How to Potty Train a Yorkie?

If you’ve never had the experience of potty training a pet, you’ll soon learn that patience is key. There will be some times where you might feel frustrated, and it could seem like you’re never going to get your new Yorkie trained. 

how to potty train a yorkie
How to potty train a Yorkie – step by step and advice

Don’t fret! It takes a great deal of time and discipline on your end to get your Yorkie puppy to adapt to its new surroundings. Your perseverance will eventually pay off, and your Yorkie will know the difference between where they should and shouldn’t consider a bathroom. 

Yorkies aren’t any more challenging to break in than other breeds. The Yorkie temperament is great for positive reinforcement training. Everything boils down to consistency and the correct techniques. Your dog should be fully trained and have few to no accidents around eight months of age. 

Review our tips below on how to potty train a Yorkie. 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Potty Training

males vs female yorkies
Male vs Female Yorkie – which to pick? And what Yorkie name should you choose?

This debate comes down to which you prefer most. If you live somewhere such as an apartment building where it’s more challenging to let your dog out, you might choose to train with pads in your home. If you don’t have a backyard, you might also be tempted to start them off with inside potty training instead.

Eventually, it will be best for them to get used to going outside to relieve themselves, but you have time for that. 

1. Choose the Potty Spot

You will have to pick an area outside that your Yorkie can use to pee and poo. Don’t pick an area where there’s a lot of people walking back and forth or near your garden. Your plants and grass may not be in tip-top condition after constant exposure to your dog’s urine

Be mindful of that when you make your choice. This spot should also be easily accessible despite poor weather. Your Yorkie will not want to go out into the rain to relieve himself. 

Stay consistent, and do not change the area afterward, as it could confuse your pup. 

blue and tan yorkie
A blue and tan Yorkie on a black background to exaggerate the blue.

2. Get Your Yorkie Ready to Go

It will help you immensely if you’re aware of a schedule that your Yorkie likes. Usually, puppies need to go eight after a play session exercising, eating, when they first wake up, and right before bed. Within about 15 minutes of finishing these activities, try to take your Yorkie out for a scheduled potty break. 

If they have an accident before you make it to the spot, you’ll be aware that you might need to let them go earlier next time. 

3. Find a Confined Space

You have to constantly monitor your pup to ensure that you successfully housetrain them. It’s time-consuming but necessary. You can try using a baby gate or a crate to make it easier during this time. 

Put your Yorkie’s water and food in this spot, along with a pee pad on the other side, if you’re using one. 

a black yorkie
A Yorkie with a predominantly black coat stands on a wooden floor.

4. Take Your Yorkie Outside and Use Verbal Commands

When your pup needs to go potty, pick them up and place them onto the designated spot. Try not to open the door and let them go wild. You’ll seldom achieve successful training with this method. 

Once you put them there, give them a verbal command that you choose. Stick to the same word or words; your pup will start to recognize and make an association between the command and the act.  

Be patient because it can take a while for your pup to pick just the right spot—this can take up to 15 minutes. So bring some busy work or a book to pass the time. Just make sure that you give your puppy enough time to get it right.

You can expect your pup to roam and sniff around. Roaming and sniffing are both good signs as they are exploring the world. They’re trying to decide what portion of the territory they want to mark. Moreover, this process also relaxes their bodies as they prepare to go to the potty.

5. Praise Your Dog For Doing the Deed

Be ready to praise your pup once it finishes going to the potty. Treat your Yorkie to a bit of positive reinforcement. Something as simple as a physical touch, like a nice rub on the back or belly, will do. You can even decide to implement a training clicker, which will mark the moment your pup performs what you ask of him. The goal is to get your Yorkie to associate potty time with a positive affirmation. That will make them want to do it again.

a parti yorkie held to the sky
A Parti Yorkie looks skyward

6. Be Consistent and Kind

Prepare yourself mentally for the accidents which are sure to come. You have to refrain from outbursts of anger even in the slightest. Simply clean up the mess and get on with the day. If you scold your dog after the fact, they will be unable to make the connection between what they did and why you scolded them.

However, if you’re able to catch them in the act, interrupt them with a stern, “NO.” Next, pick them up quickly and move them to the proper potty location. When they finally finish eliminating, praise him for his efforts.

If the behavior is unexpected, weird, or suddenly changes– there might be something else going on with your Yorkie.

7. Use Pads at Night

You always want your pup to have access to the potty area, even at night. So if you’re training your Yorkie to potty outside, you should be using pee pads at night in their puppy playpen. In the beginning, they will have to use it multiple times at night, so it’s safe to be ready and equipped.

Potty Training a Yorkie on Puppy Pads

chocolate yorkie
A Chocolate Yorkie (aka a brown coat Yorkie)

If you’re a pet owner who lives several floors up in an apartment building, then pad training your Yorkie is ideal for you. Especially if leaving your home every bathroom break is too arduous, or there’s terrible weather outside. The end goal, however, should be to train them to go outside.

Final Thoughts

Training your Yorkshire terrier to be housebroken takes patience and lots of it. You must be consistent with your timing and even the unspoken messages you’re sending to your pup. Continue giving your pup well-earned praises, and they’ll be housebroken in no time. 

Remember these key takeaways:

  • Before your pup arrives, remove all rugs that you don’t want to get ruined, and don’t allow them on your couch or bed until they are fully house trained
  • When your pup has an accident, analyze what happened and what led to the accident. Was there too much time in between potty breaks? Did you wait too long this time?
  • Schedule your potty breaks at clearly marked times throughout the day, such as 15 minutes after lunch. Scheduling consistent times will make your Yorkie successful

Above all else, the more consistent you can be, the sooner your pup will be fully housebroken!