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?
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.
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.