How to Train a Shih Tzu to Pee on a Pad

How to Train a Shih Tzu to Pee on a Pad
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon2-6 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Shih Tzu fits neatly in your hands. They were so small when they landed in your life and they’re not much bigger now! Life simply wouldn’t be as bright without them. But while taking them for walks and watching them explore is great fun, there are some issues at home. The major one is that they go to the toilet whenever and wherever they want. That means expensive couches, new floors, and favorite shoes are all in danger of being urinated on at some point, or worse.

Training your Shih Tzu to pee on a pad is important, therefore, if only to save those shiny shoes! But this training also means you’re not constantly cleaning up urine in your evenings. Instead, you can go back to drinks with friends or a family film and even take your pooch to friends’ houses without worrying about accidents.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

You will use a ‘toilet’ command to help train your Shih Tzu to pee on a pad. Make it into a game and going to the toilet suddenly becomes fun and stress-free. Another major component of training will be getting the dog into a routine. All dogs need a schedule to lead a stable life, and Shih Tzus are no different. And although they’re small, Shih Tzus are like most dogs in their love for food. So a few yummy treats will definitely help training along.

Luckily, this is training that takes just a little practice, rather than intense doggie school. So you just need to commit a few weeks of getting your pup into their new pad routine. But if they’re older and been peeing wherever they like for many years, then it may take a couple of months before you put the lid on accidents.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

You will probably see the quickest results if you incorporate food into training. Choose their favorite food or some yummy treats. You’ll need to take some with you each time they go for a pee. You’ll need a pee pad at the ready.

You’ll probably also want a secure leash to fit them to when you take them to go to the toilet. It’s probably a good idea to have some poo bags too in case a wee isn’t enough. Make sure you have some cleaning products to clean up any accidents as well!

Now you’ve got all you need, let’s dive in!

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Routine Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Early morning

The trick with this training is getting your pup to the pad whenever they need to go for a pee. They’re likely to need to go first thing in the morning, so secure them to a leash and take them there as soon as they're up.

2

Throughout the day

You’ll then need to take them back to the pad numerous times throughout the day. If your Shih Tzu is just a puppy, they will need to go even more often. The idea is that if they’re always at the pad when they need to go, then they soon won’t know any different but to go there.

3

Bedtime pee

Make sure your Shih Tzu gets to go for a pee at the pad before bed. If they know they’ll get to go there each evening, then the chances of them having an accident overnight is much less likely.

4

Reward

Your Shih Tzu will get into the habit of peeing on the pad much quicker if they associate it with positive things. So give them a yummy treat or a piece of food after they have finished going for a pee in the right spot.

5

Clean up accidents

It’s important you clean up any accidents inside promptly. Use cleaning equipment because if your dog can smell they have been for a pee there before, they will be more likely to have an accident there again.

The Attitude Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Turn around

Lots of owners are so keen to train their dog to pee in a specific space that they stare intensely waiting for them to go. This won’t help your Shih Tzu relax. So turn around and give them some privacy as they pee.

2

Avoid punishment

Accidents are inevitable. But how you deal with them is important. If you shout at your dog or punish them, then may start peeing out of submission. You must avoid this, as then you’ll have an even bigger issue to tackle.

3

A previous visit

If your dog doesn’t seem eager to use the pad, try wiping some previous pee on it. If your Shih Tzu can smell they have been there before, this will relax them and they’ll be much more likely to go.

4

Consistency

It can be tempting to not take the dog to the pad if you’ve had a long day or are busy. But this is a mistake. You need to make sure you take them every time. Breaking the routine will only push back the end result.

5

Rewards

Each time your Shih Tzu goes for a pee on the pad, you need to give them a reward. You can use some food or you can play around with a toy for a minute. Also, if you use a clicker when you train, click after each successful pad visit, this will tell them they have done something right.

The Verbal Command Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Routine

Get into the habit of taking your Shih Tzu to the pad regularly throughout the day. You can even secure them to a leash and take them there. The more often the pup is there, the more relaxed they will feel around it.

2

‘Toilet’

Whenever your dog is going or about to go, give a ‘toilet’ instruction. Give it in a high-pitched playful voice. Your Shih Tzu will respond best if they think they are playing a game. So really keep it lighthearted.

3

Reward

Once they have finished going for a pee, make sure give them a reward. Some people like to use treats, but if you don’t want to risk your Shih Tzu putting on weight, you can always just play around with a toy.

4

Lose the rewards

Now you simply need to repeat these steps each day. Soon enough your dog will be in the habit of only going for a pee on the pad. This means your work is done and you can start to cut out the rewards!

5

Keep it clean

Although a pee pad will inevitably get pee on, it’s important you still replace it regularly. You don’t want to risk the spread of bacteria. You don’t want your Shih Tzu lying around in it and then walking it all over the house.

By Olivia Draper

Published: 04/17/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Gigi

Dog breed icon

Shitzu

Dog age icon

4 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

User generated photoUser generated photoUser generated photoUser generated photo

I'm havi trouble 😂 my pupto poop on her pad .. She only pees on pad but won't poop on it .. .what can I do to train Her ?

April 26, 2022

Gigi's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dee, I recommend using the Exercise Pen method from the article I have linked below. It mentions using a doggie litter box, but if you will cover the entire floor of the exercise pen with pee pads, then gradually remove the extra ones one at a time once pup is pooping on them well, you can follow the rest of the methods training tips. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 2, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Leah

Dog breed icon

Shih Tzu

Dog age icon

3 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Won't go to sleep, can't up and down stairs, and won't use the pee pads to pee or poop.

April 8, 2022

Leah's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ariadna, How long since you brought pup home? Where is pup currently sleeping? It typically takes about two weeks for most pups to adjust completely to sleeping alone and not waking you for attention; however, you can help that adjustment be as smooth as possible by doing the following. 1. When pup cries but doesn't have to go potty (like after you return them to the crate when they just went potty outside or if they are sleeping in an exercise pen with pee pad access) be consistent about ignoring the crying until they go back to sleep. The more consistent you are, the quicker the overall process tends to take even if it's hard to do for the first couple weeks. Since it sounds like the goal is indoor potty training, I would set up an exercise with pee pads over 75% of the floor of the pen and a non-absorbent bed like www.primopads.com or k9ballistic taking up the remaining 25 % of the area. Once pup is going on the pads consistently, then gradually take extra pads away, one pad at a time. If you are open to it, I actually recommend using disposable real grass pads over pee pads for indoor potty training. Those tend to be more easily accepted by dogs, are consistent with pup being taken potty outside when needed, are less confusing than pee pads for the dog since pee pads are made out of fabric like carpet and rugs too, and the smell of the grass pad can encourage going potty there. www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Also, on amazon 2. When pup does truly need to go potty if going potty outside (when it's been at least 3 hours since pup last peed), take pup to go potty outside on a leash to keep pup focused and things calmer. Don't give treats, food, play, or much attention during these trips - boring and sleepy is the goal, then right back to bed after. This helps pup learn to only wake when they truly need to go potty and be able to put themselves back to sleep - helping them start sleeping longer stretches sooner and not ask to go out unless they actually need to potty. Pup will generally need 1-2 potty trips at night if going potty outside even after trained for a couple months though due to a small bladder. If sleeping in an exercise pen with pee pad or grass pad access, pup will probably cry after waking up to go on the pad, until they learn to settle themselves back to sleep. Don't give attention when pup is safe and have what they need for pottying though, or pup will continue waking for attention. Expect pup to wake a couple of times a night and probably cry for thirty minutes after each time - as pup improves, if you are consistent about not rewarding that crying with attention, the length of time pup cries should decrease more and more until pup is waking less and not crying when going back to sleep. 3. Practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below to help pup get used to exercise pen or crate time during the day too - so that there is less crying at night due to pup adjusting to being alone. This part is extremely important and the main difference between what you are probably already doing. The method mentions a crate but this can be done with an exercise pen too for indoor potty training. Surprise method - only give treats during daytime practice, not at night though: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate 5. Finally, don't let pup be loose at night while sleeping, due to accidents, chewing dangers, and the fact that pup will be able to constantly wake you up in a way that will require you responding - like climbing on top of you or destroying things. Use an exercise pen or crate at this age. For training pee pads, check out the exercise pen method from the article I have linked below. This can be used with most indoor potties, such as a pee pad, real grass pad, or doggie litter box. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy For the stairs, check out the Baby Steps method from the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-go-up-stairs Also, check out the Slow and Steady Method found in this article for the stairs: https://wagwalking.com/training/use-stairs Because of pup's size, pup may physically not be able to navigate your stairs yet. You may have to carry pup for a bit or modifying the stairs with a ramp or mini stairs added to the full size steps until pup grows some. In the meantime, you can find lower stairs or create lower stairs yourself to practice building pup's confidence with stairs in general so pup will be willing to climb the stairs as soon as they are physically large enough. Even with my retriever puppy, stairs were hard when they were very young, and a Shih Tzu is considerably smaller than a retriever! Once pup developed some muscles, coordination, and grew, they could manage. Things that work on developing those muscles, like small climbs, help pup develop coordination for climbing, and pup growing a bit should help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 8, 2022


Wag! Specialist
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.