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House Training

 House Training a Yorkie

How to House Train a Yorkshire Terrier

This breed is actually more easy to house train than some other types of breeds. In general, the Yorkie aims to please. 

It must be understood that a puppy or dog has no idea that they should pee and poo in a designated area unless they are trained to do so. A dog will not do this instinctively. The idea that a dog will not want to eliminate in the area in which they live is not true.

Let's dive into all the details of Yorkie house training, so that you will have the complete picture and know exactly how to begin, how to keep going strong, and rapidly find success. 

Age Appropriate Training

To be successful, one must understand the limits that a puppy has. A Yorkie puppy can only hold their needs for a certain amount of time. To not allow your puppy to relieve themselves within this time frame, is setting the dog up to fail.

A 2 month old can hold his needs for approximately 2 hours at the most. A 3 month old can hold its needs for 3 hours at the most. This continues on until the dog is an adult, at which time the Yorkie can only hold on for a maximum of 8 hours.
Yorkie sniffing at ground to pee
It All Begins with Choosing a Method

Choosing and staying with 1 house training method will help you be successful. If you do outdoor training 1 week, paper training the next week and litter box training the 3rd week...your Yorkie will be one very confused dog!

For the best and fastest results, we highly recommend housebreaking a Yorkie to eliminate outdoors. This breed does well when allowed to choose "just the right spot" as opposed to trying to hit the mark on pads set up inside. Small, yet a sturdy little breed, a puppy can be safely brought outside at all times except for rare days of extremely harsh weather (blizzard, etc).
Being a toy breed, he can be house trained to use a litter box or pee pad; however an owner should know that it can extend the time that it takes to have a fully trained puppy. 
How to House Train

The key to this training is to:

1) Take your Yorkie puppy outside to the same area each time - Just going outside is too general. There should be a designated area...whether this be the side yard, back yard etc. One should choose an area that is not used for any other purposes. For instance, it should not be the place where you may play with your puppy, teach commands, etc. Within that area, the house training Yorkie puppy should then be able to choose the exact spot. An owner should stand in the center of the area, with the dog on leash and harness....allowing them to sniff out the grass within the diameter of the circle.

2) Bring your Yorkie out at designated times during the day & also when they make actions to indicate that they must go.
Let's discuss the times during each day that your puppy should be able to depend on knowing it is time to go outside:
  • After waking up - And this means immediately after waking up. When house training a Yorkie puppy, you will sometimes only have 2-3 minutes to get them to the chosen area.
  • 15 to 20 minutes after each meal, the digestive system works rapidly with puppies...and sometimes the ingestion of food will trigger elimination of a previous meal
  • After each nap
  • Before bedtime
  • When they make an action that shows they are about to "go"
  • After a certain hourly interval based on age: 2 hours for a 2 month old, 3 hours for a 3 month old, etc. As your puppy matures, do extend the time based on this. If not and if he is taken out too often, he will not have a chance to build up stronger bladder and bowel muscles.
Yorkie house training
3) Choose a method to watch your Yorkie. You must keep an eye on your puppy to train in this way. This is one of the most important keys. Many owners wonder become frustrated when they notice feces or urine on the floor. But the question is, how did the puppy do that if he or she was being watched? House training a Yorkshire Terrier can happen relatively fast if the owner is dedicated and consistent. To allow for accidents only extends the process.
Therefore, you may opt for the Umbilical Cord Method or the Gate/Pen Method.

The Umbilical Cord Method - This is a great method for toy breed dogs such as the Yorkie. You can have your freedom of moving around, your pup can have their freedom to play and you can both close to each other. You will simply attach a leash to his collar or harness (harness is best to avoid neck injury) and thread the other end through your belt or belt loop. This keeps a pup from roaming out of sight and allow you to do what you wish to do in the home. Be careful of walking around too fast. This method calls for you to take him or her outside or to the pee pad at all of the times listed above.

Gate/Pen Method - For those of you who need to leave the house on a regular basis (work, school, etc.) you will need to keep your Yorkie confined at any rate. It is best to have your puppy set up in a small gated off area or inside a portable indoor canine playpen. Since this will be his 'spot' when home alone, it can be a great idea to keep him there when you are home, so that his is confined and not able to pee all over the house, but also so that he does not associate the area just with being alone. This method calls for taking the dog outside or to the litter box at all of the times listed above. 

A note about crates - Too many owners keep their puppies in the crates all day, assuming that is what is supposed to be done. However, crates are not recommended, even at night. They are overwhelmingly confining and can cause a dog to feel so claustrophobic that he develops stress-related behavioral issues and panics when placed inside. In addition, living in a crate severely limits the important elements of socialization for the pup. Since a dog will pee or poo regardless of the size of his area when he simply cannot hold his needs any longer, there is no benefit to keeping a dog in such a small area.  Best is a canine dog bed, placed inside the playpen or gated off area.
4) Deal with things at night appropriately.  Have the last food of the day given no later than 2 hours before expected bedtime. Bring your puppy outside of bathroom needs about 30 minutes before you plan to have him settle down for the night.  Most young puppies will bark intermittently throughout the night and it will be important to try and ascertain if the barking at night is for attention or because there is a bathroom need.  Most very young puppies do not yet know to alert you to needs, so the majority of vocalization will be to gain your attention. 
Since you do not want to your puppy to learn that he's allowed to wake you up 100 times at night, unless you highly suspect that he needs to poo or pee, barking should be ignored and the pup will learn to self-sooth.

If you do bring him out, you will want to strongly convey that this is a serious time and not one for play. Keep lights low and do not speak at all unless it is to offer praise for urinating or eliminating in the designated area.

Allow 15 minutes for any bathroom needs and then bring your Yorkie right back inside to his spot. Give a quick pat and go right back to your own room, ignoring the strong human instinct to offer comfort and more pats.

It's not super easy to do this, but as long as your puppy is comfortable, warm, safe and has some toys to chew on, he'll learn to self-soothe. 
Yorkie outside bathroom area
This will go a long way in regard to him being able to cope when home alone and to learn independent behavior in general. 
If Your Yorkie Pees Right After Getting Back Inside

One of the problems that owners have with Yorkie housebreaking, is that they will tell us that their puppy went to the bathroom immediately after coming back into the house. There is often a simple reason for this: They were not outside long enough. A puppy or even an adult dog cannot eliminate on cue. Unless they urgently need to go, it generally takes 15-20 minutes for their body to relax, for them to choose the right spot and to urinate or have a bowel moment. Dress appropriate for the weather and put on your patience hat. Be sure to give a generous pat/hug and lots of encouraging happy words of praise when they do as desired.

If your puppy really has a habit of doing this, a nice little trick is to hold him on your lap as soon as you get back inside. Wait 10 minutes. Bring him back out again. Dogs will hold back urination if on their owners, so when you do this he'll be more apt to finally pee where you want him to.
Yorkie puppy outside to house train

Many times an un-neuter male (that marks to "claim" their territory" or a female that is not spayed (that does so to attract males and also claim territory) will spray urine inside the home. This is not a matter of house training. Marking is a behavioral issue.

When a dog needs to urinate, they release their full bladder. When a dog marks, they only spray out a bit of urine.

How Can You Stop Marking
  • Neuter or spay animals in the home. A neutered male may still mark if there are other animals in the home that are not spay/neutered.
  • Clean the areas that were marked with an enzyme cleanser that eliminates fine particles and smells that are undetectable to you but are clear to the canine nose. A strong smelling cleaner may cause a dog to mark again to reclaim the area.
  • As soon as you see that your dog is about to mark inside the home, bring him outside or to the pee pad. If he does urinate there, give great rewards.
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