22 answers

Potty Training a "New" 2-Year-Old Chihuahua Doggie

Hello you animal-loving moms!
I need some advice pronto...we just adopted a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix yesterday from a rescue group. She is the most loving, sweet, fun little doggie and we just adore her. We knew at the time that she was 50% housebroken, but my oh my. Since 7 p.m. last night she has pooped on the carpet, peed on our bed, and peed in other parts of the house at least 3 times! I've just called into work to take an unexpected vacation day today (as we can't leave her outside all day due to her small size and our coyote-prone neighborhood and short backyard fence. We have a doggie-door guy lined up but he can't install it for 2 weeks. And we'll have to train her on that one, too.

In the meantime, I need a crash-course in potty-training this doggie on our grass. Any advice would be MOST appreciated as we've gotta make this work and I'm a neat freak who's never had to deal with animal accidents (our other dog was totally potty-trained when we received her; she's now deceased). We've been eagle-eyeing her and taking her out frequently. When she goes, we say, "Good potty!" over and over and give her a treat. Then a little while later, she goes in the house :(

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I'm sorry to say this but there is some terrible advice posted on here (potty pads, large kennels, you won't be able to train her). The only reason I know is because my husband is a professional dog trainer and we have years of experience with cases like this. If you'd like some quick, free advice give him a call, you'll be glad you did.

1 mom found this helpful

Can you confine her to one room or a crate? You'll have to crate train her because it is very late for potty training. Imagine potty training a 14 year old. Anyway, Get those potty mats from a pet store and confine her to the kitchen until you can spend a good week crate training her. Good luck. I can't imagine housetraining a dog of that age. Oh and by the way, you'll need to take a week long vacation from work.

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Hi! Dogs always go potty where they have previously gone bc their scent is there. First, you have to really get rid of the stain/scent wherever she peed. If you are keeping her gated off like in the kitchen or somewhere, then you should put down those "piddle pads" that you can buy at Pet co but put then on the side of the gate or wall closest to the exit door that leads to the yard. If you are not keeping her gated in an area inside then just put then closer and closer to the door. Then keep the same piddle pad that she already peed on and go put it outside on the grass where you want her to pee. Since her scent is on it, she will pee there again. You can pour some water over the pad to let some of the pee/scent run off onto the grass and stay there for a while. Hopefully she will continue to pee there. It takes patience, just like a kid but good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

You may want to crate her when you are gone. I have a large crate for sale as a matter of fact, but crating will help her feel secure.

When you get a dog from the shelter you have no information on the past treatment of the dog and if she is peeing on your bed she has some issues with her place in the family roster.

Crate her unless you are actively involved with her, this will get her attention. She must look to the people in the house as her OWNERS, more important than she is. I have a chihuahua mix myself and if you are not alpha they gladly will take over.

Food, water and shelter are love to a dog, Tthey don't need extra treats or special attention. They are not in charge and do not own the furniture. Keep her excercised and only let her out of the crate to play with her and take her outside. Then let her out more and more to see how whe does. They need activity, toys that they are willing to spend time on etc. My Fred has balls and squeaky toys that he plays with but he would rather we threw them for him.

Another good way of teaching a dog their place in the famliy is to attach a leash to your belt and keep her leashed to you for a day. She must go wherever you go and she will learn to pay attention to you. My dog's greatest fear is to be stepped on or to have something fall on him. He learned to pay attention real fast!!

Dogs must know where they stand. Just because they are small does not mean that they can get a break. Fred is hard headed and although he was trained when we got him he still needed to know he was safe and secure in the house but that he was the least important of the "people" in the house.

Hope some of this helps, I have worked in a shelter for several years and learned a lot from the great people that help keep our little furry friends off the streets. Adopt from the shelter and SPAY AND NEUTER!!

1 mom found this helpful

Crate train her! It's the easiest way. You're right -- Keeping her outside will not train her.

1 mom found this helpful

I have this problem with my rescued corgi as well. Kennel training is the best thing I ever learned about schooling dogs. It keeps them safe, not bothering other people, and gets them on a schedule. If they have accidents you only have to clean the kennel. You can leave the dog in the kennel during the day and they sleep while you are gone. Their ancestors used dens and after they are taught properly, dogs like their kennels. Potty training beyond that calls for you to keep the dog with you at all times. Do not give the dog access to the rest of the house. Take him out frequently, every hour to two hours and praise whenever he goes. If necessary you may have to put him on a leash to keep him with you. Dogs usually get restless and start walking around when they have to go. Whenever you see this take the dog out, regardless if he was just went out. Keeping the dog on a leash trains you to notice his behavior. You may find that he is sending you clear signals and you just didn’t notice.

1 mom found this helpful

Funny this should come up we just got a Chi puppy from Chihuahua haven...what we have done is get some fake grass (I got it from Kahoots pet store) and we take our dog out about hourly onto the grass in front then when we are inside we have her go on the fake grass (with potty pad underneath) and that seems to be working well.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Buy "Piddle Pads" or some other brand of Puppy training pads- they have these at Walmart or Kmart. My dogs were trained with these. Don't let your dog on the bed, teach it to sleep in a pet crate. My dogs love their crates now, but it was hard the first couple of weeks.

I have 1 shihtzu and 1 shihtzu mix. The crate training also worked well for my rotti lab mix who until she recently passed, used to love sleeping in her pet porter kennel at night. They feel really safe and secure- there are several good books on the subject. The #1 thing that I used to help my mom recently with her shihtzu yorkie 12 week old puppy- catch her in the act. Everything is timing. Suki went #2 in the kitchen and I told her no and took her out. The next day she was sniffing at the same place in the kitchen and looked up at me. I took her outside and she went #2 immediately. She hasn't gone #2 in the house in over a week now.

1 mom found this helpful

I too adopted a Chihuahua mix from a shelter and have had potty issues. Since it was cold during the winter we ended up going w/ a doggie litter box (sold at Petco and Petsmart). Little dogs get timid in cold weather, wet grass, etc and refuse to go out on it. You might want to avoid the doggie door for now until she is trained. Also you could confine her out side in an enclosed wire crate -- for big dogs it would be enough room for her to sleep/play at one end and poop in the other. But I still recommend confining her inside w/ a litter box. Notice I said confine -- don't let her have full run of your house. I confine mine to the kitchen b/c it has floors that are easy to mop/ clean w/ bleach. Don't be fooled by the small size. Mine can climb over the baby gate so I had to put one on top too. (we don't have doors on the kitchen) We also had to attach plexi-glass so she doesn't go thru the slats of the baby gate or under, etc. She is an escape artist.

Also do you have a small crate for her -- keep her in there and take her out to potty on a schedule. This should help when you are home.

If you can catch some Cesar Milan - the Dog Whisperer he is really helpful.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I did not want another dog. Our grandson, however, did. We had custody of this grandchild for 3 years, so he has a deep bond with us. I told him that he could get one to keep here if he paid for it. I didn't think he would save up enough. Well, he did. We are now totally in love with this little Chihuahua. We have had her for over a year. Anyway, she was paper trained when we got her. She converted to use the yard very quickly. However, we still leave papers in one spot for when we are too busy to notice that she needs out, or when we are gone. We also live in a coyote area, as well as skunks and other wild animals. I didn't want to have a "doggie" door because of stray cats and such. My point is that you could try the papers which come with a scent that draws the pup to it. I can't smell it, but she goes right to it when we are gone.
Good luck with your new puppy.
K. K.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sorry to say this but there is some terrible advice posted on here (potty pads, large kennels, you won't be able to train her). The only reason I know is because my husband is a professional dog trainer and we have years of experience with cases like this. If you'd like some quick, free advice give him a call, you'll be glad you did.

1 mom found this helpful

Dog poop is organic and natural and healthy. But pooping in the bed is not. Take a minute and buy
a book, or go online and learn how to train /retrain
this dog or give it away.
It takes time. You took this dog out of it's life and expect it to adapt to you, it's a stray and has not learned the basics, and maybe that's why its a rescue dog. You need to adapt to the dogs timeing and learn the patience way to training. Sometimes these dogs have been mistreated, I hope not. good luck Deb

1 mom found this helpful

Because of the dogs age it will be harder to break the bad habbits - but not impossible. First, I would make sure that the dog has no underlying health issues like a bladder infection which would make holding her urine difficult.

Do you have a dog crate? If not, get a hold of one. It should be large enough for the dog to stand as well as move around comfortably, but not too big as doggy must "sense" that this is her "cave". The essential thing to remember is that dogs will not foul where they sleep, drink or eat. Feed her in her kennel. AFter she eats let her out to potty where you want her to. Periodically take her out to "do her business". For the first week, she will need to be in her kennel most of the time. If she is not used to it, she will whine, but that will subside in time.

Slowly increase the time she is not in kennel, but restrict her to the one room the kennel is in. The idea is to slowly alclimate her to the idea that your entire house is now her kennel and therefore she shouldn't poop or pee in it.

There are many great books and internet references on kennel or crate training. Trust me, it is not cruel! Good luck with your puppy! L.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh boy. My guess would be that your little dog was in rescue in the first place because of her housebreaking issues. Small dogs, especially Chihuahuas, are very difficult to fully housetrain. many owners simply accept this fact. A few folks I know deny that their little dogs are not housebroken! Some who have males use belly bamds....which are a type of diaper to stop thw dog from marking (lifting their leg and urinating) inside the house. Many accept that their little dogs are going to potty in the house and set up potty areas. Sort of like using a litter box. And then there ARE those who do eventually learn to only potty outdoors. By the way, there is NO such thing as 50% housebroken. Either the dog goes to the bathroom outside all the time....or it doesn't.

With that, I'll say congrats to you on your new forever family member!! As a Mom AND a long-time dog lover I can say my home would not be complete without the companionship of dogs. Dogs have enriched our lives greatly.

My advice would to first be sure the little dog you have is healthy and doesn't have any bladder or urinary tract or digestive tract problems.

Next, do not give her run of the house. Invest in baby gates, a crate and an exersize pen. Limit the area of the house the dog can visit. If you want her to sleep in your room with you do not allow her on your bed. Have her comfy crate in your room instead and place it by your bed. That should be her sleeping place. NOT punishment place.

Baby-gate off any areas in the house where you cannot tolerate accidents. Try not to set the dog up for failure in the first place.

Set up an exersize-pen (ex-pens can be purchased at Petsmart, Petco, etc....or on-line)in the kitchen and line the floor where you have the ex-pen set up with newspaper, commercial wee-wee pads or newsprint roll. You can also use a litter box like for a cat or a slab of sod. If you are going to teach her to litter train inside the house this would be a good way to start.

Whew....rather than me go on and on I will give you some helpful training links. Good luck! It take quite a while to house train some dogs so stick with it!!







1 mom found this helpful

Dear LS:

I'll try to give it all to you here but this is a HUGE subject! First of all, if it's an indoor dog, you can't really start on the grass. Start inside.

Restrict her area. Shut all the doors and keep her in one room with you. Then, set up a gated area about four by four feet (place it near where her doggie door will be). That's her space. Use the pads UNDER newspapers. (There's a good reason for this. If you train her that papers are for potty, then, when you're on vacation or at someone else's home, all you have to do is put down a square of newspaper, say, "Good place," and the dog will immediately GO. It's amazing and worth it. It's not likely that you'll have pads forever or on vacation; that's why you should use newspaper.) Have her bowl of water OFF the newspaper and a home plate (her bed) in the pen.

When you KNOW she's on empty, let her hang out with you (just keep an eye on her!). When you need to leave the room or she's thirsty, walk her over to the pen and pop her inside. After she drinks, point to her bed and say, "Go to bed." Don't walk away until she lies down. When she does, pat her and say, "Good girl. Go to bed." Then walk away.

Stay consistent. Try to catch her peeing on the paper. When she does, turn into a cheerleader and get all excited and say, "Good Girl!!! Good place!" Pat her and act all happy. When she goes even an INCH off the paper (this only applies to an older dog like yours, puppies require more flexibility) say, "NO." Say it, don't yell it, but say it in a deep, unnatural voice. That way, she associates that error with a "stranger". Pick her up and place her squarely on the paper PREFERABLY near a former pee spot and say in a happy voice, "Good place!"

If you are consistent, she'll learn quickly. Be sure to clean up the scene of any accidents or you'll just undermine all your work. The smell will attract her and make her want to pee there again. (Your dog really shouldn't be ON your bed. If you don't let her stay on the floor, you're undermining your own authority and she thinks she's equal to you.)

Now, the poop. Feed her in the morning (place the food and say, "Eat.") and afterwards, immediately take her outside. Take a previously peed (but dry) square of newspaper and lay it on the part of the yard where you want her to go. (Train her to go in ONE spot...it's easier to clean up.) Say, "Good Place!" and wait. If you don't intend to walk her (I think you said you want to have her go out on her own anyway) just stand by her. (Walkers would use a leash.) Wait until she goes and then do the cheerleader thing again. LEAVE ONE PIECE OF POOP. (This makes it easier for her to learn the spot and she'll come back to it later. Clean up the rest, make sure she's on empty and go back inside. Put her in her pen for water or hang out with her in the room. After your family eats (...and doesn't share food! Again, don't undermine your authority!) you feed the dog, say, "Eat," and do the same outdoor routine again.

When you're ready for bed, take her to her pen and tell her, "Go to bed." Point to or pat the home base. Wait until she gets in it and then pat her and praise her saying, "Good girl. Go to bed." Then walk away.

You need to be consistent because you only have two weeks. In two weeks, when the guy installs the door, train her to go through it to go potty. Now, you pick up the paper and put it JUST OUTSIDE THE DOGGIE DOOR. Leave her pen where it is but let the one side of it be the door. Make the pen smaller. The only things in her pen should be her bowl of water and her bed. If you need to, use cut up hot dogs to encourage her to go through the doggie door. Once she's got the doggie door thing figured out,(that means NO ACCIDENTS at night) then move the paper away from the doggie door until it's where you want her to go (the original spot outside).

Wait at least a couple of weeks until you KNOW she's consistent. NO ACCIDENTS while you're at work or at the store. If you're positive that she's got it, THEN you can remove the pen and then just leave her bed near the doggie door along with her bowl.

In the normal course of the day, whenever she gets underfoot or bothersome, tell her, "Go to bed," and walk her over. She should JUMP over there immediately and lie down. If she delays or walks away, then you can't trust her yet. Be careful that you don't take down the pen too soon or you'll never get the training done right.

All of this will go much faster if you keep your commands consistent: Good girl! Good place! Go to bed. NO. Eat. OFF. (That's for OFF furniture.) DOWN. (That's for NOT jumping on people.) Come. Stay.

Simple commands make for a less confused dog and good discipline. (Eventually, I trained my dog with hand signals which is great at dog parks and other public places where your voice can't carry.)

Even after she's got it all down, I still recommend you restrict her area while you're not home by shutting all the doors to this room. It's just smarter!

Best wishes!

PS: I just read JjL's response. A crate is a wonderful home plate, just like a bed.

1 mom found this helpful

i have a 7mo old chi and let me tell you they are notoriously hard to potty train! first off, get the pee-pee pads asap! they do really help and are much better clean up wise than newspaper. put them down in the area you want the pup to go. when she goes on the pad reward her with a treat and verbally. try to figure out her schedule and take her outside at times she is likely to go. my hubby also says watch em like a hawk cause they are sneaky about going potty, at least ours is (she sneaks into our bedroom and poops on the floor on his side of the bed, which doesn't make him happy!). oh and only discipline if you catch her in the act, otherwise she has no clue what she is being punished for. we are about 80% of the way there on potty training but have set backs too, just like with kids! and just like with kids the positive re-inforcement is the best! good luck to you! and they are really lovey dogs aren't they!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you need to invest in a doggie crate - keep her crated so that she won't go, and then keep taking her outside frequently and reward her when she goes outside. I would restrict her access to most of the house until she is potty trained. Now might be a good time to set boundaries regarding where the dog can sleep, etc. Also, I think they recommend keeping your dog leashed and with you when you begin potty training - that way they can't sneak off and pee without your seeing it and admonishing them. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Until she is potty trained, you need to get a baby gate or something like that, and just let her in one part of the house. Our dog isn't allowed to go upstairs at all, or in any of our bedrooms. She's potty trained, but it cuts down on all the hair and it helps with my husband's allergies. Anyway, at this age, your dog may never get potty trained, but you can buy doggie pads and she may learn to go on those. I think it's really important to keep her in only one part of the house. Dogs don't need the whole house to roam around in. When we first got our dog, right away we taught her the word "potty" (but she was a little puppy) and as soon as she started peeing inside, we'd quickly carry her outside and say potty, and put her on the grass. She quickly learned. We also taught her how to scratch the sliding glass door to "tell" us when she wanted to go outside. You just have to tell her over and over and over again where to go potty, and when she goes inside, bring her outside and point to the grass and tell her potty there. They know a lot more than we think! Good luck.
P.S. I just remembered, for the first year, we also put down an old king sized sheet in the family room (the room she was allowed in when she was a puppy.) That way, if she peed or pooped (she never pooped inside), we could just pop it into the washing machine.

1 mom found this helpful

I am looking forward to your advice on this one. We adopted a year old shitzu mix. And having the same problem. Have tried the pee pads taking out especially after eating sprays etc, nothing working. So now he is in garage with indoor outdoor carpet and restricted from house. Otherwise he is just adorable. Sometimes he will go on patio and hopefully yard one day. Two days were great in garage, then tonight went on the carpet again ??? Hope we both get good advice. We have had him about 3 weeks and he has been nutered.

1 mom found this helpful

It's easier to potty train a dog than my 2 year old daughter. We crate trained all our dogs. Most dogs willnot potty in their bed, but they need firm guidelines as to whats theirs. A travel crate or a regular crate works., also if you have a kids play yard, the dog cannot go anywhere(just like children). The best part of all this is your new dog will be happy to please you so being consistance is good. Take the dog out after eating on a leash to where you want them to potty, praise enthusiastically, then take out every couple of hours after wards, and before bed.
Good luck
K. E

1 mom found this helpful

There are different ways to train a dog, the pee pads, newspaper, doggie door, even litter, etc. Most likely your dog is not used to being indoors and still adapting to his "new" home, food, etc. I'd try one of the new "potty" for dogs, the artificial grass that has a tray underneath. A quick search on the internet or your local pet store. My friend got one because she's moving from a house to an apartment, and her dog was immediately attracted to it. I'd leave the dog in a smaller room with the "grass" until she learns to use it. You'll learn her routine, and she'll learn yours. If she usually goes in the am, try to go for a walk then, or at least let her out in the yard. If she goes after the meal or treats, do the same. If she goes inside, say no, but no spanking, stay away from "punishing" methods. A dog in fear does not learn, and it may get worse. But you are a mommy and you know what it takes to potty train ;) And it's much quicker to train a dog... I recently got an adult dog from a shelter and yes, she went wherever she pleased, but learned quickly because i had a dog door and another dog to set the example. But it took about a week or two, and no fun, big dog, big... :(
A medical check is always a bonus. For persistent #1s inside, check for UTI's - dogs in shelter sometimes acquire it out of fear so they hold it in, and it causes infection. Also check for parasites which makes them irregular. For streess you can use Rescue Remedy a homeopathic liquid used by a lot of rescue groups. A few drops in the water bowl keep the animal more relaxed.
Congratulations on getting a new member for your family and bonus points for getting one from the shelter.
A little patience and dog understanding and lots of love and you'll all be a Happily ever after family ! Best of luck, hope this helps.

We kennel trained our golden retriever in two weeks when she was only 6 weeks! It really works. You can google it and most websites have everything you need to know about it.

Can you confine her to one room or a crate? You'll have to crate train her because it is very late for potty training. Imagine potty training a 14 year old. Anyway, Get those potty mats from a pet store and confine her to the kitchen until you can spend a good week crate training her. Good luck. I can't imagine housetraining a dog of that age. Oh and by the way, you'll need to take a week long vacation from work.

Hi LS,

I can appreciate your coyote situation, we have that problem as well. I have two chihuahua's and the youngest is still potty training, he's 1-1/2 yrs old.

Take your dog out every two hours to start, if you cannot do this then cover the floor in the bathroom with papers and put your dog in there when you are not home. After a week or two begin to cut back the papers to check and see if your dog is going to use the floor or the papers.

There are pee pads you can get at the store to put on the floor and teach your dog to use those. Just keep putting clean papers down so your chihuahua will learn this is where he/she is to go. We have also taught our Akita/malamute how to use these pee pads. LOL She can use one pad with one use, so we have to take her out every 4 hours.

I have set a schedule of taking the dogs (all three of them) every 3 to 4 hours. This works for me. We have two chihuahua's (3 yrs and 1.5 yrs old), and the Akita/Malamute mix (5 yrs old), they can be funny at times. House breaking all of them is the fun aspect. We don't have messes on the floor, however, we do have an accident once in a while from the small ones.

Good Luck, I hope this helps

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