When Dogs Forget Their Potty Training

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 11:10:10 AM America/Los_Angeles

Potty accidents happen to dogs of all ages, but there may be something larger at play if accidents become a regular part of life. Your potty trained dog is suddenly starting to go in inappropriate places and seems to have all but forgotten their learned potty habits. Could it be possible that your furry one has actually forgotten their training?  

Photo by Fatty Corgi 

Can Dogs Forget Their Potty Training?

Yes, it’s very possible for dogs to forget their potty training. However, it’s also important to recognize the cause, because it will determine how you go about addressing the problem. For instance, growing puppies may regress, but this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost and it is possible to regain potty training habits as long as dog pawrents maintain a consistent routine and continue training. Other times, the outlook is less cheery. An older dog with dementia can forget their training as well, and this will require some lifestyle adjustments. 

What Do You Do When Dogs Forget Their Potty Training?

The solution for canines who have lost their potty training ways really depends on the root cause. So why do dogs forget their potty training? Below are some common reasons along with first steps to remedying the problem. 

  • Adolescence: Growing dogs are dealing with cognitive changes. As puppy brains develop into adolescent minds, they may “forget” their training. Luckily, this is corrected relatively easily. It just requires some patience and persistence to get your pup back on track. Continue with their usual routine and heap on the praises and treats to help your dog along the way. 
  • Old age: Potty accidents are very common in older dogs for a number of reasons. Truly forgetting potty training, however, is most likely related to weakening cognitive function that leads to memory loss or dementia. In these cases, re-training is unlikely to result in major changes and owners will need to accommodate the needs of their aging pooch. Having a real bark pee pad is a pet potty option that can make going to the bathroom easier for senior dogs. Check out this post for more on potty changes to expect in older doggos.
  • Changes in routine: Routine is important for any training, and potty training is no exception. Sometimes, disruptions such as a move or an illness are unavoidable. But if you’re being wishy washy about training routines or when and where your pup is going potty, stick to a set schedule. Being consistent on your end encourages your pooch to be consistent as well. 
  • Illness: Potty changes due to illness aren’t exactly related to forgetting, but it may appear that way to humans if the underlying medical issue isn’t readily apparent. For example, a urinary tract infection in its early stages can be undetectable to us, but can lead to accidents that make it appear like your fur baby is foregoing their potty training habits. You know your dog best–pay attention to other cues such as signs of painful urination that are abnormal. 

If you suspect that there is a medical cause behind the changes in a dog’s potty behaviors, talk with a vet to discuss a remedy that is the most appropriate for your fur baby.