindy | 08/11/2021

    That’s too long in a crate. They will eventually have to go and then sit in it until she comes home. That’s cruel! She should not have a dog. Re -home it.

  • Haily | 30/10/2021

    You can’t have a dog and live alone while working those hours. You need to take them to a doggy day care or get a sitter. If you can’t do that then you need to rehome them.

  • Cameron roy | 01/11/2021

    You don’t deserve a dog

  • Kerris Mcbride | 03/11/2021

    Maybe he shouldn’t be left for that many hours

  • Mindy | 08/11/2021

    Uh…19 hours you expect your dog to hold it? Can you hold it that long? When you gotta go, you gotta go!

  • Charlene | 29/10/2020

    I have a dog door and 5 1/2 fenced acres. My four month old pit bull puppy knows how to use it. I have been giving him treats for going outside. He will often go outside to do his business on his own and I follow him to give him a reward. But if it is cold and rainy he would rather pee and poop in the house. The treats do not outweigh the desire to not go outside in the rain and cold. Even when I put a little jacket on him. What do I do? How do I get him to stop peeing and pooping in the house? I keep reading not to punish him but there seems to be no downside for him to pee and poop in the house.

  • Janice | 23/04/2021

    We have the same problem! Don’t know how to correct this! Any suggestions?

  • Ace | 28/05/2021

    I completely understand where you’re coming from and although I believe in NOT punishing your dog when it potties in the house, I’ve had the frustration of trying to keep calm and patient but what I finally did was I made my boy sit next to me as I cleaned up his mess and very nicely told him that was a bad dog and I didn’t rub his face in it or anything like that but I did make him smell what he did then took him to the back door and let him out and when he went potty I told him that was a good dog. And with a couple repetitions of showing him/training him to understand the difference between good dog and not good dog, I hate to say bad dog because it’s not their fault but it’s just a command word that they learn that a good dog goes to the door and outside and gets a treat when him comes back in and of course once he knew exactly what to do, if he did go in the house and you know that they are potty trained well, then it’s up to you to treat them with compassion and help them out and don’t relate the accident to bad dog because that doesn’t apply anymore and dogs honestly don’t want to go potty inside or in their cage or beds…. they feel bad and embarrassed when they have an accident!! If the potty inside continues then there’s possibly a medical issue that needs addressing because I believe that every dog, at least the majority of dogs actually are looking for and want to be trained and given commands that they do to please their owners. And the only reason I choose to use the nose is because that’s like their most important sense and they can smell where they have been for quite a while! I never smooshed his face or rubbed it with force or anything like that…. you never want your dog to fear you, respecting you and understands their place is one thing but if you’re patient and work consistently for 30-45 minutes a day and make sure you try to walk them because they need exercise and actually you can give them exercise while throwing in some lessons and make it more entertaining and bonding with your best friend because I know personally that the few months that I spent teaching my puppy everything from going out for potty, to what toys are his to chew and chewing any shoes/gloves/hats/cables & wires anything that was what I called daddy’s work…. because I play music and do film/audio/video, etc., and I have a ton of stuff laying around that trying to make sure everything is of the floor and nothing is where the dog could chew it, I used the positive reinforcement method and exercise is definitely the key to the breed of American Bullies, that’s what I call them because there are so many crossbred species of the American Bulldog and Mastiffs, Pit Bulls….. which all make some of the most loving, smart and gentle dogs that you could ever have the pleasure of owning….! A couple of months during your hour a day exercise and training period will bring you years of pleasure, confidence, compassion and loyalty that no person could ever give you!!! Good Luck with everything and make sure you love your dog everyday and let them know how proud you are of them and how they are the best doggies in the world!!

  • Maureen O'Donnell | 11/11/2020

    My 5 month old pup is so easy to train except for peeing and poos. He has started to poo more in the house. Its easy to say dont get cross but it is so frustrating! I know when he normally poos and put him out , he comes in and poos. I know we will get there but when? He is a small dog cross between a pug and pomeranian. Both hard to train apparently.

  • Janice | 23/04/2021

    We have the same problem with our 8 month old, Cavachon. We’ve tried EVERYTHING, and YES, it is very frustrating. This is our first indoor pet. I love him, but sometimes, I have to admit, I sort of regret getting him. I’m ashamed to admit that. I’d never give him away, but I’ve already potty trained, three boys. I thought those days were over and it’s much more difficult with a dog. He’s really smart, but is just stubborn, I guess. What can I try, now??? What are we doing wrong? What can I do, right? 🤷‍♀️

  • Danny Jones | 01/12/2020

    This is bs. I found a dog as a stray and contacted the owners and they said they didn’t want her anymore because she is old and they dont have time for her. I pet sat her at first because my mom didn’t want a dog, but we ultimately ended up keeping her. They told us she was completely house trained and for the first month and a half she had no accidents whatsoever. However now she pees and poops every wear no matter what we do. In the beggining we took her to the same spot outside and she would go, but when she starting going in the house she would refuse to go to the bathroom out side. Now she will go a few hours without going to the bathroom and she spends about ten minutes outside just trying to find a place to pee and poop. When she finishes doing both she sprints in the the house and IMMEDIATELY looks for anything possible to pee or poop on. I understand she is an older dog, and she may not be able to hold in her business, but this is ridiculous. The fact that she had no accidents whatsoever the first month and now she goes to the bathroom outside and runs in the house specifically to go to the bathroom again is unacceptable, and nothing we do works. We tried giving her treats when she went potty out side and then she began to refuse to go outside. we punish her when we see her squatting to pee or poop in the house and she continues to do it.

  • JzzE1 | 29/12/2020

    This dog is young, yes, BUT she knows where outside is and what it’s for. She will go out and stay for hours, come inside and poop and/or pee. She will go out do some business and save some for inside cause she comes in and almost immediately will pee and or poop.

  • Janice | 23/04/2021

    Same here???? VERY frustrating!

  • Ace | 28/05/2021

    Use the crating method, if your dog is going potty outside and immediately coming inside and going again…? That is kind of odd, it could be over excitement and/or a medical issue because dogs do not really want to go potty in the house, obviously when the weather is brutal they might find it necessary but just try to put yourself in that position and get out there naked and try to poo in the snow with the wind whipping on you!! Lolol. I gotta give that to them but you can always be smarter than the dog and make sure you have indoor potty pads if you are finding it to be necessary.

  • janet quinn | 29/04/2021

    My 5 month old pup moves his mats from the hall into the bedroom why does he do that and how can I stop him

  • Marcus | 17/06/2021

    I have a 4 month old Maltese puppy. I do all the praising and nothing works. I will sit outside with him for an hour just to have him come in a pee and poop on the carpet. He just prefers crapping in the bedroom and its driving me nuts. Literally been doing everything suggested.

  • Frustrated | 04/09/2021

    My 8 month old Frenchie is the exact same way! Except I’m doing crate training so will be outside for 30 minutes sometimes an hour and the minute I put them in the cage. It’s not only do I have to clean the cage 1 million times a day I have to bathe him. Honestly y’all can call me an asshole I don’t care if he didn’t cost thousands of dollars I would’ve been put him up for adoption. It is the most frustrating experience when you’ve done everything you’re told to do & they literally shit in your face instead LOL

  • Matt | 16/02/2022

    You should rehome your dog. You sound like a terrible pet parent and forcing them to live in their own feces because you are selfish and ignorant isn’t right. Just take the financial hit (or better yet, sell her like the commodity you clearly bought her to be, and consider her an “investment”). I’m glad you’ve had to clean up a bunch of dog crap, and I hope one day that you choke on it. Peace.

  • Annamarie Haynes | 12/08/2021

    Hi there,
    So my husband and I adopted a dog about four years ago from a previous owner. The previous owner told us at the time that the dog was eight months old housebroken and had no issues and was fully vaccinated. From the beginning the dog has pooped and Peed in the house. I also could not for the life of me get any vaccination records from these previous owners. My husband and I have spent the last four years trying to pinpoint why this dog has massive poop and diarrhea in the house constantly. I have even taken her to a vet and dropped over $500 just for them to tell me they don’t know why she’s doing this. For a few weeks now she has been poop free in the house up until last night. We started getting into a habit of throwing a ball for her at night time and last night we did not throw the ball and we woke up to poop and pee all over the sunroom. I am seven months pregnant have two other children and work a full-time job and some nights I am just too exhausted to throw a ball. I am assuming this is her retaliation for not getting a ball thrown. What can I do? I do not have time to pee alone let alone throw a ball every single night for a dog and I do not want to wake up to this anymore. Honestly after four years of dealing with this I am over it! My husband keeps telling me that this is our fault, I am doing the best I can do and some nights I don’t feel like going outside and throwing a ball. She has a backyard that is fenced in and an entire sunroom all to herself with a futon and other chair to lounge around and also her own air conditioning. My kids ages four and one spend a lot of time hanging with her, I go out occasionally during the day when I am home and throw a ball for her in the yard. Nights are the hardest for me because I’m exhausted. We try to get outside most nights but once in a while we miss one or two nights. And yet we’re waking up to this! Please help I am over it!

  • Josh | 27/10/2021

    Crate train the dog they won’t poop or pee where they sleep

  • Lesley | 30/12/2021

    I have a shihtzu cross who is not in a crate and I have never crate trained any dog I’ve owned. My 15 week old puppy is great and will hold on for 6 hours and let me know she needs to go outside but during the day I am missing cues. I must be. Help.

  • Mary | 21/01/2022

    Not true. I have a pitbull puppy I’m desperately trying to house train, and the crate DOES NOT WORK. She absolutely doesn’t mind being near her own waste – in fact, she celebrates it. I rarely find a poop in her kennel without a paw print in it, and usually it’s completely smeared everywhere. She’ll do great one day, no accidents, then the next every poop will be in her kennel. I’m at my wits end. She poops and pees on command outside, and yet she does it again in the house or in her kennel. She goes out every two hours and is 6 months old and we’ve been at this since she was 2 months old. It’s to the point where she has to be bathed every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, because she gets in her own waste constantly. It’s too much.

  • Amy | 02/04/2022

    I don’t think you should be a pet owner when you work up to19 hours a day. Can you go half that amount of time without going potty?

  • Carol H | 14/08/2021

    I have the same problem. I have a 4 month old chihuahua/shih tzu mix. He did great for a little while. He even learned to ring the bells to go out. Now, though, he thinks everytime we’re in the kitchen it’s time to ring the bells. No need to go, just wants out where he loves laying in the grass. We can be outside for an hour. He’ll pee but not poop. Go back in the house and within 10 min he has pooped. He’s had a couple occasions where he did poop outside, came in the house and poops within a half hour. Very frustrated.

  • Harriet | 12/09/2021

    My 8 year old Shi-Poo was completely trained. Never had an accident and now she is pooping every day in the house. Sometimes, I will take her out and she goes and then comes in the house and goes again a little while later. Today, she pooped three times in the house in various locations. Not diarrhea but very soft stools. I had been giving her something I saw online called “The One” to help with her scratching. I stopped it because it didn’t seem to be helping her. I wonder if this stuff hurt her in some way. Has anyone else used this? Think I should take her to the vet to see if there is something wrong with her.

  • DAVID K BALL | 28/09/2021

    my adopted dog used to potty in the bathroom all the time..
    spanking did not work.. what worked for me is i rubbed his face in it and now he does his business outside.
    cruel but it worked

  • Josh | 27/10/2021

    Wow maybe you shouldn’t have a dog if you are gonna just beat him dogs respond better to positive reinforcement negative reinforcement can develop aggression and fear towards you

  • Jearl D Dillon | 09/10/2021

    I have a 2 year old rat terror named “Lucy” that I cannot potty train. She thinks when she goes outside its playtime then she comes right back in and uses the floor. What can I do?

  • Tina Berg | 10/10/2021

    Our 15 yr old dog Ginger is doing this now, but during the night, even after we take her out before bed. so I wake up to poop. She has a hard time going up and down stairs and sometimes we have to carry her, which isn’t ideal since I had back surgery. Our vet refuses to put her down, even though she has tumors on her and can hardly walk, going blind and deaf. we are wondering how long is he going to make her suffer, while they give us pill after pill to prolong her life. Not a good life for her at all.

  • Chris Shaheen | 23/12/2021

    You need a different vet. It sounds like your dog is not enjoying life anymore.

  • Kathy | 13/11/2021

    I have a mix dog Boston Terrier and Chihuahua. I took her in from my father. she was going on the pads, now she just goes were she wants to. She is about 8 or 9 years old. Don’t know what to do.

  • Heather Woodson | 22/12/2021

    We just got a 3 month old male Boston terrier . The person we bought him from never let him go on the grass she said cause if the bigger dogs but now I can take him outside and walk him for 30 to 45 mins and he cries to come inside to either pee or poop in the house. I get so frustrated cause we previously had a female Boston and she was easy to train but him OMG is so hard headed. I’ve got the pee pad down sometimes he’ll use it sometimes he won’t.. we live in apartment so I just ordered the fresh scent grassland hoping to get him fimiliar with the grass and praying he will start going outside. I don’t know what else to do I realize he’s a puppy and these things take time so I am being very patient with him.

  • Heather Woodson | 22/12/2021

    My bad the grass pad wasn’t fresh scent it’s fresh patch.

  • Gillian Cochrane | 26/12/2021

    Please help, im at my wits end. My 4 month old pup thinks its his divine right to poo and wee in the house but wont do it whilst outside or on a walk

  • Harry | 23/01/2022

    None of you are dogs. None of you know exactly how any dog is feeling. If your dog is shitting inside when they are already trained to go outside, they should be punished or reprimanded for shitting in the house. Why should you be compassionate and nice to someone who shits on your rug every other day and you have to replace or clean every time. If they know where to go potty, that should be the only time they go potty. Plain and simple. I’m going to start leaving my dog in the backyard until he learns that if he shits when he’s let out to shit, he won’t have to stay outside. Obviously not 24/7 staying outside. But when he’s let out I will leave him out there for an hour or so.

  • Herbski | 06/04/2022

    I feel you. These animals are smarter than most give credit (at least older dogs). If they go outside sometimes/most of the time, they know they are being bad when they do it inside.

  • LIZ | 29/05/2022

    Try changing your dog’s feeding time. I recently adopted a gorgeous little Pom, a bundle of fluffy bouncy joy. She has settled in well with my other dog, a mature Jack Russel cross but she was having little accidents in the house most days, although she was going regularly outside too.
    My old dog has been fed at roughly the same time for the past ten years, Butchers meat with some dry biscuit mixer, and her toilet habits are like clockwork. Pom was previously fed on just unappetising dry food, so grazed, as most dry food fed dogs do. As my old Jack would nick Pom’s grazing food and Pom would try to nick Jack’s meaty meals, she now eats the same food as Jack, empty bowls every time. By working out the digestive time, (and depending on whether I’m in or out of the home) I feed Pom a substantial meal and a smaller meal, that way I know when she needs to go and can be alert to open the back door so she can do her business. Unlike my old Jack she’s only just getting used to going for walks, seeing the outside world, so everything is new and different for her. Jack always goes when on a walk, eventually little Pom will too I think.
    Patience and time is the key, reward good behaviour with treats and fuss, a sigh and saying No firmly for bad behaviour, a dog soon get’s the message. All a dog wants is love and attention from their owner, they are keen to please.

  • Frustrated man | 05/10/2022

    There seems to be nothing constructive here…
    Many people saying the same thing…

    Majority of peoples problem is that there dogs are potty trained and CAN hold it for 7 hours (not 19 wtf), they don’t have a medical conditions and it is not because they are old…

    -why are they still pooing in the house even after they also go outside and when they are praised for outside potty?!?
    -what can be done to prevent it!?!?

    I would hope to come back to constructive resolutions but it seems it all just becomes trivial… honestly if your dog wants to be an arsehole over a few months of staying level headed and trying many things mentioned in this thread to help support them, then maybe sticking it in a crate is the best way to reduce agro. Because it seems it’s luck of the draw unless you have every waking minute to put attention into them

  • Joni | 25/11/2022

    To the lady who leaves her dog for 19 hours a day in a crate. I work 8 hours a day and I make arrangements for someone come let him out. The days I don’t I try to run home to him or leave at lunch. You can get a dog walker or maybe a neighbour to come let the dog out in backyard.. I would feel so guilty leaving my dog locked up all day. Maybe you shouldn’t have a dog with your schedule right now. What kind of a life is it for your dog?

  • John | 07/01/2023

    Honest Potty Training for single Working people

    I currently have a 4 month old German Shepard puppy that is learning still. I have always crate trained my dogs and tried to let them out in the house as much as possible when I am home. But when they are puppies I keep them in the crate or a bigger padded area closed off area when I am gone for 8 hours.

    Techniques that work:

    – keep the same schedule when feeding. This leads to more consistent poop and pee schedules. Try to figure out how long it takes them to go to the bathroom after. They will still have random times they go inside when you are gone. But what do you expect?

    – praise dog for going outside. Keeping a dog on a leash helps keep it close enough so that when it does go pee or poop you can praise the dog and give it a treat when it does. If you wait too long after it goes it won’t know what it’s getting a treat for.

    – let the dog know going inside is wrong. Let’s be honest know amount of positive reinforcement is going to completely teach some dogs that going inside is wrong. as a previous commenter said cleaning the poop or pee with the dog right next to you and letting them know by letting them sniff what you cleaned up and telling them a conman’s they know is bad can work when it is just an accident over the time I was gone. But in the blatant times the dog goes inside when there has been ample time to go outside or let me know bringing the dogs face close to pee or poop (rubbing their face in it) and telling them no actually does work from my experience. After that the does of any breed begin to understand they always need to let you know.

    Don’t listen to the BS of these sites that say never punish. Most of us live in the real world where we can’t be next to our dogs every hour and also we realize that some dogs are jus harder to train than others.

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