How to Potty Train Your Small Dog 

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Often, people say house training a small dog is an impossible chore, and dog owners should go for a large dog breed. While there’s indeed some truth to this since some small dogs are more complex to train than their larger counterparts, it isn’t an entirely lost cause–not at all. With patience and perseverance, even the smallest of dogs can be housebroken. If you’re having some difficulty in potty training your small breed dog, below are some bits of advice and tips to keep in mind.

Can Small Dogs be Housebroken?

Of course, they can–albeit it takes time and much longer than when you potty train larger breeds. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You have to embrace yourself for the occasional accident, even more so if the weather’s acting up. A small dog breed can be housebroken in 10 to 14 days, especially if you’re home most of the time. And with patience and consistency, there’s no way you can’t make it happen.

At What Age Should a Small Dog be Potty Trained?

Because small dog breeds tend to have a higher metabolism and their tiny bladders need to relieve themselves frequently, potty training them is even more complicated and longer. You should start house training him when he has reached 12 weeks old since, by that time, he will have enough control of his bowel and bladder movements. In general, it takes 4 to 6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, while some can take up to a year. If your dog is no longer a puppy but a small breed, it may not take that long. His age and size can be a predictor.

Which Small Dogs are Easiest to Potty Train?

Housebreaking your dog will not be frustrating and daunting. Many pet owners seem to be in a cycle of taking one step forward then two steps backward in the potty training department. As such, some may consider looking for small dog breeds that are easiest to potty train. Sure, it isn’t the most pleasant factor to consider when picking a dog, but admittedly, it’s a major plus to have a dog that won’t drive you nuts with housebreaking.

And so, here are some small dog breeds that are the easiest to potty train:

  • Maltese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boston Terrier
  • Papillon
  • Bichon Frise
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Cockapoo
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

How to Potty Train Your Small Dog

Consistency Matters.

Determine what potty training technique you are comfortable using. Positive reinforcement, for example, is a great one and is highly recommended. Once you’ve picked a method, stick with it. Tell your family members about it too so they can do the same. Remember, consistency is the key here.

Small Dogs Can Be Sneaky.

Thanks to their convenient size, they can sneak off in various parts of the use and answer the call of nature than it would be for a large dog breed. Don’t let such ‘urination accidents’ go unnoticed. While it isn’t the end of the world, you should be correcting when they urinate inside.

You shouldn’t, of course, punish them, but rather, show them where they’re supposed to go. For example, if you catch him during or right after the act, immediately take him outside. Once he’s done, praise him a lot or maybe give a bonus treat.

Punishing your Small Dog isn’t Recommended.

Have you heard of the saying that “rubbing their nose in an accident” is an effective way of getting them to stop their, inappropriate behavior? Correct him only when you catch him in the act of peeing inside.

Let Him Feel Secured.

Sometimes dogs feel vulnerable when they do their business. That’s because they cannot protect themselves while peeing or pooping. As such, it’s essential to make him feel safe with his ‘outdoor bathroom.’ If not,, then he’d likely find another place to relieve himself and maybe go inside the house where he feels safe the most.

Try Crate Training.

When you housebreak your dog, but you cannot directly keep an eye on him for the meantime, use confinement methods like crates. During playtime, always supervise him. You can keep him on a leash, for example, then attach it to your belt loop or hand so your dog won’t be able to sneak away to use the bathroom without your supervision.

Follow a Schedule.

Plan your dog’s bathroom breaks and stick with the program. The takeaway here is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. To do that, you must get him used to go outside to pee or poop. Don’t ask for him to ask to be taken out. Do it yourself. He’ll be sniffing everywhere for a couple of minutes, but once he finds a place he can do his business, he’d be done with it instantly. Don’t forget to praise him after. In the morning, after meals, after play sessions, and before bed at night are the best times to take him out.

Create a Positive Environment for your Potty Training.

There’s no need to resort to harsh punishments. Your small dog will be your companion for several years to come. Don’t risk him losing his trust in you because he has grown afraid of you. Besides, most dogs respond amazingly to positive reinforcement training.

Treats, Praise, Treats, Praise, Tre–You Get It.

When your dog does the right thing, going outside to pee; show him how glad you are for behaving that way. Make it loud and clear if possible, so he’ll be eager to do it again to please you.

Small Dogs are Still Dogs.

Never forget that. As much as you love them like crazy, treat them like dogs, not like babies. And remember, he might not look like it, but your tiny pup is just as innovative as any other sized dog.

It’s time to put a stop to the stereotype that’s associated with small dogs. Show other pet owners that a small dog can be housebroken just as successfully as a giant dog.


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