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 Condition Training Method

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Most Recommended
5 Votes
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.
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The Puppy Padded Room Method

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Effective
0 Votes
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 Follow the Signs Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
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.
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 02/27/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Baby
Chihuahua
7 Months
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Question
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Baby
Chihuahua
7 Months

Even though I take her outside on a walk for 10 minutes or so, Baby wants to pee or poop in the living room. She has 3 spots picked out that she uses consistently.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1109 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jolena, Check out the Crate Training method and tethering method from the article I have linked below. Using those methods, when you bring pup back inside and she didn't fully go potty while outside, you will crate her or keep her tethered to yourself for 30-45 minutes, then take pup back outside again for 10-15 minutes to try again. You will repeat this cycle until pup finally goes potty while outside. Crate Training method and Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside I would start with using just the crate training method to get pup on track, then you can combine the tethering and crate training methods if you want to give pup more freedom when you are home, crating pup still at night and when you are gone or can't tether pup to yourself. These three methods will then combine time in the crate, time staying close to you, and time off leash inside to play more. At this age pup will spend a lot of time sleeping too, so the crate actually acts like small nap or chew toy rest periods for young puppies as well. If pup is going potty inside right after fully going potty during the outside trip, I would try keeping pup tethered to yourself between outside potty trips. If pup is still having accidents, I would check with your vet to see if there is something causing urinary incontinence. I am not a vet though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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E.T.
Chihuahua
5 Months
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Question
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E.T.
Chihuahua
5 Months

First brought him home around 3 months, he was mostly trained on the pad and unfortunately, we gave him too much space too early... It undid everything and we got frustrated, so he's in the kitchen now behind a wall.

He's approaching 5 months. He's an amazing pup - does lots of tricks and walks very well. Not territorial and fine with big dogs. He was a bit pee shy on his walks, but now he goes...

The problem though is in the condo - it is very cold here in the winter and he needs to learn inside + I have an insane job. It seems e.t. has the attention span of a fly... He generally 19/20 will use the pad if nobody is watching...p He's sneaky and never been negatively berated - just if he gets caught, loud no, flip him over and carry him to the pad... Tell him "pee ici" and walk away no attention...

Can't get him to pee on command... And I'd love to give him more space, but... The accidents. Got an idea besides silently hovering? Not one single trick works... Same with the cleaning idea. He's been to the vet many times and he's healthy.

Sometimes if I've been holding him during meetings I can take him, but I have to step out of the kitchen so he goes. I try to reward him right after I hear him step off the mat, but... I can't always.

Got something that works if you have an insane work schedule? At 5 months I thought he'd have gotten it - even if he was the runt.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1109 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ron, I definitely agree with not giving more space yet. You can tether pup to yourself with a hands free leash into other rooms when you know he already went potty within the last 45 minutes if you want pup with you more, but if pup hasn't recently gone potty and isn't tethered to you, you are right that accidents are likely and more accidents will cause you to go backwards again. Keeping pup tethered to you is a good way to ease into more freedom when you are ready though. When pup tends to have accidents, are most of the accidents happening on carpet and rugs? If so, to be completely honest I would switch from pee pads to disposable real grass pads. These can be used similarly to pee pads, expect you replace about every 1-2 weeks, picking up the poop and throwing away, instead of daily like the pads. For dogs who are having a lot of accidents on carpet and rugs there may be some confusion going on with the fabric of the pee pads and the similar material that's actually in your carpet and rugs. Many dogs struggle with that confusion. You don't have to switch but in the long run you might find grass pads make the overall process easier without as many accidents once trained, especially if pup goes potty outside on grass alright. The grass is more distinctly different than things in your home. Real grass pad brands- also on amazon: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com As far as teaching pup to Go Potty on command, you have a couple options. You can use the Crate training method from the article I link below for times when you are home, so that pup will be encouraged to hold it until they need to pee, then taken from the crate to the pad, where you can say your potty command and reward. This help ensure you get that pee when you are ready to command and reward after instead of needing to go do something else or wait around. Crate Training method for indoor potty training - this method mentions a doggie litter box but other indoor potties can also work the same with this method. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Another route you can take is spying on pup with a camera and quickly coming back into the room whenever you see pup is about to go, telling pup Go Potty while they are going, then rewarding after. You won't always be able to drop what you are doing, but it helps you not have to just stand there. A video security camera like Wyze is one of the cheapest options for this, but you may find you already have something like a baby camera, security camera, second smart device you can skype yourself over, gopro with the live app, ect... to use. Third, try spraying a potty encouraging spray on the pad right before taking pup there when you know pup may need to go potty. Tell pup your potty cue, then reward if they go. The timing doesn't ensure pup will go if they didn't already need to, but if they do need to go, the spray will help them think to go right then. Movement, timing, and scent generally encourage pottying best. When outside potty training, keeping pup walking slowly helps, and the smell of where other dogs have gone, however you can replicate what helps outside can encourage inside too. Fourth, you can purchase devices that you can release treats from via an app on your phone. Pet Tutor and AutoTrainer may have this option, but be sure to check those devices specifically for that option. You could spy on pup with a camera from your phone, use the audio on the camera if it's something like a security or baby monitor with that feature, then use the app to automatically reward pup to help wiith potty training in general. This is something you could do without having to leave a desk in many cases - although maybe not during in person meetings of course. Finally, waiting for pup to go, telling pup your potty command, and rewarding occassionally likely will still train pup to associate that command with pottying, but because it takes a certain amount of repetition for a dog to learn something new, it will simply take you a lot more time to get the needed amounts of repetitions in, and if you are telling pup to go potty when they simply don't need to go, no amount of pup understanding you will obviously get them to go potty right then. They need to have to go potty at least a little first. If you are taking pup potty outside part of the time, be sure to give you potty command at those times also, since pup is more likely to go potty for you easily outside while walking and sniffing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lala Latita
Chihuahua
5 Months
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Question
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Lala Latita
Chihuahua
5 Months

i have had her for 3 months now and we have moved from one house to another in the 3 months making it hard to pick a place or a routine fro her potty training. also we have been traveling alot, pretty much we have only been in the same space for less than a month and she was 8/9/10 weeks old then. now than we are stable and in a place we will most likely stay for about 2 years i have started the potty training process with no luck at all. i know it cant be easy for her either all the move and try to adjust to a new house with other pets enviroment all all. just need some tips. the last 3 weeks i have tried it all. no luck..

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1109 Dog owners recommended

Hello Yari, Check out the exercise pen method I have linked below. If pup is having a lot of accidents on the carpet or rugs they may also be having a hard time telling the difference between the pee pads and other fabric, this can be hard for some dogs. In that case, I would either use a disposable real grass pad for indoor potty training, or teach pup to go potty outside instead and get rid of all pee pads. Exercise Pen method for indoor potty training (can be done with pee pads, disposable real grass pad, or doggie litter box and steps should be the same for each type): https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pads: www.freshpatch.com - also on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI www.doggielawn.com - also on Amazon www.porchpotty.com Outside potty training option - Crate training method or Tethering method combined with Crate Training method while away: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Duke
Chihuahua
2 Months
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Question
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Duke
Chihuahua
2 Months

My fiance and I just got this super tiny approximately 2mo puppy Duke today. The thing that concerns me is we have an almost 2yo female cat, Demi. She has 2 litter boxes, one in our master bathroom and one in the corner of the dining area. I am trying to crate train and puppy pad train him. The only problem is we put the crate on a chair as elevation from being level with the cat as precautions and I just pick him up out of his crate and set him on the pad in the master bath at night. Should I get a little play pin for the kitchen area with a section for a few puppy pads in the daytime to try to separate the 2 animals for a while til he gets a little bigger and older? Also, should I keep the crate on the chair or just keep it on the floor? He's also so small in his neck I haven't found a good sized collar for him so I can take him collar and leash around the house or to the potty place. He's also not yet been vaccinated for anything yet. Would you reccomend a certain collar?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Duke is adorable! Yes, I think an exercise pen area with a place to pee, some toys and a bed would be ideal. Take a look here: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. I would not keep the crate on a chair for fear of the crate toppling over. On the floor is definitely the safest place. As for the collar, buy him a kitten collar for now, and when he gets older you can switch it to a small dog collar. Even though Duke will be a small dog, be sure to socialize him well with both other dogs and people. Make it a regular part of his daily routine. Enjoy your little guy and good luck!

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Chocolate
Chihuahua
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Chocolate
Chihuahua
11 Weeks

My puppy won’t pee on the pee pads he goes around them

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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