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 do right in with the other pets and not intimidate other canines who come to play.
However, when it is time to train the new pup, what will we do when the new dog wants to potty? Simply going into the backyard is impossible when you live on Floor 29!
How to Potty Train a Chihuahua In An Apartment
Step One: Begin by making sure your puppy stays in a particular area of your condo/apartment.
Use a baby or dog gate to ensure 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 to watch the signs that your dog is ready to go potty. If you let her roam freely, she will go where she thinks it is good-chances are it’s not the place you had in mind.
Step Two: Establish The Potty Spot.
Whether using puppy or pee pads, a grass patch, or a sod box, you must ensure 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; do 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 excellent 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. Before you put her into the container for the night or go out for your errands, have her go pee, praise her and then lead her to the box. 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 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 box, immediately bring out some enzyme cleaners to keep their space neat, clean, and free for them to enjoy.
Step 4: No Scolding or Punishments
We know that some frustration will 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 immediately and take her to the potty spot. After she finishes up, offer praise. With this task, she will learn patience and understanding will be her greatest weapons.
Fundamentals To Successful Potty Training a Chihuahua
Routine Is Everything
Make sure you feed your pup at the same time 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 more frequently if you feel it is a better bet for success.
As you get to the puppy pad, use phrases like “go poop,” “go potty,” or some other helpful keyword your dog will recognize as her cue to go. It would help if you also took your puppy to the puppy pad about 15 minutes after eating 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, 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 know you 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 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 when you aren’t feeling so well are days when you need puppy pads. Some apartment buildings have dog parks or places your pup can learn to go outside, but sometimes it’s not feasible.
Make sure you buy an abundance of puppy pads so you and your dog 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 place. Please 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; instead, this is a box of fake grass positioned above some litter or even natural 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. Imagine they rub your nose in your 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 to avoid you. If you find an accident, clean it up immediately 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.
To encourage 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 area your Chi should be going, and you will find that they have an easier time finding the pee and poo spot. Also, ensure you carry the enzyme cleaner bottle 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.
Potty Training Ideas
In this section, we will go over some ideas you can use to make the potty training experience that much easier when training a Chihuahua in an apartment.
Crate Training Your Chihuahua (Check prices on Amazon)
We discussed this a bit, but it is a tried and true method for puppies learning to feel safe and hold it for short periods. You should buy a large 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 more extended periods. If you must be away longer than the dog can be in her chest, confine part of the apartment off so she cannot go except for in certain areas. Of course, put down tons of pee pads or sod boxes so she knows where she can go.
You attach this leash to your person, and your pup can run free 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 puppies.
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 an excellent way to let you know she needs to head outdoors for a go. And, if you have a Chi capable of going outdoors and an outdoor routine set up, this is a great way to signal that it is time to go out.
Wrapping It Up