Well Housebroken Dog Won't Use Potty Patch After Surgery.


New Member
I'm looking for some help on how to train my 5 year old English Bulldog to use a potty patch on our balcony.

We rescued him a few months ago and he is VERY well potty trained, he came to us that way. We have built a self-draining potty patch with artificial grass for him on the balcony, because he's just had surgery and can't go up and down the stairs to our second floor condo. He has never had an accident in the house! Since he won't go on the balcony, we have had to carry him (54 lbs.) to go out, and that just isn't realistic all the time. My husband is the only family member strong enough to lift him, and he's not always home when he needs to out. To train him, we have kept him in, encouraging him to use the potty patch every hour, for up to 14 hours, and he just holds it instated of going. We have collected his own urine and put it on the potty patch, collected clippings of plants he likes to pee on and put them on the potty patch, used potty training sprays, and even collected urine from a neighbors dog. We've been at this a few weeks now, beginning before he had surgery to try and prepare him. No luck.

Any training advice would be greatly appreciated. I don't want my dog to be uncomfortable waiting for my husband to come home, when he has another option.

Thank you for your help.


Honored Member
I have no ideas to help...I am only commiserating.

Last November we were in the same boat...Veronica was 7, she had CCl surgery...I bought that stupid potty patch and she never used it. :mad:

We had to rely on my husband to carry her up and down the stairs until she got strong enough that we could use a sling to go under her belly and support her and she could limp down the stairs.

My previous dog was trained to use an indoor potty when we weren't home and to go outside when we were. So I figured the whole potty patch transition would be a piece of cake, but O_o

Maybe because our other dog was trained from puppyhood...IDK...but Veronica never wanted any part of the potty patch.


Honored Member
I'm looking for some help on how to train my 5 year old English Bulldog to use a potty patch on our balcony.
It sounds like you have done all of the right things. Dogs get very strong ideas of where it is right to potty. When Gus was a puppy he was convinced he could only potty in the garden so when he was out for a walk he'd hold it in no matter how long we stayed out! He'd be bursting by the time we got home. He did get over that eventually.

To your dog asking him to potty on the balcony is a bit like asking him to wet on his bed. The fact that you have carefully made it seem like some badly brought up dog (to him) has already wet on it is not going to change his certainty that wetting on his bed is not something he is going to do. I don't know if you know how he was potty trained, maybe he had a rough time of it, almost certainly he could still smell where he'd had accidents when he stopped having accidents so again smelling his own urine there is not going to influence his decision.

I think I would continue to give him the option but don't stress about it and don't stress him over it, respect his right to wait. It sounds to me like it would be more stressful for him to potty on the balcony than to wait to go outside. If he is in some kind of routine for going out it might be easier for his body to adjust to the longer gaps between opportunities.


Well-Known Member
I like running dog's advice. Keep giving him the option of going on the fake grass every few hours, but don't stress out too much if he doesn't go. I can picture my dog being that way if we were to ever be in that situation. He has never had an accident either, and I would think he would have a hard time adjusting to using fake grass on the balcony. He would be afraid of doing the "wrong" thing.

What a good dog to have had zero accidents! That is impressive!

Maybe just limit his water within reason for now. Will he be recovering soon and be able to use the stairs himself?