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 furry four-legged friend in a fenced-in backyard (not recommended), you'll have to teach them to use the bathroom outside the house and not inside. 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 stay 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 preparing their bed, making sure they have food and water, and you're probably playing them with, too. While all of this fine, you need to place potty-training at the top of your list of priorities. 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.
  • A small, comfortable bed with a couple soft blankets.
  • A 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 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 actual 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 where they've already used the bathroom, they will notice the scent and assume it's okay to use the bathroom here again. 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 it be to remain stuck inside a crate where you can barely move around? The fact is, however, that a crate gives your Chihuahua their own personal space in which 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.


104 Responses to “Chihuahua Potty-Training and Housebreaking”

  1. Howard says:

    I am in the process of training my Chihuahua. I treat like a baby or a todler. It has a structured time for almost everything. He sleeps in a crate at night , so in the morning first thing we go out for a walk and he does his business outside, second we limit him on how much water he takes in, not to keep him from being thirsty, but after a certain time at night he gets no more water. Same goes for food, we pull his food after a certain time also. I take him outside regularly so he can play and run and he relates this to bathroom time also. He has had a couple of “accidents” but for the most part he lets me know when he has to go and wants outside. Not a 100% full proof but it works for the most part. but remember you got to let him know your in control and not him.

  2. Anna says:

    I Got a chihuahua terrier cross puppy when it was barely 5 weeks. It had already been adopted out by an older couple and returned. When I went to choose a puppy I saw Nika and picked her up. She wrapped her paws around my wrist and refused to let go. She she claimed me at the moment I claimed her. πŸ™‚ here is my trouble. I will let her out on a lead to potty and then back in when she is done. I think she gets distracted. This is because I can let her out and after I let her back in within a half hour she pees several large puddles and poops on my floors. It really urks me because she was just out. We have beautiful spring weather so there is really no excuse. Actually to be honest; she was better trained in the snow, tain, and wind. HELP!!! I won’t be able tikeep a dog that refuses to be trained. Regardless of attachment.

  3. Chelsea Ladd says:

    I have a Chihuahua that is a little bit over a year and we thought we had him potty trained and just this week he has started peeing and pooping everywhere in the house. He is supposed to be using potty pads but it doesn’t seem to be working. My parents are getting fed up and might make me get rid of him!!! I need help, fast!!!

  4. Aly says:

    I am a new chihuahua owner and am needing some help. I adopted a 16 month old male chihuahua from the local shelter. So excited to take him home. Even found out he was house trained. I have carried him outside to go potty multiple times, so far nothing. He seems to have separation anxiety, gets nervous when I leave the room? He has stayed in his bed most of the night. I finally got him to the food bowl to eat. Or I thought I did… He ran around the corner, lifted his leg and peed on the carpet. I immediately took him outside and told him we don’t go potty in the house. He didn’t pee then either. There are 2 male outside cats here that come inside sometimes. I am wondering if it’s a territory issue? I share the house with a family member and don’t want any more accidents tonight. I am a little frustrated, I dont know what to do. He loves his bed but, I will not be getting him a crate until tomorrow.

  5. chris says:

    Please help, I have a 3 year old Chihuahua – Rat Terrier. We’ve tried crates. However, he still pees and poops in it! Our biggest problem is that he wakes up at 3-4 AM and goes to pee in the basement. He just can’t hold it long enough! We’ve tried feeding him earlier, shampooing the rug to get rid of the scent, and even taken him out frequently and praising him when he pees! Please give good advice as to how to stop him from peeing indoors. Thank you.

  6. Angeline says:

    I have a three month old chi and besides a few accidents, he is getting the hang of going outside. I know he has to go when he stops what he is doing and sniffs around. My advice would be to be mindful of your pet and take note of their behavior. If I take him out every 30-40 minutes, we avoid accidents in the house. I bought a play pen and put it on our deck. This confines his potty space, which has helped because his scent is concentrated and he cannot run around finding leaves to eat!

  7. Nic says:

    I have a 6 year old chihuahua and he poops and pees all over the house even tho he’s let out very often and knows it’s bad to pee and poop in the house. We have a young boxer who doesn’t go in the house at all so I’m not sure why the chihuahua does. Idk what to do and my mom keeps threatening to give him away. 😭

  8. julianne says:

    Hi im about to have a chi with me and all that really helped me know get ready for his comingπŸ•πŸΆ

    Thank you!


  9. Marissa says:

    My chihuahua is a little over a year old, he doesn’t like any of the treats I’ve given him and frequently pees in the house I’ve tried taking him outside around five times a day and he only goes a small amount outside and waits to be inside before he actually goes, it’s becoming frustrating because I’ve tried the training pads and when I confine him to a crate he cries so loud that the neighbors complain(I live in an apartment) I don’t know what to do, I tell him no, I tell him to go potty when he’s put outside but he always ends up going in the house again please help

  10. Rosie Carmona says:

    I have a 4yr old n he has been real good in not peeing inside the house 🏠, until 8 months ago we decidef to get another Chi, my oldest tend to mark where the little peed, how can I break that habit. I see pee more frequently then before we got the new chi. I get so frustrated 😰 n upset. I need so suggestions please! Thanking you in advance for your help.

    • Bianca Musajeth says:

      Hello Rosie,please try enzyme cleaner to eliminate smells that humands cannot perceive but dogs can. This will prevent having your pups try to mark a place where other pups have peed.

  11. Mia says:

    I have a little chihuahua x dachshund girl who is lovely when in my house and poos and pees on her pad but when we travel she will always do it on the floor? I need help if I want her to get out a lot.

  12. Savannah says:

    I have a Chihuahua she keeps poking in the house I don’t know what to do I have tried telling her no and bad girl but its just not working what should I do?!

  13. Maxine says:

    I have a rescue chi mix and we have trained him to go outside to do his business which is fine but I have injured my knee walking him and so have my husband. How do we re-train him to use the pads?

  14. Laura Campbell says:

    Someone please help me. I have 2 sister full bred Chihuahuas, now over 6 months old and still keep pooing in the house. They know its wrong, they get praised when they do it outside every time then get a treat. They like the comfort of the house and I dont use pads as I dont agree with them and dont want it in my house. I have a german shepherd who is great and I am finding it so frustrating as I am out of options and so are my vets advise. I dont see why it is acceptable because they are small As if it was my german shepherd doing that in the house she would be gone.

  15. Daniela says:

    My chihuahua is about 7 years old and I potty trained her as a puppy to use a litterbox! She knows just like a cat that she needs to go there and not on the floor. She only goes on the floor or carpet when she is mad at me or my family, as an act of rebellion. I also recommend cat stuff for a smaller chihuahua. Sometimes, it provides a better fit and more comfort since they are so small. Mine has a cat bed, cat collar (so we know where she is in the house mostly) cat clothes, cat food dishes, all because they’re just the perfect size for my 4lb baby,

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Daniela,

      Any tips on how to litter box train a puppy? My chihuahua is 7 months old and is still peeing and pooing in the house. I would like to litter box train her but I am not sure where to start!


  16. Joan says:

    I just acquired a very small Chihuahua rescue from a bad hoarding situation. She came into the shelter so I am fostering her but will adopt her soon. I have her on Orijen right now, the research I am finding is not to put these dogs on commercial food. What do other people feed their dogs?? I am going to incorporate sweet potatoe and zuchhini with the Orijen and other things that she can eat grain free. She already has wardrobe and we are going winter shopping! She is an absolute darling in spite of the horror that she has been thru.

    Thank you

    • Dot says:

      I feed my 3 lb Chi Royal Canin Mini….she loves it & it’s perfect for her tiny mouth. Her coat is shiny, nice skin & teeth. She gets that & nothing else. I feed my 7 lb Yorkie, Simpky Nourish for Toy Dogs….Both are excellent foods.

    • Holly says:

      Joan royal canin has a pet food just for chihuahua in puppy and adult. My 12 week old puppy loves it and the have adult food just for chihuahuas too. However if you give people food, green beans and rice for upset tummy and diarrhea carrot treats, sweet potatoes and salmon

    • shira says:

      I was really happy when i discovered Orijen. Mine gets the 6-fish and all the research I’ve done seems to indicate its one of the healthier options, but i also consider it a great base and try to give her other things (it was also really important to me ethically to have her on a pescatarian diet, I know a lot of dog owners don’t agree with my choice to not allow my chi to eat meat)
      I do add to it certain things or cook for a few times a week. If I add any warm clear soup w a bit of rice or tomato sauce and a little pasta and olive oil to her food she is really really happy. Im very lucky Ive been giving her vegetables ever since she was a puppy and she loves them (broccoli, carrots, potatoes, even raw salad). Organic eggs or yogurt also work well w her food and she gets cheese as a reward.

  17. Dakota says:

    I have an 8 month old chi, he will go outside and go to the bathroom, but if he has to go, he will not wait for me to take him outside he will just go inside. I have tried most everything and nothing is working! I keep him on a leash, and crate him. But if I try to reward him with freedom for doing all his business outside, he will go into a separate room and pee, even if it is only a tiny bit. I am about to have a baby, and I won’t be able to spend all my time watching my chi when the baby gets here.
    What else can I possibly do?!

    • Shelby says:

      Hi Dakota my chi does the same thing and what you have to do is when you are going some where close all the doors and tell her to be goodgirl then put out pee pads or put a doggy door and that must help

  18. Charlie says:

    Hello, I have just been bought a chihuahua puppy for my 13th birthday. I have called her Lola, like ‘Charlie and Lola’! {except in that, Charlie is a boy, and I’m a girl!!} She is genuinely a good girl, apart from biting me and anyone else she can get her piranha-like teeth on! Hopefully, that will stay just for her teething stage! She does have a tendency to either pee/poop on/near/far-away-from or just on the edge of her puppy pad! This page has given me some great advice!

  19. Janet says:

    I want to send an update. I started dedicating myself to pottie training using these tips and we haven’t had an accident all week. I know we have a way to go but I’ve seen a lot of progress! My problem was not using a crate and not spending enough time outside with him.

  20. Mr Roboto says:

    Here are a few tips that will make your reader’s lives easier. 1 – Chihuahuas are very intelligent and are easy to train. It is the owns that are hard to train. It’s like teenagers and parents. Some people say the teens are difficult, but once the parent has the right tools to work with, the teens aren’t as bad as you’d think. Same goes with Chihuahua puppies. We have two and they were paper trained and night time crate sleepers withing 24 hours of getting them at 12 weeks old. You must have a designated pee pad area…away from their food, but close to where they sleep. When you see the puppy sniffing around and/or starting to squat, immediately take them to their pad! Do not scold them! Do not yell at them! They may dribble on the floor/carpet… so you’ll need to scrub that area asap with warm water and liquid dish soap so that they won’t smell it later and think that it’s the spot where they should go. With the same respect, puppy pads are scented to attract dogs to go pee and poop there, but I like to either rub the pad on the part of the carpet that was soiled on and put it back where it suppose to go. So that the puppy will smell the it and know that “that’s the place I should go”! Positive reinforcement is better than negative. So praise puppy after they use the pad. Don’t give them a treat like some beginners say! Praise is enough! Puppies love, the love and praise! 2- For night time, we use a high cardboard box big enough only for a little sleep blanket and pee pad. That way he is either in bed or on the pad. He is either sleeping or peeing/pooing. No play area. No night light. No nightly visits to comfort him. Ignore his yelps and whimpers and cries! It’s hard! My wife got up in the middle of the first night and the yelp of our puppy sounded like he was in immediate danger and extreme pain, but no…he was just playing her! The second night, he just whimpered a little but fell fast asleep. We find in the mornings that they have used the pad a few times. 3- Be sure to change the pad frequently! It’s okay and even preferred to have one pee or poop on the pad when training, but too much…too dirty and the puppy will not want to go there because they need a clean area.

    Conclusion… Puppies go by scent. They will pee where they have peed before. So clean up any accidents right away. Do not traumatize your puppy when they do have an accident or dribble. Correct their behaviour by relocating them to the pad. Don’t let dogs share sleeping crates. One to a puppy. Igor puppies distress yelps at night. Then they will know next time that yelping doesn’t work and they will accept their night time sleeping arrangements.

  21. Dianna says:

    I have a 3 month old Chi! Treats are really helping with potty training! Also I noticed once I took the pee pads off the carpet he avoids the carpet! He goes outside most of the time except when it’s really cold! I put pee pads in the garage! I’m trying to teach him that it is unacceptable to go in the house!I also crate him during the day when no one is home! He still has accidents but I’m hoping he will start barking or ringing the bell on the door to notify me when he has to go! Goodluck to all of us! They are a challenging breed

  22. Mary says:

    I adopted a Chihuahua that was a year old. She was original trained by her previous owner to pee on a puppy pad. Everything was great for about 6-8 months and suddendly she refuses to pee or poop on the pad. I brought her to the doctors and she is getting treated for UTI but she is continuing to pee / poop all over the house. I think it is a more behavioral issue because I took her to my sisters house and she went on the puppy pad so its not like she doesn’t know. I thought about taking her outside but it is too cold and too much snow. I also am frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. Should I crate her and still train her to go outside?

  23. Lisa says:

    I have a six month old chihuahua, I have tryed to potty train her outside, but I live in the north and some days we are minus 30 celcius and it is just too cold for her to be out. She is only 4 pounds. She seems to do very well on the pee pad some days then the next she will not use them. Do you have any advice that might help train her. When we are not home she is confind to the hallway and bathroom, but when I am home she is loose in the house. It is when she is loose in the house that she just pees or poops where ever she is at.

  24. Lisa says:

    I have a 5 month old Chihuahua Ive had since she was 3 weeks old, bue to being rejected by her mother. At first, she would use potty pads every time. For the past month, she has been using the potty all through the house, usually on an area rug or on the carpet. Ive tried putting her on the pads, but she will get up and go pee. Im not harsh with her, so I dont understand the regression.

  25. natasha says:

    This is exactly how I feel I need answers too. I have 2 10 week old chihuahuas and they are exactly like yours πŸ™

  26. Danielle says:

    Hey there, I just recently adopted a 3 month old Chihuahua full blooded and I also have a 2 year old Shih-Tzu who is Puppy pad trained. We have an empty room that we use for storage and as our pet room. Our Chihuahua will use the puppy pad sometimes but most of the times she’ll go and pee on our rug in our living room. their food and water was beside the rug, but I just recently moved their food and water to the extra room where the pads are. How can I get my Chihuahua to use the pads all the time?

  27. Lynne says:

    I have a Chi that just turned 1. She will not pee on the potty pads – she’d rather lay on it or eat the them. I have tried every brand I can get my hands on. Also, since I live in FL the flees are fierce and now I can’t take her out on a regular basis. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Lisa says:

    I have a chi/terrier mix will be 2 yrs old next month. we got rascal when he was 6 weeks old, not housebroken. rascal was housebroken within a months time and has never had an accident in the house since. We have a fenced backyard where he loves to go most times, he comes yells at us when he has to go out and I also walk him every night and he does his business. Only when there is snow on ground he prefers backyard to his walk. From reading all the comments I guess I am very lucky! He is a great dog, no a member of the family!

  29. Cassandra says:

    I adopted a Chihuahua mix from the shelter in September they think he is about 3 years old. At first he was PERFECT and would not have any accidents in the house he slept where ever he wanted but now it’s so common and it happends too often. He pees in his own bed, when we did crate him he peed and pooped in it. Resulting in eating it!
    He pees or poops in the house even if we just came back from a walk!
    I dont know what to do anymore he seems to be more relaxed when not being crated, when I put him in a crate he refuses to come out, to eat, drink, pee or poop or even for human contact. Nobody knows his story we just know he came from a high kill shelter in California. please I really need help!!

  30. Mischelle says:

    I have just gotten 2….neither is completely house broke.I’m home most of the day. ..should I crate them when I’m home to brake them completely?

    • Robin says:

      To stop your chi from eating his poop, there is a pill called Deter from any pet store just ask them, it’s caused from a mineral decency see if that helps

  31. Alisha Andree says:

    I have a 6 month old Chi that we adopted and being we live in Michigan it’s freezing, we take him out to go potty but he just stands there and shivers and whines and jumps on our legs, how do I ever get him potty trained if he won’t even go near the door because he’s cold? Frustrated and ready to throw in the towel!

    • Bri says:

      Hi Alisha
      The problem is that your dog is cold. It most likely is that your dog is too uncomfortable because of the coldness. Maybe you could try buying a indoor grass mat at you local pet store. They are usually 20-40 dollars. If that doesn’t work, try potty mats. Hope for the best for both you and your puppy pal!

  32. charity says:

    I have a 6 week old chichi and she hates grass. She will only potty on the concrete. Is this normal and how do I change this behavior?

  33. Beckie/desperate says:

    I adopted a Chihuahua mix at 16 weeks from a pound and I’m having a horrible time potty training her on pee pads because it is freezing cold here and snowing.. Every time we put her on her pee pad she will sit there stubbornly for even an hour and as soon as she walks off will pee instantly on the carpet or floor.. She also refuses to ever poop on the pee pad she always hides and does that as well. We have successfully gotten her to potty on her pee pad several times but it has taken a lot of time hours and patience. But it seems like its getting worse rather than better. What can we do? Why is it that she wants to run away and he instantly instead of partying on her pee pad? if I can’t correct this problem my father is going to give her back

    • Bri says:

      Hi Beckie
      My dog would do the same thing. The reason why your dog will not use the mat is because she is either feeling pressured or doesn’t want to go because she knows you want her to. Since you cannot take her outside you could buy a grass mat from the pet store ($20-$40) Which will make her feel outside because it has grass and it should work. If not maybe you could try telling her simple commands as the article says. Other than that maybe you and your dog have to zip up in cozy jackets and take a 10 minute potty break outside. Good Luck!!!

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