The Chihuahua Potty Training Blueprint: How to Housebreak Your Pet With Ease

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Are you at your wits’ end trying to figure out how to potty train your Chihuahua? Fear not! Potty training your Chihuahua can seem challenging due to their small size and sometimes stubborn nature. This guide is designed to help dog owners navigate the process with ease and patience. Following the steps and strategies we discuss, you will learn how to create a consistent routine, tackle common problems, and successfully potty train your Chihuahua.

Quick Answer

To potty train a Chihuahua, establish a regular feeding and bathroom schedule, and stick with it consistently. Always take your Chihuahua to the same outdoor potty spot and use a specific command like “go pee”. Praise them immediately and give them a reward after they eliminate in the correct place.

Why is Potty Training Important for Your Chihuahua Early?

Early potty training for your Chihuahua is crucial to establish good habits and prevent future accidents. Starting potty training early in life can help your Chihuahua understand where it’s acceptable to relieve themselves and where it’s not. This early learning is important because:

  • Prevents Bad Habits: Early potty training teaches your Chihuahua the right behaviors before bad habits form, such as going to the bathroom indoors, which can be harder to break later on.
  • Promotes a Clean Environment: Starting early means maintaining a cleaner home, as it reduces the chance of frequent accidents that can be bothersome to clean up and can also leave long-lasting odors or stains.
  • Reduces Stress for Both Owner and Pet: Timely potty training can reduce the stress associated with accidents for both the owner and the Chihuahua, as consistent accidents can be frustrating for owners and can cause anxiety for the dog.

Are Chihuahuas Hard to House Train?

Chihuahuas can be challenging to house train due to their small size and stubborn nature. However, with consistent training and positive reinforcement, house training a Chihuahua is entirely achievable. Challenges in training may stem from:

  • Small Bladder: Chihuahuas have small bladders and may require more frequent trips outside.
  • Stubborn Personality: They can be strong-willed and may need more patience and consistency in their training routine.
  • Preference for Warmth: Chihuahuas tend to dislike cold weather, which can sometimes dissuade them from going outside to potty.

Can Older Chihuahuas Still be Potty Trained?

Yes, older Chihuahuas can still be potty trained. Despite the common belief that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, potty training is very much possible and effective at any age. Although it may be easier to train a puppy who hasn’t yet formed habits, older Chihuahuas can also adapt to new routines. It’s essential to be patient and persistent with an older Chihuahua during potty training as it may take a little longer due to old behavioral patterns.

When Should You Start Potty Training Your Chihuahua?

You should ideally begin potty training your Chihuahua between 8 weeks and 12 weeks of age. During this period, puppies start gaining better control over their bladder and bowel movements, making it a prime time for successful training.

Where Should Your Chihuahua Go Potty?

The designated area where your Chihuahua goes potty could be either outdoors in a specific spot in your yard or indoors in a specific area with puppy pads or a dog litter box, depending on your living circumstances and your Chihuahua’s lifestyle.

  • Outdoor training: If your home setup permits, training your Chihuahua to go potty outside is a good option. Choose a particular spot in the yard and always lead your Chihuahua to this place when it’s time to go. This establishes a consistent routine and aids in quicker learning.
  • Indoor training: For people living in apartment buildings or locations with harsh weather conditions, indoor potty training is a practical solution. In this case, you can dedicate a specific spot in your home, equipped with puppy pads or a dog litter box. Remember, just like outdoor training, consistency in the location is key.

Which Potty Training Method Works Best for Chihuahuas?

Choosing the most effective potty training method for your Chihuahua is an important decision that can significantly impact the success of the training process. The best method for your Chihuahua will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your living environment, schedule, and your dog’s personality. Below are some common methods that work well for Chihuahuas.

  • Regular Schedule Method: Chihuahuas thrive on routine. Taking your dog out at the same times every day—for instance, first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime—helps set a reliable body clock for elimination. Predictability in timing allows your Chihuahua to understand and anticipate when to go potty, leading to fewer accidents.
  • Crate Training Method: Crate training uses a dog’s natural instinct to not soil their sleeping area to help with potty training. Ensure the crate is comfortable and only large enough for your Chihuahua to stand up, turn around, and lay down in. Take them to the potty area immediately after letting them out of the crate, and slowly extend the amount of time they spend out of the crate as they learn to hold it in.
  • Supervised Training Method: This method requires constant vigilance, where you closely monitor your Chihuahua for signs they need to go, such as sniffing, circling, or whining. Immediately take them to their designated potty area when you notice these signals. Over time, they will learn to associate these urges with going to that specific spot.
  • Pee Pad or Litter Box Training: For Chihuahua parents who live in apartments or can’t frequently go outside, this is a practical option. By confining your puppy to a small space with a pee pad or litter box, they learn to use these as their bathroom. Always praise and reward them for using the pad or box to reinforce the behavior.

How Can You Effectively Potty Train Your Chihuahua?

Effectively potty training your Chihuahua involves consistency, patience, positive reinforcement, and understanding their unique needs. To ensure success in potty training your Chihuahua, consider these key strategies:

1. Stick to a Schedule: This can’t be emphasized enough. Feed your Chihuahua and take them to their potty area at the same times each day. A routine will help your puppy learn to control their bladder and bowels over time.

2. Watch for Signs: Learn to recognize your Chihuahua’s cues when they need to go. Common indicators include sniffing around, circling, squatting, barking or scratching at the door, or becoming restless. When you see these signs, it’s time to take them to their potty area immediately.

3. Immediate Rewards: The moment your Chihuahua finishes going to the bathroom in the correct spot, praise them enthusiastically and offer a treat. This positive reinforcement makes them more likely to repeat the behavior.

4. Control the Environment: Limit your Chihuahua’s unsupervised access to the house until they are fully potty trained. Use baby gates or close doors to keep them in an easily cleanable area, reducing the chance of accidents in carpeted rooms or on furniture.

5. Accident Handling: If your Chihuahua has an accident, do not scold or punish them after the fact. They won’t understand the correction and might become fearful or anxious. Instead, clean the area thoroughly to remove the scent and continue to supervise them more closely to prevent future accidents.

6. Increase Freedom Gradually: As your Chihuahua starts to understand where to go potty, slowly give them more freedom around the house. This should be a very gradual process over weeks or months, depending on their success rate.

7. Be Patient and Consistent: Remember that every Chihuahua is different, and some may take longer to train than others. Patience and persistence are key, along with a steady reinforcement of the desired behaviors.

What Are Common Potty Training Challenges and How to Overcome Them?

Potty training a Chihuahua, as with any dog breed, can present a set of challenges that may discourage pet owners. However, understanding these challenges and knowing how to address them can significantly ease the potty training process. Here are some common issues and strategies for overcoming them.

  • Inconsistency in Training: Develop a consistent routine for feeding, potty breaks, and bedtime. Consistency helps your Chihuahua learn what is expected and when. Make sure all family members are on the same page with commands and rules.
  • Submissive or Excitement Urination: This behavior is common in puppies and usually fades as they grow older. Avoid overly excited greetings that might trigger this response and ignore your dog for a few minutes when you enter the house to allow them to calm down. Gradually expose them to situations that trigger excitement or submission and reward calm behavior.
  • Refusing to Go Potty Outside: Some Chihuahuas may refuse to go outside due to weather conditions, fear, or distractions. Make going outside a positive experience with treats and praise. For weather-related issues, provide a covered area or use a jacket for your dog. Be patient and stay outside with them until they go, then reward them.
  • Fear of the Crate: If you are using crate training and your Chihuahua is afraid of the crate, take steps to make it a welcoming space. Never use the crate as punishment. Place treats, toys, and a comfortable bed inside to encourage exploration and enjoyment of the crate. Gradually increase the time they spend in the crate with the door closed while you are home.
  • Regression: Sometimes, even after successful potty training, a Chihuahua may regress and start having accidents. This can be due to changes in the environment, stress, or health issues. Re-establish the routine and closely supervise your pet to get back on track. If the problem persists, consult your vet to rule out medical issues.
  • Overnight Accidents: Young puppies often can’t hold their bladder through the night. Before bed, limit water intake and ensure they go potty. Consider setting an alarm for a nighttime bathroom break. As they age, they will be able to hold it longer.

How to Deal with Accidents and Setbacks During the Chihuahua’s Potty Training Period?

Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process, and setbacks can occur even after your Chihuahua appears fully trained. Here’s how to effectively manage these challenges:

  • Respond, Don’t React: It’s crucial to respond calmly to any accidents. Reacting with strong negative emotions can frighten your Chihuahua and may lead to anxiety surrounding elimination, making potty training more difficult.
  • Immediate Cleanup: Clean any accidents thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors that could attract your Chihuahua back to the same spot. Ordinary household cleaners may not fully eliminate the scent to a dog’s sensitive nose.
  • Revisit Training Basics: After an accident, regain focus on the fundamental potty training practices. It may be necessary to increase the frequency of trips to the potty area or extend the consistency of the training routine to reinforce the desired behavior.
  • Limit Freedom Gradually: If you’ve been giving your Chihuahua free run of the house, consider confining them to a smaller, manageable area where you can monitor and respond to their cues more easily. Gradually increase their freedom as they show reliable potty habits.
  • Use Confinement Wisely: Utilize crate training or a restricted space in your home to prevent accidents when you’re not able to supervise directly. Ensure the crate or space is comfortable and not used as a form of punishment.

How Long Does It Usually Take to Successfully Potty Train a Chihuahua?

The duration to successfully potty train a Chihuahua can vary depending on the dog’s age, temperament, and your consistency. On average, it could take several weeks to several months to potty train a Chihuahua.

Well-trained adult Chihuahuas can hold their bladder for up to 6 hours. Young puppies, on the other hand, typically can only hold them for about 1 hour for every month of age, up to 6 months. So, a 2-month-old puppy may need a break about every 2 hours.

Are There Any Accessories That Can Aid in Potty Training?

Yes, there are several potty training accessories that can help streamline the process and make it more manageable.

  • Crate: A crate is a beneficial tool for potty training. It gives your Chihuahua a safe, secure spot of its own, and it takes advantage of the dog’s natural inclination not to soil its sleeping area.
  • Puppy Pads: These special pads can be used as a temporary training tool for young puppies or for dogs that have to be left indoors for prolonged periods. They’re designed to absorb urine and are especially helpful for apartment-dwellers who can’t take their dogs outside frequently.
  • Dog Litter Box or Grass Pad: Indoor potty options like a dog litter box or a small grass pad can provide a designated spot for your pet to relieve itself without needing to go outside.
  • Potty Training Bells: These are used for dogs to communicate their need to go outside. With training, the dog can hit the bells hanging from the door when it needs to go potty.
  • Treats: Treats are effective for reinforcing good potty behavior when used immediately after your pet goes to the bathroom in the desired spot.
  • Enzymatic Cleaners: For accidents, use a cleaner that’s made specifically for pet messes. These cleaners use enzymes to break down the compounds in pet urine that cause lingering odors, reducing the chance of your Chihuahua going in the same spot again.


Potty training a Chihuahua can be a challenging process with its numerous intricacies. But, with the right approach, patience, and tools, it can turn into a rewarding journey that both you and your pet can enjoy and benefit from. This article has armed you with the essential information you need to get started, common challenges to be mindful of, and the know-how to navigate them successfully. Now you’re poised to guide your Chihuahua towards becoming a well-trained, happy, and healthy part of your family.

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