How To Potty Train A Yorkie: Training Challenges

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Potty training is one of the most difficult challenges of raising a puppy for a pet owner — and it’s safe to say that Yorkie potty training comes with many of its own unique advantages and challenges. To potty train a Yorkie, you’ll need to approach the situation with a well-informed plan and a strong commitment. As long as you’re dedicated to providing a predictable routine and strong reinforcement to your Yorkie, you’ll quickly find your work rewarded.

To potty train a Yorkshire Terrier, you’ll need to develop a thorough and realistic potty training plan. If you have a Yorkie puppy, the plan should adjust as they grow older and have a larger urinary system and better impulse control. You’ll need to be committed to supervising your Yorkie, providing consistent reinforcement and discipline, and ensuring they have a potty routine they can rely on. And most importantly, you’ll need to be dedicated to helping your Yorkie succeed.

How Is Yorkie Potty Training Different From Potty Training Other Dog Breeds?

Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent animals that empathize with their owners and respond well to training. This dog breed is exceptionally clever and packs a lot of personality, but unfortunately, they can be pretty stubborn. Prospective Yorkie owners should be sure they can devote all the time and energy necessary to train one of these beautiful dogs.

Several key differences between Yorkies and other dog breeds can make them challenging to train. Yorkshire Terriers have a strong prey drive, so owners must focus on training their dogs to focus on the immediate task and ignore distractions. The breed is also highly energetic, so they’ll need to be provided with plenty of stimulation to keep their behavior in check.

5 Steps to Potty Training a Yorkie

how to potty train a yorkie

1. Establish Your Expectations

Potty training is an enormous challenge for any dog owner, but unfortunately, it can be significantly more challenging when the owner sets unrealistic expectations for training. Successful training takes time — often between 4 and 6 months — and depending on your dog’s personality and time commitment, it may take even longer. 

Rather than focusing on a ‘deadline’ for having your dog potty trained, you should commit to providing consistent potty breaks and reliable positive reinforcement. You’ll quickly find your dog thriving and learning, even if it may not be at your intended pace. 

It’s important to note that if you have a Yorkie puppy, you’ll need to adjust their routine based on their age. As a rule of thumb, puppies can generally hold their pee for one hour for every month of age. Once they’ve started holding it in for six to eight hours, you should maintain that routine and ensure it stays consistent.

2. Make Your Potty Training Plan

Once you know what realistic Yorkie potty training looks like, it’s time to start planning how to train your dog. You should choose a bathroom area that will be used for your Yorkie every time, like the front yard, and ensure that they’re brought here (and supervised) the whole time. 

You should also plan how to supervise your dog the rest of the time. If your dog can poop or pee in the house without being noticed, you won’t be able to discipline bad behavior effectively. You should use a tether or playpen if you can stay at home, and consider crate training your Yorkie if you’re away from home for extended periods. 

While many dog owners utilize puppy pads as part of their Yorkie training routine, it’s important to stay away from using a pee pad, except in the case of an emergency. While pee pads may contain accidents in one space, they do not eliminate the urine smell from peeing on the floor. Pad training will not teach your Yorkie to eliminate outside but will teach them to contain their accidents in one area of your house. Your Yorkshire Terrier may also start to mistake carpets for pee pads, which will be difficult to train out of them.

3. Maintain A Reliable Routine

It’s safe to say that one of the most important aspects of potty training is consistency. Your Yorkie pup should be able to predict when they’ll have the next chance to relieve themselves — if they can’t rely on having a potty break, they’ll be significantly more prone to having accidents. Your Yorkie puppy should be taken to go potty at intervals of an hour for every month old they are. More senior Yorkies should go potty every 6 to 8 hours, but elderly and incontinent Yorkies may need more frequent potty breaks.

It’s also important to ensure that you have established a regular potty spot for your Yorkie, so they can better recognize when they are expected to relieve their tiny bladder!

4. Give Your Yorkie Consistent Reinforcement

A lack of consistent behavioral reinforcement is one of the most common issues that cause failure to potty train. Yorkies are highly intelligent and observant dogs, and they rely on being able to predict their owner’s behavior and feelings. For this reason, you should use the exact words to denote when your dog is taken to the potty area (like “go pee” or “go potty”) and should immediately reward and praise them with treats once they’ve gone potty.

5. Ensure Your Training Is Thorough

In many cases, especially with young puppies, it isn’t enough to provide consistent potty breaks. Since they don’t have a high level of bladder control, they also need active supervision and help to become potty trained. You should ensure that your Yorkie is given opportunities to go potty when they wake up and go to bed, shortly after they’ve had meals, and whenever you come home. As their control improves, you can establish a different routine depending on your needs by observing which breaks they use to go potty.

The Most Common Potty Training Challenges

yorkie potty training challenges

Potty training Yorkies is difficult, but it can be manageable as long as you’re prepared to address the challenges that come with training. Some of the most common issues that Yorkie owners encounter when attempting to train their dog is marking behavior, inconsistent routines, and odor-related issues.

If your Yorkshire Terrier isn’t neutered or spayed, they may experience compulsions to pee to leave their scent in the area. This is particularly true if dog odors are left in the area. Unfortunately, as a result, marking habits often worsen as time goes on. You should use enzyme-based dog odor eliminators to address this issue as soon as possible and have your dog spayed or neutered. 

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The Bottom Line

Make sure that throughout the entire potty training process, your dog is consistently given opportunities to go potty and is reliably rewarded with treats and praise for good behavior. As long as you consistently remain dedicated to potty training your dog, it won’t be long before you start seeing the rewards of your hard work.

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