How to Train Your Dog to Go Potty in the Snow

Keep accidents to a minimum. If your dog is having accidents inside your house, it’s important to keep him in a contained area. Access to areas of the house where your dog has pottied before should also be limited, and areas where previous accidents have happened should be cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner to make sure the dog doesn't pick up the scent and think it's OK to potty there again. I worked with a Yorkie who consistently did his business in the basement, but the solution to this problem was simple: His owners shut the basement door so he no longer had that option. Once your dog is willing to potty outside and is no longer having accidents in the house, you can allow him to roam freely again.

Avoid punishment. A dog who is punished or scolded for pottying indoors will lose trust in his pet parent. Punishing your dog for an accident doesn’t teach him that it’s wrong to potty inside. It teaches him that it’s unsafe to potty around you. For this reason, punishment can make a dog more difficult to housetrain and make it more likely that the dog will hide when he goes potty (by sneaking behind a couch or under a table). If your dog has an accident, gently interrupt him with an “oops” and immediately take him to his normal potty area as a reminder.

No matter what the weather, stay up-to-date with your veterinarian about your dog’s bathroom habits. When good potty habits slip, it can sometimes be a sign of a health problem, like diabetes or Cushing’s disease, and not just a reflection of your dog’s feelings about winter cold.

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