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While everyone is aware of the need to housetrain dogs when they are pups, older dogs brought home from a shelter may also need some potty training reminders. New surroundings and former living conditions all play a part in this equation.
If the dog is adopted it is a good idea to talk with shelter workers before taking him home. They may be able to tell you whether the new dog is housetrained or not. Even if he is, it may take him some time to adjust to his new routine. A few accidents are to be expected, so try to keep the dog in an area of the house that is not carpeted.
Many of the dog housetraining tips used for puppies can work for older dogs as well. Wee Wee Pads can be effective in helping an older dog who is not accustomed to making it outdoors in time. Place these super-absorbent pads in the direction of the door, then gradually move them closer and closer to the door and then outside, and your older dog will be housebroken.