Chihuahua Potty-Training and Housebreaking

Potty-training is an essential process that every owner must go through with their Chihuahua. Unless you plan on keeping your in a fenced in backyard (not recommended), you'll have to teach them to use the bathroom outside and not inside the house. Unfortunately, however, Chihuahuas have a notorious reputation for being a breed that's difficult and downright stubborn to housebreak. In fact, some owners throw in the flag and simply lay out pee pads for them instead. The truth is that practically any Chihuahua, no matter how old they are, can be potty-trained when it's done correctly and under the right circumstances.

Although Chihuahuas can be successfully potty-trained at any age, it's recommended that you start as soon you bring them into your home, preferably when they are still a puppy. During the first 6-12 months of a Chihuahua's life, their brains are developing at a rapid pace; therefore, they will naturally catch on to routines and consistency. You can use this to your advantage by instilling the basic potty-training commands in your Chihuahua's head. When they learn these principles at an early age, it will carry on with them well into their adult years, making the potty-training process easier for the both of you.

Chihuahua Potty-Training - Where Should I Start?

Two Housebroken Chihuahua Puppies

Two Housebroken Chihuahua Puppies

It's easy to feel lost and confused when you first bring your Chihuahua home. You're busy trying to set up their bed, make sure they have food, water, blankets, and you're probably busy playing with them as well. While all of this fine, you need to place potty-training at the top of your list of priorities for them. As stated above, it's crucial that you begin teaching them the basics of where using the bathroom is acceptable and where it's not.

Before you start attempting to potty-train your Chihuahua, you'll need to pick up a few basic items first. These items are necessary to encourage good behavior, as well as prevent bad behavior. Here are the things you'll need:

  • 1-2 boxes of small milk bone treats for rewarding good behavior.
  • A crate that's just large enough for your Chihuahua to stand up and turn around in.
  • Small, comfortable bed with a couple soft blankets.
  • Soft, non-abrasive collar with a leash that's at least 10-feet long.

Note: This isn't an entire list of everything you need to own a Chihuahua, but rather a list of items that will come in handy when potty-training your Chihuahua.

Potty-Trained Chihuahua

Potty-Trained Chihuahua

Potty-Training Basics

One of the key factors to successfully potty-training your Chihuahua is letting them know when they do something bad. When you see them do their business on the floor inside your home, quickly walk over to them and immediately say "No!" or "Bad boy/girl!" You should never physically spank or hit your Chihuahua, as this may injure them and make it more difficult to train them. Instead, stick with a strong verbal statement letting them know that what they did is unacceptable. Chihuahuas are quite emotional, and verbally telling them no while pointing at them is all it takes to get the message across.

No matter how hard you try to prevent it, accidents will happen. It's an inevitable part of owning any indoor dog, regardless of the breed, so don't expect your Chihuahua to be any different. After you see them peeing or pooping inside the house, tell them "No!" and walk them outside. While you're walking them, say something along the lines of "go potty" or "go pee-pee," as this will help them associate the words with the pottying behavior. It may take some time, but remain patient and wait for them to do their business. When they are good and use the bathroom outside, give them a milk bone treat along with lots of petting and praise as a reward for their good behavior. Treats go a long ways when it comes to potty-training and obedience training, so use them to your advantage.

Another little trick I've learned that helps to potty-train a Chihuahua is to always take them to the same place outside to do their business. Chihuahuas have a keen sense of smell and will be able to tell where they've used the bathroom before. When they come across an area they've already used the bathroom at, they will instinctively belive it's an acceptable area. You can begin walking your Chihuahua to other parts of the yard once they are older and fully potty-trained, but stick to a designated area during their early puppy years.

Chihuahua Crate Training

Some owners are under the impression that forcing a small Chihuahua to stay cooped up inside a crate is cruel and inhumane. After all, how fun can be stuck inside a crate where you can barely move around? The fact is, however, that a crate gives your Chihuahua their own personal space where they can call home. There's a certain sense of security they begin to feel and associate with their crate, and chances are they grow to enjoy being inside it. As the owner of three Chihuahuas myself, I frequently find my Chis hiding in their crates even with they are allowed to roam the house free.

The reason why crates are such an effective potty-training tool is because you can confine them to it anytime you're unable to watch them. Instead of "hoping" your Chihuahua doesn't use the bathroom inside the house, you can rest assured knowing they are safely confined to their crate. Naturally, most Chihuahuas won't use the bathroom in the same crate where they sleep and rest. If they have to use the bathroom, they will try to hold it until you let them outside. This works in your favor, as it lets your Chihuahua develop the skills necessary to hold their pee until you take them outside. Just remember to never leave a Chihuahua in a crate for long periods of time.



41 Responses to “Chihuahua Potty-Training and Housebreaking”

  1. Danielle Pearson says:

    Hi. My older sister can’t keep her chihuahua puppy because of work. My mom told me that if I research and am able to train her, I can have her. She is already 7 months I think. She only pees outside like barely at all. Is 7 months too late to keep puppy pads for her?

    • Hey Danielle,

      7 months isn’t too long to use puppy pads, but your Chihuahua may grow dependent on them. If you’re able to spend most of the day with your Chihuahua, use baby/puppy gates (or a makeshift barricade) to contain them in the living room. When you see your Chihuahua sniffing around in their characteristic ‘I need to potty’ movement, take them outside. Even if your Chihuahua isn’t potty-trained yet, they’ll still potty simply because nature is calling. And when your Chihuahua goes potty outside, give them a treat. Following this technique will get your Chihuahua trained in no time at all!

  2. Alexis says:

    My Chihuahua sleeps in his crate for 8 hours. That’s how long I sleep. How long in the kennel is too long?

  3. Stephanie says:

    I am thinking on getting a chihuahua and I already found this site very helpful..thanks. I only have one concern. Since both me & husband works during the day, can I train the dog to hold his pee for more than 8 hrs or should I teach him to pee at a designated spot inside the house?

    • Hey Stephanie,

      8 hours is around the maximum time frame that fully-trained adult Chihuahuas can hold their bladder. Puppies, however, won’t be able to make it this long. You can try blocking them off to the bathroom or kitchen with a pee-pad during the first 6-8 months — and then switching to a crate once their ‘puppy energy’ settles down.

  4. Anne says:

    I just adopted an 8 month old and she is handful. I take her out many times a day but she will not go to the bathroom outside. As soon as I bring her in she goes on my floor. She never gives me any indication that needs to go I just take her out hoping she will go outside. She has started pooping outside but she will not pee out there. She will pee in her crate. She’s very loving and cuddly but this needs to stop. I’ve tried all the things above to no avail. any suggestions?

    • Hey Anne,

      Hang in there! Your Chihuahua is probably experiencing some anxiety from being in a new home, which in turn is making potty training more difficult. Continue walking your Chi on a regular basis, and do your best to keep a close eye on them at all times. At 8 months of age, your Chihuahua will likely only roam around the house when he or she is playing, eating, drinking, or looking for an area to potty. If your Chihuahua begins to squat (females) or hike their leg (males), yell at them to stop and immediately take them outside.

  5. Rosie says:

    Hi! My father said we can adopt this small over 6-week old chihuahua terrier mix puppy, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to housebreak him. I’m gone 6 hours of the day at school, I know I can feed him and take him to use the bathroom before I go to school but are those 6 hours alone going to be too much for him? Do I have to use peepads? Because I really don’t want to so far what I’ve read about them is that they stink up the place and delay the housebreaking process.

  6. Annette says:

    I am getting a chi from the shelter in a few days. I have been visiting him while I wait to adopt. He is3 years old according to them but he looks much older. He never barks at people or the works but runs up to other dog in an aggressive manner, even a pit!!

    I wanted am older dog but I am not sure about training him …like crate or walking on a leash…does age matter?

    • Hey Annette,

      The Napoleon Complex is a common behavioral characteristic among Chihuahuas. Although they are small in size, they still have one of the biggest barks around town! Walk him with a leash to ensure he doesn’t pick fights he can’t handle. As far as training is concerned, 3 years is still relatively young in the Chihuahua world, so age shouldn’t be a problem.

  7. Donna says:

    I adopted a 3 yr old chawini a year ago. I got her mostly housebroken but with the cold weather lately she nas been peeing and pooping in the house. Not sure what to do besides crating her all the time. Pls help!

  8. Sharon says:

    I got a ten week old female Chihuahua four days ago and live in the Chicago suburbs. We are having one of the coldest winters in history and every time I take her out she whines and cries, picking her feet up. Even if I catch her starting to pee she won’t finish outside because it’s so cold out. Would it be a bad idea to pad train her next to the door until it gets warmer or just keep trying to take her out? I have three large dogs who use a doggy door and I never had any problems training them but this is a whole new ballgame.

  9. JennaLeon says:

    Hi, I have a Chihuahua, which is 10 months now, & I don’t let her pee outside because I live in an apartment and I can’t take her everytime to potty. She potties a lot. Idk if that’s normal I keep the snacks and water so she doesn’t feel hungry. But actually she’s always hungry and running after my family and me for food which is annoying. I put some newspapers Ina corner so she can potty there. She rarely does it. She seems to potty on my couch and floor more than on the newspaper, or her “potty” area. The problem is that I want to fix this because my parents are getting annoyed from the “potty” thingy& they say if this keeps going on, they’re going to sell her to anyone :( idk what to do! Help me please. 1) why does she potty a lot ? 2) How can I make her always potty in her area by herself?

    Thank you.
    Waiting for a feedback pleasee!

  10. Emily says:

    They are very great tips. But what if you have puppy pads at home?

    • Emily says:

      Me and my parents bought a full breed Chihuahua…. her name is Nonamae and she is just the cutest thing… the people who own the mom and dad say when Nonamae gets older she will probably have an Apple head like her dad….. otherwise she is so cute and she was born on December 26, 2013!

  11. Jessica says:


    About three weeks ago I adopted a two month old male chihuahua/mix. We know the mother is a chihuahua but unsure of the father. This dog has no sense of potty training and he pees and poops all over our house….on the carpet, tile, my daughter’s backpack, our bed, etc. Even while outside he will pee/poop on rugs, stepping stones, and right on the patio- rather than in the grass or rocks where we bring him. I swear this dog pees about 100 times per day and it’s almost always in the house.

    Is it normal for a dog to not catch on to anything after three weeks? I feel like my dogs in the past have at least shown some progress at this point. Also, is it normal for a dog to be constantly peeing? He doesn’t really sniff around too much, but just quickly squats and pees. It seems to be a pretty small amount of pee, more than when a dog is “marking”, but almost like he just doesn’t know how to hold it.

    Any tips?

  12. Andrea says:

    hello, my name is Andrea and I have a 4 months old chi… I don’t know why she likes to go pee and potty to really strange hidden places in my apartment like under the table or even under the couch, I don’t know if it’s something normal in the breed because I used to have another chi when I lived in argentina before moving to the US and she always went to pee and potty under my bed, it was pretty convenient back then because my bed frame was pretty light and I had all the floor under the bed covered with pee pads so I changed them once every one or two days and that wasn’t bad, but having to move a heavy reclining sofa every day and clean that area is not fun.
    there are some days that I don’t have time to take the dog out so I would like to train her to go in the pee pad, I’ve been using those training drops that you put in the pee pad but she doesn’t always use it, specially for potty and she likes to hide in unusual places, what should i do??? is it normal in the breed to hide to use the bathroom??

  13. Brittany says:

    Why does my 2 year old chihuahua spend 2 hours outside and then come back inside and five minutes later do her business and her crate? I have successfully house trained over 10 large breed dogs/puppies in my lifetime but I cannot get her trained or figure out why! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP…I’ve done everything I know to do, but now I’m stumped!!!

  14. Michelle says:

    Hi, my mother’s boss has a Chihuahua and its assn older one. He says I can have it but there’s one thing, it’s still not potty trained they said that they had bought it for their son but he has nothing to do with it. They told me that he was almost trained but since their son did not take the time to let him out all the time it did not last. Is it going to be impossible to train him? or will it take a little bit more time because he was not fully trained?

  15. bobbi says:

    Hi I adopted a 2 year old Chihuahua and I just got her yesterday, all she wants to do is pee on the floor I asked the people I got her from what was their technique for her and they said that she peed on the rug will I have puppy pad she won’t go on them at all she pees on clothes and pillows and it’s too cold to put her outside I need help… I dont no what to do..

  16. wanda Dickerson says:

    my dog will pee on the pad but will go else where to poop

  17. Chelsea says:

    Hi, I have a 8 week old chihuahua puppy he was givin to me by mu aunt because she didnt have time to train him. At the miment I am staying at my sisters house and she is not suppose to have animals so I have to keep him barracaded in my room but I am moving to be with my husband next week I have tried laying puppy pads down for him but he refuses to use them and I cant stay in the room with him 24 hours a day how can I stop him from using the bathroom everywhere? Before I go to be with my husband

  18. Sean says:

    We have a chihuahua who is a house dog. We do have a yard but being from Chicago and it being winter 90% of the year we keep her indoors on a regular basis, so we are trying to pre pad train her. Our major problem is that she hides to go to the bathroom, so we are usually unable to catch her in the act and correct her. She has actually become quite skilled at the act. We cannot afford to hire someone to come in house and train. Any tips?

  19. Janet says:

    I want a teacup chiuahuahu and i want it also potty trained, but i reserch dogs and can find good behaved ones and some thats just for me but they arnt potty trained. How long does it take to train a pup? Is it eaisier to just take the dog to a professional trainer?

    • Scarlett Richards says:

      I acquired a Chihuahua from a friend. The dog was a rescue having been thrown out off a moving car. The dog who’s name is cup cake will not poop outside instead he waits till he gets inside and will poop immediately after walking in the house. If you scold cup cake he gets scared and hides for hours. Do you have any suggestions on how I could correct this behavior? I am a dog lover, and wouldn’t think of getting rid of cupcake. He won’t pee in the house though and I’m glad for that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Scarlett

  20. kizzy foster says:

    hello i am getting my puppy (chihuahua) in 6 weeks she will be 12 weeks old am i best starting her on puppy pads or lurn her outside? i have 2 young children aged 4 months and other 3 years will this make it harder ii have been and got the crate her bed bowls food vets sorted insurance sorted the breeder is taking them to her vet for injections i just really need to know shall i use pads or straght away have her lurn to go out? please help she is my first puppy and dont want to be a bad doggie mam :( any help is really gratefull xx

  21. miki says:

    Marcie – Chance, California
    Writing you here to say that i’m on my 4th day and my child Alisha has gone nearly 24 hours now using the potty on her own and without telling me when she has to go. Who knew I would stumble across this site and have a fully potty trained child 3 days later! I have liked this page and told my friends to come watch your video
    watch the video here:

  22. Joni says:

    I have two Chihuahuas that are just the sweetest little fur babies ever! My male chi has been here longer. I adopted him from a friend when her two chihuahuas had “accident” puppies. That was 3.5 years ago. So he’s grown up here ..loves me & my husband equally…he’s just a dear. We go a tiny long haired female about 3 months ago. She’s very skiddish. She reacts to loud or sharp noises like someone is trying to hurt her. She’s very loving when you can catch her. But if you call her name to try and get her to come to you …she either runs or cowers down and shivers until you pick her up. I don’t think I mentioned that she is also 3 years old. Anyway ..last week we finished adding an additional room onto the back of our house. Since then …she runs to that new room anytime she gets to the floor…and goes under the bed …and will only come out to go outside to pee …or to eat. I’m baffled. And I can’t stand the thought of her back there under that cold bed when she could be here cuddled with me and the male dog. She seems very fond of the male & he of her. So that’s not a problem. I could use some advice though. Any help would be appreciated.

  23. puppylove123 says:

    I have a 2 year old chi and she always goes outside but never to the bathroom please help

  24. Helen says:

    I have been having a hell of a time with a 7 year old chi I rehomed.
    His previous family stated that they’d never had any issues but possible the fact they had alot of dogs maybe they didn’t realise it was him.

    Because its taken me 6months to persuade him to pee outside, poops once in a blue moon.

    So after 6 months of having a smelly hallway I have bleached and bleached we have a new flooring being fitted on Saturday and Fred now has a crate, and a long lead.

    I am home the majority of the day and rarely leave them for more then 3hrs and it will be hard not sleeping in bed with him but hopefully a strong established routine will be good for both of us.

  25. Caitlin says:

    Hi, I just got a 11 week old Chihuahua. He was outdoor trained when I got him but we live in the far north. Where he would freeze instantly if we let him out to do his business outside. Im trying to train him to poo and pee on a pad. He pees on the pad 75% of the time, then he poops all over the house. Different spot every time. What can I do to train him to poop on the pad?

  26. Kristin says:

    Hello. I have had a male chihuahua/pug but much more chihuahua for about a year and a half. He was born 11/29/12 so here goes. At first I thought he was doing great but then after a while I started to notice my 3 yr old daughters room reaked like dog pee. Poor girl. I should mention he’s not fixed, I will be doing this on July 30th can’t wait! Anyways well we’ve tried everything besides crate training and now it’s just so bad I’m almost ready to get rid of him. I mean my daughters room is just covered in dog piss, we’ve shampooed it numerous times but u can just see the stains all over her carpet, it’s bad. He’s pissed all over clothes, stuffed animals, blankets, towels, you name it. So i just discovered a couple days ago he’s moved to my sons room and I can barely type it but he is pissing and popping on my sons bed!!!!!!!! It makes me extremely angry to even type it. I never catch him in the act obviously. Well today I’m laying on the couch in my living room and I hear what I thought was a kid pouring water out and I see it’s my frikking dog peeing on my living room carpet right in front of me!!!! Our back door was even open! He could’ve just gone right outside on his own. I don’t know what to do besides get him fixed and go from there. I am so mad that my house and all my belongings are literally getting ruined I’m embarassed to entertain, my daughter can’t even sleep in her room let alone my son. I just don’t know what to do. The kids are attached, he’s their baby but I just don’t even know. What do I do????

  27. Rosemary says:

    Hi so theres this chihuahua like 2 blocks from me shes really fraile and sick and scared of everything and i noticed the owner dosent take good care of it so i asked him if he would give it or sell it to me he decided to sell it to me for 200 dollars ik its allot for a sick chihuahua thats like 7 years old but i know i would do a great job taking care of it an feeding it but i dont know what to do cause my mom by the way im 14 said shes ok with it but she can only sleep ouside and poop outside and we live in a apt that has like a balceny and we cleaned it up and where gonna buy a dog house a bed dog bowls leashes ect but i dont know if i could train her to not poop in the house since we have carpet and that would be a mess shes already 7 years old and if i would yell no or bad puppy im sure she will pee cause i tried peting her and she peed i think its because her owner abuses her ima bring her home in a day cause i cant stand for her to get kicked or anything by her former owner can anyone give me advice on how to help her not be scared and try to prevent her to peeing or pooping inside

  28. Laura Cote says:

    Hi. I recently got my sisters Chihuahua from her that,she has had as a pet for at least ten years. She is moving and hard to take the animals and so since me and Tia ( the chihuahua) have a bond she gave her to me. I’m having problems because Tia is used to going out a doggy door and peeing in a fenced area and unfortunately the apt we are currently in has a carpet where the owners let the dog pee inside so that smell is still there and she refuses to pee outside because she gets scared so we catch her either peeing inside or holding it until she can go in a fenced in area. What can I do to get her to start going outside??

  29. courtney says:

    I have a 2 1/2 yr old chihuahuas that i adopted a week ago. Very nervous around ppl and is scared when i bring her outside to potty. I will stand out there with him for 30 minutes and the second i bring him in he pees. I don’t know what to do!! Help

  30. Tammy says:

    I have a chihuahua that is almost a year old. He refuses to be potty trained. He is fixed. He will pee outside but he is determined to poop anywhere he wants to in the house. I am at my wits end. I have tried every training method know to man. I am coming close to getting rid of him. I have a lot of money tied into this dog and I hate to take the loss. I am close to dropping him off at our local shelter because I just can’t deal with it anymore. He is not a stupid dog because I have taught him many tricks. He knows what he is doing is wrong because he hangs his head and tries to hide. He is just plain stubborn. Any advice would be appreciated but I think I am gonna have to take the loss financially and get rid of him for my sanity. I have had several dogs throughout my life and I have never had one this bad. I wish I had looked into the breed more before I got him or I would have never got him. Puppy pads are not an option. I am not cleaning up crap for the next 12 to 15 years of my life.

  31. Kim says:

    I just adopted a 10 month old Chihuahua and trying to potty train him but he would not eat any type of hard treat unless it is human food. How can I successfully train him to potty outside and begin eating hard food?

  32. rachel says:

    My Chihuahua is almost 4 years old. He’s pretty much been a back yard dog the whole time Ive had him because I could never get him to NOT pee inside. He sleeps in his crate at night but I cant let him in the house with out him peeing on the couch or a room rug. I feel bad for him I would love for him to be inside with us all the time! But im not sure if its too late at this point. (mind you we all work and are gone for almost the entire day we leave at 8 am and dont get home until after 4pm) any ideas?

  33. Misty says:

    I have a very lovable 2yr old male chi. He was crate/house trained when we lived in TX. Since we moved home to WI he has refused to eliminate outside. We have been in the same house for a year now. I have tried the crate again which he loves and follows the given command to go in his crate but he will still hold it in and go on the basement floor. I don’t know what to do.

  34. Karen says:

    I have had a 3-1/2-month-old chihuahua-terrier mix for 3 weeks. Instead of potty training getting easier, it gets more difficult and time consuming every day! Lola ignores the pads and goes straight for carpet every chance she gets. Outside she is constantly distracted by sticks, bugs, sounds of all kinds, etc. She will walk and run around for a hour at a time and never pee or poop. Then she’ll come back inside and do one or the other within a few minutes. When I scold her, she doesn’t even respond. Instead, she just carries on jumping up and down. I’ve said, “go potty” about 10,000 times already, and she just doesn’t get it. However, after saying, “Want a treat?” 2-3 times, she knew exactly what that meant!” She knows “lie down” and learned her name within a couple of days. I think she’s pretty smart overall, but this potty thing is about to do me in. I spend at least 3 hours a day, starting at 5:00 a.m., walking her around the yard or down the street. I’ve tried on the leash and off; nothing works. This is so frustrating! I love this little girl, but I don’t know how long I can keep this up. It keeps getting worse instead of better. HELP!!!

  35. Allyson says:

    I love my 3yr old chi. He has been a little bit of a problem . He has a reputation in my building. He nips at people and he nips at a dog just playful

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