6 Effective Tips to Potty Train Older Dogs in Apartment

Whether you recently moved into your new apartment or adopted an old dog from a shelter, the chances are you will have to potty train your furry friend.

Luckily, it’s not very hard to potty train older dogs in an apartment. Typically, it takes about seven to ten days for dogs to get the hang of it.

And of course, just like humans, practice makes a dog perfect! 

How to Potty Training Older Dogs in an Apartment

Potty training older dogs in an apartment requires time and effort. However, it can be a highly rewarding experience. 

Here are some helpful tips on how to potty train an older dog in an apartment.

Follow these tips to make the training experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

Start the Training Early

The earlier you start training your dog, the quicker they will adapt and learn to do their business in the right place.

Therefore, it is recommended to start potty training your dog as soon as you bring them into the apartment.

Do not wait around for them to settle in before you start the training regime.

It will only encourage your canine friend to soil the living area, which, in turn, will make it harder for you to train them later. Potty training for your dog starts from day one!  

Get to Know Your Dog

Taking the time to learn more about your dog and understand their unique personality can help you big time when it comes to potty training, especially if you are using potty pads to train your dog.

Knowing the basic facts about your dog, such as their general disposition, height, weight, etc., will allow you to streamline the training process to match their characteristics.

For example, if you have a small dog that weighs around 8-pound, they will have a smaller bladder as compared to bigger dogs.

Now, a smaller bladder means more frequent peeing. So, if you plan on using pee pads for potty training, buy ones that are extremely absorbent but relatively small in size.

Buying the right pee pad will improve the chances of your dog using it correctly.         

Additionally, you must try to understand the individual traits of your dog. Every dog is different, which means that challenges associated with potty training older dogs in an apartment will vary from dog to dog.

For example, if your dog is showing unexplained regression while potty training, it may be because they are anxious.

Many dogs pee in inappropriate places to mark their territory when they are anxious. While the familiar scent may help your canine friend feel better, it can be a headache for you.

In such cases, it helps to get to the root of the problem. Try to understand why your dog may be resisting potty training and what you can do to help them.

Keep in mind that it can be anything, from a change in diet to adjustment issues. So, make sure you cover all bases.

A quick way to understand why your dog may be refusing to potty train is to spend more time with them. 

Pick the Right Potty Spot

Dogs feel vulnerable when they are pooping and prefer their privacy. Even in the wild, many animals travel away from the dens to relieve themselves in private.

Considering dog behavior, it is essential to pick the potty place if you want to potty train your canine friend quickly and efficiently.

Here are some tricks that can help you pick the right potty spot that will encourage your dog to use the potty place in the apartment.  

Respect Your Dog’s Privacy

Choose a spot away from the hustle and bustle of the apartment. While dogs are always up in our personal space, they value their privacy when it’s time to poop.

So, naturally, they would be hesitant if you choose a potty spot in, let’s say, the living area.

Instead, pick a quieter area of the apartment that is used less frequently, such as the laundry room, balcony, storeroom, etc.

Choose a Spot Away From the Dog’s Space

Dogs do not like to relieve themselves in or near the areas where they eat, drink, sleep, or play.

This makes it important to choose the potty spot away from their living space.

Even if you live in a small apartment or studio, the potty area must be reserved away from the living area.

Consider the Surface 

There’s no denying that accidents are a natural part of dog training. Even with the best intentions and training, dogs will have bathroom accidents.

While you can’t do much about that, you can certainly make it easier for yourself to clean up the mess later.

Pick a spot in an area that is easy to clean.

For example, it is better to opt for a room with a tiled floor instead of a carpeted area when it comes to picking the ideal potty spot for your dog.    

Choose a Spot and Stick with It

One of the most common mistakes that pet parents make while potty training dogs in an apartment is that they move the potty spot.

Moving the space will confuse the dog and lead to unnecessary delays in potty training.

Therefore, it is better to think it through. Once you have chosen the spot, stick to it.   

Look for Signs

You can help your dog avoid accidents and make them understand where to go by keeping a close eye on them.

It is possible to tell when a dog needs a toilet break simply by keeping them close and observing them.  

Some signs that indicate your dog wants to relieve themselves may include barking, sniffing, digging, and circling.

If you notice such behavior, take your dog to the potty spot.

To be on the safe side, guide your dog to the spot every hour or so during training. This will increase the chances of them using the place to do their business.

Plus, it will help avoid accidents, which means less mess and stress for you.

However, it must be stated that potty training accidents are almost inevitable. If they do happen, make sure you clean up the mess quickly.

It is also recommended to use an enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated for cleaning pet urine.   

Enzymatic cleaners are readily available at supermarkets, pet stores, and online stores. Using the right cleaning agent will help minimize the urine odor and will keep your dog from confusing the area with the potty spot.

This will help keep bathroom accidents to the minimum, and your dog will be potty trained in no time.    

Keep Your Dog in a Confined Area

One of the best ways to quickly potty train your dog is to keep them confined in a small area for some time.

As discussed above, dogs don’t like to soil the areas where they spend most of their time. So, when they are confined in a small area, they prefer to “hold it.”

You can use a playpen to confine your dog. You can confine them behind a pet gate. However, confinement should be kept to a minimum.

Do not leave your dog alone for extended time periods and take them to the potty area frequently.

Furthermore, make sure the confined area is comfortable and accommodating. It should be big enough to allow the dog to move around freely and lay down. However, it shouldn’t be too big.

Otherwise, your dog will use one side of the confined area for peeing and lounge around in the other.

Keep a close eye on your dog in the area and look for signs that they have to poop.

Use Encouragement & Positive Reinforcement

Encouragement and positive reinforcements go a long way when it comes to potty training an older dog in an apartment.

Be generous with verbal praise every time your dog uses the potty spot. It is important to understand that dogs crave our approval, which is why verbal praise works like a charm.  

Plus, they are extremely smart and can detect your emotions from your voice.

Therefore, make sure you use the right tone to tell them they did a good job.

Another way of positively reinforcing desirable behavior in dogs is to use dog treats. Dogs are highly motivated with food, which is why treats are even more effective than verbal praise.

However, make sure you buy only high-quality treats and don’t overdo it. Always offer treats in moderation to maintain a healthy weight.   

The Bottom Line

Potty training your dog in an apartment does not have to be a negative experience for you or your dog.

In fact, when you do it right, the potty training regime can double as a great bonding experience.

So, be patient and keep encouraging your dog to use the potty spot until they are fully potty trained.  

Keep in mind that potty training your dog in an apartment does not mean you can skip the regular walks and outings.

Your dog needs exercise and social interactions to lead a happy and healthy life. Plus, you should also encourage them to learn to relieve themselves outside when required.

Follow the tips mentioned above to potty train your older dog in an apartment. Remember, patience and persistence are the key elements here.

Don’t give up on your dog and avoid showing frustration if they struggle with potty training. Every dog learns at a different pace.

Rest assured that your furry friend will eventually get there!  

Other articles you may also like: