How to Train a Dachshund Puppy to Potty Outside

Hard
1-6 Months
General

Introduction

As cute as they are, Dachshunds are notoriously hard to potty train. In fact, statistics show they are among the top 20 breeds considered to be the hardest to housebreak. While most Dachshund pups can be potty trained over time, some will never be completely housebroken, and you will need a crate for when you are asleep or not at home. Just keep this in mind as you work with your pup and be patient. Never punish him or scold him for accidents, instead use positive reinforcement techniques as they will be far more successful. 

Defining Tasks

The task at hand is to train your Dachshund puppy that the only place it is acceptable for him to go potty is outside in his designated area. Just remember, Dachshund puppies are notoriously hard to potty train, so you must be patient and willing to work your pup on a regular schedule if you want your training efforts to be successful. Also, keep in mind, your pup has a small bladder that will need to be drained frequently in comparison to, say a Bull Mastiff or Doberman that has a much larger bladder. 

Getting Started

To get started you need to make sure your pup has a collar and is used to wearing it. You will need this to attach his leash to in order to take him outside to his designated potty spot on the lawn. You must be prepared to provide your pup with constant supervision or have him in a crate when you can't. You also need a couple of additional supplies, including:

  • Leash – To take him outside
  • Crate – For when you can't watch him
  • Treats – A good way to let your pup know he is doing a good job

The last two things you will need to successfully potty train your pup are plenty of time to work with him and a large supply of patience, as this process is not going to be easy. You will be using standard training methods, but you will need to work just that little bit harder if you want to be successful. 

The Signs & Signals Method

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Step
1
You first
The first thing you need to learn is how to recognize the signs your pup needs to go potty. With Dachshunds, this could be as simple as your pup getting overly excited for no apparent reason or running around the house. Be prepared to run him outside at any of his signs.
Step
2
Set a schedule
One of the best ways to potty train your pup is to put him on a set schedule. Take him to the same spot in your yard every 20 to 30 minutes at first. His bladder won't hold for much longer than this when he's very young, and having him outside when the urge strikes will set him up for success.
Step
3
Potty break
Each time you get ready to take your pup outside, be sure to use your chosen cue, such as "Potty break!" This will help him associate the cue with the action.
Step
4
Watch out
Keep an eye on your pup for signs and signals between scheduled potty trips. Make sure he gets outside as soon as possible!
Step
5
Rewards for getting it right
Each time you take your pup outside and he goes potty, be sure to praise him and give him a nice treat.
Step
6
In case of accidents
If you happen to catch your pup in the middle of going potty on your living room floor, tell him "NO!" in a commanding but not angry tone. This should stop him mid-track. Take him outside to let him finish what he started. Clean the mess up thoroughly and resume training, adding more time inside until your pup learns to let you know when he needs to go.
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The Training Crate Method

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Step
1
One crate
You need a crate for your pup that is just big enough to give him room to move around, but no bigger. If you buy a bigger crate he may make his bed at one end and use the other for a potty. You do NOT want this.
Step
2
Relieve himself
Take your pup outside to relieve himself and then put him in his crate. Time starts now!
Step
3
On time every time
While he is a little pup, set the timer for every 20 minutes. When it goes off, take your pup out to his spot on the lawn. When he goes, be sure to praise him and give him a puppy treat.
Step
4
Add time
Add time in 20-minute increments to his time in the crate. Once you reach two hours, you can try leaving him out in the house, but be sure to keep a close eye on him.
Step
5
Use the same method
Along with keeping a close eye on your pup, set a timer to remind you to take him out on schedule. You can't afford to set your pup's training back. The rest is all about working with your pup until you no longer have to worry about messes in the house.
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The Perfect Spot Method

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Step
1
Check your schedule
Before you decide to bring that adorable Dachshund puppy home, you need to check your schedule to make sure you have time to potty train him. The less time you have, the longer it will take and the harder it will be to succeed.
Step
2
You need "the spray"
Hit your local pet supply store and pick up a bottle of "puppy potty training" spray. Yes, they do make it. This chemical imitates the smells dogs leave behind when marking their territory and will inspire your pooch to cover the scent with his own.
Step
3
Go home
Go home and mark a spot in your yard that your pup will be able to use as his "private bathroom."
Step
4
Add one Dachshund puppy
Hook your pup to his leash and take him out to the area you recently marked. Give him no more than 15 minutes to sniff around and go potty. If he won't go, take him inside and give him a few minutes before going out and trying again.
Step
5
On with the show
Or on with the training. Keep working with your pup until he starts to let you know when he needs to go potty and once outside will head straight to his "bathroom". When you get to that point, you are done. Congratulations!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cooper
Dachshund
12 Weeks
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Question
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Cooper
Dachshund
12 Weeks

Hi. So I have been using puppy pads. And he does well with that. Since he is still not at the recommended age to be at a dog park I am afraid to take him out and start potty training. I live in an apartment and the area where he can go in the park is where other dogs go and do their business/play. Do you still recommend I potty train him now and just be out for that specific need or do you think I should wait a couple of weeks before letting him be out where other dogs have been.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alessandra, That depends largely on when his last set of puppy shots was. If he received a set at twelve weeks, then he is likely protected enough to be outside. Check with your vet. It's not the number of shots he has but how old he is when he receives the shots that effect protection. If your vet recommends that you wait, I suggest purchasing an exercise pen, a real grass pad, and using the "Exercise Pen" method or "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below to get him used to going potty on grass (inside or on a balcony). The article talks about litter box training. You can follow the same steps for the grass pad though. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy For the grass pad I suggest putting something waterproof like a plastic storage bin lid underneath it to make it more waterproof. https://www.freshpatch.com/products/fresh-patch-standard?variant=3477439297&gclid=CjwKCAiA1ZDiBRAXEiwAIWyNC9HmY6PqM_032xN5Emn1vDIvCeRTPe0evxamEUaBgVmoxDZbDNiYBhoCulgQAvD_BwE Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marvel
Dachshund
13 Weeks
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Question
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Marvel
Dachshund
13 Weeks

My dog refuses to go to the bathroom outside at all. What should I do? What brand of spray do you recommend?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Courtney, Check out the "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linking bellow. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside The "Crate Training" method or a combination of the "Crate Training" method and the "Tethering" method found in that article should be the most effective method or methods for your pup based on what you have told me so far. That particular crate training method only gives your puppy freedom in your home after he has eliminated outside. If you take him outside and he does not go, then he goes back into the crate for thirty minutes, and then when his bladder is a bit fuller he is taken outside again to try again. Eventually he will have to eliminate outside if he has not lost his natural instinct to hold his urine in the crate. When you take him outside quickly lead him outside on a leash so that he will not have an accident on the way. A slight jog is a good pace for that. Also, do not skip the treat rewards when he goes potty because those will help him overcome his inhibition to going outside, and will help in the long run. Lastly, you can still use a training spray and spray that on the area where you wish for him to eliminate on to speed up the process. If you are ordering online, then I recommend the following brand: PoochPads Potty Training Attractant Spray If you are purchasing in store, then one of these sprays may be easier to find and should also work well. Simple Solution Puppy Aid Training Spray Nature's Miracle Housebreaking Potty Training Spray Many training sprays smell similar to one another and are just as effective as one another, so if you cannot find one of those brands don't limit yourself to those options only. Do make sure that it is a potty encouraging spray and not a cleaner or a deterrent though. If you are still having issues with Marvel going, then the issue might be either distraction while outside or your presence near him outside. If he is becoming distracted, then make sure that you are taking him outside on a leash right now, even if you have a fenced in backyard and wish to simply let him outside without you later on. Help him focus on what he is supposed to be doing by getting his attention off of any distractions and reminding him to sniff around and "Go Potty" again by walking him around slowly until he starts sniffing in a spot and calmly telling him to "Go Potty". If he is refusing to go potty because of your presence, then you might need to take him outside on a long leash to give him more privacy but still be able to keep him on task. Make sure that the long leash has slack in it though and do not use a retractable leash for this unless it is in the lock position and not pulling on his neck. When he goes while on the long leash then toss him a treat after he goes, and overtime you can gradually decrease the length of the leash until you can use a normal length leash when you take him out. If you have punished him for having accidents in the past, then that can lead to him refusing to go in your presence. If that is the case, then stop punishing him also. Instead, if he starts to go potty inside, quickly interrupt him by saying something like "Let's go outside!!" and rushing him outside to finish there. If you find an accident after he has already gone, then clean it up and simply pay better attention to him next time. When it comes to potty training consistency, rewards for going in the correct location, and lots of supervision and management to prevent accidents inside work best. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Stormy
Dachshund
11 Weeks
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Question
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Stormy
Dachshund
11 Weeks

Stormy came my way at 4 weeks of age. She could not control her bladder. I put out washable pads and she learned to go there. I gradually eliminated pads. (She does potty on the carpet in her confusion. Trying to get her to go outside and husband hollered "no!" when she was on a pad.) I've shampooed the carpet 3 times. She goes out at times for a long time, comes back in and potties. She is VERY confused right now and I don't know how to correct our mistakes. She doesn't know what I want her to do and I feel really, really bad. How can I help us?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Beverly, I recommend starting over with Potty Training using the "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below. https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+train+a+german+shepherd+puppy+to+poop+outside&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab A very strict crate schedule, that limits her freedom inside when her bladder is not completely empty, should force her to use the bathroom outside and prevent confusing accidents inside much better. Be sure to reward her with treats when she goes potty outside. Don't skip that step. Also she would probably benefit from using the potty encouraging spray mentioned in that article. If she refuses to use the bathroom in front of you because she was scolded inside, then use a twenty-foot leash to take her outside, so that she can go further away from you with some privacy. When she goes, then toss the treats over to her. After awhile she should get more comfortable going in your presence because of the rewards and you can gradually decrease the amount of distance between you and her by shortening the leash. Make sure that the cleaner you are using also contains enzymes and does not contain Ammonia. Only enzymes will break down the urine and poop enough to eliminate the smell to where your puppy cannot still smell it. Also, Ammonia smells like urine to a dog so it can actually encourage peeing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
No name yet
Longhaired Daschund
14 Weeks
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Question
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No name yet
Longhaired Daschund
14 Weeks

Our puppy goes potty on puppy pads 75-95% of the time, depending on the day. We might have 2 great days and then 2 crappy days (pun intended). He will not stay in a crate without crying accept at night. How can I get better accuracy and also how can I train him to go outside and eventually ring a bell when he needs to go out?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Grace, I suggest using the "Crate Training" method or "Exercise Pen" method from the article that I have linked Below to improve his pee pad training. I suggest one of those methods because you need to prevent accidents and reward potting in thr correct place long enough for him to developed a solid habit of peeing only on the pads. That article mentions litter box training but the steps are the same. You can simply put a pee pad inside instead of a litter box. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Since you want to transition to having him go potty outside, it will be faster and less confusing for him in the long run if you skip pee pads altogether and go straight to outdoor potty training if your schedule will allow it. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Tethering" method or the "Crate Training" method. The crate training method might be a little faster because if will actively help him learn to hold his bladder for longer. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Huck
Dachshund
10 Months
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Question
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Huck
Dachshund
10 Months

My pup, Huck, is great about going pee outside. He is on a schedule with walks and food/water and is crate trained. He pees immediately when we go outside and has only had one pee accident in the house. The problem is his pooping. No matter how long and how far we walk him, he will NOT poop. I've tried staying in the same spot in the yard, walking far distances, staying outside for 45 minutes or for only a little while and bringing him back inside and putting him in his crate for 10 minutes then going back outside. The worst part is, he goes pee outside and then when we get inside, he immediately poops. I've been taking his poop outside and putting it in the area he is supposed to poop in, but its been no help. what do i do??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cheyenne, First, if you have not been using a cleaner that contains enzymes, the areas where he has pooped need to be thoroughly cleaned with a pet cleaner that contains enzymes. The bottle should say enzyme or enzymatic. Only enzymes break down the poop and urine at a molecular level, and dogs noses are very sensitive so any other cleaner without enzymes (even bleach) will leave a scent behind that encourages him to go potty there again. Second, when he is not in a crate, even after he has peed, he needs to be attached to you with a leash. You can purchase a caribeener clip and clip the handle of his 6-8ft leash to your belt so that he can't sneak off to poop. Watch him for signals that he needs to go. Take him outside as soon as he tries to sneak off, circle, sniff, whine, bark, she, fifteen minutes after he eats, and right after running or times of lots of excitement. If he starts to squat, clap to interrupt him (not angrily just a small surprise), then encouragingly tell him "Let's go outside!" And happily hurry him to the door to take him out. Go outside with him while he is on a leash. Tell him to "Go Potty". Bring five treats with you (keep them by the door for convenience). If he goes potty, as soon as he finishes, praise him and give him five treats, one at a time. When you cannot supervise him or have him clipped to yourself he needs to be in the crate right now. Also, purchase a potty encouraging spray, like "Go Here!", "HURRY spray", ect and spray that on the area you want him to go right before you lead him over to the area to sniff. The scent will help to remind him why he is there. When he is outside, help him stay focused by walking around slowly with him and encouraging him to sniff. After he pees, tell him to "Go Potty" again and walk him around again in case he needs to go. Most dogs (especially males) will pee quickly but forget to poop unless you insist that they finish potting and help them focus. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Toby
Dachshund
4 Months
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Toby
Dachshund
4 Months

House breaking crating does not seem to work as he soils his kennel.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Donald, Try trouble shooting the following: 1. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lay down, and not big enough for him to potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it - an exact size is important for utilizing the instinct for a dog to keep a confined space clean. Too big and he won't be motivated to hold it in the crate. 2. Make sure there is nothing absorbent in the crate. No soft towels, beds, bedding, or pee pads. If you need to give some comfort, check out something non-absorbent and durable like www.primopads.com 3. Make sure you are taking him potty often enough. At his age he will not be able to hold his bladder for longer than 4 hours at a time during the day (at night while asleep is different). Any longer than 4 hours and he will be forced to have an accident. For every month he ages you can add one hour to that time, until you reach 8 hours at 8 months (which is the maximum amount of time most adults can hold it for). When you are home, take him potty every 2 hours to speed up potty training. 4 hours is the maximum amount of time he can hold it for during the day - not how often you should take him to help him learn faster. If you are doing all of those things and he is still having accidents, he may have lost his natural desire to hold his bladder in a confined space. If so you will need to switch to using the "Tethering" method from the article I have linked below. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside When you have to leave, use the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below also. Set up an exercise pen in an area he will not have access to latter as an adult, such as a guest bathroom. Place a real grass pad on one end of the exercise pen and teach him to eliminate on the grass pad in the exercise pen when you are gone using the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below. Do not phase out the exercise pen like the article mentions though since your goal is eventually outdoor potty training. The goal of this training is simply to avoid accidents in other areas of the house when you cannot take him potty and emphasize going potty outside normally so that you can phase out the exercise pen when he learns to only go potty outside while in the rest of the house. You want the exercise pen to be in an area of the house that he can consider different than the rest of the house. An area he doesn't normally go that is closed off from the rest of the home. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad - Only use real grass pads for this. Not AstroTurf since the goal is to train to outdoor grass also: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07K3WS97D/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buddy
Dachshund
9 Years
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Question
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Buddy
Dachshund
9 Years

He was stubborn as a puppy but i stopped working full time n he stopped going in the house. I recently when back to work and now he is going in the house while I’m away. I leave him out before i leave n he goes i have the neighbor come over and hr after i leave n he went on the floor already. I’m so frustrated i don’t know what to do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Deborah, He needs to be crated while you are gone to reinforce that he has to hold it when you are not present also. Check out the article linked below and the "Surprise" method. You can also combine that method with the other two methods from the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Make sure there is nothing soft or absorbent in the crate with him or that can encourage him to pee in it. Also, the crate should be big enough for him to lay down, stand up, and turn around but not so big that he can go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid where he went - too large of a crate won't utilize a dog's natural desire to keep a confined space clean. If you need a non-absorbent bed to put in the crate with him check out something like www.primopads.com I also suggest stuffing a hollow chew toy with his dog food and putting it in his crate with him if he already pooped outside, to give something fun to do while in the crate. The crate is the most likely to work, but you can also experiment with using an exercise pen instead. An exercise pen is less likely to work because of the larger size, but if he tends to only pee on rugs and carpeting, you can ensure the pen is on harder floors and prevent his access to areas he normally goes on, so that he is more motivated to wait until he is taken potty outside. When he is taken potty outside, tell him to "Go Potty", and when he goes give him four small treats, one treat at a time - this can also help motivate him to only go potty outside, since he is rewarded for going out there. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rudy
Dachshund
4 Months
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Question
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Rudy
Dachshund
4 Months

Will my puppy be able to get trained if I am not there during the day? I go to high school for 7 hours a day.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kimberly, Rudy will not be trained if you cannot find someone else to let him outside at least once during that time you are gone for. A four month old puppy physically cannot hold their bladder for longer than 4-5 hours during the day. After 7 hours he would be forced to have an accident inside and the more accidents he has, the worse his outcome for learning to go potty only outside will be because he will start to believe that he is supposed to go potty inside instead. I suggest either hiring a dog walker to come let him outside once during the middle of the time that you are gone for, and keeping him in the crate and following the crate training method the rest of the time, or teaching him to use an indoor potty at this age - to prevent him from learning to go potty just anywhere or in the crate. To teach him to use an indoor potty, set up an exercise pen in an area of your home that he will not be able to get to while you are home and working on training him to go potty outside, and an area that he won't have access to later when he is an adult. For example, a guest bathroom works well for this. Choose an area with hard floor and not carpet or a rug. Put a real grass pad in one end of the exercise pen so that he is getting used to going on grass still, and follow the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below (use a real grass pad instead of the litter box that the article mentions). Use the "Exercise Pen method": https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real 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=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4143876695950446258&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010791&hvtargid=aud-643330155750:pla-568582223506&psc=1 When you are home, use the "Crate Training" method to prevent accidents and ensure that he is only free when his bladder is empty. When he is out of the crate, make sure that his bladder is empty and that you are closely supervising him. You can also attach him to yourself with a chew proof leash, like VirChewLy (bought on amazon or chewy.com), to keep him from wandering off. The goal with the exercise pen method is to keep all accidents confined to that space that he will learn to go potty on (but not be able to get to later - to avoid accidents in that area later on), while also teaching him to go potty outside while in the rest of the house, so that by the time he is an adult and can hold his bladder for 7 hours you can phase out the exercise pen and keep him in the rest of the house without accidents. - training this way can be more confusing to the dog then simply taking them outside more during the day, but it is better than allowing accidents to happen. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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