How To Potty Train A Yorkie

Now that you have a new member in your home – a lovely Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie), it’s time to learn how you can potty train him. In this article, I will share with you how I have successfully potty train my Yorkshire Terrier in just 8 weeks.

What I would be covering:

  • Is It Hard To Potty Train A Yorkie?
  • At What Age Can You Start Potty Training?
  • Indoor Or Outdoor Potty Training – Which One To Go For?
  • Defining Dog’s Routine Schedule Will Help In Your Potty Training?
  • How Often Should You Take Your Yorkie Out To Potty?
  • Why Does Your Yorkie Keep Peeing Everywhere?
  • How Long Does It Take To Potty Train Your Yorkie?

Without further ado, let’s go right into it.

Is It Hard To Potty Train A Yorkie?

If you ask most dog owners, they would say “Yes”. Personally, I do agree with their view as Yorkie is a small puppy and with a small bladder, he needs to housebreak very frequently.

Apart from that, Yorkie possesses a stubborn personality and will need more effort and patience to be trained.

For my Yorkshire Terrier, at the age of 12 weeks old, he typically needs to go potty every 3 hours, and he likes to be carried to the designated spot for his potty rather than going by himself.(quite pampered by me!)

I have to be very observant for his body signal (to alert me that he needs to eliminate) to prevent any accidents from happening. Typically, he would shows the following signs when he needs to go for his potty:

  • Scratching at the door
  • Squatting down
  • Sniffing around 
  • Circling
  • Getting restless

So when your puppy shows these alerts, bring him for his potty right away.

At What Age Can You Start Potty Training?

Most dog trainers advise to only start potty training when your puppy reaches the ages of 12 weeks old. Only by then, he will have better control of his bladder and bowel movement and will be able to follow through the training.

Indoor Or Outdoor Potty Training – Which One To Go For?

Should you go for indoor or outdoor potty training? I would say it’s up to your preference. If you are living in an apartment building where access to the outdoors would be an inconvenience, indoor potty training would be a feasible choice. 

If you are living in a house with a backyard, certainly outdoor potty training would be an option that you can consider.

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Indoor Potty Training

For indoor potty training, I make use of pee pads for my puppy house training for the following reasons:

  1. You can place them anywhere in your home at your convenience. Choose a potty spot where you can easily place the pee pads and do the cleanup later on.
  2. They are extremely easy to clean up. Just like a diaper, they will soak up your puppy “mess” and you would just need to pick it up and discard it.
  3. Use it to “create” a designated potty spot for your Yorkie. Of course, to make him want to go for the pee pads to do his elimination, you can make use of some soiled clothes that he had an accident on (which carry his scent) and place it beside the pee pads. This will “lure” him to the pee pad.
  4. No more worry on any weather condition as there will be NO outside trip needed for his potty. He will be pee pad trained.

Suitable Indoor Potty Spot

I would first choose a potty area that would be spacious and convenient for me to do the cleanup. The area should also be away from the crowd in my home (a quiet spot).

It should also be away from my puppy’s food and water area as dogs don’t like to do their elimination in their dining spot.

Potty Training – Use Positive Reinforcement

After I have fed him, I would wait for around 20 minutes before carrying him to the pee pad spot. Of course, if he starts to show signs of potty needs, I will bring him immediately to the designated potty area.

As he is doing his elimination,I will also train him on the command “Go Potty” so that he will associate this command with his potty action. 

I will immediately reward him with his favorite treat once he has successfully completed his elimination in the pee pad. This will help him to learn that it’s rewarding to do his potty in this manner and he would love to perform this action over and over again.

This is what we often called “Positive Reinforcement” where you use a reward for any desired behaviors. Rewards could be in the form of food, toys, praise or some “lovely” touch on your pet such as rubbing his back or scratching his ear.

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Potty Schedule

Typically, I will schedule my Yorkie to go for his potty:

  • First thing to do when he wakes up in the morning
  • After he wakes up from a nap
  • Right before his sleeping time
  • 20 minutes after each meal 
  • After exercising

To make him familiar with the potty spot, I will always bring him back to the same pee pad area so that he can “mark” it as his terrority.

How To Handle Accidents?

If he happens to have any accidents (and I catch him in the act), I would simply interrupt him by clapping my hand and say “No”, then carry him to the right potty spot for him to continue his potty.

Once he has done his elimination, I will praise him and give him a reward. I do not yell at him for any accidents as I believe that does not help in the situation.

Any punishment (including yelling and losing temper) will only incur his fear towards me and might lead to other behavior issues.

For the cleanup of the mess, I will use some form of strong detergent or enzymatic pet cleaner. The idea is to completely remove the odor so that my puppy will not re-visit the spot again for his potty.

Using Crate – An Option?

If I’m away from home for more than 4 hours, I will place him in a crate. I have a bigger crate for him so that I can place his food and water in one corner of the crate and the pee pad in another corner (opposite end).

By placing him in a crate, I have also eliminated the risk of him having accidents in the house.

Remember that dogs do not like to do his elimination in the place where he had his meal, so make sure that you are getting a crate that is big enough to have the pee pad placed far away from his food.

Outdoor Potty Training

For outdoor potty training, the process of the training is quite similar to indoor except the potty area will be outside, rather than using pee pads. (You can certainly save some cost on the pee pads for outdoor potty :)).

You will need to select a suitable outdoor potty spot that your puppy could do his elimination at any time of the day, regardless of weather condition.

Pick A Suitable Outdoor Potty Spot

If you have a backyard, you could confine an area specially for his elimination. This potty area needs to be well sheltered from your home right to the spot as Yokie doesn’t “like” the feeling of getting wet. So in case of bad weather and he needs to do his elimination, the area had to be sheltered from the rain. 

He might not be doing his elimination instantly when you bring him outside for his potty. As the area is “new” to him, he might be sniffing around, exploring the area. This is his way of marking his territory and also a way for him to relax before potty

If he attempts to leave for another potty spot, bring him back again and use the command – “Go Potty”. Remember to reward him when he does his peeing correctly on your designated potty area. Patient is what you need to be successful in potty training your Yorkie!

Defining Dog’s Routine Schedule

This is a MUST to ensure the success of your potty training. With a well-defined routine, you will be able to know when to feed your Yorkie, his potty and exercising time.

As mentioned earlier in the post, a dog will need to go for his potty after his meal or exercise, so having a routine will help you to plan ahead and minimize any accident.

How Often Should You Take Your Yorkie Out To Potty?

You should use your puppy’s age to estimate how often he will need a potty break. Typically, young puppies will be able to hold their bladder for 1 hour for every month of age.

So if your Yorkie is 4 months old, he will be able to hold his bladder up to a max of 4 hours.

However, that doesn’t mean that you will only bring him for potty every 4 hours. You should start to learn more about his potty frequency and make the right potty schedule for him.

For instance, take note of how often he shows you his “potty” signals and what is your feeding schedule as he will need to go for potty after each meal.

Why Does Your Yorkie Keep Peeing Everywhere?

If your Yorkie still keep peeing everywhere despite potty trained, following might be the answer you are looking for:

Separation Anxiety

If your puppy is suffering from separation anxiety, he will tend to lose control and start to eliminate everywhere in the home.

Marking His Territory

Dogs use his urine as his way to mark and define his territory. If your Yorkie is doing this in your home when you have many visitors coming for a visit, it’s likely that he wants them to “know” that they are in his territories.

Medical Issue

If your puppy is suffering from some health illness such as urinary tract infections, bladder inflammation, arthritis or  kidney diseases, these can lead to his uncontrolled potty.

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How Long Does It Take To Potty Train Your Yorkie?

For my Yorkie, it takes about 4 weeks for him to be able to follow through his potty training and another 4 weeks to be fully trained (accident free).

Of course, how fast your puppy will be potty trained depends on his personality and how persistent and consistent you are with your training.