How To Potty Train A Yorkie
Potty training a yorkie can be tough. They are small dogs with small bladders. They have to go more often than you might like. To house train your yorkie use the steps below. In addition, you may find it useful to train them to use a pee pad as well. Full instructions for that are further down in the article.
- Set regular meal and pee times – Choose the same times each day and give them their 1-2 meals. Also, choose the same times each day and take them to go pee. For a small yorkie we recommend you take them out at least 4 times a day
- 8 AM
- 12 Noon
- 4 PM
- 9 PM
- If the above schedule or a similar one isn’t possible try and get a friend or dog sitter to take your dog out. If you can’t do that see the pee pad instructions below and use that method in the beginning.
- Watch them for spinning or floor interest – If you see them starting to pee or showing interest in the floor take them outside immediately.
- Interrupt active peeing – If they are peeing or starting to, interrupt this behavior and quickly put them on a pee pad or take them outside. Don’t be harsh. Try and catch them when they are spinning and interrupt that behavior.
- Use Rewards – when your dog goes to the bathroom outside give them a treat or use praise and happy energy to reward them for that behavior.
- Patience – It can take months of training to get them to permanently know what to do. Keep using praise until it’s very clear they know where to go. Eventually you can wean them off praise by making them do a trick like sitting right after going to the bathroom outside. Then you can give them their usual treat or praise.
Training A Yorkie To Use A Pee Pad
This method uses the confinement method. With confinement you use gates or an indoor dog kennel fence to block off a large section of a room. Inside the confined area you place a bed, a pee pad or dog bathroom mat, and a toy area. There should be no open areas of the floor besides these three.
Your dog will naturally not want to go to the bathroom in the pee space as they don’t want to go in their bed.
Here are steps to follow using the confinement method to train your yorkie to use a pee pad:
- Create a confined area – Section off an area of floor
- Make a sleeping space, food/water bowls, and pee space – There should be no free floor space. Just an area to sleep, an area for food/water bowls, and an area to pee. It’s nice to keep the bed in between the food/water bowls and the pee pad (pee pad then bed then food/water bowls). See minute 13 of the video below for an example setup.
- Don’t change the arrangement of the confined area – Keep the pee pad, the bed, and the food/water bowls always in the same spot. This will eventually be true also for the permanent pee pad location.
- Keep a close eye on them (or use a nanny or dog cam) – Why? To check if they are trying to go to the bathroom in their bed or play blanket. If you see them sniffing or spinning immediately put them on the pee pad and let them finish. It’s best to setup their confined area next to where you are working at home or watching TV. Indoor Dog kennel fenced areas makes this super easy.
- Give treats when they use the pad – If they use the pad, give them a treat immediately! You can also use a clicker and your own excitement as the reward. You don’t have to use treats. Showing your happiness is a big positive reinforcement for your dog
- Change pee pads daily – These keeps the smell down and keeps your pets happy.
- Choose a permanent pee pad space that’s on concrete, tile, or hardwood – Don’t put your pee pads on carpet. Spill overs are more mess to cleanup.
- Don’t move the pee pad area – Once you setup a permanent pee pad area let it always be there. Don’t confuse your dog by moving it around. That causes accidents to happen.
- Don’t let your dog to choose an area – you choose the area. Don’t use an area where they keep having accidents. You control the area, not your dog.
- Transfer the scent to the new pee pad – when changing them out in the beginning, tap the old one on the new one or smear a bit of feces on the new pad. This transfers the scent over to the new pad and helps them learn to use it.
- Take them to the pee pad after play – After your dog plays and gets excited take them to the pee pad and see if they have to go. Often they do and this makes it easier for them to learn what to do. You can even actively play with them for a bit then take them over.
- Plan to be consistent for 8 months – Training your dog takes time. They will learn faster than this but continuing to give treats or attention for using the pee pad for the next 8 months will really set the habit. Eventually transition out of pee then treat by making them do an additional trick like sitting for their treat.
- Eventually stop the rewards – After a time stop giving them rewards for using the pee pad. Going to the bathroom becomes reward enough.
That’s the basics. In many ways for small dogs like a Yorkie, potty training on a pee pad indoors is way easier than training them to go outdoors. They have small bladders and need to go more often. It’s more work to take them outside every time they need to go when house training them to go outside.
Remember to clean your pee mats or change your pee pads daily to keep the smell down. Poorly changed pee pads may cause your dog to go elsewhere in the house.
Confinement Method vs the Crate Training Method
There are two ways to house train your dog – the confinement method or the crate training method.
The crate training method involves using a crate. The small space of the crate naturally prevents your dog from peeing or defecating.
The confinement method involves building a permanent or semi-permanent indoor dog area. Typically you do this with a play pen or small fenced off indoor dog kennel fence. You can also choose a room as the confined area and gate off all the entrances and exits from the room.
Confinement training is ideal for training dogs to use pee pads. Inside the confined area you define a bathroom area and use pee pads. Inside a crate you don’t have the area for this.