How to Potty Train a Chihuahua in the Winter

Medium
1-4 Months
General

Introduction

If you live in a cold weather climate and don't enjoy exercising out in the snow, you may have chosen to get a small breed so that you could both get your exercise inside. The Chihuahua is a charming, personable, loyal little dog who comes in a variety of colors, coat lengths, and shapes. The Chihuahua is an ancient breed that suffers few health problems and is intelligent as it is charming. Your Chihuahua puppy will readily learn potty training but during a cold winter, you may face a new problem. While your Chihuahua may be willing to go potty where you would like her to, she may not be willing to face the freezing temperatures outside. You can certainly potty train your Chihuahua in the winter, but be willing to make some compromises.

Defining Tasks

Chihuahuas weren't made for the cold. They come from Mexico, and their years becoming popular and changing shapes all over America have not made them much more cold-hardy. While long-haired Chihuahua have some advantage in the cold, their coats are single layered, not thick like the spitz type dogs bred for the snow. All Chihuahua must be protected from the cold even for short periods. Heavy fuzzy jackets that don't restrict her delicate throat and weather-proof booties for her feet can help keep your Chihuahua comfortable in the cold.

Getting Started

Whether your eventual goal is to have your Chihuahua go potty outside, or if you intend for her to use an indoor pad or litterbox all her life, it is best to train inside for some time in the winter before moving to outdoors training. Your Chihuahua puppy should know what she has to do, and not have to do it so often, before being asked to do it outside in the cold. In time you will develop a routine with your Chihuahua puppy, and it will be easy to know when she needs to go out and to keep the outside time to a minimum. If you decide that you would rather have her continue doing her business inside, she will always be small enough that it is not too much of a mess.

The Gradual Paper Method

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Step
1
Set up a pen
Set up a pen for your Chihuahua puppy that is large enough to have a sleeping and eating area and a bathroom area. Bring her here to potty every half hour or so when she is out with you.
Step
2
Cover with paper
Newspaper is the traditional choice but training pads are made that are scented to encourage peeing and have removable adhesive so that your puppy won't disturb the paper. Whatever you choose, be thorough and cover every inch.
Step
3
Wait for potty area
Soon your Chihuahua will establish an area she wants to use more than others, probably farthest from her bed.
Step
4
Reduce paper
Reduce paper every couple of days until only one paper remains. Use some urine from the dirty paper to scent the new paper each time. If there is an accident, add more paper.
Step
5
Move paper to desired location
Move your Chihuahua's paper to where you would like her to go potty. If it is outside, make sure you dress her warmly, and remember that she can't hold it for more than a few hours while she is young.
Recommend training method?

The Crate or Watch Method

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Step
1
Set up a crate and potty pad
Set up your Chihuahua's crate to be just big enough for her to comfortably stand, turn around, and stretch out. Any bigger and she may try to potty in her crate. Set up a potty pad across the room from the crate.
Step
2
Crate if not watching
If you can't watch your Chihuahua closely, put her in her crate. Make sure she has plenty of chews and toys to entertain her, and never leave her for more than an hour or so.
Step
3
Bring to potty pad
Every hour or so, bring your pup to the potty pad and encourage her to go potty. Reward her with praise, treats, and toys when she goes. If she goes anywhere else, clean if thoroughly and ignore it.
Step
4
Watch for signs
Watch for signs that your Chihuahua understands that she should go to the paper. She may strain to be put down and then go there, or she may look around for somewhere to pee and then go there.
Step
5
Build trust and go outside
Begin allowing your puppy free for longer periods with you in puppy-safe rooms. Let her tell you when she needs to go out. Put the pad outside if that's where you would like your Chihuahua to finally go.
Recommend training method?

The Tether to You Method

Effective
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Step
1
Keep your pup close
Keep your pup with you constantly, tying her to you with a harness and leash, carrying her, or else keeping her by your side.
Step
2
Frequent breaks
Take your Chihuahua to the potty paper every hour or so and encourage her to go potty.
Step
3
Reward every potty
Reward your Chihuahua when she goes potty, especially when she goes right away.
Step
4
Build trust and communication
Begin letting your Chihuahua decide when she wants to go to the paper. Watch her closely to make sure she doesn't go anywhere else.
Step
5
Let her ask
Let your Chihuahua ask to go outside or to her potty paper. At this time you will know that she understands the concept.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cheech
Great Dane, boxer, Doberman
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cheech
Great Dane, boxer, Doberman
10 Weeks

I live in -35 wheather and all cheech does is stand and shiver outside, he’s a short haired puppy and possibly the runt? He drinks tons of water but also only pees on the floor, it’s his first night home, what should I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
492 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katalin, I would do one of two things: 1. If you have an area outside/garage/patio porch that is significantly warmer than outside but won't be associated with the house for pup later, I would purchase disposable real grass pads and teach pup to go potty on the pad in that area outside that's warmer until things warm up. Real grass pad brands: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Option 2. If continuing with regular outdoor potty training, pup needs to be outfitted for the weather just like a person. Most designer doggie coats and outfits aren't going to keep pup warm enough and won't allow pup to go potty easily, but a high quality outdoor dog gear brand will be very functional and warm to insulate pup and still be cut in a way that allows pup to potty with the coat/boots on. Check out www.Ruffwear.com and Outwardhound.com. There are cheaper brands out there and those brands may not make coats as small as what you need but you can get an idea of what quality, materials, and cuts to look for for functionality. If you struggle to find a quality coat that's cheap enough you can also make your own potentially. Go to local thrift stores or look at your closed for quality coats that you no longer need or don't fit. If you have an old down-coat, windproof jacket with some insulation, or other high quality material that's significantly warm - you can cut, sew, and re-purpose that into a dog jacket. If the ground is very icy, pup likely needs dog hiking or rubber type boots also to protect paws - spend time letting puppy wear the clothes around the house and play games and give treats - interrupting any chewing of the clothes, to get pup used to wearing them before outdoor trips, so that the clothes won't be a potty training distraction outside. Not all dog clothes are just for looks - my own dogs have winter gear for backpacking and hiking in the winter - it's purely functional and they appreciate staying warm on the trail. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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