How To Potty Train Your Adult Chihuahua

Most people do not associate potty training with an adult Chihuahua.

The question is, what if you do have an adult Chihuahua that isn’t potty trained? Perhaps you have adopted him from a dog rescue? You may be surprised to hear that potty-training adult Chihuahuas is not the same as potty training Chihuahua puppies.

There are usually three reasons why an adult Chihuahua is not housebroken.

  1. They have some sort of behavioral problem.
  2. They have some sort of underlying medical issue.
  3. They just haven’t been sufficiently trained.

If you think that the reason your adult Chihuahua is eliminating in the house because of either social problems or medical issues, you will need to contact your veterinarian for the medical problems and get in touch with a canine professional for the behavioral issues.

If you adopted your Chihuahua from a rescue, they should be able to give you some background on his history which may identify if he has any behavioral issues. If he does, then you should consult with dog behavioral specialist.

Your veterinarian can advise you on whether it could be a medical problem that is causing your dog to soil in the house. For example, if your usually house-trained adult Chihuahua suddenly starts to pee a lot and starts having accidents in the home, then he may have water infection, or he may have something more serious such as diabetes. These are both things your veterinarian can diagnose easily with some simple tests.

Hopefully it’s neither of these and is just down to not being trained properly. The good news is that, contrary to the old saying, you can teach a new dog old tricks and that includes potty training!

With that in mind, here’s six tips to potty training your adult Chihuahua:

Tip #1 – What goes in, must come out!

When your Chihuahua eats, it is natural for him to then want to ‘eliminate’. It is, therefore, important to control how often your Chihuahua eats and when. For example, most experts recommend feeding your Chihuahua twice per day. Ideally, each time you feed him, you should allow a set amount of time for him to eat and then take the bowl away, whether he has finished or not. You should also try to feed him at the same times each day.

This will limit the amount of times he needs to go potty and also make him want to go at the same times. If you leave his food out all day, you will never know when is eating and, therefore, when he has an urge to go.

Tip #2 – You decide the when and where!  

Believe it or not but you can actually train your Chihuahua to go on demand. Adult Chihuahuas should be taken for a bathroom break at least four times per day. Two of these should be after feeding time. Always take your Chi to the same spot to go potty and, again, try to take him at the same times each day. When your Chihuahua does go, say a ‘trigger’ word while he is ‘performing’. For example, when you Chihuahua pees you might say “Go pee pee”. When he poops you might say “Get Busy.” Eventually your Chihuahua will relate these phrases to the actual act and will go on demand when you use them!

Tip #3 – One good turn deserves another!

When you Chihuahua goes to the bathroom outside your home, make sure you shower him with praise and other rewards such as treats and play. This will reinforce the good behavior.

Tip #4 –Unless you catch him doing it, forget about it!

The temptation for many dog owners who discover their dog has eliminated in the house is to scold them. The problem with this is that your Chihuahua will not understand why you are upset with him and will only make your Chihuahua scared of you. If you do not catch him in the act, there is nothing you can say to your Chihuahua that will help the situation.

If you do catch him eliminating in the house, you need to distract him not scare him. The easiest way is to clap your hands which should startle him enough to stop what he is doing. You can then take him outside, where he can finish what he started, and you can praise him for eliminating in the correct place.

Tip #5 – Watch for the signs!

While many trained dogs will let you know they want to go out, such as barking or scratching at your door, your non-trained Chihuahua will likely not. He may, however, have a signal that he presents when he needs to go. You should get to know these signals and look out for them. This will prevent a lot of accidents while you train your Chihuahua.

If you are unable to spot the signs, then an alternative is to keep your Chihuahua in a crate until you are ready to take them outside. Most dogs will not eliminate in their own crate so keeping them in the crate teaches them to hold it in.

Tip #6 – Lightening will strike in the same place twice, unless you get rid of the evidence!

Even with a perfect potty training regime, there’s no doubt, your Chihuahua will still have the occasional accident. Dogs like to ‘go where they know’ so if they can smell a place they’ve previously been they are likely to go there again.

It is therefore, vitally important to deep clean the scene of any elimination thoroughly. You should invest in a good professional strength pet stain and odor eliminator.

There’s no doubt that potty training an adult Chihuahua is harder than training a puppy. The good news is, it can be done and may be easier than you think. These six tips should be enough to potty train most Chihuahuas, but if your Chihuahua continues to make mistakes indoors, you may want to seek additional expert help.

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