Help! My puppy Won’t Go Pee In The Rain!

You’re just about to rush pup out the door, and those anchors go down, you look out at the rainy weather and realise what the problem is… Rain.

First, let me tell you, this is really normal. 

Welcoming the patter of rain can be a cozy experience for humans, but for our furry friends, the wet outdoors could mean discomfort and a reluctance to venture out for necessary bathroom breaks. Dog owners know all too well that a young puppy or an apprehensive older dog might balk at the sensation of rain, wet grass, or even cold pavement under their paws. If you find yourself in the cold weather of, say, the Pacific Northwest, or a surprisingly rainy spell in what’s usually a dry desert climate, potty training can face a major issue.

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using an umbrella is a great temporary solution, but long term, it’s not a solution!

Understanding your pet owner responsibilities means recognizing that fear of the rain is really common, particularly in young dogs, or dogs who lack exposure. Whether you’re dealing with a rescue dog with past bad experiences or a spirited new puppy taking their first steps into the great outdoors, creating a positive experience through positive reinforcement is key. As a first step, a comforting rain jacket or doggy raincoat can transform rainy days from daunting challenges into welcome adventures.

As a professional dog trainer, this is something I help my puppy parents with a lot! It’s very common, and honestly, this is just a simple problem of socialisation.

 I’ll be helping you and your canine companion overcome their aversion to the rain. Let’s explore the use of high-value treats, verbal cues, and discuss why a lot of patience is incredibly important—all to ensure that wet weather doesn’t dampen the spirit of your pup during their next rainy-day bathroom quest (beyond grabbing a large umbrella).

Socialization guide by Ali Smith

The Importance of Potty Training in All Weather

Consistency is the cornerstone of successful potty training for your young puppy or newly adopted older dog. It helps your furry friend understand the rules and expectations around where and when to take their bathroom breaks. This is as true on sunny days as it is during the wet weather that drenches the great outdoors.

Pups are creatures of habit; they thrive on routine and can quickly adapt to a well-established potty schedule. Rainy days should not be the exception to this rule. If we allow them to avoid the rain and deviate from the usual routine, we risk losing all the progress we’ve made. Not only is this a large step backward in their training, but it can also create confusion for your puppy. They may start thinking, “So, I pee outdoors all the time, except if it’s raining?”

Moreover, if wet grass and the sound of rain become associated with a halt in potty time, your dog might start to develop an aversion to these conditions. What might start as an avoidance of a cold, wet patch of grass could escalate into a fear of the rain—increasing anxiety levels and making potty breaks a major issue. By ensuring consistent potty training in all types of weather, we establish a bathroom routine that can weather any storm.

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potty pads can be a useful tool, however, are they just avoiding the problem?

To Avoid Or Not To Avoid

When it comes to this training, there is always the choice to not train this, and resort to covered potty areas, or an indoor potty pad.

However, do note that when it comes to the rain, that’s going to be a problem you’ll face again in your puppy’s lifetime! So it really is worth investing in training earlier rather than later. Again! This is socialisation. 

How To Develop Puppy’s Confidence For Peeing In The Rain

Note: I’d advise before conducting this, that you do narrow down that this is definitely the rain, and not thunder, wind, or another potential issue instead.

First, Be Aware Of The Impact On Your Pup’s Senses

Whilst we’re not sure if dogs sense the barometric pressure change, one thing we kind of know is that heading to your potty area in the pouring rain can be something that affects our puppy’s (or adult dog’s) senses. 

One of the things about the rain is that it pushes down all the smells and it floods sound – which are some of our dogs most relied upon senses. Then it also changes the floor to wet concrete, puddles and mud… which may all be new for your puppy or dog. And then the sensation of being hit by raindrops! Can you imagine? 

Note: For any of this, we need to make sure you’re not intentionally or accidentally reinforcing your dog’s discomfort associated with water. So if you’re “correcting” or punishing your dog with a spray bottle? This discomfort may be associated with that. Stop using a spray bottle.

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it can be overcome! I promise!

Next, Let’s Break It Down

Let’s look at some exercises you can do to help your pup get over these discomforts and to experience the rain comfortably.

Remember: The aim of this training is to create a positive experience with the rain. Isolating the experiences that puppy will experience in the rain, is the most complete way of tackling this.

You may use all of these exercises, you may use one, or two, but these are some of the exercises I suggest my clients use when tackling a discomfort in rainy conditions.

Puppy schedule builder by rebarkable

Exercise 1 – Watch The Rain

This is a low-stress exercise. Pick somewhere out of the rain such as a covered or screen porch, or even inside with your windows open, and sit with pup and watch. if you can give pup a long-lasting chew would be a phenomenal choice too. Spend some time out there, and let things happen. And, if you can’t do a long lasting chew, regularly reinforce with a high-value treat.

Exercise 2 – Use rain sounds

Grab a soundtrack, and much like you would with fireworks, play it quietly in the background, and start playing with your pup.

Over time, you’ll slowly increase the volume which adds exposure for your pup, and will build confidence.

Exercise 3 – Make use of Puddles

After the bad weather, hopefully you have some puddles! So the first things you should do, is go play. Exposing them to wet and damp surfaces are great. You can also go splash in the puddles! Make it fun, explore together.

And, if you don’t get a lot of rain, you can create small, shallow puddles in trays! Grab a plastic tray (any kind! You have something in your home, I promise!) put a little water in it, and encourage pup to explore! Treats and rewards are a great choice.

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toilet training isn’t necessarily a simple process, but we can be inclined to over complicate it…

Exercise 4 – Play in the rain

When your pup’s starting to get confident? You can go outside, grab some super fun toys, and go play! Play is so powerful, and it might just encourage your gorgeous little pup to adventure into the rain and enjoy themselves! 

Tip: if your dog has been sensitive to this in the past, start with a drizzle

Apply this to your Toilet Training

Now that your pup is rain-confident (and with a young pup, this doesn’t take long), you can start taking it out for potty trips in the rain! That way you can successfully conquer toilet training!

The good news is that what we’ve just done, and these methods can be applied to anything your puppy or dog gets uncomfortable about. From fireworks, to vets offices. Remember:

  1. Break it down
  2. Take it slow
  3. make it positive

and if you’re unsure of how to tackle those things? get in touch, I’m happy to help you in a professional way! One of the huge benefits of me is that I work online.

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Looking for a more structured approach to training your puppy? Want to get rid of that unknown? Pupdates is your answer!

Awesome Rainy Day Gear

As you’re learning to explore the rainy world with your pup, and encouraging their little puppy selves into this awesome world. Dog boots, and dog raincoats can be used.

But, wet dogs arent fun either, huh? So here’s a few of my favourite rainy day gear things, including dog boos and dog raincoats!

Ruffwear Sun Shower Raincoat

This lightweight raincoat may just help dim the sensation of the rain falling on your dog or puppy, for some more rain averse doggos these rain coats have proven wonderful! 

Biothane Line

Trail Blazing Tails Biothane

The Biothane long lines from Trailblazing Tails are phenomenal. They are sturdy, strong, and they are the best in wet weather!

Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots

Whilst they won’t keep your dogs paws totally dry as there are breathable mesh, they will keep your dog out of puddles a little! However, they do take a little training too. So I really would try the “normal” way I’ve outlined above!

Rain-Loving Pups, Inbound!

Remember, this is just socialisation! By staying consistent with potty training, come rain or shine, we help our pets lead confident, stress-free lives.

By taking the right steps, even the smallest patch of wet grass can become a familiar, non-threatening space for your dog. Don’t let a downpour wash away your hard-earned progress. Keep at it, and soon enough, rainy bathroom breaks will be just another routine part of your day.

For anyone keen to explore further into the realm of pet socialization and training, our concise Socialization Guide is the perfect next step. It’s packed with actionable advice to mold a well-behaved, sociable pet.

Ready to embrace every weather with your pup? Grab my Socialization Guide now, and set on a path to a happier, rainproof life with your pooch!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a professional, qualified, and multi-award winning trainer is the founder of rebarkable. She has always believed animals deserve kindness and champions force free methods. Believing that dog guardians will all choose the kindest options if proper information is provided, she aims to help all dog guardians who need it and make dog training as accessible as possible

Ali lives win Maryland, US with her husband and her three dogs.


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