How to Potty Train Small Dogs

If your small dog is proving to be a challenge to potty train, start it on a simple routine. Since small dogs have small bladders, frequently take your dog outside to a designated space. Encourage it to toilet using command words and reward it with verbal praise or treats when it successfully goes. Be consistent in your expectations and your dog will soon get the hang of toileting in the appropriate place.

Start potty training as soon as you can. If you’re bringing the new dog home, ensure that you’re ready to begin training immediately. The sooner your small dog associates toileting with the appropriate space, the easier it will be to train it.

  • Keep in mind that all breeds are different and your small dog is an individual. Some dogs pick up potty training quickly while others need more practice.
  • If your dog is still a puppy, you can start the training process right away, but remember that puppies under 8 weeks old have poor bladder control and won’t be able to get it down perfectly until they’re older.
Choose a designated place to toilet. Pick a place outside where you’d like your small dog to go. When you take your dog outside, walk it right to the spot. Avoid letting it wander around or run off when it’s time to toilet.

  • Be in the habit of letting the dog toilet first thing when you go outside. Then let your dog go for a walk or play once it’s finished.
Make potty breaks part of the daily schedule. If your small dog is still a puppy, you’ll need to take it to the toilet spot every 20-30 minutes, which gives your puppy a better chance of being in the toilet spot at the right time. If your small dog is an adult, plan on taking your dog outside at regular intervals throughout the day. For example, give your small dog the chance to toilet:

  • First thing in the morning
  • Right before bed at night
  • After being in a crate
  • After meals or drinking
Be consistent in your expectations. Dogs learn best by repetition, so stick with your toileting routine every day. If you don’t follow your own schedule, the dog will be confused and is more likely to have an accident.

  • For example, if you usually take your dog outside after meals, but forget to one day, your dog may have an accident because it’s used to going at a set time.


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