Yorkshire Terriers and House Training

Many would agree with the statement that the most challenging and frustrating part of owning a Yorkshire Terrier is house training.

Why is this? Because House training is quite hard for Yorkies.

Even though Yorkies are very intelligent – they are still very stubborn.

The art of house training a Yorkie consists of consistency. Otherwise you may find that it takes an exceedingly long time to train a Yorkie not to use the bathroom inside the house.

One of the most common reasons people have trouble with house training a Yorkie is because they are not consistent with their training schedule.

A lot of Yorkie owners are not at home during the day – as most people have to leave the house to go to work. If you are out of the house for multiple hours in the day it can present a challenge in this regard. Unless you take a vacation time to specifically train your Yorkie, you may find  it takes a very long time for your Yorkie to learn the rules of house training.

If you are a soon-to-be Yorkie owner and are preparing for your new Yorkie to come home – I would suggest taking at least one week to start the house training on the right note.

If you are a current Yorkie owner and you are frustrated and seeking help – don’t throw in the towel just yet. The key ingredients to success here is consistency, time and patience. If you remain steadfast on these aspects rest assured that your Yorkie CAN & WILL be house trained. It is possible!

First thing’s first – Yorkshire Terriers react positively to positive reinforcement. You can train your Yorkie to pretty much do everything and anything (within reason) if they know they will be rewarded after – and this is important to remember: Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent.

House training and your Yorkshire Terrier

On a tangible note – this means that when your Yorkie goes potty in the right place, you must give them a LOT of praise. They will remember this moment and try to please you in the future. Call them a good boy, call them a good girl! Give them treats and pet them and give them kisses and love.

It should take a short amount of time for your Yorkie to catch on that potty training equals positive emotions. As I mentioned earlier – Yorkies are intelligent and do want to make you happy.

You must not stop praising / giving positive reinforcement until your Yorkie is fully trained – this is important.

On the same token – do not become negative to your Yorkie when things do not go as planned. Your Yorkie will not respond well and will become upset.

There are many options for where your Yorkie can go potty, I am sure you have some in mind but here is a list:

  • Puppy pads / newspaper
  • Indoor potty system consisting of fake grass or sod
  • Dog litter boxes (similar to cat litter boxes)
  • Outside on the grass / floor

Remember that whichever option you choose you must be consistent.

You want your Yorkie to have a routine – dogs respond very well to predictability and schedule. If you are potty training your Yorkie inside – make sure to place your Yorkie in the area you want him / her to go, along with the litter box / puppy pad and remember to keep it on a schedule.

Place the potty area in a place far away from his or her food as they may not feel comfortable with elimination if it is too close. And make sure it is in an area that is easy for you to clean after.

If you are training your Yorkie to go outside then you must make sure to take them out at the same time and same place each time until they understand. Until they “get it”. Choose an area where you can easily remember and they can likewise easily associate with the loo.

Beware: Make sure they are tied to a collar or at least are in a fenced area so as to not run the risk of your Yorkie being attacked by other dogs are large birds – this happens far too often for me not to write here.

Eventually your Yorkie will associate the continued smell of his excrement as the place he needs to go to the loo. So if you are wanting him or her to go outside for potty – then eventually after taking them to the same area each time and at the same time, they will associate outside in general, as the acceptable place to go to the bathroom.

Over time – once you are confident he or she understands where the bathroom is, because you’ve been consistent, you can take them to different spots and they will not be too confused.

For puppies under 3 months old – the standard is to take them to your desired loo station between 6 and 8 times each day.

In the morning after waking up, 15 minutes after their first daily meal, then about every 3 hours throughout the day, also after their afternoon or evening meal, before bed time and potentially once overnight.

Over time you can slowly but surely increase the time between potty breaks, don’t rush this process however. And make sure you only begin increasing the time once you are confident they have got the hang of the potty training schedule.

One thing to be sure of is that during the process of house training your Yorkie – there is very likely to be accidents. Remember what I said in the beginning – do not become upset with them, they are still learning and are not to blame!

However, you must try and minimize the frequency and severity of the accidents. This is your responsibility as the Yorkie’s owner.

One thing you can do is create an are in your house where your untrained Yorkie can have free reign. Alternatively, you can use crate training.

I would recommend creating this area for your untrained Yorkie in an area that is more or less easy to clean up after – for example in the bathroom or a laundry room or a spare room (without carpet flooring). Or even potentially the kitchen. Place your Yorkie’s bed, water, food, toys, newspaper or puppy pad or even litter box if you are using that option.

Confine your Yorkie to this area with a little gate or something to block their access – however make sure to make this area comfortable.