Contrary to popular belief, housetraining or housebreaking Yorkies is not impossible. Because of their stubborn tendencies, they may not be the easiest breed to housetrain, but with a little dedication and consistency you should have no issues training them
What is the earliest I can begin potty training my Yorkie? The bladder is usually not fully developed until approximately 8 weeks, so I wouldn’t recommended potty training until then. At that point, the puppy will begin to learn how to control bathroom urges – this is a good time to start. Any time before then you run the risk of confusing the pup and causing unnecessary anxiety.
What’s the first step? The most obvious step that is sometimes overlooked is providing the puppy with a place to relieve himself at all times. Some like newspaper, others prefer imitation grass. I personally like a good, thick puppy pad because they are usually lined with thin plastic at the bottom to prevent leaking. Be sure to designate a specific location for potty training that is within the pup’s line of sight but not too close to their sleeping area.
Create a schedule. By far the easiest and most effective way of training a Yorkie for long-term housebreaking is to create a feeding schedule. This is the primary reason I dislike automatic feeders. Decide which times of the day you will be able to feed and take them outside. Puppies require a much higher level of commitment here in that they eat more often throughout the day. Typically, puppies should eat as many times per day as they are old in months. For Yorkies, the number is usually slightly lower. Take them to the designated area approximately fifteen minutes after they are done eating.
Creating a perimeter around the designated area is a good idea for drawing the puppy to the correct place, but this technique should only be used if the enclosed area is large enough for them to feel enough “distance” from the area. Naturally, dogs (especially adults) do not like relieving themselves anywhere near areas they inhabit for long periods of time. These are their “safe areas”.
Use positive reinforcement. Do not stress if he/she accidentally misses; the key here is to keep it simple for them. If he relieves himself on to the puppy pad, make sure to thank him. Say “Good potty!” or “Good pee-pee!” with an excited tone of voice, even if they miss. Puppies often miss the pad accidentally while they are still training, so don’t be too hard on them. My rule of thumb is if at least one foot is touching the pad, it counts. Don’t wait until they are finished; do it while they are still in action. Believe me, they will have no idea what you’re talking about no more than a second or two after. You want for them to develop one association at a time, with the first one being ”happy human” and “pottying on puppy pad”. So, without startling them, praise them while they are in action.
Mistakes can and will happen. If you happen to catch your Yorkie making a mistake, the obvious thing to do here is to reprimand them. The key phrase is “if you happen to catch” them.
If you do not catch them in the act, I am promising you right now that they will not be able to associate the action, the location, or the mess, with you being angry. They may cower and be afraid because you seem angry and, yes, they will be able to smell that it is theirs, but they will not truly understand the wrongdoing. Dogs simply do not have a very high level of association skills like us humans do. Reprimanding them after the fact will only confuse them! Simply pick up the mess with paper towels and place it on top of the puppy pad, remove some of the odor with vinegar, and try to keep a closer eye on them next time.
If you do catch them in the act, say “bad pee-pee” or “bad potty” in a low, stern tone of voice while they are in action. Say it with confidence, but don’t scream. Pick up the mess with paper towels and place the soiled towel on top of the puppy pad, or designated area. Then, take them to the designated area. This is why positive reinforcement is so important, because if you regularly praise your pet for good behavior, they will take your discipline much more seriously. Instinctively, when the puppy smells excrement on the pad, they will want to associate the two with each other. Don’t be frustrated if they don’t “get it” at first, they will eventually. Patience is key!
Getting them to go outside. Puppy pads are meant to be temporary solutions only. The ultimate goal here should be to teach your Yorkie the regular habit of going in a certain area, at a certain time, without a puppy pad.
With each and every successful potty time, move the puppy pad closer and closer to the desired area. Once the puppy pad reaches the desired area, your Yorkie has completed the housebreaking process. You should praise them and give them a treat. The next step is to completely remove the puppy pad.
Eliminating the use of puppy pads. When you first stop placing potty pads in the designated area, your Yorkie might look around and wonder where it went. They may even look at you and whimper. They’ll go eventually, and I’m willing to be that it will be in the same place the puppy pad should have been! Try your best to watch for the action, and praise them right away. Maybe even give them a treat. Your Yorkie has successfully been housetrained!
Housebreaking adult Yorkies. Housetraining an adult Yorkie requires more patience than housetraining a puppy, but is absolutely possible. The process is the same as described above for puppies with a few minor differences that I will address here. The first and most obvious difference is that adult Yorkies can be more stubborn and, well, daring than their puppy counterparts. I will stress here yet again that the key is consistency. Even when you find yourself tired, lazy, or frustrated with housebreaking, you need to be consistent with discipline! Just remember that every time you let things slide, you will only end up prolonging the training process.
The second difference simply lies in the amount of times adult Yorkies eat per day, usually about two to three times. This makes it even more important to develop a regular schedule and stick by it so that they can have regular, more predictable bowel movements. In short, it is a great way to prevent accidents and distress. Take them to their designated spot about fifteen minutes after eating, and always praise them for doing well. That goes for both during the initial training period, and for the rest of their lives. Never stop reinforcing your Yorkie’s good habits in a positive manner, and you’ll always have a well-behaved companion at your side.