Yorkies may be small, and therefore their “accidents” are not as detrimental to your home, but starting off on the right foot with potty training your new Yorkie will save you and your new addition frustration and stress down the road.
Questions about Potty Training Yorkies
When it comes to potty training Yorkies, it’s important to ask the right questions. That way, you can always be prepared and know what you’re getting into!
So, here are the questions we’re most commonly asked and their respective answers.
Are Yorkies Hard or Easy to Potty Train?
We’re asked a lot why Yorkies are so hard to house train. However, we don’t think that this is always the case. Of course, training is going to be a process and can be easier or harder depending on the pup.
In our experience, it wasn’t too hard to train a Yorkie compared to other dog breeds. To ensure that you have the best chance of a smooth training process, make sure you are as diligent as can be to provide the best structure and consistency for your puppy.
Later on, we’ll get into ways to ensure the most rewarding training outcomes.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Developing Potty Habits in Yorkies
How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Yorkie?
Something to note is that this varies for each and every Yorkie based on a few factors. Even with that said, the typical timeframe of your Yorkie’s potty training should take about 4 months.
For these 4 months, they will learn (for the most part) how to use puppy pads or use the outdoors, depending on your preferences. If you go the puppy pad route, you might have a head start since many breeders begin training Yorkies on them even before you take them home.
After the first training period, you will probably have to wait another 4 months before your Yorkie puppy is completely accident-free in the house. Patience is key!
How Long Can Yorkies Go Between Potty Breaks?
One of the reasons that potty training a Yorkie takes so much patience is because they anatomically aren’t quite equipped to hold it for long periods of time. Their bladders aren’t fully developed yet, and puppies still need time to gain full control of the muscles around them.
If you’re wondering how long exactly you can expect a Yorkie puppy to hold it, there’s a handy rule of thumb to go by. This rule is basically that for every month of your Yorkie puppy’s age, think that they can hold it for one hour.
So, if you have a 4-month-old Yorkie puppy, they can hold it for 4 hours. If you have a 2-month-old, they can hold it for 2 hours.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How To Pee Pad Train Your Yorkie
At What Age Should a Yorkie be Housebroken?
Again, this will vary based on the quality of the training process, but the general age you should be looking at is 7 months. At this age, it’s common for Yorkies to be housebroken, but you still should be keeping an eye out for potential accidents just in case.
Indoors or Outdoors: What is the Best Way to Potty Train a Yorkie?
Sometimes the question arises of how to best potty train a Yorkie, indoors on puppy pads or outdoors. The answer to this will depend on a few things, but the most important factors are your puppy’s lifestyle as well as your living situation.
If you’re in a spot where it would be hard to let your puppy outside often, such as an apartment building, it’s no question that you’d want to go with indoor puppy pads. As a bonus, many breeders start this type of training early, so it could expedite the overall process.
Suppose you live in a house and have daily availability to let your puppy outside to do their business. Additionally, you might be able to take them on walks each day. In this case, you might find it easier and more manageable to start outdoor training early. Of course, the area you live matters too and it’s good to get an understanding of how suitable your area is for dog training outdoors and what training options are available. Dog Academy has a series of local guides for this purpose, like this example.
Again, assess your situation and decide which is the best way to go, as there is no one answer!
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Yorkies in Heat: Signs, Cycles, Length & Symptoms
Toy Breeds and Potty Training Yoy Breed Puppies
Toy breeds are notoriously harder to potty train than larger breed dogs. There are several reasons for this (seemingly unfair!) truth.
- They are used to being carried outside and therefore have never learned how to alert their owners when they need to go potty.
- They have to go more often. Since Yorkies are so small, they simply cannot hold their bladders and bowels as long as their larger canine cousins. This is especially true of puppies of all breeds.
It’s hard to break a habit if the owner isn’t aware it’s happening. For large dogs, it can be hard to miss when they have an accident in the middle of the living room floor. For Yorkies, however, owners just may not notice if and when their tiny dog has urinated—especially if it’s on the carpet. And when your Yorkie’s “accident” isn’t followed up with any corrective behavior (like immediately being taken outside), they may learn to think this is acceptable behavior.
If you are experiencing difficulty training your new Yorkie, keep reading to find helpful tips, tricks, and training methods to housebreak your new pup.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Is Your Yorkie Licking and Chewing Their Paws? All About Dog’s Excessive Licking Habits
When to Start Potty Training Your Dog
If you have adopted from a reputable breeder, then hopefully they will have already started on the basics of potty training before you even pick your pup up. Since most puppies are raised in a whelping box (a low-walled box where mother and puppies spend their first several weeks of life), they have probably already developed the instinct that tells them not to eliminate where they eat and sleep.
If however, you have purchased your dog from a pet store where the dog has spent most of its life in a cage (where it has had no other choice but to eliminate where it eats and sleeps), it is still not too late to break the habit. And start as soon as you get home! Puppies as young as 8 weeks can be started on crate training.
Crate training is the most popular and successful method of housebreaking dogs of any breed. To get started, you will need a wire crate with a plastic bottom (be sure to get one with a removable bottom which is much easier to clean!) The idea of crate training works with the idea that dogs do not like to eliminate where they eat or sleep.
To start, only have your new puppy out of the crate when you are actively playing with him or he is eating. Do not let him wander around the house when you are not paying attention. This is key—because you don’t want to give your pup the chance to potty unless he is outside. As soon as you are done playing with your pup, put him back in his crate.
The next time you want to take your dog out, immediately go outside on a leash and take him to the same general area of the yard. Have a key phrase or word to tell your dog it’s time to eliminate. Then, if and when he does eliminate, praise your dog with words or even a treat while you are still outside. Puppies should be taken outside to go potty at least every 1.5 to 2 hours.
And resist the temptation to pick up your puppy and carry him outside. It may be a lot faster—but your dog is not learning that the act of walking to the door is to signal that he needs to eliminate.
It is important to make the crate feel like a safe and secure place for your puppy and not a place of punishment. To achieve this ideal, try putting a soft blanket and favorite toy inside. For Yorkies, especially when they are puppies, be sure to partition the crate so that the area they are allowed is just big enough for them to be comfortable. If a tiny Yorkie is put in a 5-foot-long crate, then they might not mind eliminating it on the other end!
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Make Your Yorkie Less Aggressive and Angry – You Must Do This
How to Potty Train a Yorkie Puppy Outside – At What Age Are Yorkies Potty Trained?
There are a lot of benefits of successfully potty training a Yorkie puppy outside. As long as you’re there to let them out and they get plenty of structured training, you can say goodbye to accidents in the house.
However, that’s not to say that it can’t be a process. If you want to potty train a Yorkie outside, it won’t happen just overnight. So, something you’ll really want to focus on is getting the best, most efficient outcomes.
In this section, we’re going to go over how to potty train a Yorkie outside that ensures a rewarding experience for both you and your pup.
Pay close attention and make sure you follow the tips!
Find a Designated Spot
The first aspect of potty training a Yorkie outside is definitely finding the exact spot you want to train them in. This will spurn lots of benefits, such as consistency, a clean yard, and ultimately a better training experience.
Consistency is of the utmost importance when it comes to potty training a Yorkie. This is not to say that training won’t work at all if you let them go anywhere in the yard, because it will; however, having one spot that you take them to might expedite the overall process.
Puppies thrive on consistency and structure, and your lawn will have a better chance of staying clear as a result. If the puppy knows early on that it has a designated spot on the lawn to go, you can avoid stepping in poop when strolling outside!
Pick a spot that’s broad enough so that the puppy won’t go in the same exact spot each time, as that could ruin the appearance of the lawn over time.
Make sure to pick a spot that’s out of the way, both so you don’t encounter it and so your Yorkie is sheltered from the elements—they still have to go, even when it’s raining!
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Stop Biting Habit in Yorkie
Prepare for the Training Session
The next important aspect of Yorkie potty training is knowing exactly when to take them outside for a session. Knowing the time frames for when Yorkie puppies will need to go and the actions that trigger it can help in reinforcement.
Yorkie puppies are most likely to need to do their business at these times: right after waking up and right before going to bed as well as post-playing, eating, or exercising.
It’s also important to remember the rule of thumb we talked about in an earlier section. If your puppy is 1 month old, it will only be able to hold it for about 1 hour, and so on!
Definitely keep an eye out for when your pup will need to go.
Give Them a Command Outside
Once you’ve identified the right times to take them outside, it’s time to start training. Move them to the designated spot you want them to associate with doing business first. Once there, you should wait with them until they go.
Before they do, give them a command, which can be anything you want it to be that triggers them to go do business.
Keep giving them the same verbal command until they relieve themselves, continuing until they’re done.
Puppy training works primarily through memory and association training. By repeating the command throughout the whole process, their brain will start to associate your command with the action—and the spot you chose!
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Make Training of Yorkies More Rewarding
Make Sure Your Puppy is Confined During Training
Something very important to remember is that you should have some sort of system to keep your pup’s movement under control during potty training sessions. It’s imperative that you always keep your pup under your supervision for the best results.
After all, Yorkie puppies can be incredibly curious, playful, and easily distracted by both outside and inside stimuli.
There are a few options you have to keep your puppy staying in one area. The best methods are crates, gates, playpens, or tethered leashes. Not all of these methods will work for outdoor training, so in that sense, you’ll want to use the classic leash.
When using a leash to ensure your dog stays in place, make sure it’s a harness leash instead of a collared leash. You don’t want to put unnecessary strain on your puppy’s neck, especially in the developmental stages where muscles and bones aren’t fully developed yet.
Inside, you’ll likely want to lean towards the playpen or puppy gates. When potty training a Yorkie puppy, it’s nice to let them roam but just in a smaller space. If you’re leaving the house, too, it can confine the potential accident area. In general, you should put food, water, and a pee pad in there, placing the pad as far away from the food as possible.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Another tip for a successful training experience is the consistent use of positive reinforcement. If you want to potty train a Yorkie, note that they will respond much better to positive training than negative.
When you see your Yorkie doing their business either on command or simply in the right spot, make it extra known that you are pleased with them. You can feed them a treat or give them some extra love right after!
Deal with Your Puppy’s Accidents Consistently
Something else to always have in the back of your mind is that your Yorkie puppy will remember how you react to accidents, so it’s important to be consistent.
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s important to avoid using negative feedback, as it might be counterproductive and stress your puppy out.
So, if an accident happens, they will keep you cool. If you catch them in the middle of an accident in the house, it’s okay to clap your hands and say “no!”. If you have time, an effective method to deal with an impending accident is to pick them up yourself and move them over to the pad.
If you are able to gently let them know that what they are doing is not right, it will be much more effective than scolding them overtly. Simply showing them the right thing to do will be enough over time.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Preparing Your Yorkie for a Trip in a Car
Don’t Forget to Train Your Yorkie for Nighttime
Now, we know that you can’t be up through all the hours of the night worrying whether an accident will happen. Ideally, your puppy will be on a similar sleep schedule to you, but there will be times when they have to go and you’re not up yet.
For this reason, it’s paramount that you let a potty-training Yorkie pup have access to a pee pad at night inside the house. This is yet another reason to implement something like a playpen, where they can take care of their needs inside a confined space.
At first, your pup will need to do its business multiple times throughout the nighttime. This will decrease as they age and gain fuller control of their functions. Additionally, you can train your Yorkie to sleep when you do.
Nothing will happen instantly, so it’s important that you look at how to train your Yorkie so that you’re both in sync sleep-wise.
How to Potty Train a Yorkie on Puppy Pads
If you live in an apartment or are constantly on the go, it’s not as realistic for you to train your Yorkie to only go outside. In fact, you’ll probably be relying on indoor training pads for your Yorkie.
Potty training a Yorkie on puppy pads can help you immensely in the long run, and it’s an extra bonus that breeders tend to give the pups a head start in this area.
Once you have your puppy, though, the potty training is in your hands and you’ll want to know exactly what you can do to make the experience easier.
Here, we’ll give you some tips on how to potty train a Yorkie on puppy pads.
Designate a Spot for the Pad Inside
Just like in the outdoors training advice we gave, the need for consistency is still immense when it comes to potty training Yorkies. In order to make the overall process go faster and help reinforce, you should pick one spot for the pad to be in.
Whenever you clean out the pad, make sure to return it to this spot each time so your puppy always knows where to go.
Additionally, in the beginning, stages, you might consider using multiple puppy pads throughout the house. This could be a great idea if your house has multiple floors, or if your Yorkie likes to roam to different corners of the house.
If you choose to implement more than one pad, the same rule applies—always return them to the spots they were in.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Calm a “Jumping” Yorkie
Bring Them to the Pad in Advance
Again, this goes hand-in-hand with knowing how to anticipate your pup needing to do its business. Once you’ve realized your puppy’s time frame on when it needs to go and what triggers the urge, you can start advancing in the training process.
At that point, you’ll know to bring them to the puppy pad in advance, minutes before you know they’ll need to go. To reiterate, it’s most likely to be after waking up, eating, playing, exercising, or at night right before going to bed.
So, when you know it’s going to happen, bring them to the pad and start giving them the verbal command you’ve chosen. Keep saying the command to them before and during the process of relieving themselves so that they associate the words with the action.
Praise Them for Success
It’s so important to adequately praise your Yorkie puppy for using the bathroom at the right place and at the right time. You definitely want to positively reinforce that they are doing the right thing, and make sure the message is conveyed.
If you can, give them a treat or some kind of incentive, something that will make them happy and feel great! Whatever the reward is, whether it’s food, extra playtime, or verbal praise, make sure it’s immediate and worthwhile.
Over time, if you give them adequate praise, this will be one of the driving factors in your success in potty training a Yorkie. If they have something to look forward to and figure out how to get it, it’s only natural that they will start doing it more.
Eventually, the Yorkie puppy will be potty trained enough so that you can start weaning them off this process. After all, giving them a treat after using the bathroom well into adulthood is probably unnecessary and you could use those treats for other training!
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Considering Benefits of Crate Training for your Yorkie
Keep Your Cool if Accidents Happen
When you’re potty training a Yorkie, it’s no debate that accidents will absolutely happen—you just need to be prepared for them. In addition to just knowing how to clean up, you need to know how to convey a supportive temperament to your pup.
If and when accidents happen, it’s super important that you don’t accidentally blow up or raise your voice. If you do so and your Yorkie doesn’t know what they did wrong, it won’t be constructive in any way.
Something you want is for your Yorkie to be comfortable and stress-free during training, as both of these needs not being med could impede the whole process.
Keep your cool, it’s okay to clap your hands or move them to the pad quickly, but try to keep training as positive as possible.
Gradually Wean Them Off Multiple Puppy Pads
We mentioned in the first tip that it might be a good idea to use multiple puppy pads for younger Yorkies or bigger houses. That still stands, but as your Yorkie grows older that could be unnecessary.
After all, more puppy pads mean more work for you in order to maintain a clean house. Once your Yorkie is making adequate progress, you can start thinking about phasing them out of the multiple puppy pad method.
When potty training a Yorkie on puppy pads, you can eliminate them one by one but should do so very gradually. You should only start this once you are sure that your Yorkie is potty trained on pads, not just destinations.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Coping with Chewing Issues of Your Yorkie
Tips & Tricks for Housebreaking a Yorkie
Before we let you go today, we have a few more tips that should seriously help you in housebreaking a Yorkie. It’s not going to be super easy, but these tips and tricks will help ensure that it’s as wrinkle-free as possible.
Here they are:
Yorkie Potty Training Tips & Tricks
The number-one key to a successful Yorkie potty training is time management. You’ll have to make sure that you’re available when your puppy needs you the most. Make sure that if you’re getting a Yorkie puppy, you’re doing so at a time in your life when you’ll be able to train them.
Schedule the most consistent times for potty breaks. For example, if your puppy eats each day at 1:00, schedule the potty break for 1:15. Doing things like this at different intervals during the day will significantly improve your dog’s association. They’ll start pairing the time of day with the time to go!
As temperament goes, throughout the process you’ll have to be patient, consistent, and calm. Especially when accidents happen, your utmost priority is to make sure you don’t scare or stress out your puppy, as that could only make it worse.
The last tip is to do Yorkie potty training in an area where there are no rugs you’re not willing to part with or spend money to clean! Of course, there might be accidents in inopportune places, but you can mitigate this by using the confinement methods we talked about in the previous section.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: What Is A Teddy Bear Yorkie? Everything You Need to Know
Helpful Tips for Potty Training Your Yorkie and Teacup Yorkie
As noted above, puppies do not have the bladder size (or control) of older dogs. Mistakes will happen so try to stay calm when accidents do happen.
Feed on a schedule. Dogs like consistency, and being fed at the same time every morning and evening will help them learn a routine and make potty habits predictable. All dogs are different, but you will soon learn how often your dog needs to eliminate.
Try a bell on the door. Once your dog has been successfully crate-trained, you may want to consider hanging a bell on the door so your dog can learn to associate the sound of the bell with the door opening. This can be especially helpful with small breeds that can be so quiet—owners may not notice their dog walking to the door!
Use the right kind of cleaner—especially on carpet or other fabrics that retain odor. When accidents do happen, be sure to use a cleaner that is specifically for pet stains, which typically have enzymes that remove odor. Using the right cleaner will help prevent your dog from wanting to go to that same spot next time.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Housebreaking Challenges Yorkshire Terrier Owners Face
Punishing Your Yorkie
Most experts agree that punishing a dog for eliminating in the house is ineffective and even counter-productive: often, when an owner finds a puddle (or pile!) in the house, their first instinct is to go and get their dog and scold them over it. Since dogs have such short memory spans, what you are communicating to the dog is not that going in the house is bad, but that it’s the urine or feces that is bad. This usually leads the dog to eliminate in secret.
If you happen to catch your dog in the act, the best thing to do is to calmly and quickly take them outside to their designated potty spot.
What About Older Yorkie Dogs?
While most of the advice in this article is geared towards puppies, older dogs that are not housebroken can also be trained to potty outside. The most common issue, especially with rescued dogs, is that they have practically spent their entire lives in a wire cage that they have had no choice but to eliminate. Sadly, puppy mill dogs become used to lying in their own waste.
The solution to a dog coming from a rescue situation is patience and understanding. It can be hard to fathom that the outdoors can be a frightening place, but for a puppy mill dog, being in such a large and open space with never-before-seen sights and smells can be simply overwhelming. Add that to the fact that the act of eliminating is a very vulnerable undertaking because that is when an animal is most likely to be attacked.
Try taking your adult dog on a walk to see if he eliminates on his own. Keep distractions (like speaking to your dog) to a minimum so he can relax and unwind enough to be able to eliminate them. Crate training can still work in these situations, you just may have to take the dog outside more frequently to prevent them from eliminating in the crate. Be sure to offer lots of praise when he does potty outside.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How Much Does a Yorkie and Teacup Yorkie Cost?
Whether it’s a puppy or an adult dog, any age pooch can be housebroken. Remember patience is key; stay consistent with everything: schedules, rules, and responses. It is important to show your dog that you are the alpha, and when dogs detect changes in rules, they may take advantage of the situation by acting out