How to Train a Yorkshire Terrier to Pee Outside

Medium
5-9 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You just brought home your new Yorkie and you are thrilled to have a new member of the family. However, you are less than thrilled about what this new member is doing to your carpets. It seems every time you turn around, your new pup has made a mess on the carpet. For the sake of your house, you need to find a way to train your Yorkshire Terrier to pee outside.

Defining Tasks

Yorkies are notoriously difficult to house train, but you shouldn't give up hope. The key to housebreaking your Yorkshire Terrier is consistently following a training routine. With patience and some solid positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog where they can and cannot pee. Keep in mind that young Yorkies cannot go long periods of time without relieving themselves. Puppies have small bladders. Most Yorkie puppies can only last a couple of hours without going outside. Adult Yorkies have stronger bladders, but it is still a good idea to take your pup outside regularly while you are house training.

Getting Started

The first step for teaching your Yorkshire Terrier to pee outside is to choose a designated bathroom spot. An ideal spot is easily accessible in any season and far from any family areas, such as a barbecue or outdoor eating spot. While you are training, it is best to supervise your Yorkie at all times when they are in the house. You probably want to invest in a crate or doggie play pen for times when you have to leave your dog home alone. For small puppies, pads may also help minimize the damage to your house while your puppy learns the rules.

The Schedule Method

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2 Votes
Step
1
Know your pup's needs
In general, young Yorkies will need to use the bathroom about 15 to 20 minutes after eating or drinking. Keep a close eye on your pup and get a sense of what their needs are.
Step
2
Set up a consistent schedule
Once you know your dog's needs, you can design a schedule to limit the amount of accidents they have. You should at least take your dog out every morning after your Yorkie wakes up, after every meal, and right before bed. In addition, take your dog out every few hours as they need it based on their age and habits.
Step
3
Always take your pup to the same spot
On every trip out, take your Yorkie to the same spot. Be sure to schedule in some time to wait. It can take up to 15 minutes for your dog to actually go to the bathroom.
Step
4
Reward them for using their special spot
Whenever your Yorkie goes to the bathroom in the chosen spot, tell them "good job" and give them a reward. You want to make sure the reward comes as quickly as possible to the action you are rewarding, so be ready with a treat as soon as your dog goes pee.
Step
5
Keep up the schedule
Make sure you stick to your schedule and take your pup out frequently. Sticking to the schedule will limit the amount of accidents in your house and give your dog a feeling of security that they will have a chance to go outside. By always taking them to the same spot to pee, you are teaching your Yorkie where they can and cannot go.
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The Clicker Method

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Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Teach your dog what the clicker means
If your dog isn't familiar with the clicker, you can quickly teach them that a click is a good thing. Simply click the clicker and give your Yorkie a treat right away. After several times, your dog will start to associate the clicking noise with a positive reward.
Step
2
Bring your dog to their spot
Take your Yorkie outside to their special bathroom spot. Be prepared to wait for a bit. If your dog has a shy bladder, you may want to bring a chair or something to wait.
Step
3
Click as soon as your pup pees
The moment your Yorkie goes to the bathroom, click the clicker to mark the action you are happy with. Save the clicker for times when your pup pees in their special spot.
Step
4
Give your dog a reward
When your pup finishes going to the bathroom, give them a special treat as a reward. You want to choose something that they don't normally get or give extra when they go to the bathroom outside.
Step
5
Be consistent
Repeat the same series of actions whenever you take your Yorkshire Terrier outside to go to the bathroom. By repeating the same actions every time, your dog will quickly understand that peeing in their spot gets them a big reward.
Recommend training method?

The Interruption Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Keep a close eye on your dog
When starting with this training method, you will need to keep a close watch on your Yorkie at all times. You may want to put them on a harness and leash and keep them attached to you. Or, put them in their crate or puppy play pen.
Step
2
Look for certain behaviors
As soon as you see your Yorkie start to squat or make a motion like they are going to pee, interrupt them by clapping your hands loudly once and saying "no." Don't raise your voice too much or your pup may become scared and pee from fear.
Step
3
Immediately take the dog outside
Put your Yorkie on a leash immediately and take them outside to their spot. If you are worried there is no time to waste, you can pick them up and carry them out. Just make sure to grab a leash as you go.
Step
4
Reward your pup
When your Yorkie does pee outside in their spot, praise them and give them a reward for doing the right thing. Consistent positive reinforcement is more effective than scolding your dog for trying to pee inside.
Step
5
Make sure they get plenty of outside time
The interruption method isn't a replacement for taking your Yorkie outside regularly. Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves in their bathroom spot throughout the day. If you do see them go inside, follow the same steps each time to prevent them for peeing in the house.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Christina Gunning

Published: 04/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Smooches
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years
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Smooches
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years

Why is it so hard to train yorkies

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shetayga, Often very small breeds are especially hard to train. Potty training is based on a dog's natural desire to keep a confined space clean. Often that's encouraged most through the use of crate training, then by preventing accidents in the home for long enough through proper managing, pup naturally starts to prefer to keep the rest of the home clean too and generalizes that desire to keep a confined space clean to your entire home. For a small dog, your home is a lot bigger than that confined space, evening finding the location of the door to alert in time is harder for a small dog. Additionally most small dogs are taught to go potty inside on pee pads because they are small enough for that to be a viable option. Unfortunately, pee pads are made out of fabric, and many dogs confuse them with carpets and rugs. I personally prefer all dogs be outside potty trained for that reason. When that's not a good option, a disposable real grass pad instead of pee pad tends to be less confusing. Some dogs never struggle with the pee pad but many do. If you rescued your dog, there is a good chance they were previously pee pad trained, so that combined with their small size makes potty training small dogs often harder. I don't know what method you are doing now, but I find a very strict schedule with crate training is often needed for dogs who were previously inside potty trained to make the transition to outside potty training. Only giving freedom out of the crate when you can supervise pup and for the couple of hours after they have gone potty outside, so that their bladders are not full while they are loose in the home. In order for potty training outside to progress, accidents inside have to be prevented through management of freedom and schedules, to encourage that natural cleanliness habit. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
noah
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months
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noah
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Months

I’m trying to get him to pee outside but he’s pee pad trained and sometimes he doesn’t pee on the pad.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Madyson, It sounds like you are wanting to move away from pee pad training and transition to outside training instead. If so, I recommend following the Crate training method from the article I have linked below, strictly, and removing all pee pad options from inside. To do this, this will require that there is someone able to let pup out to go potty every 4-5 hours during the day at this age. Once pup is going potty quickly while outside through the management of pup's schedule and freedom, and rewards for going potty outside, then you can also combine the tethering method with the crate training method if you want to give pup more freedom out of the crate training training, while you are home, but I would start with the crate training method strictly at first. Crate Training method and Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Joey
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Years
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Joey
Yorkshire Terrier
4 Years

Joey has been "potty trained" but we have never had a terrier before, and weren't aware that it takes special steps to potty train them well. He does go outside to relieve himself, but we also find that he is quite frequently lifting his leg on the furniture in the house. I'm planning on bringing him to school with me, and he will be living in a large house, so I would like to retrain him and prepare him for the move in a few months. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karli, I suggest going back to the basics with him for a couple of months and act as if he isn't potty trained at all to stop all accidents from happening so that he will develop a habit of holding it consistently while in the house and wanting to keep your home clean. After a couple of months if he has been completely accident free, very gradually give him more freedom. I highly recommend crate training pup and temporarily pup should always be either tethered to you with a hands free leash or in the crate while learning, unless you know he has just peed AND pooped and you have eyes on him 100%.. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 2.5- 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. If he hasn't gone poop yet during that half of the day, he needs to be tethered to you or returned to the crate, then taken back outside again in 30-45 minutes if you know he likely needs to go, less frequently if he likely doesn't need to poop. Pooping outside equals more freedom. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Don't skip tethering pup when they are free in the home. It sounds like pup may actually be marking in your home, not just relieving the need to pee. When that's the case, having pup be tethered to you so they can't sneak off to mark is important. If pup still tries to lift a leg while tethered to you with a hands free leash, have him wear a belly band, which is like a male dog diaper that just covers his male parts. This can help catch the urine to prevent the spread of smell - since stopping the constant spread of scent is very important with marking. With pup wearing the belly band and tethered to you, when they go to lift a leg, clap loudly a couple of times to surprise pup, then quietly and quickly take pup outside. Reward pup anytime they pee or poop outside right now so pup understands that it's not peeing in front of you that's the issue but peeing inside that you don't want. If the issue does appear to be marking, and pup shows other signs of a lack of respect, like not listening to known commands, I would also gently and calmly work on building pup's respect for you, since marking is partially about claiming territory and respect. Gentle respect building: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Brooklyn
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year
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Brooklyn
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year

I adopted a 1 year old Female Yorkshire terrier about 2 months ago. The home that had her before me had said they tried training her on pee pads but she still had lots of accidents. When I got her home I immediately tried potty training her. I have tried everything. I have tried training her to use pee pads, I have tried training her outside. I have tried the attractant sprays. None of this seems to be working though. She will go potty outside or on her pee pad, but most of the time she goes wherever she pleases. She will even occasionally go right next to the pee pad but not on it. It has gotten to the point where she is ruining all the hardwood floors because she pees everywhere, she poops everywhere, and she often pees on my bed. I am just so lost on what to do. I have dreamed of having a yorkie for my entire life, and now I have one, however she is more of a nightmare until I can get this house breaking Under control.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sierra, I would start by purchasing washable doggie diapers, and using the disposable pads you can line them with or even overnight feminine pads and having pup wear those to save your floor while you work on this. Just be sure to change them often if they get wet and wipe pup occasionally to avoid skin irritation. Sometimes the diapers will actually encourage a dog not to pee because of the sensation of them - until pup has gone in them often enough to get used to that sensation. If that happens that can help your efforts a lot as long as you still take pup outside often, taking them off before pup pees outside, and potty other potty training routines in the meantime. If it doesn't help that, it can at least save your floors in the meantime. Second, I would go straight to potty training outside - pup clearly has issues with going potty inside so I would skip pee pads completely and remove all of them right away. Follow a combination of the Tethering method and Crate Training method. You will have to be very strict given pup's history. I would crate pup overnight, when you are gone, and anytime it's been more than 2 hours since they last peed outside. I would tether pup to yourself when it's been less than 2 hours since they last peed outside, taking pup outside again at the end of the 2 hours, or crating pup from hour 2 until hour 3-4 when you take pup outside again, every 3-4 hours since they last went potty, or if pup doesn't go potty when you take them outside - crating for another hour then taking pup back out at the end of that hour, every hour on the hour until pup finally goes potty. When you take pup outside, take them on a leash to help them focus on going, tell them to Go Potty, ad give 3 treats or pieces of kibble, one at a time, if pup goes. Clean up all accidents with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Crate Training and Tethering method - since pup is older, instead of taking pup potty every hour, you can take pup potty every 2-4 hours, tethering pup and crating in between, and taking pup out again every hour if they don't go when you take them the first time, repeating those trips every hour after the first 3 hours, until pup finally goes potty outside. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Since it sounds like pup is having accidents immediately after going potty outside even, I would also speak with your vet to see if there is something causing urinary incontinence. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Baby
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year
0 found helpful
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Baby
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year

Dog will not stop pooping on floor the moment i leave her sight she goes for it. It’s hard to watch her all day long because i have 2 other small children.

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

Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use the crate to help with potty training. This information is written for puppies, but the procedure is exactly the same for training an adult dog who doesn't quite know where to go potty. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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