Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Coping with Winter Housetraining Accidents


Winter Housetraining Accidents ImageWe have a problem,” my concerned client said on the phone, “She’s peeing up in the kids’ playroom.
Big pee or little pee,” I inquire.
Huge,” she reports.
Excellent; she’s trying…” and I go on to explain why such winter housetraining accidents are common and what to do about them.

We are having bitter cold here today. Blizzard yesterday with negative midday temps today (-47 here). The dog in question is a new rescue so very possibly up from the south and has a very short coat. My guess is she is about as eager to “go” outside today as you or I would be. Nope, no thank you, I’ll wait.

And she did wait. As long as she could. That’s why a huge pee is a good thing. She’s holding it. If this sounds familiar, here’s what to do:

  1. Shovel a potty zone. A four foot area for small dogs and a slightly bigger one for larger dogs can make things easier. Dogs in deep snow can be stymied on how to squat in it.
  2. Go out with her. I know, it’s a major hassle and no fun. Done it many, many times myself. But out you go to see if she goes.
  3. On leash can help. If your dog is used to that, so you can get her off the back step and moving or, if you have a dog who gets so excited by snow they forget to go, you can keep her a bit more focused.
  4. Confine. If not going outside then dog goes into her crate or stays on a short leash with you. In half an hour or so, try again.
  5. Praise party! When she goes, praise wildly as you both run back into the house (for cold dogs) or unclip the leash and play (for winter rompers). Either way, make speedy emptying = what they want.
  6. Dress accordingly – both of you. Short coated dogs, lean dogs and pups may well need warm winter wear to be comfy outside. Know the signs that your dog is cold.
  7. Watch snow eating. Eating snow can cause both peeing accidents and, oddly to me, sometimes loose stool. So if you see your dog snow bingeing expect to get her out more than usual.

A week or so of this routine and your dog’s winter housetraining accidents should be resolved. But don’t expect every dog to like it. When Pip went out this AM, she shot me a seriously dirty look but she went. So, good dog.

Now you know.

If you like my blogs, you’ll love my books: How to Train Your Dog to ComeMy Smart PuppyChildproofing Your DogDogologyTails from the Barkside.

Does Your Dog Need a Winter Coat?

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