Are Chihuahuas Hard To Potty Train?


On the way back from the office, I was stopped by a Pet Shop to buy a new crate and exercise pen for my wife’s newly bought puppy. There, I was fascinated by a young fluffy Chihuahua puppy with her cute little face appealing me to hold her in my hands.

However, my wife’s words that “Chihuahua are extremely hard to potty train” quickly crossed my mind. I held myself back from raising that little pup.

After reaching home, I opened my laptop and started my search “Are Chihuahuas hard to potty train?” It came as no surprise for me to find that Chihuahuas dog breed are harder to potty train.

According to statistics gathered from DogTime, The American Kennel Club, MedNet Direct, and Pets4Homes, most of the top 25 dog breeds that are notoriously hard to potty train are small breed dogs. The list includes Jack Russell Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Cocker Spaniel and of course Chihuahuas (ranked 6th amongst 25). According to DogTime, the Basset Hound and Afghan Hound are also hard to potty train.

Are Chihuahuas Hard To Potty Train?


Ask someone who has potty trained a Chihuahua for training another one. You will most probably hear “I’d rather teach an octopus to put on a pair of tuxedo pants”.

Potty training a Chihuahua breed or any other dog breed is an essential process that every pet parent or pet owner must go through. You have to teach and train your four-legged itty-bitty friend to use the outside bathroom rather than inhouse bathroom.

However, the Chihuahuas are hard to potty train. They are a breed well-known for their stubborn streak to housebreak. Sometimes the Chihuahuas’ owners just lay out their pee pad and throw in the flag instead.

Chihuahuas are sensitive to wet and too cold conditions. They hate to go out on a severe cold or wet day which makes it difficult for the owner to house train them. Therefore, having a safe and separate place inside your house will make toilet training a Chihuahua comparatively easier.

Although, the Chihuahuas are hard to potty train, yet practically, any Chihuahuas can be potty-trained when correct and organized procedures are followed. You can start training your Chihuahuas to go potty at any age. But we recommend you start it when they are still a puppy or as soon as you bring them home. 

The Chihuahuas breed are quick leaners and companion dogs. However the stubborn streak of these tiny dogs will make potty training a difficult task, especially if you did not follow an extensive strategy.

Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are Hard To Potty Train


To potty train a Chihuahua is a hard job, yet not impossible. People who share their houses with a Chihuahua know better that this stubborn dog breed is hard to housetrain. However, Chihuahua is a quick learner. It isn’t that tough to house train him/her for pee and Poop using correct and proper procedures.

There are several reasons which make a Chihuahuas hard to house train. Some of these reasons are:

1. Chihuahuas Pee & Poop Often

You must understand that being small breed dogs, Chihuahuas have tiny bladders. Thus they need to eliminate frequently, especially if they drink more water or eat wet and canned dog food.

How long a Chihuahua can hold its bladder depends mostly upon its age, overall health and what it eats? Young Chihuahua puppies have more tiny bladder and less control over it so they can merely hold it for 1-3 hours.

However, as your Chihuahua grow old (5-7 years) and gain control over its bladder, it can hold its bladder for 6-8 hours. Thus, it may need to potty break thrice a day. An adult Chihuahua older than 12 years can hardly hold its bladder for 2-4 hours.

2. Chihuahuas Hate To Go Out When It’s Too Cold Or Wet 

Chihuahuas, being developed as a breed in Mexico where the climate is mostly warm and hot, don’t really like too cold or wet weather. Their bodies quickly lose heat than other dogs and they can get colds just like humans.

The fact is that Chihuahuas have been bred to be household dogs rather than outdoor dogs. Being sensitive to cold and wet weather conditions, training these stubborn little pups to use outside bathroom to eliminate is extremely hard.

Also Read: What Temperature Is Too Cold For Chihuahua

3. Chihuahuas Are Stubborn

Another well-known reason that makes Chihuahuas hard to potty train is their stubbornness. This is a genetic trait of this breed. The stubborn streak of these little dogs makes their housetraining more hard.

However, you can potty train the most stubborn Chihuahua with patience, consistent efforts, treats and hugs. Also you have to be more stubborn that they are in order to overcome their stubbornness.

4. Chihuahuas are household pets, not outdoor pets

Chihuahuas have been developed as household pets rather than outdoor dogs. Therefore, house training these little friends to use outside bathroom to poop and pee is a pretty hard job.

5. It is difficult to spot them scooping down going to bathroom

Potty training a Chihuahua is hard because of two main reasons i.e. 1) its small size and 2) frequent need to pee and poop. Because of both reasons it is difficult to spot your Chihuahua every time sniffing around to do its business.

6. Chihuahuas are vulnerable and extremely sensitive

Chihuahuas may not feel comfortable when spending plenty amount of time outdoor, especially in heavily populated areas. If you are residing in a heavily populated area where your pup sees huge crowds, groups of kids playing or dogs barking around him, then he may not feel comfortable going outside. Thus, making it hard for you to potty train him outside.

7. Chihuahuas Are Sneaky

Chihuahuas may sneak off to pee or potty when you are not around. You might don’t like the fact that Chihuahuas are sneaky and there’s 80% chance that your house have dried poop nugget or pee stain that you don’t know about. Once your Chihuahua sneaks off, the scent will attract him and he will continue using the same spot for potty again and again. 

Chihuahuas are also sensitive to anger, violence or loud voice you made about their potty training. They even become frightened if you celebrate too loudly upon their successful potty training. As a result, they become fearful about potty and will hold it when you are around, then will sneak off when get a chance.

8. Chihuahuas Don’t Always Communicate Well

The first important thing before training your Chihuahua puppy is to teach him understand you and communicate with you by giving you signs. A Chihuahua puppy or adult may take some time to communicate. You have to be really patient and keep teaching him until he starts giving you signs that he needs to go potty.

Can You Potty Train A Chihuahua?


Potty training a Chihuahua is a hard but doable job. So don’t let your cute tiny gal or guy fool you. Chihuahuas are prompt learner and can be trained to poop outside or use puppy pad to potty inside. Although these little dogs have a stubborn streak that makes their housebreaking difficult, they can be successfully potty trained using proper methods.

An effective approach is to be lenient when teaching your Chihuahua pup where to pee and poop. Also, consistency is the key to success, so make sure you are consistent. Consistency also helps you avoid accidents.

The following three methods will help you potty train your Chihuahua successfully.

1. Practice The Basics of Potty Training

  • Start training your little four-legged friend when she/he is young
  • Adopt reward-based training procedure
  • Designate a specific potty spot as soon as you bring your pup home

2. Take Your Dog Outside

  • Teach your dog to go to the bathroom on command
  • Either you have an adult Chihuahua dog or a puppy, just take them out often to have a potty break
  • Take your pup out quickly after the meal or when he/she wakes up
  • Train your Chihuahuas to follow your command to go to bathroom and use single word such as “toilet” or “go potty” for them.
  • Let your Chihuahua puppy out throughout the night as puppies can’t hold their bladder overnight. Thus, either offer them a visit to toilet after every four hours or let them free throughout the night.

3. Avoid Accidents and Frustration

  • Keeps a close eye on your Chihuahua in the house during training to ensure his/her speedy potty training and avoid any accidents
  • If there is any accident, deal it gracefully
  • Always be loving, supportive and patient during the training process and never try violent or shouting behaviour at your Chihuahua
  • In case any of potty training method is not working, then contact a professional pet trainer.              

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train Chihuahuas?

The whole Chihuahua potty training process may takes 3 to 4 weeks or even more depending on the adopted housebreaking procedure. So you have to be really patient all the way long.

The potty training duration also varies with your Chihuahua dog age, size, the time you spent with your little friend and of course your dedication toward the training process.

Chihuahuas’ brains develop rapidly during their early age (first 6 – 12 months).  Thus, in this stage they will easily catch on to routines to eat, drink, pee and poop etc.

This growing stage of a Chihuahua puppy can be effectively utilized by the dog owner to teach him/her the basic potty training commands. Once they learn these commands at an early age, it will be easier to potty train them later in their adult age.

How to Potty Train A Chihuahua?

An effective way to potty train a Chihuahua is to create an extensive potty training schedule. Next is to make sure you stick to it.

First of all, you need to mark regular times to take your Chihuahua puppy outside. For example the first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed, after he/she eats, or anytime you come home after being away for a while.

When you took your Chihuahua puppy outside, use the same words such as “go potty” or “go pee-pee” repeatedly.

It would be best to take your dog outside quickly after he wakes up in the morning, 20-25 minutes before you leave the house, 15-20 minutes after his mealtime, and soon after your puppy wakes up from a long sleep.

Stick tightly with this schedule or your own modified. You will then find that potty training your Chihuahua is not that hard.

Proper and strict supervision is required during potty training a Chihuahua dog. However, accidents can happen, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. If you see your little dog on move to potty inside house, just distract him with the clap of your hands, say “No” and take him out quickly.

After taking him out, use the same words he has learnt before such as “go potty”. He may take some time, but be patient and wait until he finishes his business.

Give him a treat with milk bone or his favourite meal like Royal Canin Chihuahua Dry Food when he uses the outside bathroom and show him positive reinforcement by calling him a good boy or good job. Make the treat and appreciation an essential part of your Chihuahua puppy potty training.

Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag

If you are interested more in how to potty train a Chihuahua, we recommend you to read this wonderful and informative article “How To Potty Train a Chihuahua”?

Indoor Potty Training vs. Outdoor Potty Training For Chihuahuas


Indoor potty training is the best choice for Chihuahua housebreaking because they are household pets, smaller in size, sensitive to outside cold and wet environments, and pee and poop often. Indoor potty training is also a good choice when you don’t have a designated potty area outside for your pup.

Use puppy pads (also called potty pads, wee wee pads or pee pads) to help teach your four-legged friend where it is appropriate to use the inside house bathroom. You can find puppy pads that are multi-layer, leak-proof with quick-dry surface on Amazon or any pet store.

Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pads, Leak-proof 5-Layer Pee Pads with Quick-dry Surface for Potty Training, Regular (22 x 22 Inches) - Pack of 100

The best idea to successfully potty train these toy breed dogs is identifying their favourite potty spot in the house that they are already using and considering it as their designated potty spot

If you don’t like their favourite spot and want to train them to use some other specific area of the house, you need to pick up their poop or clean the pee with a paper towel to save the scent.

After that, clean this area extremely well to get rid of the scent. Now place a puppy pad or litter box in the house where you want them to poop and lay the paper towel with scent over the puppy pad or litter box. Once they smell their own poop or pee scent, they will want to go to that area to poop again.

Do not distract your dog when you see them sniffing around the puppy pad. Do not talk to them or call them over, just let them finish their business first. When they successfully use their new potty spot, praise them and give them a treat.

There are also puppy pad scented with pheromones that help your pup understand to pee or poop in that particular spot.

However, it is also observed that some Chihuahuas learn and train much faster when given the opportunity to do their business outside. We recommend the outdoor potty training of your pup only when you have a designated spot for it.

Crate training is also an important part of housetraining a Chihuahua. Although, many people may think of crate as a cage, it provides your dog a sense of being in their own home, and security.

Dog Crate | MidWest ICrate XXS Folding Metal Dog Crate w/ Divider Panel, Floor Protecting Feet & Leak Proof Dog Tray | 18L x 12W x 14H Inches, Toy Dog Breed, Black

Choosing the right crate is the first important thing before crate training your dog. Playing crate games and showing positive reinforcement when your dog goes into the crate will speed up the crate training process.


Generally, Chihuahuas breed are hard to potty train because of their small size and stubborn streak to housetrain. However, the fact is that any dog including Chihuahuas can be house trained when proper, accurate and organized procedures are followed.

The best time to housetrain your Chihuahua is when they are 6 – 12 months old. At this stage, their brains develop rapidly and it’s easier for them to catch on to routines and consistency. Sometimes a training method may not work, so don’t give up, just follow another method that might work better for you and your cute little furry friend.    

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