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Accident-Free and Stress-Free: Potty Training Solutions for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

on June 01, 2023

Coming home to a surprise bathroom accident from your dog is an incredibly frustrating experience, but perhaps there’s more to the accident than just an annoying mess. If you think stress or separation anxiety may be at the root of your pup’s potty mishaps, don’t worry – there are solutions that may help get potty training back on track. This blog explores why anxious dogs might have accidents in the house and strategies to help get potty training back on track for lasting behavioral changes.


Introduce the Issue - Dogs with Separation Anxiety and Potty Training Challenges

Potty training a pup can be a daunting task. And when faced with a furry companion suffering from separation anxiety, the process may seem insurmountable. But with patience and practice, you can develop an understanding of why these accidents happen and best practices for avoiding high-risk situations. 


What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a condition in which a dog becomes extremely aggravated when separated from a person or people for any period of time. This condition can result in undesirable behaviors such as chewing, barking, and eliminating indoors when left alone. These behaviors can occur repeatedly and become worse if left untreated. Some fur babies may even hide, tremble, drool excessively, or display signs of depression. The good news is that with the right solutions, you can help your pup learn how to cope with those anxious feelings while still maintaining an accident-free environment.

If you feel your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, it can be helpful to consult a veterinarian for an official diagnosis and support in addition to these tips and tricks.


What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs can be caused by a range of scenarios, such as a change in home or family routine, being left alone suddenly without warning, the death of another pet in the house, or even an unusually intense, seemingly inexplicable attachment to an owner. This condition can lead to destructive behaviors, accidents inside the house, and, in extreme cases, physical harm to your pup—so it's important to identify and address issues as soon as they present themselves. 

Identify Solutions to Overcome Potty Training Challenges for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

No matter what stage of training you’re at with your anxious dog, it’s always helpful to refresh yourself on the basics when faced with potty issues. Dogs are routine-oriented creatures and thrive in structured environments with consistent expectations. Ensure you and your family follow a predictable routine as much as possible. Additionally, make sure you are providing your dog with plenty of exercise, both physical and mental. Check out this blog for tips on mentally stimulating your dog. Finally, ensure you focus on positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits good behavior, like when they go to the bathroom outside, to help create an accident-free and stress-free environment. 

If you’re specifically struggling with a dog who was potty trained and is regressing, take your training back to potty training basics, including crate training (check out this blog for tips!)


Outline Tips to Prevent Accidents from Happening Again

To help prevent bathroom accidents from happening with an anxious dog, consider creating a basic routine or structure around your dog’s bathroom habits. Take them outside at specific times throughout the day so that they develop a routine and can expect when to relieve themselves outdoors. Additionally, make sure to give them plenty of praise and treat rewards when they do potty outside! For an easier cleanup indoors, or if you have to leave your separation-anxiety-riddled pooch for any period of time, try using training pads with synthetic attractants in a smaller space (think crate or gated area, like a kitchen). 


Analyze How to Manage Your Dog's Stress Levels Better While Potty Training

When potty training a dog with separation anxiety, it's essential to have a plan in place for managing everyone’s stress levels. Accident prevention is more easily achieved through careful recognition of both signs and habits of separation anxiety, but that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. Be sure to give yourself grace while guiding your pup through this process. Find ways to take care of your mental health to maintain a patient and positive attitude while working with your anxious dog. 

Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of growing stress and try practicing calming exercises with your dog, which can go a long way towards preventing accidents in the house. With patience, consistency, and plenty of snuggles, you and your pup can work towards success together!


Potty training a dog with separation anxiety can seem like a trying experience, but ultimately it is doable. The fundamental ideas that should be kept in mind are making sure the environment is safe and comfortable for your pup while identifying and understanding what causes their anxiety in the first place. Most importantly, remember that patience is key; you must take the time and implement a routine to potty train your anxious dog. Work together one day at a time and find the perfect solution for your pet so that both of you can finally enjoy an accident-free and stress-free life!

Looking for the right tools to get started on your potty training goals? K9 & Company has everything you need to keep you and your dog accident-free!


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