Chihuahua House Training Tips


Chihuahua House Training Tips


In this article we look at problems around house training all small dogs, but specifically Chihuahua’s who are known to have a stubborn streak!  We  take a look at the difference between scent marking and training discrepancies, if neutering is a solution, and Chihuahua house training tips for owners who have literally tried everything. 


Do you have a Chihuahua who is difficult to house train?

It is so frustrating!

Just when you feel that you have turned a corner, this undesirable behaviour rears it’s ugly head once more.

Chihuahua house training tips

How do I know this?

Because it is the number one problem with my own Chihuahua and a daily battle, especially in the colder months.

Having said that, I once fostered a terminally ill Chihuahua who never once urinated inside until the day he died. In the past I had a female Chihuahua who took a long time to train but once she understood, she was completely house trained.

So it would be wrong to generalise, but it is a common problem with this breed. In fact, many small breed dogs are also difficult to house train.

Here are a few reasons why some people find Chihuahuas challenging to house train:

  1. Small Bladders: Chihuahuas have relatively small bladders compared to larger breeds. This means they can’t hold their urine for as long, so they may need to go outside more often.
  2. Stubbornness: Chihuahuas can be a bit stubborn or strong-willed, which can make them resistant to training, especially if they don’t see a clear reason to follow the rules.
  3. Territorial Instincts: Chihuahuas can be territorial and may mark their territory by urinating indoors, particularly if they sense other animals around. This can complicate house training efforts.
  4. Temperature Sensitivity: Chihuahuas are sensitive to cold weather, which might make them reluctant to go outside in inclement conditions. This can lead to accidents indoors during the colder months.
  5. Overindulgence: Some Chihuahua owners tend to overindulge their dogs, which can lead to inconsistent rules and boundaries, making house training more challenging.

Chihuahua house training tips

It’s Important To Know The Difference Between Lack Of House Training And Scent Marking

Scent marking is a natural behaviour in dogs, especially in unspayed or unneutered dogs, although it can be observed in spayed/neutered dogs as well. It’s a way for dogs to communicate with other dogs and mark their territory. Scent marking typically involves leaving small amounts of urine or feces in specific locations, often by lifting a leg or crouching slightly to deposit the scent. This behavior is not necessarily related to a lack of house training; it’s more about establishing social hierarchies and communicating with other dogs.

Key Differences:

  • Purpose: Scent marking serves a social and territorial purpose, while a lack of house training is a lack of understanding where it’s appropriate to eliminate.
  • Location: Scent marking is typically done in specific areas where the dog wants to communicate with other dogs or assert territorial dominance, while a lack of house training can result in elimination anywhere inside the house.
  • Frequency: Scent marking may occur infrequently, with small amounts of urine or feces left in strategic locations. A lack of house training can lead to more frequent and random indoor urination.

Do Female Dogs Scent Mark?

Yes, female dogs can also engage in scent marking. While it’s more common in unspayed or unneutered dogs of both genders, spayed females can still exhibit this behaviour, although it’s usually less frequent. Scent marking in female dogs serves similar purposes as in males, such as territory communication and signaling their presence to other dogs.

Chihuahua house training tips

Does Neutering Cure Scent Marking?

Neutering can often reduce or eliminate scent marking behavior in male dogs, but it’s not a guaranteed cure. Scent marking is often more common in unneutered males, as it’s linked to hormonal triggers, but neutering can significantly decrease the frequency and intensity of marking in many cases.
However, if the behaviour has become a long-standing habit, it may persist even after neutering.
Additionally, neutering may have a more limited impact on females, as their scent marking is typically less hormone-driven.

Here Are Some Chihuahua House Training Tips 

House training a Chihuahua requires patience and consistency. These small dogs can present some unique challenges, but with the right approach, you can successfully train them:

  • Establish a Routine: Chihuahuas thrive on routine. Take them out at specific times, like in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime.
  • Designated Elimination Area: Choose a specific spot outside for your Chihuahua to go to urinate, helping them associate that spot with the task.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Praise and reward your Chihuahua when they eliminate outside.
  • Consistent Cues: Use a cue word or phrase while they’re eliminating, like “toilet time’. This helps them associate the cue with the action.
  • Supervision: Keep a close eye on your Chihuahua, especially indoors. Take them out if you notice signs they need to go.

Understanding when a dog needs to urinate is crucial for effective house training and ensuring your pet’s well-being. Some common signs that indicate a dog needs to urinate include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, whining or barking, repeatedly going to the door, or suddenly becoming more alert. Additionally, a dog may display signs of discomfort or urgency, such as pacing, pawing at the door, or even making direct eye contact with their owner to communicate their need.

  • Crate Training: Use a crate when you can’t supervise. Dogs avoid eliminating where they sleep, so this helps prevent accidents.
  • Accident Cleanup: Thoroughly clean any indoor accidents to remove the scent, preventing repeat incidents. If stains are not removed completely, the dog will be compelled to return to that area again and again.


odour remover

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I have used this odour remover for years and it really does work.  It’s safe to use around pets, removes all traces of urine and has a lovely fresh fragrance.


  • Be Patient: Chihuahuas have small bladders, so accidents may happen, especially when they’re young.
  • Stay Calm : Don’t shout or scold or raise your voice with your dog. Just take him/her outside if you catch them in the act, and praise extensively when they urinate outside.
  • Consider A Belly Band : A dog belly band, also known as a dog diaper or wrap, offers several benefits for both dogs and their owners These bands are typically used for dogs who are not yet house-trained, older dogs with urinary incontinence, or during the training process. They serve as a practical solution to prevent indoor accidents and protect your home’s cleanliness. The main advantages of using a belly band include keeping your living space clean and odour-free, reducing the stress of constant cleanup, and providing a more comfortable and hygienic option for your dog. Belly bands are also convenient for travel, visits to unfamiliar places, or long car rides, ensuring that your dog remains comfortable and mess-free while on the go. However, it’s important to remember that belly bands are not a substitute for proper house training, and they should be used as a temporary solution while addressing the underlying training or health issues.

    For Male Dogs

    Belly bands

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    For Female Dogs

    belly bands

    Amazon purchase Link

    These super cute  female diapers can also be used when your dog is in season or recovering from an operation.

    Benefits And Disadvantages Of Belly Bands For Chihuahua’s

    These are bands of material which are attached around the dogs waist by velcro. A sanitary pad is attached inside the band to catch urine from a dog. Belly bands are waterproof and can be washed and reused easily.

    I have used belly bands on my Chihuahua, but they are no substitute for good training and should only be used occasionally.

    Here are some of the pro’s and con’s of Belly Bands;


    • No Mess, No Stress: Belly bands are like doggy diapers, and they keep your home clean and odour-free. No more worrying about puddles or accidents on your precious floors and carpets.
    • Training Aid: They are a helpful tool during the house training process, giving you peace of mind while your pup learns the ropes of where to “go.”
    • Travel Buddy: Belly bands are great for trips or outings, keeping your furry friend comfortable and your car or hotel room accident-free.


    • Not a Solution: Belly bands are a temporary fix. They won’t magically house train your dog. So, relying on them for too long may hinder the actual training process.
    • Constant Cleaning: You’ll have to clean or replace the bands regularly, which is a bit of a chore and an ongoing expense.
    • Comfort Concerns: Some dogs might find them a bit uncomfortable, and it’s essential to make sure they’re not too tight or causing any irritation.


  • Consult a Professional: If issues persist, consider professional training or consult a vet to rule out medical problems.

Chihuahua house training tips

When You Have Tried Everything

If you have read the whole of this post and still have tried literally everything, there is only one thing to do.

That is Go Back To Basics!

Even if your Chihuahua is well past the puppy stage, it’s never too late to start again Right From The Beginning!

Start when you have a long weekend to dedicate yourself completely to house training. Make sure the house is calm and you can concentrate on the task.

Take your Chihuahua outside :

  • First thing in the morning
  • After eating
  • As soon as he or she wakes from a nap.
  • If he starts circling, sniffing or going towards the door.
  • Before bedtime.

Go outside with your dog and give a ‘toilet’ or ‘potty’ command.

Stay outside until the dog urinates or empties his bowels,  praise and give a treat, then go back inside.

Don’t scold if accidents happen and clean up any puddles thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner.

House Train Your Chihuahua Inside

Maybe you live in an apartment or don’t have a garden. You can train your Chihuahua to use a puppy pad or even a litter tray.

Put the puppy pad down where the dog tends to urinate inside.

The first time that the pup urinates on the pad keep it and place it on top of a clean puppy pad. This will encourage the Chi to return there. Do this several times until he/she gets the hang of it.

Restrict the dog to one or two rooms, only allowing free reign once training is achieved.

If you do have a garden and want your dog to go outside, move the puppy pad gradually towards the door. Eventually you can place the pad outside and remove completely after a few weeks.

Pro’s and Con’s Of Using A Puppy Pad Indoors

Pros: Puppy pads are handy for when you can’t take your puppy outside often. They protect your floors, which is a relief for apartment living or homes with nice hardwood. They can also help with a smooth transition from indoor to outdoor potty training.

Cons: Some dogs may get too comfortable with puppy pads and not want to go outside. This can lead to confusion about where to do their business. Plus, relying solely on puppy pads might slow down the overall training process and cost you more in the long run. So, while puppy pads have their perks, it’s best to use them temporarily and pair them with outdoor training for the best results.

puppy pads

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I hope you have picked up some house training tips to help you and your Chihuahua. Don’t forget to rule out any urinary problems with your vet if incontinence suddenly appears or if you suspect your dog is experiencing discomfort when urinating.

Chihuahua’s are adorable and loyal fur babies with the heart of a lion. Many end up in rescue centres because house training problems are common. However, with a lot of patience, kindness and consistency we as owners can overcome this.

Additional Reading

This is my personal (and very honest) experience of adding a Chihuahua puppy to the family.

A 4 Month Old Chihuahua Puppy

And this is a Harvey’s story, a beautiful Chi who I fostered. Harvey came to me with a terminal illness and died in my arms, but it was an absolute privilege to share the last few months of his life with such a special little boy.

Harvey’s Story




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