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Why You Shouldn't Use Bleach to Clean Dog Urine (and What to Do Instead)

Bringing a puppy into your life is a wonderful experience... But it's not so great when you realize that until he's fully vaccinated, he can't go outside and will have to relieve himself at home. Of course, you can teach your dog to pee in a certain spot, but at first you'll find more than one puddle on the floor and you'll have to clean it up well. But do you know why you shouldn't use bleach to clean up your dog's urine?

Why dogs pee in the same spot: understanding canine scent marking

A dog's urine and sense of smell are deeply intertwined, creating a complex olfactory landscape that guides their behavior. Dogs often develop favorite places to relieve themselves, returning to the same spot again and again. It's not just a matter of preference; the lingering scent of urine acts as an invisible invitation to repeat.

In the grand opera of the outdoors, this scent marking serves as a way for dogs to claim their territory and announce their presence to other canine passersby. However, this instinctive behavior can become a frustrating challenge when it unfolds within the confines of your home.


will bleach get rid of dog urine smell

Why you shouldn't use bleach or ammonia to clean up your dog's urine

The reason is simple. Your dog's pee has a certain ammonia smell. Even if bleach or ammonia itself does a great job of disinfecting a dog urine stain, it will still leave an odor that will encourage your dog to pee there again and again.

However, knowing this information about the importance of smell in getting your dog to pee in a spot will also help you avoid it. Why is that? Because just as the smell of bleach or ammonia can encourage him to pee there again, there are other smells that will repel him.

Will bleach get rid of dog urine smell

Effective cleaning solutions for dog urine accidents

Fortunately, there are alternative cleaning solutions that can neutralize odors and keep your puppy from repeating his past mistakes. One of the most effective weapons in your cleaning arsenal is the power of citrus. Dogs have a natural aversion to citrus scents, especially lemon.

Here's an easy DIY cleaning solution:

  • Squeeze enough lemons to make 100 ml of juice.
  • Combine the lemon juice with a pint of water and a tablespoon of baking soda in a spray bottle.
  • Shake well and spray on the areas where your puppy has had accidents.

The refreshing scent of lemon will not only deter your puppy, it will also eliminate the lingering odor, effectively erasing the olfactory invitation for future mishaps.

For more stubborn stains and odors, consider using an enzymatic cleaner. These specialized cleaners break down the proteins in urine, effectively eliminating the odor at its source. Look for a product designed specifically for pet stains and odors, such as Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator.

Teach Your Dog to Use a Pee Pad: Indoor Potty Training Solutions

Until your puppy completes his vaccination schedule and gets the green light for outdoor adventures, indoor potty training is a necessary part of the game. Introducing your puppy to pee pads can be a lifesaver during this stage.

While puppies don't gain full control of their bladders and bowels until around three months of age, an early introduction to pee pads can lay the foundation for successful housetraining. Here's how you can guide your puppy to pee pad proficiency:

How to potty train your puppy to use a pee pad

Choose a designated potty area: Choose a quiet and easily accessible location for the potty. Consider using a tray underneath to prevent potential overflow.

Introduce the pee pad: Allow your puppy to sniff and explore the potty to become familiar with this new addition to his environment.

Observe and redirect: Watch your puppy's behavior and look for signs that he needs to eliminate, such as sniffing, circling, or squatting. When you notice these cues, gently redirect them to the potty.

Timing is key: Take your puppy to the potty after he wakes up, after meals, and after playtime, as these are prime times for potty breaks.

Reward success: When your puppy successfully uses the potty, shower him with praise, treats, or a playful game. Positive reinforcement is essential to reinforce desired behaviors.

Be patient and consistent: Accidents are a normal part of potty training. Avoid scolding your pup for mistakes; instead, focus on encouraging and rewarding successes.

Of course, keep in mind that it will take time for him to get used to it. So don't scold or punish him if he doesn't get it right the first time.

Additional potty training tips

  • Clean up accidents thoroughly: As mentioned above, avoid using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners. Opt for enzymatic cleaners or your homemade citrus solution to effectively eliminate odors.
  • Establish a routine: Consistency is the key to potty training. Take your puppy out or to the potty on a regular basis, especially after waking up, eating, and playing.
  • Supervise closely: Keep a close eye on your puppy when he is indoors to prevent accidents, and redirect him to the designated potty area when necessary.
  • Use a consistent command: Introduce a cue word or phrase, such as "go potty," to associate with the act of elimination.
  • Be patient and positive: Potty training takes time and patience. Celebrate successes and stay encouraging throughout the process.


Read also: How To Potty Training a Puppy

Potty Training and Beyond: A Harmonious Journey with Your Puppy

By understanding your puppy's instincts, using effective cleaning methods, and implementing consistent potty training techniques, you can navigate this phase with greater ease and set the stage for a harmonious life together. Remember, every puppy learns at their own pace, so embrace the journey with patience, positive reinforcement, and a sense of humor. Soon, your little virtuoso will be performing their potty routine like a seasoned professional, leaving you with a clean home and a heart full of pride.

FAQ: Puppy Potty Training and Cleaning

Q: How often should I take my puppy outside to potty?

A: Young puppies need frequent potty breaks, typically every 2-3 hours, as well as first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Observe your puppy for signs they need to eliminate, such as sniffing, circling, or whining, and take them outside immediately.

Q: What should I do if my puppy has an accident in the house?

A: Clean the accident thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner or your homemade citrus solution to eliminate odors. Avoid scolding your puppy; instead, focus on preventing future accidents by supervising them closely and taking them outside more frequently.

Q: How can I prevent my puppy from peeing on the carpet?

A: Consistent potty training, close supervision, and crate training can help prevent carpet accidents. Consider using pee pads in designated areas as a backup option.

Q: How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

A: Potty training duration varies depending on the individual puppy, consistency of training, and environmental factors. Generally, it can take several weeks to a few months for a puppy to become fully house-trained.

Q: What if my puppy refuses to use the pee pad?

A: Ensure the pee pad is placed in a quiet and accessible location. You can try placing a soiled pee pad on top of a fresh one to attract your puppy with the scent. If problems persist, consult your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for guidance.


Raising a puppy is a beautiful and rewarding experience, filled with moments of laughter, love, and the occasional puddle. By understanding your puppy's instincts, implementing effective potty training strategies, and creating a nurturing environment, you can orchestrate a harmonious journey together. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are the keys to unlocking a lifetime of tail wags, happy dances, and a bond that will forever resonate in your heart. So, embrace the puppyhood adventure, celebrate the milestones, and cherish the moments – for within those tiny paw prints lies a world of unconditional love waiting to be explored.