How to toilet train your chihuahua.
Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to toilet train. We get more questions about this than almost anything else apart from barking! There are a couple of issues that can make it difficult to toilet train your chihuahua: Their reluctance to get cold or wet and the fact they can be a little stubborn.
Modern training methods has moved away from the ‘rub their nose in it’ aggressive style to a more reward based positive reinforcement. Your chihuahua will generally want to please you and once they understand that weeing outdoors or in the designated place is what you want they will try to get it right. But it can seem to take a long time for chihuahuas to pick this up.
Your chi will search for a surface that they are used to going on, if that’s a hard floor then this is what they will look for. If you get your chihuahua as a puppy, the chances are that they will have been pee pad trained by the breeder. Even better if the breeder has been taking them out on the grass as most of the work will have been done for you.
Your chi will need to wee about 3-4 times during the day, and can be expected to hold their poo & wee for an hour for every month old they are to the maximum of 8 hours. But I feel expecting your dog not to go to the toilet for this long is unreasonable (unless it is overnight) and could lead to bladder problems.
First, it is vital that you never shout or display anger or upset when your chi has an accident in the house. Going to the toilet is natural to your dog and if you start shouting or making him anxious about it you could end up with him eating his feaces to hide it.
If an accident occurs then ignore it and clean it up calmly. If he comes in from the garden and pees in the house then he simply has not understood what’s required of him.
Timing is everything
Toilet training your chihuahua needs to start with maintaining a regular schedule of toilet breaks. If your chi is a puppy then every hour to start with. This means going out at regular intervals so your chihuahua knows he will have access to the outdoors. As I tend to get engrossed in writing I sometimes miss the signs so I put an alert on my phone. (We need to develop a chi-wee app.)
If you are out at work all day then hopefully you have help who will take your chi out for a toilet break. No dogs should be left for more than 4 hours and chihuahuas find this especially difficult. Toilet training your chihuahua will be more difficult if you are not home and able to work with her.
If you have rescued your chihuahua you might not know what her background is, or what her expectations are. Under these circumstances it is important to start with a schedule and keep to it calmly. She is already going to be stressed without more upset over toilet accidents.
Learn to read the signs
Chihuahuas, like all dogs will display certain behaviours when they need to go to the toilet. Walking around in circles, sniffing the ground or staring at you. Being able to read her body language will help with learning how to toilet train your chihuahua. There is a definite toilet etiquette that all dogs follow.
You can also be certain that he will need to toilet after:
- Eating or drinking
Pee pad & litter trays
It is possible to toilet train your chihuahua to use a pee pad or a litter tray. If you live in an apartment then this might work for you. Make sure it is in the same place all the time, if you move it about she will find it confusing.
Even if pee pads don’t work (we found them a bit hit and miss) they are super at mopping up accidents and drawing the wet out the carpet.
Catch them being good
Once your chi is outside then you must hang around and wait. Make sure you have a treat with you. You could play a game to make being outside more fun. Be vigilant as soon as she does a wee then praise her like she is the best dog in the world. Give her the treat straight away so she associates the treat with the act. You only have a few seconds for this.
Chihuahuas don’t generally like the rain and getting them to go out and toilet can be a mission. You will just have to persevere and try and get them used to the outdoors. Maybe try and take them somewhere different so the excitement overrides the reluctance to venture out in the rain or have a spot under shelter that she is used to.
You may find that upset or changes can put your chi on the backfoot. A thunderstorm, illness or a season may distract her and you seem to be back at square one. Try to ignore it and keep going with your schedule.
In summary: Be consistent, calm, patient and encouraging. She will get there in the end. You can toilet train your chihuahua. When your chihuahua has produced his poop and you have finished praising him, give it the once-over, you can tell so much about your chihuahua's health by his poop.