Potty training a small dog…some say it can’t be done. Well, I’m here to tell you it IS possible. BUT potty training a Chihuahua or other small breed dog is NOT easy.
Before we get into HOW to potty train your little dog, let’s talk about the reasons why it can be difficult:
1) Small dogs have teeny, tiny little bladders. It doesn’t matter if your little guy (or girl) is a puppy or adult…they have an itsy-bitsy bladder. If you are training a puppy under the age of 16 weeks, then you are also working with a puppy who literally physically can not hold their bladder yet…their muscles are not that well developed.
2) Small dogs get carried from one location to another. Without walking to a potty area themselves, how are they going to learn how to get there?
3) Hot summers and cold winters can be hard for both dogs and people, resulting in a reluctance to go outside (or stay outside) enough to properly learn their potty location.
4) Indoor potty training devices designed for small dogs (such as pee pads) can create confusion.
Now that we know the top four reasons it can be difficult to potty train a small dog, let’s talk about the three easy steps we can take in order to have potty training success!
1) Go outside. A LOT. Make sure you let your little dog walks outside himself. If he will not walk outside with you on his own, you may need to follow behind him instead of waiting for him to follow you to encourage him to keep moving in the correct direction. Once outside, make sure you wait long enough for a potty to occur, then follow the potty immediately with verbal praise and a treat. If your small dog is a puppy, your potty breaks will need to continue to be frequent until he is over 16 weeks of age. Your potty breaks will also need to continue to be frequent until you are having NO accidents. Every accident is an indication to you that you have not been outside recently enough, or you did not stay outside long enough on your last potty break.
2) Don’t let the little guy out of your sight! Small dogs are absolutely brilliant. Even if your little guy really seems to be “getting it”, don’t let down your guard! A smart dog who doesn’t want to potty in the rain, for instance, may run back to the door when you take him out, but sneak away from you once inside to have a potty break.
3) If you are choosing to train an indoor potty location instead of an outdoor potty, then you will need to make the location VERY clear. A simple pee pad is not different enough from a bath mat, for example, to prevent confusion and therefore mistakes. We would recommend using a less-confusing option such as the
In three simple steps, you can potty train your Chihuahua or any small breed dog! The challenge is in taking the initiative to go the potty location, stay at the potty location, and reward the potty behavior enough to eliminate any confusion or accidents. Teach your smart, sneaky little dog that going to the potty spot YOU want is worth it!