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Paper training and litter box training are quickly becoming popular among owners of smaller breeds of dog like the Chihuahua. You can use paper or puppy training pads, both will soak up urine and hold poop in place until you can clean it up. In many ways, training your pup to do his business inside in a specific spot is a lot like training him to go outside and you can always use the paper training as a way to work your pup up to doing his business outside if you prefer.
Keep in mind that paper training does not mean throwing down newspaper all over the house. If you do this, then your pup is going learn to do his business all over the house. Doing this will probably slow the training process down and may result in your pup never actually being properly house trained. You must train your pup to hold it until he is on his paper in the appropriate area, which means training under the same tight time schedule as you would if you were training him to go outside.
Paper training is best described as teaching your dog to do his business on your choice of media (newspaper, puppy pads, towels, etc.). But there is more to it than this, you must also teach him that he can only do this in one spot in your home. The main idea behind this training is to teach your pup where it is okay for him to go to the bathroom so that he will stop going where he shouldn't.
The good news is that Chihuahuas are very smart and easily trainable. The bad news is that because they are so small it is much harder to spot when they are squatting down or lifting a leg to pee. This means establishing a routine in which you take your pup to his "potty" plays a very important role in teaching him that this is the only place he is allowed to go potty.
You don’t really need a lot in the way of supplies, some old newspapers or maybe puppy training pads that scented to attract your dog. You may even want to buy a holder for the pads to help keep them in place. Be sure to have plenty of your pup's favorite treats on hand and be available to take him potty when he needs to go or when it is time. The rest of it is all about being patient and ready to work with your pup until he has mastered this skill. You may also want a crate or pen you can put your pup in when you can't watch him.
The Choose Your Spot Method
Pick a spot, any spot
Pick a spot in your house that is going to become home to your pup's paper potty. The best places are in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or any other room in your home with a tile or linoleum floor. This makes cleaning up messes a lot easier.
Create a "potty pen"
Using a pen, cover the floor inside with several layers of paper, a pee pad, or even a litter box. The idea is to create an area where your pup has no choice but to relieve himself.
To the potty, we go
Just as you would do when you are training a dog to go outside, you need to put your pup in the pen every 30 minutes in the beginning, to get him used to going on the paper. When he goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Keep up the training
Every time your pup has a meal or drinks a large amount of water, pick him up and put him on his "potty." Chihuahuas have a small bladder and digestive system so they need to go potty shortly after eating or drinking.
Down the line
It will take your pup a few weeks to get used to the idea that the papers are the only place he is allowed to do his business. Before long, you should be able to remove the pen and your pup will simply go to the paper or pad to do his business and nowhere else in your house.
The 5-Step Method
Pick your place
Choose a spot that will become your pup's indoor potty. The best spot is a small area you can close off with a puppy playpen. Choose a room with a hardwood, linoleum, or tile floor as this makes cleanup much easier.
Cover the space with papers, add your pup's bed, his water bowl, and a few toys for him to play with. Add your pup to the mix and make sure he can't escape using a baby gate or puppy pen. This way he has no option but to eliminate on the paper or his bed. This helps him to get the idea that the only place he can eliminate is on the paper.
Keep it clean
Make sure you don't leave dirty papers down for very long. Keep it clean by picking up the papers immediately after he eliminates if possible. You may want to leave one small piece in a particular spot. This will encourage him to use that spot again.
Watch your pup for a few days, if he continues to use the same spot, start shrinking the area covered in paper, leaving his bed and toys at the other end of the area.
Down to two
When you finally reach the point where he is eliminating on two pieces of paper, you can slowly move the papers to the permanent site he can call "his" bathroom. This is a lengthy process but be patient and your pup will learn to use his "paper toilet" every time.
The Catch and Release Method
Choose the place
Choose a spot in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. Go for a smaller room like the bathroom or laundry room. If you have to use a larger room, grab a puppy playpen to create the small area. Cover the floor in paper.
Introduce your pup
Pick your pup up and take him to the area and place him in the middle of the paper. While he may not eliminate the first time, this will help him get used to the paper. If he does happen to pee or poop, praise him and give him a treat. If he hasn't eliminated after 5 to 10 minutes, let him go free.
Keep a close eye on him
Keep a very close eye on your pup, if he shows any signs of needing to eliminate, pick him back up and put him on the paper again. If he goes, give him a treat. Keep repeating this.
While keeping an eye on him is a good way of working him into peeing on his "paper potty", you also need to get him on a schedule. This means taking him to the potty every thirty minutes, even if he has recently gone potty. Each time he goes, praise him and give him a treat.
Extend the time
The rest is all about extending the time as he gets older. By this time, he should start finding his way to his potty all on his own. All you need to do is keep the paper clean so he will keep using it.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/16/2018, edited: 01/08/2021