You tip-toe out of your bedroom in the morning after a quiet night of slumber – a little too quiet. Rover hasn’t made his usual 5:30 a.m. wake up call to use the potty. This could only mean one thing.

And, sure enough, there it is. A puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor. Fortunately, no carpet was affected and the clean-up is easy, but you can’t help but wonder if this is becoming a pattern.

While some dogs will bark, wag and yelp to alert you of their potty needs, others will suffer in silence or find a new place indoors to relieve themselves – like the middle of your kitchen floor.

Whether you’re struggling with puppy potty training or dealing with a case of dog potty training regression it can be an increasingly frustrating situation.

Is all hope lost? Not necessarily, says Jolanta Benal, a certified professional dog trainer and certified behavior consultant canine. According to Benal, a housetraining problem can be caused by several factors. Causes can be everything from nervousness or changes in the household to age or an underlying medical condition.

Possible causes include everything from nervousness or changes in the household to age or an underlying medical condition.

Before trying to treat the problem, it is best to understand the cause.

An underlying medical condition?

Urinating or defecating indoors may be a signal that your dog is suffering from an underlying medical condition. Set up a visit with your veterinarian to rule out health concerns like parasites, a urinary tract infection, doggy Alzheimer’s disease, or diabetes.

Your veterinarian will want to know when the issue began and any other symptoms that you may have noticed. Treatment for dog incontinence can range from antibiotics to surgical intervention depending on the type and severity of the problem.

Afraid of the great outdoors

Just like humans can experience periods of anxiety, our canine friends can also battle their own fears. Perhaps something recently scared your dog while going to the potty outside.

Is there a neighborhood dog that may be intimidating your shy guy or perhaps a squirrel or deer paid him a visit?

Take the proper measures to reassure your pup that he will be OK by being by his side when facing his fears. Walk him on a leash and keep him close until he feels brave enough to face the great outdoors alone.

Change can be tough!

Have you recently moved or had a significant change in your household, like the birth of a baby or an older child moving out? Stress can encourage inappropriate elimination as a form of regression, much like an older sibling can misbehave when a new baby is stealing his attention.

Moving into a new place can be a problem for unneutered male dogs with a hankering for marking his territory. The home is filled with new scents and, perhaps, previous pets’ markings and your boy feels the need to claim the territory.

This can be corrected with consistent, positive housetraining and, as the dog settles into his new routine, should fade away with time.

You’re cut off!

Adults who seek out a doctor’s advice for frequent nighttime urination are often encouraged to decrease their liquid intake about three hours before bedtime. The same goes for your furry friend.

If you suspect the potty accidents are occurring throughout the night or early in the morning, you may want to consider adjusting his feeding schedule.

Feed your pooch in the morning and, perhaps, again at your own dinner time if you have a large breed dog, but then discourage any food or drink consumption after that.

This will allow your dog to empty his bladder and bowels in plenty of time before the long night-time stretch.

Ring my bell

If a behavioral problem is the cause of your dog’s potty accidents, consider using a dog potty training bell. This training method is designed to eliminate barking and suffering in silence and is a real conversation starter.

Bell training a puppy or adult dog is a quick and easy solution to ending nighttime – and daytime – potty problems. Customers who have used products like Potty Bells have seen results in just hours.

The concept is simple. Hang the potty bells on the door that leads to your pet’s outdoor potty area. Begin with encouraging him to touch the bells, always rewarding with a treat and positive reinforcement.

Once he has mastered step one, step outside with your dog as an indication that ringing the bells means going outside. When he has learned the process of ringing the bells, put your dog on a leash and take him through the steps.

Be sure to finish with lots of praise! 

To make your dog more likely to ring the Potty Bells only for potty time, and not for play, it’s important to bring him directly to potty and then back inside while still learning the new system.

So, all hope is not lost. If you have a pooch who continues to leave surprises around your home, start by getting him a check-up with your veterinarian.

If a behavioral issue is the cause, take a look at the world around you and seek ways to help your canine companion learn better behaviors and habits. We can all use support sometimes – your pet is no different. Here’s to dryer days ahead!