(Closed) Potty training an abused puppy

posted 8 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
539 posts
Busy bee

I recommend crate training the 5 month old puppy, both of them actually. And not spanking either for having accidents, as they are just learning, and most of the time the accidents are caused because we don’t know their signs yet of when to let them out. With the 5 month old…stay with them outside until he does go, even if a really long time, play w/ him, throw him a ball, and when he does go potty outside praise him and give him a treat. Will take some time and will be hard for you at first, but overall, will be rewarding and he will get the hang of going outside…and soon you will be accident free! Wishing you all the luck, our puppy is 16 wks old and it was trying the first few weeks…but you can do it!

Post # 4
4385 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Potty training is frustrating. However, smacking them really doesn’t work. It’s not the best method by far. A stern NO is just about the best you can do.

Our puppy did the same thing, and still sometimes does, we’d be out with him for what seemed like forever, and then he’d pee as soon as he got inside. It’s normal puppy behaviour, I think. He’s 5 months old now and still doesn’t tell us when he needs to go out.

The best advice I can give you is to take him out all of the time. We took ours out every hour regardless of if we thought he had ot pee or not. Definitely take him out after he drinks water, and try limiting his water intake, only giving it to him when you’re around to watch, so you know he’s had a drink and probably needs a pee.

Post # 5
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Hi there – my dog was very shy as a puppy too, it can be very hard. I’m not a trainer, but there are way better methods to train puppies not to potty inside than punishment or spanking. Ignore all pottying indoors, especially if you catch him after the fact, he won’t know why you’re scolding him, and just reward them big time for going outside where they should. Either way by 5 months, he’s only still a baby and while he may know to go outside, they aren’t physically mature enough to hold it sometimes. I think it took until about 7 or 8 months for my pup to be 100% indoors. (And expect it to backslide after neutering for a bit).

This website really helped me out, they have boards like this that are moderated by trainers who are BEYOND helpful. Here’s a page with some articles on housebreaking, hope it helps! 


Post # 6
5263 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

Positive reinforcement! I work with abused horses, and you just have to let everything you know fall away, because it can do much more damage than good. I wouldn’t even let him see you spank the other dog. You can still say “No.” in a very firm tone, but at this point, I’d keep them both on a strict bathroom schedule. Any time at all that he does go to the bathroom when you take him out (which might need to be once an hour for a little while) heap praise on him. Anytime he goes to stand by the door to show he needs out, praise him and take him out right away. You can gradually reduce the intervals the more he “gets it” and eventually you’ll just be taking them out at normal times. Make sure you take them out together so that he sees the other dog goes out there to go to the bathroom as well. 

It’s really more about repetition and him understanding what you want than punishment, which is not as effective with most animals. 

Post # 7
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

When potty training my puppy or any kind of training we NEVER EVER spanked them thats just mean. They go in “time out”. Our vet told us being in time out is worse for them because all they want to do is play and they cant play in time out.

Rubbing their nose and spanking is the most unhelpful thing someone can do to potty train or general training.


We taught our pup to ring a bell when she wanted to go out.

Post # 8
5273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

My friend is going through the same thing. Her rescue puppy had a UTI and thats why she was always going inside, but the puppy was severly neglected so even with the cured UTI she still goes everywhere. So sad…

Your puppy seems to have better control over his bladder, its just an issue of him choosing not to go outside & going inside instead. My advice is to buy this liquid dog attractants. We’ve used this and it works great! Just got to give it time 🙂

Post # 9
4466 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I also have to chime in and agree that spanking either puppy is not a good idea.  Not only is it not good for the one puppy, but the “abused” puppy probably sees it and fears that you will spank him as well.

Other posters have great suggestions and crate training would probably be great here.

Post # 10
2144 posts
Buzzing bee

Yeah, I agree that spanking, even if lightly, really isn’t going to help, especially since the little one seems to think you are playing.

Definitely make a schedule for potty time. It might have to be every hour, or every two hours or something so that the 5mos doesn’t get the chance to go to the bathroom in the house.

While I never owned and had to care for a puppy mill dog, I’ve been around them since my husband works at an animal shelter. It will take time, but he’ll come around. You just have to be kind and patient. A little bribery with something extra yummy doesn’t hurt. My Darling Husband usually gets dogs to trust him at work by eating his lunch with them. He’ll go buy some chicken or turkey or something and sit quietly with them and toss them little pieces as he eats. It seems to work for him!


Good luck, and thank you for adopting!!


Post # 11
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

I had a rescue from a puppy mill and had some similar issues — what worked best for him was a belly band.  I’ll admit it looked goofy but it definately worked.

Good luck!

Post # 12
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay

If you can, I’d just take them out every hour and have treats rain down from heaven when they go 🙂  It does take time, as we are learning as well with our new pup!

I’d also buy Nature’s Miracle & spray the area after you clean it so it neutralizes the odor & they (hopefully) won’t go there again!  Good luck!

Post # 14
4466 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@RosieGirl: I just think the problem that you’re going to run into with the other dog is that if he was abused and he sees you spanking the other dog, he is going to live in fear of being hit as well.

Post # 15
2214 posts
Buzzing bee

I have to agree that if you have an abused dog, the worst thing you can do is spank him or spank the other dog in front of him.  He’s just going to associate you with the people who abused him before and be scared of you.  Abused dogs can’t be treated the same, so although spanking has worked for you in the past, maybe you should switch up your training method for a while to accomodate the abused puppy.  It couldn’t hurt, and it might even work.  I also think that crate-training is invaluable when house-training puppies.

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