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How to know when your dog needs to poop?

How to know when your dog needs to poop?

The most inconvenient thing about being a dog owner is taking your dog outside all the time to use the bathroom. Especially with puppies because it seems puppies, especially since there is always more than one, never stop pooping, and since they aren’t yet house-trained, it’s a real nightmare.

However, there is a way to make order out of the chaos. It will seem like a daunting task, and it will take some effort on your part, but it will be ever so worth it in the end.

How do I know when my dog needs to poop?

When you first get a puppy, it may be hard to know when she needs to go poop, but it won’t take long at all for you to figure out what her signs are. Here are some common signs your dog may need to poop.

Abruptly Stopping an Activity or Behavior

Because puppy’s attention spans are short, it may be difficult to tell if your dog is just moving on to the next thing or if she needs to go potty. However, watching her to see where she goes and what she does next can tell you the answer. Did she switch her attention to something else, like did your daughter come home from school, or did she just go to the door and stand there?

Standing, Barking, or Pawing at the Door

If your puppy goes to the door and stands or paws lightly at the door, you’re halfway there. She is letting you know calmly — Hey, I have to go potty! If she goes to the door and starts barking, that could be an issue depending on how loud and boisterous her bark is. She can probably be trained to simply go to the door and paw lightly at it to tell you she has to go.

Sniffing Around

If your dog is sniffing around anxiously, she is probably looking for a place to relieve herself. It is time for you to get your shoes on and head directly outside before you have to clean up a mess. If you have inadequately cleaned the spot of a previous “accident”, she will sniff it out and use that same spot to relieve herself.

Use the right cleaner to clean up “accident” spots.

Use an enzyme-based cleaner to clean up spots where your dog “goes” in the house instead of using an ammonia-based cleaner. An ammonia-based cleaner may magnify the aroma of the urine since there is ammonia in urine. Your dog would be even more drawn to the area.

If you don’t have an enzyme-based cleaner on hand, cut off access to the spots.

You may not have an enzyme-based cleaner in the house. Until you can go buy one, you can use a baby gate or whatever you have to block your dog from having access to the “hot spots”.

Going in Circles

Why do dogs go in circles when they have to pee? I would bet that it’s probably out of habit. They normally “go” on the grass, and circling serves several purposes. Circling lays down the grass. This way, the poop doesn’t stick to the grass and get on their coat. Also, circling scares snakes or other predators that hide in the grass.

Whimpering or Whining

If your dog is crying, she probably needs to go badly, so be patient but get her outside quickly to prevent an accident.

Sniffing or Licking the Groin or Anal Region

Sniffing and licking the groin or anal region is a habit that most of us don’t like our dogs to have. Frankly, it looks sort of gross to most of us, but if your dog needs to go badly, she gets anxious just like you would if it were you. Don’t get angry, just try to train her out of it, but for now, hurry and take her out to go potty.

How long can dogs go without pooping?

While a dog should really go to the bathroom every day, it isn’t necessarily an emergency if your dog misses a day here and there. However, if it is normal for your dog to go 2 days in between bowel movements, there’s a problem.


If your dog hasn’t pooped in 2 or 3 days, you need to call your veterinarian. You should be worried even if she has been going if her stools have all been hard, small, and dry. Your dog is constipated and may have other issues going on such as an obstruction or a serious illness.


Make sure your dog gets enough water. If she doesn’t get enough water, she can become dehydrated, and dehydration can lead to health conditions as serious as kidney failure and even death.

Lack of Exercise

Since body movement boosts the digestive system, not getting enough exercise can cause your dog not to poop as often as she should. Make sure she gets enough exercise, and she will go to the bathroom right and feel better.


Age makes a big difference in how long a dog can go without pooping. Puppies usually poop several times per day. Adult dogs poop 1-5 times per day with an average of twice per day, and senior dogs generally poop once per day.

How do I get my dog to tell me she needs to go potty?

One of the secrets to successful potty training is to be able to know when your dog needs to go outside. That’s what the goal is in this section.  Your dog needs to learn to ask you if she can go outside.

If you have already taken these basic steps to house-train your puppy, here are the next steps you need to take.

Let her smell the fresh air.

Crack the door open that you’ve used in training your dog so far while in this training period. Let your dog smell the fresh air without being able to get out the door on her own. Do this without using a screen. You can figure out a way to leave it cracked just enough, so she can get the whiff but not get out.

Encourage her to go out whenever she sniffs the fresh air.

Each time your puppy starts sniffing the fresh air through the door crack, ask, “Would you like to go out?” Wait to see if you get some affirmative sign from your puppy — a paw at the door, a bark, or a whine. Have your leash in hand so there is no delay in getting her outside to go to the bathroom.

When you ask if she wants to go out, if she takes off into the house and starts sniffing the floor, looking for a place to go, usher her to the door and let her sniff again. Ask her if she wants to go out again, and be ready to take her out if she gives you a sign. Be patient. Don’t let her roam the yard, but get her to go in the same spot every day.

Hang bells on the door, and teach her to ring them when she wants to go out.

Using bells is done the same way. You simply hang the bells on the door. Let her sniff the fresh air, and then, ask if she wants to go out. Teach her to ring the bells if she wants to go out. In other words, as soon as she rings the bells in affirmation, clip on her leash and take her outside immediately.

At this point, use bathroom trips for only using the bathroom.

Do not, under any circumstances, mix bathroom trips with outside play or exercise trips. It hinders the success of house training. It’s especially important when teaching your dog to let you know when she wants to go out. If it’s the only time you’ll have time to play today, make a trip inside and go back outside to play.

Also, don’t use the same phrase that you use for potty breaks when you take your dog out to play or exercise. Now, you can let your dog go potty during outside play or during outside exercise. The reason it’s encouraged to separate bathroom breaks is to help your dog learn the “go outside” prompt.

How many times per day do dogs poop?

Almost everyone agrees that twice per day is the average number of times that a dog poops in a day. However, that is not a set number. Your dog is healthy and behaving normally if she poops anywhere from once to five times per day. The determining factor is whether she goes consistently, as in usually the same number of times every day.

Age affects the frequency at which a dog poops.

Puppies have to poop more often than adult dogs. It’s not abnormal for a puppy to poop several times each day, but that inconvenience is only a temporary thing.

A puppy’s metabolism is so high that her food goes through her digestive tract more quickly. Senior dogs, on the other hand, poop less often than adult dogs. Because their metabolisms slow with age, they need to go less frequently.

Meals affect the frequency at which a dog poops.

When your dog eats will determine when and how often she poops. Here are the facts about your dog’s meals and her bathroom habits.

A Set Schedule

Any professional will tell you that you should feed your dog on a regular schedule each day. One reason is that dogs thrive on rituals. A dog just does better if her life operates on a set schedule.

Quality of Dog Food

Quality dog foods aren’t as full of fillers like potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, and such, so they don’t fill your dog’s stomach as full as quickly. Feeding them low-quality dog foods full of fillers will fill their stomachs faster and make them go more often, but they won’t be getting near the nutritional value as they will from quality dog food.

Nature’s Timing

It takes around 6-8 hours for a meal to pass through an adult dog’s digestive tract, while it only takes around 4 hours in a puppy. In a senior dog, it can take up to 10 hours.

Because puppies eat several times per day, this can mean they need to poop every time they eat. They need to be taken out between 5-30 minutes after they eat, depending on how they act. If you watch them and start training them, you’ll know when they need to go out.

Adult dogs may only go once per day, but if they do, it will probably be within 30 minutes after a meal. If they eat twice per day, they are more likely to poop twice per day.

New Dog Foods and People Foods

Switching dog foods can be traumatic for a dog’s digestive system. A new food may cause her to poop more until she becomes acclimated to the new food. Also, be very wary of what people foods you feed your dog, as many people foods are toxic to dogs and will diarrhea among other symptoms. 

How can I get my dog to poop when I want her to?

Getting your dog to go when you need her to will be a great help. Here’s how.

Put her on a regular routine.

Once your dog is on a set feeding and exercise routine, it will not be hard to pick up on when she will probably be able to go potty.

Use the same cue all the time.

Pick a cue such as “go potty” or “go stinkies”, and always use the same phrase to tell your dog it’s time to go to the bathroom.

Practice repetition.

Practice these steps over and over until your dog catches onto the connection between the cue and the act of going to the bathroom. Your life will get so much easier so quickly.