Sharing your home with a Chihuahua is a rewarding experience. These small dogs are intelligent, affectionate, and easy to take care of. However, many first-time pet owners may find their Chi is not picking up on house training as quickly as other breeds might.
How to potty train a Chihuahua is one of the most common questions of new dog owners. Although these dogs are extremely smart, they can be stubborn, making training challenging. Thankfully, this guide provides some tips and tricks to get your pet to go outside when necessary and not indoors.
Potty Training a Chihuahua in 7 Easy Steps
If you have a new Chihuahua puppy in your home, immediately establishing their training routine is vital. This way, the dog will know what is expected and have clear boundaries from you. Begin their potty training as soon as you bring your new pet home.
Follow these seven steps, and you can potty train your Chihuahua and forget about cleaning any mess inside.
1. Use a Command Word
Everything you want to teach your Chihuahua should have an associated command word. For example, while some pet parents use the word “outside,” others will use “potty.” The term you use isn’t as important as how consistently everyone in the house uses it.
Multiple people using different words will just confuse your dog and make training more difficult.
Each time you take your Chihuahua outside to go to the bathroom, say the word positively and firmly.
2. Enlist in Positive Reinforcement
Animals are not complex creatures. Many dogs will be food-driven, which can make training easier. Chihuahuas are intelligent and want to make their owners happy.
When you use treats and positive affection, they respond quicker than scolding or punishments.
When your new Chi successfully goes to the bathroom outside, remember to make a big production about it. Use a happy voice, give them lots of petting, and offer treats. They will soon realize you are so glad when they do their business outdoors.
3. Pick a Spot
Chihuahuas are intelligent but stubborn animals. Therefore, consistency and routine are vital for success with potty training. For example, to help your pet learn where to go outside, you should pick a designated spot that it can use for going to the bathroom.
Allowing your dog to go in the same spot will keep its scent in one place and encourage them to return to the area each time they need to go.
4. Clean Up Accidents Quickly
Because Chihuahuas are small dogs, their accidents inside are also tiny. Unfortunately, this element can make it hard to notice if you miss an accident since it will not smell as much or be as large as other breeds. Therefore, unless you see them go, an accident may be sitting a while before you spot it.
When your pet goes indoors, you should clean it up as soon as you can. Dogs use scents as part of their daily life. Leaving any urine or feces in the house will encourage your Chihuahua to continue this behavior.
Once you clean up their mess, use a paper towel with distilled white vinegar to wipe the spot and remove any ammonia that may remain. This way, your dog’s scent will be gone, and they are less likely to go in that spot again. Vinegar is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and pet-safe, and once it dries, it does not leave an odor.
5. Downplay Accidents
The flip side of positive reinforcement is not acknowledging bad behavior. You want to downplay any accidents your Chihuahua has inside. It still sees it as attention if you scold, punish, or make a big deal about it going in the house.
When your new pup has an accident, quickly correct them by using your command word in a firm voice and taking it outside immediately. Do not use long sentences and explain to your dog why it shouldn’t go in the house. Any prolonged attention is still giving your pet a response.
Stick with the command word and minimize any interactions until you take them outdoors.
Once it goes outside, use positive reinforcement so that it sees you happy.
6. Follow a Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit, which help make potty training simpler when you follow a schedule. Here is an example of a typical training routine for a new Chihuahua puppy owner:
- As soon as your puppy wakes in the morning, take it outside for bathroom time.
- Feed your pet breakfast.
- After 15 to 20 minutes, take your pet outside. If it goes, reward it. If it doesn’t, try again in 10 to 15 minutes.
- Set a timer and automatically take your Chihuahua outdoors every 20 to 30 minutes during the day. Remember to use the command word and positive reinforcement.
- Anytime your pet has a nap during the day, take it outside as soon as it wakes up.
- Whenever it is in a crate while you leave, take it outdoors as soon as you return.
- Once you are feeding your Chihuahua dinner, remember to take it outside 15 to 20 minutes after finishing.
- Follow the 20- to 30-minute regular schedule for the remainder of the evening until bedtime.
- Right before bed, take your new puppy outside for one last potty break.
Although this schedule may seem like a lot of work, it is well worth it when your dog stops having accidents in the house. In addition, as your pet grows older, its bladder matures, and the timing intervals can get longer between potty breaks.
7. Watch for Tell-Tale Signs
Knowing your pet’s signs to go outside is half the battle when learning how to potty train a Chihuahua. A dog may exhibit some tell-tale signs before they have an accident, including:
- Excessive sniffing
- Circling or pacing
If you notice your pet doing any of these behaviors, take them immediately outside and use the command word. Catching your pup before accidents will help it learn from successful potty times.
Tips for House Training a Chihuahua
Knowing how to house train your new pet properly is only half the battle. By following these tips, you can ensure that you will be more effective in your methods and have your Chihuahua going outside in no time.
Consistency is critical when you are potty training a new dog. Animals have an internal clock that will guide them to activities and routines. You will succeed more with your Chihuahua when you stick to the same daily eating and elimination schedule.
Never Scold Them
Chihuahuas can be highly nervous dogs, making them prone to shaking and peeing when upset or frightened. You want to keep house training a positive experience. If your pet has an accident indoors, clean it up quickly, and take them outside.
If you use yelling or other adverse actions after accidents, your pet will learn to eliminate where you cannot see them, like behind your sofa or under your bed!
Use Crate Training
You should not expect your new puppy to behave when you cannot watch them constantly. Using a crate can help your Chihuahua follow an elimination schedule and speed up the potty training process.
Crating your dog when you have to leave them home alone will deter them from eliminating in the house while you are gone. Then, immediately take them outside to go to the bathroom once you return.
Many dog owners will crate-train their puppies at night until they get house training down. This way, you can take them out first thing in the morning, and you won’t be stepping into a mess when you wake up.
Keep a Log Book
Some pet owners find it helpful to keep a logbook of when their puppy goes outside. For example, write down the times your puppy pees or poops daily. Soon, you may see a pattern of potty times, and you can help pinpoint when your Chihuahua is successful.
For example, if you reveal that your pet poops in the house only 10 minutes after eating, you can change your routine and take them out sooner. This method will help set your pup up to go where you want them to.
Spay or Neuter as Soon as Possible
Some Chihuahua will use urine to mark their home. One of the best ways to deter your pet from marking around your house is to have them spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough. This procedure helps to regulate their hormones, making them less prone to showing territorial behaviors like marking.
Potty training a Chihuahua can be a challenging task. These intelligent dogs are known for their stubborn streak. Therefore, they will take longer to follow the rules if you are not consistent with them.
Remember that following a schedule and knowing the signs your pet has to go outside will help you successfully potty train your Chihuahua. In addition, following proper training methods should have your dog completely house trained before they are six months old.