Teaching a Dog Trained to Potty Outside to Use a Litter Box  

Teaching a Dog Trained to Potty Outside to Use a Litter Box  

It can be difficult for a dog who has been taught to potty outside to understand that using a litter box is acceptable. One approach is to use a small, gated-off area or an exercise pen as a potty area, placing paper or doggy pee pads on the entire floor area. When you anticipate that your dog will need to eliminate, he should be placed in this area with no open entry/exit - close the exercise pen door or use the gates to create a closed barrier. He is being confined to that area, but you need to stay with him so that you are ready to reward him with a yummy treat and praise when he eliminates. Since you want to encourage the dog to use this area on his own, when not confined within it in by you, there should be an available entry. Placing some of the dog’s urine on the paper or doggy pee pad can encourage the dog to eliminate there. Don’t skimp on the praise and treats when the dog shows initiative and uses the potty area!  

With some dogs, it can help to have them become accustomed to eliminating on paper or doggy pee pads outside first. This can be done by placing the pee pads on the ground and directing the dog to that area by leash. Depending on your living environment, you can also initially create the potty area, using an exercise pen or baby gates as described, outside. Once the dog is comfortable using it outside, bring it inside and work with him there.  

As the dog becomes successful, you can reduce the floor area within the enclosure that has paper or doggy pee pads on it, teaching the dog to utilize a smaller potty area. Once the dog is consistently eliminating in that area, you can, if desired, move the paper or doggy pee pads into a litter box. Be patient and observe your dog to ensure he is comfortable stepping into the box. Some adult dogs might be more comfortable with a large tray. The potty area can be relocated, but do so gradually, moving the spot incrementally to where you eventually want its new location to be. 

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