Easy Guide to Potty Training Small Dogs

Let’s face it, for some reason it can actually be harder to potty train small dogs than other, larger, breeds! Smaller bladders simply can’t “hold it” quite as long as larger ones can. Some breeds, such as dachshunds, seem to be some of the hardest small dogs to potty train.

Thankfully, regardless of the breed or size, you can housetrain your dog by using a few simple rules! We cover these rules in much more detail in our Dog Savvy Small Dog Training Made Easy course.

You’re Probably Too Loosey-Goosey

We hate to tell you, but when it comes to potty training your small dog, you’re likely taking things way too easy! Unfortunately, many dog owners really underestimate how much supervision and management it takes to properly housebreak a dog.

For you to have success, your dog needs to spend every second of the day either supervised, or in a confined location where you are 99% sure they will not have an accident.

When potty training small dogs, lots of pet owners assume a half-supervised state. They keep the puppy nearby, but exclaim “he just sneaks off and has accidents the second I’m not looking!”

Those are the situations that destroy your housebreaking. Your pup should never have the opportunity to sneak off and have an accident in the first case.

Every Accident Sets You Back

The reason you want to keep your house on puppy lockdown is this; every single accident your dog has brings them back to step one in their housebreaking. This is because the primary housebreaking rule is to prevent accidents.

The only way your dog will ever become housebroken is if you can prevent 100% of accidents for a period of time. 

Where people tend to falter on this is a few weeks in. Pet owners see improvement in their small dog’s potty training, they go a week or two with no accidents, and the slack off on their supervision. Then the puppy has an accident, and they’re back to day one again! Make sure you stay vigilant and don’t let a stray accident set back your housebreaking.

The Sneaky Pooper

You see it incredibly frequently with small breed dogs. The sneaky pooper. The pup that is “housebroken” but poops every week or so “out of spite.” That’s not a housebroken dog, that’s a dog who was never fully housebroken in the first place.

When your dog has an accident every once in a while as a puppy, and you fail to fully confine and housebreak your dog, they will absolutely become a sneaky pooper.

If you don’t fully housebreak your dog as a puppy, they will continue to periodically have accidents throughout their life.

For The Difficult Cases

Unfortunately, we know all too well that some puppies just don’t follow the housebreaking rules well. Some pups will potty right in front of you, or inside their crate, and don’t seem to care!

Though these situations are difficult, and you might expect that you’ll never be able to fully potty train your small dog, we can certainly help with these odd and frustrating cases.

The best way to address difficult housebreaking is using our Ask The Trainer feature. It allows you to work directly with our Head Trainer Marina Somma, to develop a plan and adjust it based on how your dog reacts.

2 thoughts on “Easy Guide to Potty Training Small Dogs”

  1. My puppy is three months old she never pees out side I can have her our there doe 10 min bring her in Then she goes in the house I don’t k know what else to do I try taking her out every time she gets up after she eats after she plays no dice she picks up sit stay real well

    • Hi Lettie, the process can take some time. If you’re following all the housebreaking rules in our course and still having trouble you might reach out to use via email or even add our Ask The Trainer program to work directly with us on the issue.


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