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.


180 Responses to “Chihuahua Potty-Training and Housebreaking”

  1. E. Hoffmann says:

    Never spank a Chihuahua. Use the fake grass. Take them outside in the morning and at night when home from work Good luck, you are going to need it.

  2. Debbi says:

    My 6 week old chihuahua is amazing! However, when I walk outside, he won’t move. He sits on my porch, and bites me if I pick him up! PLEASE HELP ME OR HE WILL BE BACK ON THE KILL LIST. I love him lots…😿

  3. Merrie says:

    We have a 6 week old chi, vet says is very healthy. After reading all comments I think we are doing really well! We take her potty immediately when she wakes, and 20 minutes after she eats. We’ve had her a week tomorrow. Luckily, my daughter met her the day she was born and visited her daily so by the time the breeder told us to come get her, my daughter was her person. We didn’t want to take her sooner than 8 weeks but there were circumstances beyond our control and since she’s bonded to my daughter we felt like bringing her home was the best option of a bad situation. She likes people and doesn’t seem to miss her pack. Starting day one here, if she pottied inside we blotted it with a paper towel and took both her and the towel outside, had her sniff it and then put it on the ground and said potty. By day two she was going outside. By day three she was whining to go out. I learned the hard way not to say let’s go potty and put her down to walk to the door. She gets confused and pees inside when you do that. She doesn’t like treats so I just praise and Pat her. My daughter runs with her and plays in the leaves when she is a good girl but if she doesn’t go, no reward time. We matter of fact go back in and try again in a few minutes. I am handicapped so she is harnessed when I take her. It was hard to find our 2 lb baby girl a harness that fit but a guy at the pet store advised to use a ferret harness. medium fits her.
    Our problem is that she will sometimes pee in her crate even though that’s where she eats. I am worried that since she was too little when we got here that is why. We both work so we need to get it resolved and also need to know how to get her to the point where she can be alone without crying. How long is it supposed to take? Today left her home alone in the crate for the first time and she carried on so! Need advice for helping her like her crate!

  4. Nicole says:

    I have a 10 week old chihuahua and I’ve had her since she was 4 weeks! Her mommy quit feeding her way to early but I have treated her like the baby she is and she is very healthy, playful and sweet as can be. She shocked us when she picked up on the puppy pads so young but she did and used the good. Now she will not use a puppy pad for nothing! I don’t whip her when she uses the bathroom inside, I just tell her no in a firm voice and she hides. She knows she is doing wrong but dont use a pad for a treat or anything. I dont understand what went wrong. I now have a crate and she holds it while she’s in there and when she gets out uses it on the floor not her pad. Can someone please help me, I really don’t wanna get rid of her. We are attached to her and love her so so much. She has brought life back into our morkie and they play all the time. I wanna keep her but I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I know its not her fault do I wanna fix whatever I’m doing wrong to help her!

    • Melba says:

      Hey I have a 11 week old brown tri-colored chihuahua. When I got him he was 6 six weeks old as soon as he got home I lay the potty pad in front of his bed. When he wakes up from nap he goes straight to his pad because I point to it “Go pee pee or poop here”. He understands and I keep repeating the same cycle with him supervising him to keep repeating the same routine until he no longer needa to be supervise. Maybe that can help you if anything let me know!!

  5. lori carthy says:

    I have an 8 week old shih tzu chihuahua mix and I can not get him to potty outside I am not sure if it’s to cold or he gets distracted really easy please help I thought about litter training but if I travel with him then he will want to go indoors any advice thanks Lori

    • Andy Kuhn says:

      The same things happen to me with my dogs. I have a teacup chihuahua, and a shih tzu yorkie mix. The ways I’m gonna tell you to potty train might actually work. I have tested it, and it does work.

      1. Take the dog outside on a leash.(unless he or she can walk off-leash) When you get outside, you’re gonna put a little pressure on the dog and push it around a little. Try not to hurt the dog, don’t push too hard.

      2. Do you have puppy pads? If you don’t, you should get them. If you have a small room in the house, put puppy pads all around the room. Don’t make it so the dogs can do their business right next to the pads. Cover the entire room with puppy pads. If you don’t have a small room, put a baby fence around it, unless you want to cover a bigger room with the puppy pads. Let your dog eat some food while you finish. When you have your space covered with puppy pads, take your dog in the room, and close the door. Leave them in there after 5 minutes. Nothing? Leave them in for another 5 minutes. If they only sit and cry, sit in front of the door, and make no noise. They will smell you, and know you’re with them.

      Hope this works on your dogs.

    • Debbi says:

      Hey Lori, and yes, I’ve got advice. Try a grass mat, and outside. Grass mats are lots like ref. Pee pads, but have grass. Give it a shot! Np!

  6. Rae says:

    I rescued a two year old Chiweenie who started out very well with potty training, then fell of the wagon. I put a towel in the bathroom floor and then put her pee pads on it. When we arise in the morning, She is put in the bathroom until she pees or poops, then lavished with praise and a tasty treat. Then she gets her breakfast. If I can’t watch her like a hawk, she goes in the crate. After evening feeding, back in the bathroom she goes until she does her business. Before we go to bed, she stays in the bathroom until she goes. Otherwise, she is crated for the night. It didn’t take long for her to get a clue about her “rights” to my house. She is absolutely delightful! I have never had a chi, but she knew just how to wrap me around her little paw! 😉 Best of luck to everyone!

  7. Casandra Hiscock says:

    It’s – 35 Celsius here, so it’s to cold outside! I’m using pads and outside on warmer days! I can’t wait till it warms up!

  8. Sara says:

    I need to know how many hours that long hair Chihuahua can hold up bathroom since I got a new job that work from 11-8p since my daughter is with her dad for winter break.. I’m all home alone with my long hair Chihuahua

    let me know asap

  9. sarah says:

    I have a female Chihuahua that has been using the bathroom inside after I bring her outside. She is not even 1 years old yet, and I have been trying different things and it never works.

  10. Ari says:

    I have two regular chihuahuas, two siblings, one boy and one girl. They just turned one in may and when I first got them around last October they had no problems going to bathroom outside and would have very few accidents but then they started going potty in their kennels when we would put them in there when we went out and now they go potty everywhere! They are outside a very good portion of the day and have enough time to potty but they still go potty inside! They even began to pee on my bed and I’m stuck on what to do. Please help.

  11. Ashley says:

    I have a chihuahua and she turned a year old in June I have got her to go pee outside but I can not get her to poop outside she is constantly popping on my children’s beds or blankets what can I do to get her to go outside ??

  12. Chihuahua says:

    Help!!!! My chihuahua will go all the time in my house he is 6 moths and still not potty trained how do I stop this bad behavior 😕

  13. Cheryl says:

    I have a 2 year old Chi that will not potty outside, she has also been peeing on the bed, I got mad after the 3rd or 4th time and she got spanked and now she she seem scared of me, You can have her outside foe a while and a few minutes after coming in she pees, can someone please give me some advice I feel so bad for spanking her I just did not know what else to do

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