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.

References:

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/puppytips/Housebreaking

http://pets.thenest.com/potty-train-teacup-chihuahua-3559.html

 


24 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:

    Hello,

    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?

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