Yorkies like any other breed of dogs can be difficult to housebreak if you don't follow some simple rules. Shockingly, housebreaking is a #1 reason why a dog ends up in a shelter. If you think you’ve tried everything and your dog is still eliminating in the house, you are not alone, housebreaking a Yorkie is the most common problem Yorkie owners face.
After getting my 3 months old Yorkie Sofia, it took me 2 months to housebreak her. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Nothing seemed to work. To my full surprise, it took me only two weeks to train Sofia after I finally learned my mistakes. By that time, all of my carpets and rugs where ruined.
It turns out the secret to a successful housebreaking is a consistency and a lot of patience. Sounds simple? It really is. You just need the right techniques.
The Basics: Yorkies generally like clean space and will not mess the area that they sleep, play and eat in. Since dogs have a natural instinct not to eliminate in the confined area, a lot of Yorkie owners use it for crate training. The main idea is to keep your dog from having accidents in the house. Each accident is a setback. Do not let your dog run around the house until fully housebroken. Most accidents happen by allowing too much freedom too soon.
How long does it take to housebreak a Yorkie Puppy?
It might take you anywhere from 2 weeks to few months. It all depends how committed you are and how much time a day you can spend on training. The following techniques will work only if you can devote 2-3 hours a day.
Create a confined area: Start by creating a confined area for your puppy. It could be a crate or a play pen. Most people use a crate. Crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around. Put a soft blanket or a towel inside of the crate to create a bed. Alternatively, if you are using a play pen, adjust the size and put some kind of blanket at the bottom. I used a pink baby blanket and a lot of toys to create a fun and cozy place for Sofia during her “alone time”. I used a play pen during the day and crate at night.
Consistent Schedule: Put together a schedule and stick to it. This is very important. You puppy needs to know what to expect. Without a regular schedule for feeding, walking and sleeping the training will take much longer. Try to follow the same routine during the weekdays and on the weekends. Schedule is important because, if your puppy goes to bed at the same time and gets his meals at the same time, he should get the need to eliminate around the same time every day. When I was training my Yorkie Sofia, I would take her outside after she wakes up, before going to bed, after each meal, and after each nap during the day. I would say about 8 walks a day.
For the first few days, I was just trying to learn when she needs to go, but then it was easy. In the morning, after waking up Sofia had to go potty right away. I would have to carry her outside because she just couldn’t hold it. As soon as I put her down on the floor for one second, she would instantly start peeing. You should have seen me trying to get dressed, put my shoes on, put the harness on Sofia, get the leash, bags, treats, and keys with one hand while holding her in another. It was very funny.
Tip: Puppies eliminate more frequently when they get excited from playing.
Walking Outside: When outside, just pick a spot and take your puppy to the same spot every day. It should be a quite place with not cars or people walking around, otherwise your puppy will get too distracted. Don’t run or play with him. Just take him to that spot and use a key word “go”. You can select your own phrase. It might take 20 minutes of standing and waiting for your Yorkie to potty. Play a game on your phone or read a newspaper. Don’t forget to give him immediate praise after he is done. While giving your puppy a treat, say something like “Good boy!” acknowledging with the tone of your voice that you are very pleased. This is important, because you not always going to have a treat in your hand, but your puppy still needs to known somehow he did a great job. So when you are praising him, always use the same key words with the same tone of your voice.
Tip: Give your puppy a special kind of treat that he only gets when he goes potty. Sofia’s favorite treat was a soft treat that looked like bacon strips.
In the crate: Your puppy should be in the crate during night, while you are cooking and cleaning and can’t supervise him. Be prepared for your puppy to cry first few days you put it in the crate. Do not pay any attention. Give him a few toys. Keep in mind, puppies have little bowel or bladder control. The younger the puppy the more often it needs to go potty. 1 month old puppy can hold it only of about 1 hour, 2 months old puppy can only hold it for about 2 hours and so on. Make sure to give your puppy plenty of opportunity to eliminate during the day.
What Not to Do: Do not give food or water to your dog while in the crate. Do not use a crate as a punishment. Do not punish your puppy for accidents, because it is really your fault not his. Never hit or push dog’s face into the mess.
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