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My Dog Won’t Poop Outside: How To Get Your Dog To Potty Outside

How To Get Your Dog To Potty Outside

Is there anything more frustrating than wrestling with a dog that just won’t poo outside? Many dog owners have let their puppy out to potty only to have them come right inside and poop on the carpet, leaving us gritting our teeth in frustration.

As with any doggy house soiling issue, we have to keep the right equipment on hand to deal with messes. A quality stain and odor remover becomes your best friend when you have a dog that won’t go outside to do their business.

To ensure we answer your questions, we have consulted our expert source, The Dog Owner’s Book Of Poop And Pee, by Mike Deathe. So, let’s look closer at the causes and how you can encourage your pup to do their business outside.

Most non-clinical causes are addressed by positive reinforcement training, consistency, and vigilance. 

Let’s examine the most common reasons a dog won’t poop outside.

Key Takeaways

  • Your dog may refuse to poop outside due to anxiety, stress, or discomfort with their surroundings.
  • Training your dog to poop outside requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.
  • Making environmental changes, such as creating a designated potty area, can encourage your dog to want to go outside.

Possible Reasons a Dog Won’t Poop Outside

The most common reasons a dog won’t poop are summed up in three categories:

1Behavioral ReasonsSometimes a dog refuses to poop outside because of behavioral reasons. For example, your dog might fear something outside, such as loud noises or other animals. Alternatively, your dog may be used to pooping in a particular area and may not want to change their routine. 
2Environmental ReasonsEnvironmental factors can also affect your dog’s refusal to poop outside. For example, if it’s raining heavily outside, your dog may not want to get wet and will hold their poop until they eventually go inside. Similarly, if the ground is too hot or cold, your dog may be uncomfortable and not want to go outside.
3Health ReasonsIf your dog refuses to poop outside, it could indicate an underlying health issue. For example, your dog may experience joint pain or mobility issues that make it difficult to squat outside. Additionally, your dog may experience digestive or bowel problems that make it uncomfortable to poop outside.

Top 9 Reasons Your Dog Won’t Poop Outside

Top 10 Reasons Your Dog Won’t Poop Outside

1. Health issues 

Dogs experiencing digestive problems, constipation, or discomfort may associate going outside with pain and choose to hold it in. That can lead to ‘accidents’ when they can’t hold it anymore. Dogs with severe diarrhea may not be able to hold it long enough to go outside either. Doggy dementia can also cause older dogs to start defecating inside, as can a variety of problems that cause incontinence, as dogs can’t control their bowels.

2. Anxiety or fear

Dogs can develop anxiety or fear related to specific environments, sounds, or situations. These can cause them to resist eliminating outside. Previous negative experiences, loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or encounters with other animals contribute to the problem.

3. Inconsistent training

If a dog’s house training was inconsistent or inadequate, they may not understand the desired behavior. Your pup may need professional training to relearn proper potty protocols.

4. Environmental factors Like Rain

Dogs can be sensitive to changes in their environment or weather conditions. Extreme temperatures, heavy rain, snowfall, or strong winds may discourage them from going outside. 

See how this man made sure his dog had a place to poop outside during snowfall:

And if your dog won’t go out in the rain to poop then unfortunately, the best thing to do is to go out with them to make the experience more pleasant. You can use an umbrella for this. The video below does a good job of explaining how to teach your dog to poop outside in the rain.

5. Lack of routine

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. Without a regular schedule for bathroom breaks, they may not associate going outside with the appropriate time to eliminate.

6. Distractions or excitement

Dogs may get easily distracted or excited by stimuli, such as other animals, people, or noises. When distracted, they might not act in time to make it outside.

7. Physical limitations

Dogs with mobility issues or disabilities may find it challenging to go outside to poop. They will usually need special accommodations or assistance.

8. Aging

Older dogs experience age-related changes. These include confusion, decreased mobility, and weakened muscles, making it more challenging to go outside to eliminate.

9. Scent and cleanliness

If there are lingering odors or feces inside the house, the dog may think it’s fine to poop inside. The scent of poop and urine and can encourage a dog to defecate where they are. So remember to clean any messes thoroughly. 

Tips to Encourage Your Pup to Do Their Business Outdoors

Tips to Encourage Your Pup to Do Their Business Outdoors

If your dog refuses to poop outside, there are several techniques you can use to help them overcome this behavior.

  • Establish a consistent routine: Set a regular schedule for bathroom breaks, including specific times after meals, waking up, and before bedtime. Consistency helps your pup understand when it’s time to go outside.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your pup with treats, verbal praise, or petting when they eliminate outdoors. Positive reinforcement reinforces the desired behavior and motivates your pup to repeat it.
  • Designate a specific elimination area: Choose a spot in your yard where you want your pup to do their business. Consistently taking them to that area helps them develop a habit of going there.
  • Accompany your pup outside: Go outside with your pup and supervise them during bathroom breaks. Your presence can provide reassurance and help establish a routine.
  • Watch for signals: Learn to recognize your pup’s signs of needing to go, such as sniffing, circling, or restlessness. Take them outside when you notice such cues.
  • Be patient and avoid distractions: Allow your pup lots of time to sniff and explore the outdoors without rushing them. Minimize distractions, such as toys or other pets, that could divert their attention from pooping.
  • Clean up accidents properly: Clean indoor accidents thoroughly to remove the scent. That helps prevent your pup from associating indoor areas with elimination.
  • Limit access to indoor spaces: If your pup tends to eliminate indoors, restrict their access to problem areas (and places like bedrooms, kitchen, etc.) until they consistently eliminate outside. Use baby gates or closed doors to prevent accidents.
  • Seek professional help: If your pup refuses to poop outside despite your efforts, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide specialized guidance and address any underlying issues.
  • Stay calm and positive: Your pup can pick up on your emotions, so remain calm and patient during training. Positive energy and encouragement will help create a positive association with outdoor elimination.

Dealing with the Health Issues That May Affect Your Dog’s Ability to Poop Outside

If your dog refuses to poop outside, it could be due to underlying medical conditions or health issues. Let’s discuss how to deal with these issues and help your dog poop outside.

  • Provide a balanced diet: Ensure your dog receives a balanced and nutritious diet suitable for their health needs. Proper nutrition can help maintain healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
  • Monitor water intake: Ensure your dog has access to clean and fresh water. Adequate hydration is vital for healthy bowel movements.
  • Consider their prescribed medication: If your dog needs medication to address their health issues, ask your vet about the potential side effects. Some medications may affect bowel movements.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in behavior: Keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s behavior, such as signs of discomfort, straining during bowel movements, or changes in appetite.
  • Accommodate special needs: If your dog has mobility issues or other physical limitations that affect their ability to go outside, consider accommodations such as ramps or support.
  • Provide a comfortable elimination area: Ensure your dog’s designated outdoor area is comfortable and easily accessible. Consider the surface, privacy, and protection from extreme weather conditions.
  • Be patient and understanding: Health issues can take time to resolve, and sometimes the issues are chronic. Be patient with your dog and give them the support and consideration they need to eliminate comfortably. 

Consulting a Veterinarian

If your dog is not pooping outside and you suspect an underlying health problem, consult a veterinarian. Dogs can suffer from various health issues affecting their ability to poop. 

These issues don’t usually make them poop inside. Instead, they create boundaries and challenges for your dog to go outside to poop. These include joint pain, mobility issues, and anxiety. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you encourage dogs to poop?

You can take them for a walk or play outside to stimulate their bowels. You can also take them to the same spot every time so they become familiar with the area. Reward them with treats or praise when they finally do go outside.

How can I make a dog poop outside faster?

If you’re in a rush and need your dog to poop quickly, try taking them for a brisk walk or jog. Movement can help stimulate their bowels and encourage them to go faster. You can also try using a command or phrase to signal that it’s time to go, such as “go potty” or “do your business.”

Help! My dog won’t go outside to poop!

If your dog refuses to go outside to poop, it could be due to fear or anxiety. Identify the triggers causing their reluctance, such as loud noises or unfamiliar surroundings. You can also use positive reinforcement to encourage them to go outside, such as giving them treats or praise when they do go. You may also need to restart house training if incomplete house training is the reason that your dog is not going outside to poop.

How long must I wait for a puppy to poop?

Puppies have smaller bladders and bowels than adult dogs, so they must go more frequently. Taking your puppy outside frequently is essential, especially after meals or playtime. If your puppy doesn’t poop after 10 to 15 minutes outside, bring them back inside and try again later. But make sure they were not distracted by other pets, playing, or activities so that they forgot to poop.

Why won’t my rescue dog won’t pee outside?

Rescue dogs may have more difficulty adjusting to new surroundings and routines. If your rescue dog doesn’t pee outside, establish a consistent routine and always take them to the same spot every time. You can also use a leash to keep them focused.

My puppy poops inside after going outside?

Your puppy may not have fully emptied their bowels outside or understand that they’re supposed to go outside. Establish a consistent routine and reward them when they go outside. Make sure they poop completely before letting them back inside.

How to massage a dog to poop

If you’re looking to help your dog with their bowel movements, there are a few simple techniques you can try.

First, make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable. Gently massage their abdomen in a clockwise direction using circular motions. This can help stimulate their digestive system and encourage bowel movements. Additionally, taking your dog for a walk or providing regular exercise can help get their bowels moving.

Remember to be patient and gentle with your furry friend. If you have concerns about their bowel habits or if constipation persists, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for further guidance.

Final Thoughts

Each dog is unique, and the reasons why they won’t poop outside may vary. It’s essential to approach the situation with patience, understanding, and consistency. Following our tips and seeking professional help when needed, you may get your pup to do their business outdoors.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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