Jump to section
It's hard to say which is worse, having your Chihuahua peeing on the floor or stepping in a puddle of ice cold pee. However, potty training is one of the most important skills you can teach your pup, that is unless you plan to keep your pup outside at all times (which is not a humane option). While Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to potty train, all it really takes is plenty of time and patience to succeed.
A Chihuahua of any age can be housebroken as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort needed. If your goal is to have your pooch pee strictly outside, avoid using "pee pads" sold in pet stores, as they may reinforce that it's quite okay for your pup to to pee in the house. Definitely not the results you are looking for. You need to teach your pup that the only place he is allowed to pee is outside.
The task at hand is one of the most basic behaviors you need to teach your pup. No one wants to have a dog who constantly thinks the house is his bathroom. While you can potty train any age Chihuahua, the sooner you start training your pup the better. Between the ages of 6 and 12 months, the Chihuahua's brain is developing quickly, making it much easier for them to learn new skills.
The most important part of training your Chihuahua to pee outside is to be patient. This skill will take a while for your pup to master. Remember that these amazing little dogs are pretty darn stubborn, which can make training them more difficult than other dogs. Bear in mind Chihuahuas do not respond well to being punished or scolded, it hurts their feelings and can slow down progress.
One of the first steps in potty training your Chihuahua is to start picking up the signs that he needs to go outside and pee. This can be hard to do since they are so small and low to the ground. But, in the early days, learning to spot the signs will help you help your pup to go pee outside where he should. You will need a few supplies to make the training go a little more smoothly, including:
- A crate
- Cleaning supplies
The rest is all about having the time and patience to keep working with your pup until he finally masters the fine art of peeing outside like the rest of the dogs. Take your time, there is no point in trying to rush your pup as this will only make him more stubborn and leave you with even more messes to clean up.
The No Method
Start with treats
Start with a handful of your pup's favorite treats.
Catch him in the act
Watch your pup for signs of needing to pee. If he gets started, immediately tell him "NO" and take him outside.
As you heading outside, use your chosen command phrase, such as "Go Outside". This will help your pup to associate the command with the action desired.
Even if he has already gone potty, stay out there with him until he does his business. Be sure to praise your pup heavily and give him a treat.
As soon as your pup is done, take him inside. This helps establish the idea that going outside to pee is the expected behavior.
The training goes on and on
Keep repeating this training process until your pup will come to you and let you know he needs to go outside. It can take several weeks before your pup masters this behavior, but the wait will be well worth it when you no longer step in your pup's mess on the floor.
The Every 60 Minutes Method
Gather your supplies
For this training, you need a crate designed for Chihuahuas, not one for big dogs. You want your pup to see this as his home or personal space. Also have ready a standard leash, not a retractable one, his bed, and plenty of his favorite treats.
Weeks one and two
For the first couple of weeks, you should be taking your pup outside every 60 minutes, after you let him out of his crate, or after a meal. Never allow your pup to come back inside the house until he has taken care of business. When he does, praise him and give him a nice tasty treat.
Extend the time
From week two, spend the next two weeks extending the interval between times you take him out. Set the time at 90 minutes for these two weeks and then move it out to 120 minutes for the next two. The idea is to get your pup used to "holding it" until you take him outside. Remember, lots of praise and treats.
Back indoors immediately
Each time your pup goes potty outside, take him straight back inside. This helps them to associate going outside with going potty.
When accidents occur
If your pup has an accident and you happen to catch him in the act, walk directly over to him and tell him "no". Then take him outside. But, you can only do this if you catch your pup in the act. If you don't catch him in the act, he will not associate the "bad" behavior with you scolding him.
Wash, rinse, and repeat
The rest is all a matter of washing and rinsing any messes your chihuahua makes and continue working with him until he finally gets a clue and stops using the living room floor as his personal potty.
The On-Demand Method
Set a schedule
Set a schedule to take your pup out every 20 minutes while he is awake. Any time that he goes pee, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. If he doesn't, no big deal. Take him in and try again in 20 minutes. But keep a close eye on him; if he makes like he is going to pee, take him outside immediately.
Naps and meals
Anytime your pup has a meal or drinks a lot of water, you need to take him outside immediately. The same applies to first thing in the morning or after a nap. Be sure to keep him outside long enough for him to take care of business and to reward and praise him when he does.
Pee on command
Choose a command phrase like "Go pee, "Go poop" or, better yet, "Go potty" as its nice and simple. Be sure everyone in your family knows the command and doesn't use anything else or it will confuse your pup.
Grab the clicker
A clicker is training device that makes a loud "clicking" sound when you operate it. You use it to pinpoint the exact moment the action you are working on occurs. In this case, going potty. Now when your pup starts to go potty, hit the clicker at the same time you use the command word. This helps to significantly reinforce the concept.
By now you should be able to take your pup outside and give him the 'go potty' command and he will do his best to pee or poop in order to earn his reward. Keep working on it, you will eventually be able to trust your dog to let you know he needs to go out and that he will always go potty out there instead of inside the home.
By PB Getz
Published: 12/14/2017, edited: 01/08/2021