What is Pooping in the House Season (and What Can You Do About It)?

You’ve worked hard and, finally, your small dog is totally potty trained. It’s been months since your dog pooped in the house.

Then the leaves start to turn, the weather turns cold, and rain and snow start to fall from the sky.

You tried to take your dog outside to go potty – they have been really good now about going out if they need to – but, when you open the door, your dog looks outside and goes back to the couch to sleep.

You trust your dog and think that they must not need to go to the bathroom.

You finish your coffee and shower, walk into the living room, and there it is… poop on the floor!

Photo Credit: Depositphotos/cunaplus

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. 

It’s not unusual for a dog to start pooping in the house all of a sudden when the weather turns cold.

What is Pooping in the House Season?

I’ve been calling this phenomenon pooping in the house season for years.

It typically happens when the weather turns cold and your dog no longer finds it comfortable or enjoyable to go potty outside.

Quite frankly, your dog may have to go but they would rather hold it than go out in the cold.

Then, when they can’t hold it anymore, they decide to poop in the comfort of their own home when you aren’t looking.

If your dog has suddenly started pooping in the house, reflect on what the weather has been like when it occurred.

If finding poop on the floor primarily happens when it’s cold, rainy, snowy, or windy outside, the cause is likely not a lack of potty training or that your dog forgot their training – it’s because it’s pooping in the house season!

Now, while I call this pooping in the house season because it sounds funny, dogs often also choose to pee in the house during this time.

Regardless, it’s the time of year when you find yourself scratching your head because you’re wondering why your dog reverted in their potty training.

You may get frustrated and tired of cleaning up potty messes in the house.

So, what can you do about it?

How to Get Your Dog to Poop Outside in Bad Weather

If you’re determined that your small dog is not pooping outside like they know they are supposed to because of bad weather, you may be wondering how you can fix this.

The bottom line is that you have to remind your dog that only going potty outside is acceptable by giving them a little potty training refresher.

Change the frequency of potty breaks

When I find myself regularly cleaning up accidents in the house, I take a few steps back in my potty training process.

The first thing I do is to take my dogs out in a shorter interval than they previously needed.

My Dachshunds typically need to go out every 3-4 hours to potty when I’m home and they are not in their dog crate.

At the beginning of pooping in the house season, I take them outside every 2 hours when I’m home (they are in crates when I’m gone).

I don’t give them the choice to not go outside to poop. 

If insisting doesn’t work, I physically carry them outside and place them in the potty spot.

I stand outside with them and stay out there until I see them go potty. 

If I’m still finding accidents in the house, I decrease the time between potty breaks even more (ex. every hour).

If I stop finding potty accidents on the floor, I slowly start extending the time between breaks in 30 minute increments (adding 30 minutes, waiting to see if there are no accidents, and then adding another 30 minutes, etc.)

Note: My Dachshunds only poop 2-3 times a day and I typically know when this is so I don’t expect them to go #2 unless it’s around the normal time I expect them to do it.

Make sure you see your dog go potty

My Dachshunds are fairly compliant when I don’t let them be a wuss about pooping outside in cold weather. Once they are out, they generally go.

I typically find poop in the house when one or both dogs have “faked me out” and made me think they only needed to go pee.

For example, in the morning I know they need to go. 

If they don’t go, sometimes I get tired of standing out in the snow myself and trust them that they don’t need to poop.

But I always regret not listening to my gut because, sure enough, they take a quick nap and then crap right on the living room carpet.

But if I make sure they go potty when I know they need to, I don’t find accidents in the house because “the chute is empty” if you know what I mean.

What if your dog refuses to go potty outside?

What if your dog refuses to go potty while they are outside in the cold?

Although my dogs go potty outside instead of inside if I make them stand outside long enough, I’ve heard stories of small dog owners that stand outside for 15 minutes and their dog will still refuse to go.

If simply not letting your dog make their own choice about when to go outside, and watching to make sure they go, isn’t working, then you may need to pull out some of the other basic potty training tricks.

These include:

  1. Cleaning up as much of the poop or pee as you can without a cleaner first
  2. Placing the soiled paper towels outside in the yard where you want your dog to go so they smell themselves there.
  3. Cleaning up the mess, and removing the smell from the carpet, the best you can using an enzymatic pet stain and odor remover
  4. Putting a jacket on your dog so they are more comfortable going outside
  5. Setting up a small tent or cover in the yard to block the rain and snow from falling on your dog

For more ideas, and details about these methods, read my article on convincing your Dachshund to go potty outside in the rain and cold

Final Thoughts

Pooping in the house season is a frustrating time of year.

It may seem like your small dog has suddenly forgotten their potty training, you have to spend your time and effort cleaning up the messes in the house, and your house may start to smell a little.

The situation is not hopeless though. 

If your dog suddenly pooping in the house coincides with the change of weather from pleasant to inclement, it’s probably a discomfort issue, not a lack of potty training.

Still though, the solution would be similar.

The first things to do are to give your dog a potty training refresher by: 

  • Refusing to let them not go outside
  • Taking them out more frequently
  • Standing outside with them to make sure they actually go

If your dog absolutely refuses to go potty outside, you may need to figure out how you can increase their comfort like putting a dog jacket on or covering a potty spot in the yard.

Whatever you do, don’t get mad at your dog. 

Regardless of how it may feel, your dog is not pooping in the house out of spite and punishing them can give them a negative association with doing it (so they may be less inclined to do it outside too).

Just calmly clean up the mess and take your dog outside to potty even more frequently than you have been.

If they literally just went outside, it’s near impossible for them to have “enough stored up” to potty in the house.

Pooping in the house season is a frustrating time of year. It may seem like your dog has suddenly forgotten their potty training, you have to spend your time and effort cleaning up the messes in the house, and your house may start to smell a little. The situation is not hopeless though.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.

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