One great thing about Chihuahuas is that they are small and make great apartment dogs. Unlike big dogs, who need large spaces to run around, a Chi can fit right into a smaller space, and if your complex has a dog park, they will fit right in with the other pets and not intimidate other canines who come to play.
However, what are we to do when it is time to potty train the new pup? Simply going into the backyard is not possible when you live on Floor 29!
Fundamentals To Successful Potty Training a Chihuahua
Routine Is Everything
Make sure that you feed your pup at the same time each and every day, and take potty breaks at scheduled times every day. Your Chi will come to know what to expect, and you will be happy to know when they are relieving themselves so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you have a young chihuahua, take them to the puppy pad every hour or even more frequently if you feel it is a better bet for success.
As you get to the puppy pad, use a phrase like “go poop” “go potty” or some other helpful keyword your dog will come to recognize as her cue to go. You should also take your puppy to the puppy pad about 15 minutes after eating, as well as right when they wake up and come out of their crates.
You might even use an Excel spreadsheet or a simple paper and pencil to keep track of the times your dog goes-that way you know when to take them. You can also leave the log for a pet sitter if you are away.
Praise Your Dog
Your dog might enjoy a treat, praise, and a pat on the head, a favorite toy or something else. Every time your chihuahua goes, make sure you offer them a lot of positive reinforcement so they associate going to the potty with a positive experience. You will soon come to know that you absolutely can potty train a chihuahua in an apartment.
Look For The Signals
Much like your dog whines when she is hungry or cries if she is feeling pain, you should look for the signs your chihuahua is ready to go to the bathroom. For a chihuahua, you really have to look closely-they are smaller than most dogs and you have to be receptive to their circling, sniffing or pawing at the carpet to understand that they are ready to go.
If this is the case, carry them or lead them to the puppy pad. Supervise them and once they go, offer praise or a treat.
Have Plenty Puppy Pads (See prices on Amazon)
In the dead of winter, the days when the elevator is out of service, or days when you aren’t feeling so well are days when you are gonna need puppy pads. Some apartment buildings have dog parks or places your pup can learn to go outside, but sometimes it’s not going to be feasible.
Make sure you buy an abundance of puppy pads so your dog and you can relax if going outside is not an option. Good pee pads and puppy pads contain a scent that attracts dogs and gets them to pee on the pad. Make sure the ones you purchase offer this as it will make your life easier.
Understand the Alternatives
You can set up a litter box for your chihuahua. Granted, this is not the same as a cat litter box, rather this is a box of fake grass positioned above some litter or even real grass you can get delivered each month. You can put them on your balcony as a way to let your dog go potty as a country or suburban dog would, and you need not worry about the elevator ride or failing to make it to the dog park in time.
Do Not Punish Your Chihuahua
You as a human become sad, angry, or both when somebody verbally chastises you. Now imagine they rub your nose in your own waste or hit you with a newspaper. That is NOT okay and should never be done to a potty training chihuahua in an apartment.
You will only make them fearful of going potty and they will likely sneak off to poo in the house as a means of avoiding you. If you find an accident, clean it up right away with an enzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. It smells great, won’t hurt your dog, and makes it so they are not attracted to the same pee or poo spot.
As a means of encouraging your dog to pee in the right spot, soak up fresh urine with paper towels or an old rag you will not use any longer. Use the rag or paper towels in the spot your Chi should be going, and you will find that they have an easier time finding the pee and poo spot. Also, make sure you carry the bottle of enzyme cleaner with you as you train the pup to go outdoors. This will make any accidents easy to clean up that you accidentally make during this critical learning process.
Okay, now that we have inundated you and your puppy with some fundamentals to be aware of, let’s talk about steps you can use to train a Chi when you live inside an apartment.
Step One: Begin by making sure your puppy stays in a certain area of your condo/apartment.
Use a baby or dog gate to make sure your chihuahua does not go to places she shouldn’t go while learning how to go to the potty. This will also make it easier for you to watch for the signs that your dog is ready to go potty. If you let her roam freely, she will just go where she thinks is good-chances are it’s not the place you had in mind.
Step Two: Establish The Potty Spot.
Whether you are using puppy or pee pads, a grass patch, or a sod box, you have to make sure it is consistent and in the same place every time. Your dog will appreciate the familiarity and you will soon realize she can go all by herself after a routine is established. Set up the pads, box or grass, and supervise her as she goes. It is best to take her over about 15 minutes after eating. Praise her when she goes and does not forget to use keywords to trigger her to go potty faster.
Step 3: Crate Training Your Chihuahua
Chihuahuas enjoy feeling safe and secure inside their special crates. Never use the crate as a means of punishment or else your dog will associate it with a negative feeling. This is a safe, personal space for your puppy to enjoy.
It is great because dogs do not like to soil the places they sleep, eat and play. Therefore, having a crate helps your pup learn to “hold it” until you come home from errands or other short trips out. Before you put her into the crate for the night, or before you go out for your errands, have her go pee, praise her and then lead her to the crate. Put a few toys in there so she is enticed to go inside.
The average pup can sleep for about 4 hours before they have to go pee. For a chihuahua potty training in an apartment, this is going to be shorter. Their bodies are smaller and things seem to pass through faster for these dogs. Therefore, be ready to handle her when she begins barking or making other signals that she is ready to go pee.
Also, make sure that you keep the crate and other surrounding areas clean. If your chihuahua has an accident in their crate, be sure you bring out some of the enzyme cleaners right away so that their space is kept neat, clean, and free for them to enjoy.
Step 4: No Scolding or Punishments
We know that some frustration is going to be inevitable as you train your chihuahua. However, nobody responds well to being chastised, and your dog is no different. If you catch your Chi eliminating in the apartment, pick her up right away and take her to the potty spot. After she finishes up, offer praise. She will learn patience and understanding will be your greatest weapons with this task.
Potty Training Ideas
In this section, we will go over some ideas you can use as a means of making the potty training experience that much easier when it comes to Potty training a Chihuahua in an apartment.
Crate Training Your Chihuahua (Check prices on Amazon)
We already discussed this one a bit, but it is a tried and true method of puppies learning how to feel safe and how to hold it for short periods of time. You should buy a crate that is large enough for your dog to move around comfortably, but not so large they can poo on one side and sleep in the corner.
Start by having them go into the crate in small intervals, and gradually work up to longer periods of time. If you must be away longer than the dog can be in her crate, confine part of the apartment off so she cannot go except for in certain areas. Of course, put down tons of pee pads or the sod box so she knows where she can go.
You simply attach this leash to your person and your pup can run around freely but not so far away that they have an accident when you are not looking. This is a good one for parents having a rough time training their puppy.
You can hang a bell on the door that lets you know when your chihuahua is ready to go outside. If you have a sod box on your balcony, this is a nice way to let you know she needs to head outdoors for a go. And, if you have a Chi capable of going outdoors and you have an outdoor routine set up, this is a great way to signal to you it is time to go out.
Wrapping It Up