How to Stop Dog Peeing Upstairs

It’s bad enough that they’re doing it at all, but why does your dog keep peeing upstairs? What in the world does that mean? Why does your dog always pee upstairs? What scents deter dogs from peeing upstairs? Will a gate keep your dog from peeing upstairs or is there another solution you’ll need?

Today, we’re going to answer all of the questions you have about this aggravating housetraining problem. And, obviously, we’ll tell you how to stop your dog from peeing upstairs once and for all. Soon, this frustration will all be done with for good. Keep reading below for our article “How to Stop Dog Peeing Upstairs!”

Why Does My Dog Always Pee Upstairs?

How to Stop Dog Peeing Upstairs

Your dog always pees upstairs because they’ve found a spot up there that they like, and they’re choosing to mark there repeatedly because their dried urine contains an enzyme that attracts them back. They are feeling stressed and their scent comforts them. If you have a new baby or person staying in the home, then they could also be doing so to mark territory and assert dominance.

You’ll need to do more to stop this behavior than just cleaning up the spot when your dog pees upstairs. While you may be able to soak things up and get the smell to go away as far as you’re concerned, your dog will still be able to detect the scent and will continue to be attracted, as they have incredible senses of smell.

It’s important to remember that your dog is peeing upstairs most likely due to stress, and they’ll probably be showing it in other ways too. You might also find that your dog is peeing in the same spot in other areas of the home if you stop your dog from peeing upstairs. They may then pee on your curtains, pee on your balcony, pee on your furniture — anywhere could be a target.

Therefore, it’s important that you not merely treat the symptom of your dog’s issues (urinating upstairs), but address the problem at its root. You’ll then not only stop your dog urinating upstairs but also all the related issues as well. Skip to the last section now where we’ll tell you how to do all of that.

What Scents Deter Dogs From Peeing Upstairs?

Vinegar is a scent that deters dogs from peeing upstairs. Make a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle, and then apply it to where your dog urinates upstairs. It’s safe for nearly all surfaces including carpet, wood, laminate, composite, and tile. Wait an hour and the smell will be gone, but your dog will still detect it and be deterred.

If the urine smell remains because your dog keeps peeing upstairs so often, sprinkle some baking soda on the spot while the vinegar is still drying. Allow it to soak in overnight, and then vacuum it in the morning. Your dog’s pee smell should be gone, and they will still be repelled by the remaining vinegar smell that only they will be able to detect.

Will a Gate Keep My Dog From Peeing Upstairs?

A gate will keep your dog from peeing upstairs since you’ll be preventing access. This won’t, however, get to the root issue which is causing your dog to misbehave in this way. The most likely reason why your dog is peeing upstairs is anxiety (with dominance also possible if you have someone new in the house living up there). Your dog’s stress will continue, and possibly get worse.

They’ll most likely act out even more. They’ll find a different favorite spot to urinate on downstairs. They may get aggressive or destructively chew on things. To properly treat this behavior, a gate should only be used in combination with behavioral training that addresses the problem at its root. Continue to the next section where we’ll go over that.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Peeing Upstairs?

You stop your dog from peeing upstairs by:

  1. If you catch them in the act, give a calm but firm “no” or “stop” right away.
  2. Don’t yell at your dog or get angry, as anxiety is a likely reason for why your dog pees upstairs, and reacting to them in this way will only make their stress worse.
  3. Take your dog outside to finish.
  4. Learn the urination schedule as best you’re able, and take them on their leash outside to pee along with some treats.
  5. When they successfully go pee outside, give them praise and a treat right away.
  6. If you catch them heading upstairs to pee again, put them into a 10-minute time-out in their crate or a closed-off room with no toys.
  7. A gate preventing access to the stairs will help, but should only be used in addition to behavioral training.
  8. Make a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  9. Apply the mix to the spot where your dog keeps peeing upstairs. It is safe for nearly all surfaces including carpet, wood, laminate, composite, and tile.
  10. Wait one hour for the mix to dry. The vinegar smell will become undetectable to you but will persist for your dog who will remain deterred.
  11. If the smell of urine is still present, sprinkle some baking soda on their spots while the vinegar mixture is still drying.
  12. Allow it to dry overnight, and then gently vacuum in the morning.
  13. The urine smell should now be gone, but the vinegar smell will keep deterring your dog.

You need to remember, however, that this is just going to make peeing upstairs an unattractive option for your dog. The issues which were causing this — anxiety and possibly dominance — will remain, so you’ll need to address those. If you don’t, your dog is going to continue suffering and will just start misbehaving in new ways.

But fortunately, both stress and dominance-related peeing are rooted in the same problem. And to properly address that root issue, we need to first talk about what makes dogs tick. I’m sure you’ve heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader.

But when your dog is peeing upstairs, they are without a doubt proving that they have no trust for you in this leadership role.

If they did, they wouldn’t feel the need or desire to pee upstairs or in any other place inside. They wouldn’t act out with any other kinds of anxiety or dominance-related misbehaviors. And they would immediately obey all of your commands at all times, and they would do so happily.

Prove to your dog that you are not just their pack leader, but a worthy, capable one that they must respect, and you’ll make all of these great things a reality.

Sounds terrific then, doesn’t it?

“Of course it does, but how am I supposed to do any of this?”

You should watch an excellent free video series which is on this exact subject — how to be your dog’s pack leader — by a renowned trainer named Dan. In his series, he explains everything in ways that are very easy to understand and teach to your own dog, and he gets right to the point so that you can start seeing these important changes in your dog before things get any worse.

Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And don’t worry, because no, you’re not going to have to be mean or yell at your dog. Dan never uses those types of methods. Not just because loving teaching techniques are the right thing to do, but also because they’re the fastest way to achieve permanent changes in your dog’s behavior.

I’m sure you’re looking forward to not worrying anymore when your dog heads upstairs, so I’ll let you begin now. Best wishes with everything, and thank you for reading our article “How to Stop Dog Peeing Upstairs.”

The Author



Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.