How to Potty Train a Chihuahua with Puppy Pads

Medium
3-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your Chihuahua puppy might be strong-willed, but before he leaves his litter he has already begun to separate his potty areas from his sleeping and playing areas. Your Chihuahua is small enough that he can be potty trained to go inside your house in the same place on puppy pee pads if you would like. 

Training your Chihuahua to go on pee pads in your house makes for easy cleanup and is helpful for Chihuahua owners who don't want to go for walks outdoors or require their tiny little Chihuahua to walk in the snow and cold. This puppy pee pad potty training is also great for Chihuahuas who live in high rise apartment buildings or in the middle of concrete jungles. If you plan to have your Chihuahua in places other than inside your home, you may want to consider training your Chihuahua for outdoor potty as well as pee pads so he knows he can go elsewhere should that need arise. 

Defining Tasks

Training your Chihuahua puppy to use pee pads when he goes potty will require dedication and understanding from you. You will need to be around often to pay attention to the signs that your little buddy needs to go potty and be committed enough to help him succeed. To do this you will need to understand when your dog typically needs to go. Once you have that understanding of his potty patterns down, taking him to his puppy pee pads, waiting for him to go, and rewarding him for good behavior is basically condition training. This will be repetitive training and will require having someone home during the common times your Chihuahua may need to go potty. Rewards based potty training tends to work better than punishment for poor behavior. To reward your Chihuahua, you will need to catch him doing a good job recognizing appropriate places to go potty.

Getting Started

Before you get started potty training your Chihuahua to use puppy pads, pick out an area in your home where you plan to keep the pee pads. This area shouldn't change and should be easy for your pup to get to. This might be a bedroom you don't use often, a bathroom, or even a utility room. You will need to have plenty of pee pads to lie down on the floor for training and enough for replacing dirty pads over the course of your training as well. Your Chihuahua will require rewards for good behavior and you may decide you would like to have your dog on a leash when you begin to take him to his pee pee pads to go potty. Avoid carrying your Chihuahua to his potty area or he will expect this all the time.

The Puppy Padded Room Method

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Step
1
Pick a room
Pick a small area or a room in your home for your Chihuahua to have as his personal bathroom. This is the room where you'll place the puppy pads for training and for future use.
Step
2
Place pads
Place several puppy pads on the floor surface in this space for your initial training. As your Chihuahua gets used to training and using a potty pad to go pee, you can narrow it down to just one pad for a small area.
Step
3
Pick a command
Choose a command to teach your Chihuahua for potty training. Anytime you think your Chihuahua puppy needs to go potty, plan to take him to his puppy pads and say the command. This command could be something as simple as 'go potty.'
Step
4
Puppy pad place
Take your Chihuahua to the potty pad area and let him explore. You can give the command you plan to use each time you take him to this area to signify this is where he will go potty. Do not let him play in this area, and don't keep him in the area for very long unless he appears to be sniffing around eager to go potty. Before you leave the area the first time, give him a treat.
Step
5
Repeat
After your initial introduction to the potty pads and rewarding your Chihuahua puppy for exploring them, you will need to begin repeating taking your Chihuahua puppy to the potty pads at appropriate times.
Step
6
Times to go
Your Chihuahua puppy will need to be taken to his puppy pads after his meals, upon waking first thing in the morning, and upon waking from naps during the day when he wakes at night. He may also need to go potty at the end of a play session, before rest time, and every few hours in the meantime.
Step
7
Go to pads
Each time you take your Chihuahua puppy to his puppy pads, say the command you have taught him such as 'go potty' and patiently wait for him to explore, sniff, and go potty. As soon as he succeeds and uses the potty pad give, him verbal praise and a treat. Be sure to take him to the potty pads often so he has an opportunity to learn to go on his own and when to go.
Step
8
Practice
Be sure you are consistent and take your pup to his potty pads often. Setting your Chihuahua up to succeed and pee on the potty pads instead of having accidents elsewhere in the house will help him to train quickly. Also be sure to reward him each time he is successful.
Step
9
Puppy pads
As your Chihuahua puppy is getting used to using the potty pads for going potty, be sure you are keeping them clean. Remove any feces and exchange any dirty pads for clean pads. He will more likely go to a clean space than in a dirty space.
Recommend training method?

The Condition Training Method

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Step
1
Set up potty pads
Choose a place in your home where you will allow your Chihuahua to go potty. This should be a place you're happy with that will not change after training. You can set one potty pad on the floor or you can even get a potty pad holder or box and train your puppy to use that each time he needs to go potty.
Step
2
Understand pads
Knowing when your pup needs to go potty will be key for successful potty pad training. You will need to take your Chihuahua to the potty pads either early on in training to condition him to go on his own when he needs to go potty.
Step
3
Understand when
Your pup will likely need to go potty certain times during the day and every so often outside of these times. Understanding when your Chihuahua needs to go potty and getting him to the puppy pads on time will be the key to successful training.
Step
4
First thing
As soon as your pup wakes up in the morning, take him straight to the puppy pads to go potty. Encourage him with an encouraging tone and commands such as 'go potty.' As soon as he is successful give him a treat and lots of verbal praise.
Step
5
After his meals
Your Chihuahua will be eating several times a day. He will want to go potty soon after his meals. Be sure to walk with him to the potty pads soon after he eats so he has a chance to be successful and go potty where he is supposed to, rather than having an accident elsewhere.
Step
6
After naps
Your little guy will sleep a lot throughout the day. As soon as he wakes up from his naps, count on taking him straight to his puppy pad for successful potty training. Always reward him once he's able to go on the potty pad.
Step
7
Hourly
Remember that puppies can usually make it without an accident for about an hour for every month of their age. This means if you have a three-month-old Chihuahua puppy, he can probably make it for about three hours if he's not eating drinking or sleeping a lot during that time. Before that hourly mark is up, take him to the pad and give the command to go potty.
Step
8
Rewards
Be sure you are giving your Chihuahua rewards every time he is successful. If you catch your pup in the act of going potty elsewhere, do not give him a reward. Take him to the potty pad and remind him of the command to go potty. He may not still need to go, but can be reminded where he should go.
Recommend training method?

The Follow the Signs Method

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Step
1
Puppy pads
You will need to set up puppy pads in an area where you would like your Chihuahua to go potty. Use the same spot for training as well that you'll use once he is on his own.
Step
2
Pay attention
Throughout the course of your day, pay attention to your Chihuahua. He will give you signs if he needs to go potty. These signs will include sniffing and the ground where he is playing or lying, or circling the ground. Any time you see these behaviors, be sure to take your Chihuahua directly to his puppy pad and encourage him to go.
Step
3
Wake up
As soon as your Chihuahua puppy wakes up from sleep, whether it's first thing in the morning, in the middle of the night, or during daytime naps, you should take him to the puppy pads to go potty.
Step
4
After eating
Your Chihuahua puppy is going to need to go potty 5 to 10 minutes after eating his meals. This means you should take him to his potty pads soon after he finishes a meal and encourage him to go potty.
Step
5
Before rest
Your pup will play a lot and he will sleep a lot. Before he settles down for a nap or some rest take him to his puppy pads and use the command to go potty. Over time, this command will be words he will associate with the action of going potty on the pads.
Step
6
Reward
Do not expect your Chihuahua to go potty each time you take him to the potty pads. Most of the time, he should be successful at going potty on the pads if your timing is right. Anytime your pup makes it to the potty pad, whether you take him or on his own, and is successfully using the potty pad to go potty, be sure to reward him with the tasty treat.
Step
7
Time
Be consistent about taking your little dog to his potty pads and understanding the times your Chihuahua may need to be taken until he understands on his own this is where he should go. This training will take time and patience. Don't give up if your Chihuahua is having accidents in the house, just increase the number of times you take him to the potty pads to remind him of where to go.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Juggernaut
Chihuahua terrier
5 Years
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Question
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Juggernaut
Chihuahua terrier
5 Years

I have had my puppy for about 1 month and a half, he learned to pee and poop in the right area, and showed signs that he was able to do so independently. However, there are time where he still makes accidents. So I was wondering how long do I have to continue to pick him up and take him to the pee pee pad?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
309 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maddie, He will need for you to lead him over to the Pee Pad until he is no longer having accidents in the house and is going over to the pee pads on his own when he needs to pee. Exactly how long that takes will depend on him. There is not a set amount of time. When you take him over to the pee pads, lead him over to the pee pads while he is walking on the ground. Do not carry him. You want him to learn how to get to the pee pads so that he will begin going there on his own. Walking there will help him to remember how to get there and will create a habit of going to them. If he will not follow you there quickly, then attach a leash to him and lead him over to the pee pad with the leash. If he is still having accidents regularly in three months, then his routine will need to be examined more closely. There might be something that is delaying his potty training that needs to be address. One and a half months is probably not enough time for him to learn where to go potty and where not to. On average it takes three months, but every dog is a bit different and it can take longer. If he is regularly having accidents only on rugs and carpet and not hard surfaces, then we might need to switch to litter box training. He might be confusing the pee pads with other soft fabric areas in your home. This can sometimes happen with pee pads. If he is having accidents on hard surfaces too, then the issue is probably just not enough practice yet. Make sure that you are cleaning up any accidents with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes to break down the smell fully, so that he will not be encouraged to eliminate in the same area again by the smell. Dogs' noses are better than ours and only enzymes will break down the proteins enough to remove the smell fully. You can also give him a treat every time that he eliminates on the pee pad, so that he will want to go there instead of other locations. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gilly
Chihuahua
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Gilly
Chihuahua
6 Months

What are the best nutritional treats for my Chihuahua?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
309 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kel, Here are a few different brands that I generally recommend and use myself. I am not up-date on all recent recall information though, so be sure to look that up for any food you order also. 1. Nature's variety freeze dried raw boost (they are freeze dried raw - which some people like and others dislike). 2. Stella and Chewy freeze dried real meat meal toppers or patties. 3. Ziwi Peak freeze dried dog food. There are a number of good options out there. I recommend looking for something that is only freeze dried meat or organ meat like liver and dog-safe vegetables and fruit. Organ meat is typically very healthy even though it can seem like a worse ingredient. Find a brand you like, check the ingredients and look up food recall information online for that food to see if that brand has a safe reputation. Many locally owned pet boutique type stores also have employees that are trained about such things. A local place with a more highly educated staff is a good place to go to ask questions. I find that they often know more about foods than other pet professionals. If there is a Pet Food Express I know that their employees are typically trained about food. You can also check some foods online at www.dogfoodadvisor.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lori
Chiweenie
15 Years
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Question
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Lori
Chiweenie
15 Years

She came from a home where her sister and her lived with an older man who didn’t care if they pooped or peed everywhere. Unfortunately they still have that mindset here, we are trying to train them but when we do put pads down a lot of times the will pee right next to the pad, three inches away. They are very stubborn and refuse to use them no matter what.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
309 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sophia, Because Lori is so used to peeing on fabric, I suggest switching to a litter box or real grass pads. Pee pads are made of fabric which resembles carpet and rugs. Switching to a completely different material will probably be easier going forward to make the training clearer for her. Check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest either using the "Crate Training" method or the "Exercise Pen" method found there. If she still chooses to pee beside the grass pad or litter box, then I suggest creating an area that is covered completely with the litter box or grass pads so that she can only pee on that area when you put her in the exercise pen, until she starts to learn to go on the right spot on her own when given the option to pee there or on the floor beside it. Reward her when you catch her peeing on the right spot (even if she had no other option). Make sure that the real grass pad or litter box is on an area with hard floors and not a rug, carpet, or any other absorbent material. The article below mentions litter box training but you can use the same steps with a real grass pad also. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad option (Porch Potty also makes a more expensive long-term option). https://www.freshpatch.com/products/westie?variant=3477439297&gclid=Cj0KCQiAsJfhBRCaARIsAO68ZM4Ge4_UFh2XTW9ziaIwshE_5feE5h9uJ-Jp1E9AiYIK-yK6QRYNqWIaAmZmEALw_wcB Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lil Man
Chihuahua
15 Weeks
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Question
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Lil Man
Chihuahua
15 Weeks

Lil Man always uses the pee pad when he is in his exercise pen, and keeps the rest of his area clean. I have pee pads set up in a corner of my kitchen for him to use when he is out of the exercise pen. He seems to resist going there, perhaps because my other chihuahua uses that are. I covered a throw rug in my living room with garbage bags for protection when he is loose, and now Lil Man tries to go consistently on the trash bags, I think because they are white like the pee pads. This is better than going on the floor, but how do I get him to go on the pee pads in the kitchen? Should I set up another area? The living room is where we hang out together.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
309 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anne, Many dogs confuse pee pads with other materials in the house, like fabric, carpet, and rugs, so he very well might be confusing the trash bags with the pads. The least confusing solution is to switch to using real grass pads because those will not resemble other surfaces due to the difference in the grass smell, the texture, and the way it absorbs. You would switch all of the pads out for these if you did so. Only use ones with real grass or they will not be as effective. Real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/DoggieLawn-Disposable-Potty-Real-Grass/dp/B00EQJ7I7Y/ref=asc_df_B00EQJ7I7Y/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309806233193&hvpos=1o5&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15402004550801477310&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-572651300532&psc=1 Whether you switch to grass pads or not, I suggest setting up another exercise pen in the den and putting the pee pad or grass pad in there. Eventually you would leave the door open so that he could go in and out of there as needed. Because the pee pads resemble other materials in your house, he needs the potty area to be a more obvious location based where placement (like a toilet in a bathroom opposed to a toilet in the middle of the den), and not just a small pad all by itself. The exercise pen area will resemble the place where he is already used to going potty also. It will also let you close him in that area while temporarily following the "Exercise Pen" method from the article that I have linked below to help him learn more quickly at first. While he is learning, I highly suggest removing the carpet until he is completely potty trained to go potty in the two exercise pens only. You want to remove as many confusing areas as possible while he is still learning, to make the potty areas more clear. The article below talks about litter box training but the steps are the same for real grass pads and pee pads too. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Thank-you, Caitlin, for that great advice. I had been considering removing the carpet, and now I know it is the best thing to do. Also, your suggestions to set up another exercise pen and to make it very, very clear where he needs to go is great advice. I will do both of those today. I haven't read the articles yet, but is it best to set up the other exercise pen within the den area where we hang out (which is also near his original exercise pen), or simply block in the entire den area?

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Question
Jethro
chihuahua rat terrier mix
5 Months
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Question
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Jethro
chihuahua rat terrier mix
5 Months

I just got Jethro from a rescue about a week ago. Being a rescue pup, it's hard to know what he has gone through. He seems to almost always successfully go to the potty pad to wee wee. But, we are having a lot of difficulty getting him to poo on the pads. Can you give me any advice. Also, how to I train him to go from the pads to going outside?
Thanks
Tami

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
309 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tami, If you ultimately want him to only go potty outside, I suggest stopping using the pee pads altogether (skipping teaching him how to poop on them too), and focus just on outside potty training. Check out the article linked below and follow the "Crate Training" and "Tethering" methods, or just the "Crate Training" method. If your goal is for him to only go potty outside long term, using the pee pads for too long can make that transition much harder, which is why I suggest going ahead and making the transition as soon as you are able to. With crate training, you can make the transition cold turkey and use the crate (without anything absorbent in it) to help him learn to hold his bladder while inside your home, then when he is given a chance to eliminate it will always be while he is outside after being let out of the crate. Crate Training or Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you want him to use pee pads or something similar inside as an adult long term, in addition to going potty outside, then check out the article linked below about litter box training (you can use the same methods with pads). With the Crate Training method or Exercise Pen method you limit access to other places so that when he does have to go, the pad is his only option. You can also use potty encouraging sprays, sprayed on the pad. As well as give treats when you see him go potty. The more times you catch him going potty on it (even if he only pooped on it out of desperation because he couldn't hold it any longer), the sooner he should realize that it is alright to poop on the pads also. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Also, when you take him potty outside, take him on a leash to keep him from being distracted. Expect to need to take him potty on a leash for several months until he is fully potty trained and will tell you when he needs to go potty outside (if trained to go potty outside primarily). - this only applies if you have a fenced yard that you would let him off leash in. Finally, if you do choose to continue using pads, you may want to consider using a real grass pad instead of a pee pad. A real grass pad is exactly what it sounds like, a pad with real grass grown on it, created for puppies and dogs to use the bathroom on. I generally recommend these for those who work all day and cannot start outside potty training until the puppy is older. Combining a real grass pad with an exercise pen that is set up in an area the dog will not go later as an adult (once trained to only pee outside), the real grass pad can make transitioning to outside pottying easier than a pee pad would. Although starting potty training outside to begin with is the easiest if you want to end up outside. Grass Pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6346734179644515403&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010791&hvtargid=aud-643330155750:pla-568582223506&psc=1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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