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I Washed My Carpet…Now What?

White dog looking at camera
White dog looking at camera

Certified Professional Dog Trainer or not, sometimes even my pets have accidents in the house. The more dogs in the home, the higher the likelihood that one of them is going to go potty inside.

On Feb. 16th we became a three-dog home. My family officially adopted Brownie who had been in foster care with us through Ventura County Animal Services for a few months.

When Brownie first came to our home, he was an unaltered male so I anticipated some urine marking. The one time I saw Brownie start to mark, I made a disruptor noise and took him outside for a potty break.

Even though I had not seen any additional accidents happen, in the weeks since, I noticed more and more dried yellow spots on our carpet.

The house was starting to stink.

Time to bust out the big carpet shampooer!

I used a urine destroyer enzymatic cleaner in the machine. Lately we’ve been using Skout’s Honor. It was worth the effort because the spots were gone and so was the stink!

Now the challenge is, how do we keep it clean?

Most likely the faint smell of urine wafting through the house was not completely Brownie’s fault. We have two females that are also likely culprits.

Here are a few tips to help keep potty accidents in the house to a minimum and prevent your carpet from becoming a free for all doggie bathroom.

Schedule and management

Figure out (and stick to!) a schedule that allows your dog ample potty breaks and exercise. Consistent feeding and time outside will set your dog up for success. If you have a puppy or new dog in the house, consider confinement in a crate, bathroom or tethered to your body so that your pup cannot sneak off unnoticed.

Call in Reinforcements

If you work long hours, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to give your dog a potty break mid-day. This service might be more affordable than you think especially if you have a friendly neighbor or know of a teenager looking for some pocket money. There are also on-line services such as or that can help you find a trusted sitter or walker.

Keep it Positive

I always praise for "go potty" outside. When I am actively potty training dogs I make a point to grab the treat bag before going outside. When they start eliminating, I praise and say “Good doggie, good potty” in a happy, high-pitched tone. Dogs, especially puppies tend to react and respond to baby talk type speaking. 1.

What NOT to Do

NEVER rub a dog’s nose in a potty accident. If the accident happened 5 hours or even 5 minutes ago, your dog will not connect the accident to the punishment. If you catch your dog in the act of inappropriate elimination, use a disruptor noise, “Hey”, “Un uh” are common. NEVER hit, swat or smack your dog with your hand or any object. Physical punishment will instill fear and can potentially create worse behavior problems.

With good planning, preparation and praise, you can help let your pup know when and where it’s ok to go potty.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to clean my carpets again…yet.


1. Dog-directed speech: why do we use it and do dogs pay attention to it?

Tobey Ben-Aderet, Mario Gallego-Abenza, David Reby, Nicolas Mathevon

Proc. R. Soc. B 2017 284 20162429; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2429. Published 11 January 2017

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