House Training a Chihuahua

chihuahua on the carpet

House training a Chihuahua can be easier than you think! You’re probably skeptical, and for good reason! Chihuahuas are notorious for being one of the most difficult breeds to housetrain. However, many of their housetraining issues come because their owners overlook periodic accidents.

Our Dog Savvy Small Dog Training course covers all you need to know to housetrain your Chihuahua!

The Serial Pooper

Chihuahuas tend to be the most frequent “serial pooper” offenders! A serial pooper is a dog that sneaks off into your little-used dining room or the spare bedroom every few weeks or months to poo. Most of the time you don’t even find it for a few days. Homes of serial poopers also tend to smell suspiciously like urine as well.

A serial pooper isn’t a sneaky dog who poops on your rug out of spite. In most cases, these dogs have been doing this their entire life. Unless you’re dealing with separation anxiety, the vast majority of serial poopers were never fully housebroken in the first place.

It’s not too late! All dogs, older dogs, and younger dogs, Chihuahuas, and labs follow the same housetraining rules.

The Housetraining Rules

Even though your Chihuahua has a smaller bladder than a larger dog, and might not be able to “hold it” quite as long, their housetraining process is the exact same as any other breed. They need the same rules and guidelines to achieve “fully housebroken” status.

The golden rule of housetraining is simple, and often broken – to stop accidents, you must stop accidents. No really, we aren’t joking. You have to prevent all accidents in the home for an extended period of time to fully housebreak a dog.

No ifs, and, or buts about it, if your dog is still having accidents, they are not housebroken and will not become housebroken.

Of course, stopping accidents is easier said than done. That’s where the other housetraining rules come in!

The Other Housetraining Rules: Doggie “Den”

People crate train for a reason, and that reason is that a dog doesn’t like to “go” where they sleep. When you place your dog in a crate, you effectively prevent them from having an accident. They view the crate as their den, and they don’t want to soil that space.

You can use other spaces as your dog’s den as well, but they might not necessarily work as a crate would. Small playpens or small rooms like laundry rooms work well for housebreaking purposes, but only if your dog doesn’t have an accident while in them. This element all depends on the dog.

We will use the crate or “den” when we need to prevent accidents and can’t supervise our dog. If your dog has accidents in their crate, or in their den, you can seek extra help using our Ask the Trainer program.

Other Housetraining Rules: Supervision

This rule is the most important of the “other” rules, but also the most often broken! The best way to prevent an accident is to supervise your dog. However, people often do this incorrectly.

You see, in most cases, dogs do not want to go to the bathroom in front of you. They tend to sneak off to another area to do their business, and when you’re house training a Chihuahua you’ll probably see this move a lot!

That’s why your supervision must be direct supervision. You can’t half pay attention to your pup while you watch a TV show or a movie and expect to notice when they wander into another room. You absolutely will find yourself saying “I turned my back for one minute and she peed!”

Don’t make this mistake, it’s all or nothing with supervision. If you aren’t directly interacting with your dog, they should be in their crate or physically unable to leave your sight.

Other Housetraining Rules: People-Proofing

Most people puppy-proof or baby-proof their house. In reality, you should be people-proofing rather than puppy-proofing. Ok, maybe you should be doing both, but when it comes to housetraining you are people-proofing. By people-proofing, you remove the elements for you to make a mistake in your dog’s housetraining

So how exactly do we stop human error? In this case, we use gates and playpens. Using tools to physically keep your dog from being able to leave your sight prevents your dog from having an accident when you can’t directly supervise them. You can’t have both eyes on your dog all day, every day.

Because of that, you should make sure it’s literally impossible for your dog to wander off when you’re supposed to be supervising them.

The Element of Time

House training a Chihuahua requires the same amount of time as any other dog, and you might stick to a little longer if your dog is a difficult case. The time it takes to housetrain a dog isn’t how long you spend training, but how long your dog has gone without an accident.

You can train your dog for as long as you want, but until you stop ALL accidents for a length of time you will never housetrain your dog. The time element refers to the amount of time your dog must not have an accident before you can start relaxing your housetraining.

One really common mistake when it comes to housetraining is relaxing your guard too quickly. People go a week or two without any accidents and start slacking off. They don’t supervise, they fail to put their dog in their crate, they take them out less frequently, or all of the above.

The end result is always the same. The dog starts having accidents again.

When your dog has an accident, you are set back to square one. You don’t just pick up where you left off, you start all over again. That’s why it’s so important to buckle down on your housetraining. Because the faster you get on board, the faster you can finally stop with the tedious restrictions, gates, and playpens.


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