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Why Are Chihuahuas Hard to Potty Train?

Are you struggling to potty train a chihuahua? You’re not alone. Chihuahuas are known for being difficult to housebreak, and many pet owners find themselves at a loss when teaching their pups the basics of good bathroom etiquette. But why is it so hard to potty train a chihuahua? In this blog post, we’ll explore why these pint-sized pooches may be more challenging than other breeds when it comes to housebreaking.

The Basics of Potty Training a Chihuahua

chihuahua hard to potty train

Potty training aims to get your pet to utilize the outdoors (or a designated pad) to do their business rather than inside the house. It’s best to begin introducing designated potty areas as early as possible. For example, if you have a yard, set up a space for your Chihuahua to do their business and make sure to bring them there every time after waking up, eating, or drinking. 

Additionally, consistency and positive reinforcement are critical components in any successful training session. Stay vigilant of your pup’s behaviors and rewards when they uphold the rules you set out for them through verbal praise or treats. Remember that persistence will be essential and stay focused on the end goal.

Importance of Potty Training

When you bring a new puppy into your home, one of the first responsibilities is to begin the process of potty training. It can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you’re a new pet parent. However, the rewards of a well-trained dog far outweigh the effort put into training. 

Here are just a few reasons why potty training is essential for chihuahuas:

➧Health Benefits 

Not only will they be much cleaner if they use the bathroom outside, but regular walks will also help them stay healthy by getting exercise and fresh air. Additionally, since going to the bathroom outside can prevent them from eating their feces (a behavior known as coprophagia), it reduces the risk of health issues caused by consuming toxins found in feces like salmonella or E coli bacteria.

➧Avoid Unfavorable Accidents

An untrained chihuahua will have no idea where peeing or pooping is acceptable, and you’re likely to end up with some unpleasant surprises if you don’t take the time to teach them the right spots! Potty training will prevent these accidents and maintain a clean and hygienic home.

➧Strengthen Your Bond

It’s not just about convenience; it’s also about bonding with your pet. Taking your Chihuahua on regular outdoor trips can be a way to spend valuable quality time together while also enjoying the fresh air—it’s a win-win situation! Plus, teaching your pup new skills helps strengthen the bond between the two of you even further—something every pup parent loves seeing happen! 

➧Reduced Stress Levels

Fewer messes around the house mean less stress. It can be especially beneficial if you live in a small space or have multiple pets – no one wants to come home to piles of poop scattered all over the house!  

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➧Less Cleaning Time

Potty training your Chihuahua will mean less time spent cleaning up after them. It leaves more time for fun activities, like taking them for walks or playing fetch! Plus, it will reduce wear and tear on furniture, carpets, and floors caused by pet accidents.

Misconceptions About Training Chihuahuas

There are many false beliefs about potty training a Chihuahua. Some people mistakenly believe that tiny dogs like Chihuahuas are too stubborn or small to bother with the toileting process. This couldn’t be further from the truth – all puppies, regardless of size, can be taught good behaviors with proper guidance and patience.

Another common myth is that they need a lot of treats or rewards to learn appropriately. While rewards can be effective in reinforcing desired behaviors, they should not be overused – keep them as a tool to reward good behavior rather than a primary training method.

Finally, some people think that punishing their Chihuahua for mistakes made during potty training will lead to better results in the long run. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be more incorrect. Instead, you should offer positive reinforcement whenever possible, as this will encourage your pup to continue doing the correct thing every time they go outside to do their business.

Reasons Why Are Chihuahuas Hard to Potty Train 

chihuahua hard to potty train

When it comes to potty training, Chihuahuas can be stubborn and difficult to train. There are several explanations for why these canines may prove challenging:

🐕Small Bladder

Chihuahuas have small bladders, so they usually need to go on more frequent trips outside. Chihuahuas struggle to hold it in for long periods between bathroom breaks, thus creating additional frustration as accidental messes can often occur during this period. 


Chihuahuas are also incredibly independent-minded dogs who know what they want and won’t take “no” for an answer easily—as such, getting them to obey commands can be challenging. Additionally, they will quickly become confused and unresponsive if you don’t stay consistent with your expectations and rewards system.

🐕Fearful Nature

Chihuahuas are a very intelligent breed but also fearful, particularly of loud noises or unfamiliar people/animals. This can make them easily startled and forget about the training you have taught them. 

🐕Territorial Instincts

Chihuahuas are notoriously territorial, making training them difficult. If you have multiple pets in the house, your dog may feel the need to mark their territory and be resistant to using a designated potty area. 


Like all other pets, age plays a role in how simple (or challenging) it will be to toilet-train your Chihuahua. Starting potty training at an early age is usually easier, as younger puppies tend to have a quicker learning ability compared to older ones. Older chihuahuas may have already cemented certain habits that need unlearning before they can get started with new ones!

How To Potty Train A Chihuahua

Potty training your furry friend is important in establishing a loving and harmonious bond with your Chihuahua. While it can be challenging to train any pet, with the right approach and patience, you can have a fully trained chihuahua in no time. Here are five essential steps to help get you started:

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📍Establish a Potty Spot

Before beginning the potty-training process, it’s crucial to establish a designated spot you want your pup to use as their ‘potty spot.’ Make sure this spot is easily accessible and always keep it clean; animals tend to favor areas marked with their scent.

Chihuahuas will generally use the same spot each time, so ensure it’s somewhere you won’t mind them doing their business or having accidents. Only let your Chihuahua roam free in the house once they are potty trained, as this will make it harder to control where they go.

📍Set up a Consistent Schedule

Once you establish the potty spot, you must create a consistent schedule for when your pup will go outside to do their business. Make it a habit to do it at the same time every day for the same amount of time, whether first thing in the morning or right after meals. This will help build a routine and allow them to learn quickly over time! 

Whenever your pup is taken outside to the potty spot, make sure they are on its leash so it can’t wander off and get distracted by something else.

📍Use Verbal Cues

Associate a verbal cue with the activity, as this helps to reinforce desired behaviors. When taking your pup out for a bathroom break, use the same word or phrase each time. Simple keywords like “go pee” or “go poop” can help cement their understanding of expected behaviors. 

Repetition is key in this process, as chihuahuas often need to hear the same instructions to learn them effectively. As a small breed, they also respond well to high-pitched tones or excited voices – this helps to reinforce desired behaviors and keep them motivated.

📍Reward Good Behavior

Positive reinforcement is an effective method for teaching your Chihuahua to use its potty spot regularly. Rewarding them with treats, praise, or toys when they go to the correct area helps encourage them to repeat this behavior.

Be consistent with the reward system. If you give your Chihuahua a treat every time they use their potty spot but then stop giving treats after a while, they won’t understand why their good behavior isn’t being rewarded and may become unresponsive. 

📍Correct Negative Behavior

Contrarily, if your pup does something wrong (such as peeing somewhere other than their designated area), correct them by saying ‘no’ firmly but calmly – don’t scream or punish them harshly, as this could have an adverse effect on the entire process!

Be sure to clean up messes immediately and thoroughly; otherwise, your pup may be attracted to the same spot again out of habit. 

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📍Be Patient

Establishing good habits takes time, and some pups will learn quicker than others, so keep going if it seems like they are not making progress. Remember that puppies have limited attention spans and may require repeated reminders before fully understanding the concept.

Helpful Supplies For Potty Training a Chihuahua

Potty-training a chihuahua doesn’t have to be difficult if you come prepared. With all the right resources in place, you’ll be able to get your furry friend toilet-trained in no time.

The following are some useful materials to have on hand before beginning training:

🔹Dog Crate 

A crate is an invaluable tool for potty-training your Chihuahua since it helps create a safe space for them while they learn how to use the bathroom outside. Choose a large crate enough for your pup to stand up and turn around but not so big that they have enough room to pee in one corner and sleep in another. You should also cover the crate with a sheet or blanket because the darkness will help calm them down if they get scared or overwhelmed while inside. 

🔹Pee Pads 

Pee pads are designed specifically for indoor potty training and can serve as a temporary solution until your pup has mastered going outside. Place several pee pads around the house (especially near doorways) so your pet learns where it’s okay to go when nature calls. Be sure to change them out regularly because if they become too saturated with urine, your pup may think it’s okay to pee on other things like furniture or rugs!  

🔹Cleaning Supplies  

When accidents happen—and they will—you should have all the necessary cleaning supplies on hand so that you can quickly clean up after them without fuss or delay. This includes puppy pads (or newspaper if you prefer), an enzymatic cleaner, paper towels, and rubbing alcohol (for sanitizing). Cleaning supplies are also essential for keeping your pup healthy and safe during potty training. 

🔹Leash & Harness 

Take your pup out often — at least every few hours — so that they learn where it’s acceptable to relieve themselves. A leash and harness are important for controlling your Chihuahua outdoors and teaching them where it is appropriate to do their business. When they take a successful potty break, treat them with positive reinforcement!

🔹Toys and Treats 

Toys and treats are two more essential items for potty training a Chihuahua. You’ll want to use toys as rewards when they complete an action, such as going outside or using the pad correctly. Treats can also be used as rewards, but do just what is necessary since this could lead to unwanted weight gain in your pup! Additionally, having plenty of toys available will keep dogs engaged during playtime, which can help with overall training success and behavioral issues down the line! 

Using Litter Box in Potty Training

Yes! You read it right, a litter box! Litter boxes can be a helpful tool in potty training a Chihuahua, especially for those who live in a condo or apartment or have limited access to outdoor spaces. Litter boxes provide a designated indoor potty area for your Chihuahua, making it easier to control accidents and messes.

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To successfully use a litter box, make sure you purchase the right size for your pup and fill it with a particular type of litter (easily digestible and not too abrasive on their sensitive paws). Additionally, place the litter box in a quiet area of the house where your Chihuahua can easily access it, as this will help them feel more comfortable using it. Once they are familiar with their new ‘toilet,’ they may even prefer it over other areas of the house!

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Potty Training

Indoor and outdoor potty training are two standard methods for teaching your Chihuahua when and where it’s appropriate to relieve themselves. Both options have benefits and drawbacks; decide which fits your specific situation and Chihuahua’s needs and preferences.

🐶Indoor Potty Training


  • Convenient: Ideal for those who live in apartments, condos, or areas with harsh weather conditions.
  • Less intimidating: For shy or nervous Chihuahuas, it can be less intimidating and stressful.
  • Increased control: You have more control over the potty area, making it easier to keep clean and free of odors.


  • More clean-up: It requires more frequent cleaning of the designated potty area.
  • Difficulty transitioning: If your Chihuahua has been indoor potty trained, transitioning to outdoor may be more difficult.
  • Inconsistent messages: If your Chihuahua is allowed to relieve themselves indoors sometimes and outdoors at others, they may become confused about where it’s appropriate to potty.

🐶Outdoor Potty Training


  • Natural environment: Allows Chihuahuas to relieve themselves in a natural setting.
  • Fewer accidents: Allows more space and opportunities to go potty, reducing the likelihood of accidents indoors.
  • Healthier: Exposes Chihuahuas to fresh air and sunlight, promoting a healthy lifestyle.


  • Weather constraints: Outdoor can be challenging during severe weather conditions, such as intense heat or cold, rain, or snow.
  • Fear or anxiety: For shy or nervous Chihuahuas, going potty outdoors can be stressful, especially in new or unfamiliar surroundings.
  • More time-consuming: Requires more time and effort, as you’ll need to take your Chihuahua out for regular potty breaks.

Common Mistakes When Potty Training a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and can be trained relatively quickly, but certain mistakes can lead to a longer and more complicated process.

📌Failing To Set Clear Rules   

Failing to set clear rules can have far-reaching consequences, making it one of the most common mistakes made during this process. Setting up unclear boundaries could lead to confusion and frustration, as your pet won’t have a frame of reference for what activities are allowed and aren’t. 

Establishing limitations and staying consistent with those rules is paramount when successfully toilet training any animal and is especially crucial for a Chihuahua’s generally stubborn demeanor.

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📌Giving Too Much Freedom Too Soon

While most dogs should be able to pick up on potty training relatively quickly with consistent reinforcement, giving too much freedom too soon can lead to confusion or frustration from both sides of the equation.

If you introduce too much freedom before they fully understand what’s expected from them—like being able to roam around off leash while they’re still learning—they may struggle more with picking up on commands or getting used to    

📌Not Giving Enough Attention During Sessions

While it may not seem like too big of a deal if you don’t give much attention during potty sessions, it can significantly impact how quickly and successfully your pup learns its new behavior. By providing attention during these moments, your Chihuahua will learn faster and feel more comfortable and secure with their new routine – leading to greater success overall!  

📌Choosing The Wrong Potty Spot

Choosing the wrong spot for potty times can greatly hinder progress in the early stages of learning. If possible, pick an area away from distractions such as toys or other pets and one with designated “potty spots” already set up, such as grassy areas or gravel patches (depending on where you live). 

📌Not Taking the Weather Into Account

It’s important to remember that extreme temperatures can affect whether or not your pup goes outside – it can be too hot, too cold, and rainy or windy. If it makes you feel uneasy, imagine how much it hurts them. Consider investing in a doggy door, so your pup can go in and out without having to depend on you being there, which can provide more protection from inclement weather conditions. 

Additionally, training should always occur when outdoor temperatures are comfortable so that your Chihuahua doesn’t associate potty training with climate-related stress.

📌Using Punitive Measures

Punitive measures have slight effectiveness in housebreaking any dog and are ineffective with small and timid dogs like Chihuahuas. Although it is understandable that one may become frustrated with their pup when accidents happen, punishing them won’t necessarily make the learning process go faster and could even cause detrimental effects. 

Instead of scolding or punishing them for mistakes, like going to the wrong place, reward them for correct behavior. Marking proper behavior by using treats or positive language helps to remind your Chihuahua that they should do this action again in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.When is the best time to begin potty training my Chihuahua?

Your Chihuahua will be ready to begin potty training at the age between 3 and 4 months when they have more control over their bladder and bowel functions. However, every Chihuahua is different, so you may need to start earlier or later, depending on your individual dog’s needs.

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Q. How can I know whether my Chihuahua needs to go potty?

Your Chihuahua may show signs that they must go potty, such as whining, barking, circling, sniffing, or going to the door. Observing your dog’s behavior and creating a consistent routine can help you anticipate when they may need to go. Additionally, taking them out at regular intervals (such as after meals, playtime, and waking up from naps) can also increase the chances of successfully catching them before they have an accident indoors.

Q. What should I do if my Chihuahua begins marking?

If your Chihuahua starts marking, you should take the following steps:

  • Neuter or spay your dog: Marking is more common in intact dogs, so neutering or spaying your Chihuahua can often help reduce this behavior.
  • Clean up the marked areas thoroughly: Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove any scent that might attract your dog back to that spot.
  • Address any underlying medical issues: Marking can indicate a health issue, so it’s crucial to have a veterinarian rule out any medical problems.
  • Identify and remove triggers: Pay attention to when and where your Chihuahua marks and try to determine what might be triggering the behavior. Common triggers include changes in the home environment, unfamiliar people or animals, or increased territorial behavior.

Q. What is the average duration for potty training a Chihuahua puppy?

Depending on the individual dog, potty training a Chihuahua puppy might take anywhere from 4 to 6 months. However, Chihuahuas may need more time to learn, while others may pick it up faster. The process can depend on factors such as age, temperament, previous training, and consistency of the training program.

Q. Is using training pads an effective method for potty training a puppy?

Training pads can be a valuable tool in the training process for some puppies, but they are not a substitute for taking your puppy outside to eliminate. Training pads can be helpful in situations where you are unable to take your puppy outside as often as needed. However, using training pads might make it more difficult for your puppy to learn to use the outdoors as a toilet; therefore, move your puppy away from training pads gradually and teach them the right way.

Final Words

Potty training a chihuahua requires consistency and patience on your part. Keep in mind that all dogs have different personalities, and some may take longer than others to learn the ropes, so don’t get frustrated if it takes more time than expected. With a bit of dedication and commitment, you will soon be able to enjoy a house-trained chihuahua of your own!