How To Train A Dog To Potty In One Spot

There are many reasons a person would want to train his dog to eliminate in one area. Service dogs are trained to do it because if the person who has the service dog wants to go on a cruise, for example, and needs her service dog to eliminate on a patch of grass on the ship, or on puppy pee pee pads, this training would come in handy. There are several ways to train your dog to eliminate in one spot.

Attach a command to the act of elimination. When your dog is still a puppy, begin training him to eliminate on command. To do this, bring your dog to the area where you want him to eliminate, be it a spot in the yard, a doggy litter box, puppy pee pee pads or simply a newspaper spread out. Give a command such as “go potty” or “hurry.” As soon as your dog completes the act, praise him exuberantly and give him a treat. Do this every time he must go out and he will get it in no time.


Rope or fence off an area in the yard where you want your dog to eliminate. Bring your dog to the area where you would like him to eliminate on a leash. Put him inside the area and take the leash off. You can use an x-pen (exercise pen) which works well for this application since it can be arranged in any shape or size. Leave him in the area within the exercise pen until he eliminates. As soon as he has completed the act, praise him and allow him to leave the area. He will catch on quickly that in order to re-join you in your home, he must eliminate in the area in which you have placed him.

Set up an area within your home if you are training your dog to eliminate inside. This is a good idea for people who are disabled and cannot walk their dog, or those who live in areas where the weather makes it difficult to bring the dog outside, such as winter storms or hurricanes. When you see your dog circling an area, bring him to the area you have set up with newspapers, pee pee pads or a dog litter box, and wait for him to eliminate. Once he has done so, praise him and give him a treat for completing the act.

kiddos to run and play in and your garden area urine free.

Here are a few tips to potty train dogs in one area:

  • First choose the area to best serve this purpose. The size of the area needed will depend on the size of the dog. A little poodle isn’t going to need the same space as a German shepherd. No hard and fast rules, but try setting aside about 6 lengths by 6 lengths (1 length = the length of dog). This gives them a little room to roam a bit as well as provide some clean area for the dog to work with if you can’t scoop between each potty break.
  • The area can be covered with grass, mulch, gravel or a surface that the dog will accept–some have no problem with just concrete or patio blocks.
  • Can an adult dog be trained to a certain spot? Yes! It’s easier with a new puppy just being house trained, but adult dogs can learn quickly too.

Training Method

  • After choosing the best location, place a scoop or two of the doggy’s ‘doo’ within the area. Make sure there are no other droppings in the yard and water the rest of the lawn very well to remove traces of past urine spots.
  • Choose a command that the dog will understand as potty time, such as “time to go potty” or “do it”, and use this command consistently.
  • When your pup shows signs of needing to go potty (like sniffing around or lowering his butt to go), attach a leash to his collar, take him outside and lead him to the area. Give the command “time to go potty”. For new pups, usually 30 minutes after meals, after exciting play time, before bedtime and first thing in the a.m. are times to go. For adult dogs you know his schedule, work with that.
  • Tip: Take the dog to the spot first thing when letting him outside and don’t let him run around to play in the yard until he’s done his business–keep him leashed. This teaches him to get his business done right away and will pay off for you down the road.
  • Each time the dog performs within the area, give lots of happy praise, playful pats and a treat. Whenever he shows signs of wanting to go in an area that’s off limits, say “no” or “not there” and lead him to his area.
  • If there’s a slip, give no praise, no treat, no attention and no play. Make sure to clean up immediately and water the area well so he won’t smell that spot.

Being consistent and watchful is key and you’ll have to hover over your dog and keep him leashed when outside for at least two weeks to make sure he consistently goes in that spot. After two weeks you can try letting the dog out without his leash and watch. If he goes directly to his spot first to take his potty break, you know the training is working. If not, keep the leash on for another week and then try without the leash again.