How to Train a Shih Tzu to Pee on a Pad

Easy
2-6 Weeks
General

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.

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.

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!

The Routine Method

Effective
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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Attitude Method

Effective
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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Command Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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!
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bentley
Shih Tzu
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bentley
Shih Tzu
3 Months

I just bought a shih tzu yesterday and i need to know if i can put a pee pad in my room where his cage is located and in my kitchen for when i am downstairs. I am new to house training a puppy and i want this to be as easy as possible for us both. I also put him in my downstairs bathroom today when doing chores since i couldn't watch him for an hour. Is house training going to take months or weeks?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Samantha, First, you need to decide if you want Bentley to always pee inside the house on a pad, or if you want to transition him to peeing outside, or to peeing both inside and outside. What you decide will effect how you should train it and what you should use. If you want him to pee inside long term, then I suggest using the "Exercise Pen" method or the "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below. The article talks about litter box training, but you can use pee pads, disposable grass pads, fake grass pads, or a litter box with the method. Simply substitute whatever toilet you want to use for the litter box if not litter box training. Follow the article's method's instructions and it will make potty training a lot easier in the long run. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy The more accidents that you prevent, the quicker he will learn. The more accidents that he has, the longer it will take. If you are super consistent about following one or both of those methods, then most puppies are potty trained by five months of age. It is gradual though and not all at once - meaning that it will get easier as you go and he begins to learn the concept and is able to physically hold his bladder for longer as he gets older. During the day a puppy can only physically hold his bladder for the number of months that he is in age plus one - meaning that a three month old puppy cannot hold his bladder for longer than four hours during the day - no matter what. It is best to take him out halfway into that time or sooner though while training -meaning every two hours when you are at home. I suggest setting up an exercise pen like the article describes, in one or two locations. Both one or two locations are fine. You do not want to set up pads everywhere though and you want to train him to always go to the same location, not just a pad in general. Doing that will help him not to pee in other areas of the house and to remember exactly where to find a pad to go to. Picture the difference between going to a house where there are random toilets everywhere verses going to a house and there being two bathrooms. You know from experience that you should look for bathrooms and to go in there when you need to pee. An exercise pen with a pad inside is like a bathroom and a toilet to the puppy. If you plan to train the puppy to use the bathroom only outside in the future, then I suggest either starting crate training right now and avoiding the confusion of him peeing inside on a pad ever, or train him to use a real disposable grass pad inside when you are gone and take him outside when you are at home, starting now. To teach him to use a grass pad, set up an exercise pen in a room or bathroom that can be closed off so that you can keep him from going into it as an adult later if you don't want him peeing inside anymore, and putting a real grass pad in the exercise pen. Follow the "Crate Training" method from the "How to Train a German Shepherd Puppy to Poop Outside" article that I have linked below whenever you are at home. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Put him into the exercise pen with the grass pad when you are NOT at home and you cannot take him outside to go potty. Do not put anything absorbent other than the grass pad in the exercise pen with him. You can purchase a PrimoPad from primopads.com if you need a durable puppy bed, and you can give him a dog-food-stuffed hollow chew toy, like a Kong, in the exercise pen. When you stuff the Kong, you can also put a little liver paste or peanut butter (avoid Xylitol - it's is toxic to dogs!) in the Kong to make it even more exciting. Honestly, I am a huge fan of disposable grass pads even for dogs that will use the bathroom inside long-term. They can be more expensive than pee pads but each one lasts much longer. They also help a dog learn how to go potty on grass outside - to make traveling easier. They tend to be easier to train a puppy or dog to use because they have a natural scent and feel. They are less confusing for the dog because they are not made out of fabric - many dogs confuse pee pads with rugs and carpet and will have accidents on rugs and carpet, especially when they cannot find a pee pad. A grass pad reduces the chances of that happening. Real-grass disposable 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=4628430177348674255&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 A litter box is another great option for indoor potty training. You have to watch puppies in litter boxes at first though, because some puppies will try to eat the litter while young- not all do this but watch when you first use one. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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