Housetraining Your Yorkie

Written by on November 2nd, 2012

For most people, the most challenging part of owing a Yorkie is housetraining. For Yorkies, housetraining can be very difficult. Yorkies are very smart and very stubborn. Without consistent training, Yorkies can take an extremely long time to train. I have had many frustrated Yorkie owners ask me for training advice. Most of the time problems stem from inconsistent training. If your job requires you to be away from home for 9 hours a day, unless you take some vacation time to focus on training, your Yorkie will take a very long time to learn the rules of going potty. So, if you are reading this before bringing your new Yorkie home, do your best to plan on having a week at home with your new addition in order to get training off on the right foot. If you are reading this as a frustrated owner of an untrained Yorkie, do not despair. All it takes is time, patience, and consistency, and your Yorkie can be trained.

First and foremost, Yorkies respond very well to positive reinforcement. They will basically do whatever you want them to if they know they will be rewarded. So, when your Yorkie goes potty in the proper place, give lots of praise. Use treats, petting, a “good boy” or “good girl,” and lots of hugs and kisses. It won’t take long for your Yorkie to catch on to potty training is enthusiastic positive reinforcement is used. Do not let up on the praise or treats until your Yorkie is fully trained. On the other hand, scolding and punishment for accidents are a major no-no for any Yorkie owner. Scolding is counter-productive and will only make your Yorkie confused and upset. Do not hit your Yorkie or rub his face in the spot where the accident occurred. Be patient and kind and very enthusiastic when he “hits the mark.”

As far as where your Yorkie will go potty, there are a number of typical options. Here is a short list:

  • Inside on puppy pads or newspaper (we recommend washable, reusabe puppy pads that you can find here Washable, Reusable Puppy Pee Pads)
  • Inside in a special dog litter box
  • Inside with an indoor potty system (like sod or fake grass, something like DoggieLawn)
  • Outside on a harness and a leash (not a collar)
  • Outside in a fenced yard
  • An inside/outside combo
    • outside except when your Yorkie is home alone or the weather is bad
    • crate training

Which ever method you choose, be consistent. Predictability is the key when it comes to training a Yorkie. Setting up a schedule is paramount. If you are using a puppy pad or newspapers, place your Yorkie on the designated area on the same schedule you would if you were taking your Yorkie outside. Also, remember to put the pad or papers in a place that is easy to clean up and is far enough away from your Yorkie’s food that he will be comfortable eliminating. If you will be employing an outside method, take your Yorkie to the same place every time you go outside until he “gets it”. Pick a good spot like a nice patch of grass or a tree, or something similar. The smell of his urine in the same place will also help him to associate the spot, and eventually outside in general, as the place to go potty. Do not walk your Yorkie until he is accident-free. Go to the spot you want him to go, and stand there until he goes. It may take forever the first few times, but if you go in and out without your Yorkie going potty, then he will think outside is for play. Once he starts going consistently outside, in the same place, then you can start taking him to different places.

For puppies around 12 weeks old, the typical schedule would be to take them outside or to the puppy pad about 6 – 8 times per day: first thing in the morning, about 15 minutes after the first meal, then every three hours during the day, after the evening meal, just before bed, and possibly once over night. As your Yorkie starts to get a handle on the potty schedule, you can slowly increase the time in between breaks.

While you are potty training your Yorkie, there will be accidents. It is important for any new Yorkie owner to try to minimize the accidents. An untrained Yorkie should not have the full run of the house. Instead, create a puppy-proofed place in your house for your Yorkie to stay until he is trained, or, you can use crate training.

You can create a Yorkie puppy safe area in a place that is easy to clean if there are accidents, such as a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. Restrict your Yorkie to this area using a baby gate or exercise pen. Make the area comfortable with your Yorkie’s food and water, toys, bed, and puppy pad or newspapers.

If you will be employing crate training, start with the right sized crate. Your Yorkie should have enough room to stand up and turn around, but not enough room to go potty in the crate and be able to get away from it. Gradually introduce your Yorkie to the crate by feeding him in it with the door open. You can also put toys in the crate to encourage him to go in. Over a few days of your Yorkie eating in the crate with the door open, you can start to shut the door while your Yorkie is eating for a few seconds at a time. Gradually increase the time that the door is shut each day until your Yorkie is comfortable in his crate. The idea is that your Yorkie will not potty in the crate, so you can take him out to his appropriate potty area as soon as you let him out of the crate. Many Yorkies find the crate to be a very calming a relaxing place to “get away” from noise and stress, but it can take some time for Yorkies to get to like the crate. Remember: a Yorkie should not be crated for more than 4 hours at a time without a potty break. So, do not expect to crate your Yorkie while you are gone all day at work. Yorkies have small bladders and need to be able to use the bathroom fairly frequently. If you leave your Yorkie in the crate too long, he will eventually have to go potty, and then any crate “training” will be lost.

The most important things to remember when potty training a Yorkie are: positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience. Remember these keys and you will have a properly trained and well-mannered Yorkie in no time.


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56 Responses to “Housetraining Your Yorkie”

  1. Shannon Says:

    The link for: Washable, Reusable Puppy Pee Pads is disabled.

  2. Sarah Says:

    I am so sorry! They must be doing site maintenance. I will post when it’s back online. :)

  3. Sarah Says:

    The T Bumpkins and Co site is now up :)

  4. kathryn Says:

    Our yorkies name is Fancy she is 7 months old and the potty training is NOTTT easy we went back the the crate training…my boyfriend and i are gone 8 hours a day we used to let her have the bathroom with a pee pee pad but she would shred it and step in her poop and smudge it on the door and floor….after 2 months of that we went back to crate triaing while we arent home…yes she has an acident in the crate but it is much easier to clean….however night time she has her crate but the door stays open and she DOES USE the pee pee pad over night without shredding it! when we are home on weekends and nights and morning we take fancy out every 2 hours but she still has accidents and doesnt let us know when she has to go!

  5. Your Questions About House Training An Older Dog | Train My Dogs Myself Says:

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  6. Terry Says:

    My yorkie is 2yrs old and has started to pee on things. I don’t know what’s happened. This just started about a week ago. He hasn’t been fixed. Up till then he would never go in the house.

  7. Sarah Says:

    Hi Terry – is he marking or actually completely emptying his bladder? If its a marking issue, look at getting him fixed or using belly bands. If he’s actually completely emptying his bladder, you may need a trip to the vet to make sure everything is okay with his health.

  8. Michelle Lucas Says:

    Please help me! I have three year old yorkie and I can not get her housetrained. We also have a one year old and it’s to the point now where it’s housetrain snickers or get rid of her and we love her and don’t want to do that. Which is better puppy pads or Crate training? Please help my email is Michellelucas90@yahoo.con. We tried the crate training but of she was left to long shed pee all on her bed please help!

  9. Michelle Says:

    My yorkie always cries when I put him in the crate for bed time. Is this normal?

  10. Sarah Says:

    Michelle, How old is your Yorkie? Does your Yorkie go in the crate during the day at all?

  11. Michelle Says:

    He is about 9 weeks and he isn’t in the crate during the day. Only at bed time. I’ve had him for 5 days so far.

  12. Sarah Says:

    Michelle, I would say that his behavior is pretty typical. You’ve only had him a few days and he probably isn’t used to the crate. Make the crate a positive experience! You can ease him in to it, where he learns to like the crate, not see it as a “cage” – read a little more here:

  13. Cameo Says:


    I will be the new owner of a 6 week old yorkie on July 19th and i was wondering if you had any suggestions to get potty training off on the right foot. Also I’m moving from Kansas to Texas and ill be taking him with me what would you suggest for road trips with a dog this small?

  14. Cameo Says:

    What type of treats work best for potty training yorkies and what brand of food would you suggest for a 6 week old yorkie?

  15. stella Says:

    i have a 12 week female yorkie and I’m so glad for this blog!!! thank you so much!

  16. Melinda Says:

    Hi! We have a yorkie that will be one next month! He was starting to do really well with going outside and then once my partner started working again and he had to start “holding” it during the day he started having accidents again in the crate. When this started we switched him back to his smaller crate which seemed to do nothing but make more work for us; he would still pee in the crate and sit in it so we’d have to bathe him every time. As of this week he’s now starting to poop in the crate as well! Help! It’s like he’s back tracking!!

  17. Sarah Says:

    Melinda, how long is your baby having to hold it?

  18. Jessica Says:

    My boyfriend and I have tow dogs. He has a Yorkie (Chewy) that’s about 2 & I have a German Shepard (Hope) that’s around 8. I moved in a few months ago and brought Hope, she’s very well trained and has only had an accident a few times because she got sick. Chewy on the other hand is always pooping and peeing, and he knows to go to the door when he needs out as Hope does. I leave for work around 830 every morning and let them both out and my boyfriend leaves around 12 and lets them out as well. I’m usually home around 5 or 6. Were gone a lot on the weekends to. Almost every morning Chewy leaves poop in the same spot and sometimes when I’m home from work. We don’t keep water out when were not home and after a certain time at night. Which seems to help with the pee-ing some. Idk what to do. Hope can hold it, why can’t he?

  19. Sarah Says:

    Have you tried crate training? It wouldn’t need to be a forever thing, but you can use the crate to teach good potty habits.

  20. Jessica Says:

    No we haven’t. Anyitme we put him in the crate he barks the whole time. He doesn’t stop barking and it will go on all night.

  21. beverly Says:

    Hi my Rocco is 8 months old he is having some house potty issues.he pees outside but poops in the house. He is confined to the Laundry room but he becomes very yappy what can I do because he may find himself at a rescue and I really want him

  22. Katie Says:

    I have a new six week old yorkie, potty training is a nightmare, can’t offer treats as he is too young. I am using potty pads but it’s hit and miss. Kids have him loved up, so he’s always getting lots of love. My yorkie seems not to like going out, he shivers from the cold. What to do???

  23. Patti Says:

    Hi – I have had a Yorkie puppy now for a few months and am crate training her – its taken longer then expected but reading this and other blogs I now understand its the breed and not her. My question is where do I place the crate – right now its in the family room but she is alone most of the day as I work at home but in my office. Thanks for any advice.

  24. Sarah Says:

    Patti, where you place the crate is a personal preference. I had mine in the bedrooom on my side of the bed. The bedroom is a quiet, stable place with consistent smells and minimal disturbances.

  25. Cavelle Says:

    Hi, I have an 11 month old full breed yorkie named Charlie. She does really well night time, but daytime she is horrible. We put her out to pee first thing in the morning and she isn’t inside 1/2 hr and she will pee on the floor. I work on call so sometimes she is left alone for 8-10 hrs at a time and will never have an accident. This makes no sense to me please help!!!!!

  26. Renee Hedden Says:

    Can a five year old female yorkie be potty trained? We are taking in my in laws dog and they let her go poop and pee wherever she wanted. She doesn’t equate going on the leash as potty time. We bought a crate but we don’t know if pads would be better since eventually I will be going back to work. Please help

  27. Sarah Says:

    Renee, An older Yorkie can be potty trained, but it will take time and consistency. You can try the pads method, just be ready to put in the time and be very, very consistent. You will probably need to start with a lot of crate time, and give her only small areas of the house in increasing increments as she learns to keep going on the pad.

  28. Jeff Bryan Says:

    Is is possible to have a Yorkie trained to potty both outside and on a pad. Our nine year old was originally trained on a pad, somewhat successfully. We subsequently had our yard fenced in for her and she is very good about letting us know when she needs to go out to potty.

    Trouble is when we aren’t home for long stretches or during the night, she will go indiscriminately and rarely on her pads.

    Any thoughts or suggestions on how we can get her back on an indoor discipline when she’s indoors?

  29. Sarah Says:

    I think a pad inside and outside may be good for her. You can start with placing a pad outside where she normally goes, so she will have less of a transition. Then leave a pad inside in an area where she is most likely to go. You can slowly move the indoor pad to a more convenient location, and eventually stop using the outdoor pad when she gets used to using it inside.

  30. Helen Says:

    I have a 12 year old yorkie, and he has been going on newspaper ever since he was a puppy, this past 4months he goes on the cormer of the paper but most of it is on the floor. i dont know what to do, I dont want to give my dog away because I had him since he was 3 months old.

  31. melody Says:

    All I can say is good luck. I have a 2 year old Yorkie female that is a potty nightmare. My other 3 dogs; 2 poodles and lab are potty trained. We got them all when they were puppies. My Yorkies will poop and pee just to spite us. I take them out regularly; every 2/3 hours. When they come in the Yorkie will pee in the house. I’ve tried everything on this list. When we leave her at the kennel, she will poop in it within one minute. I have tried praise and punishment. NOTHING WORKS!!! I lost, she won, we now have sold floors in all of the house.

  32. Sarjanie Says:

    My 14 week old yorkie is very good at going outside, and we take him out there at all the right times. He knows when we say “busy-busy” that he goes to the back door to the fenced off doggy area. All good. We bring him in after he’s been thoroughly congratulated and he’ll dash off and pee or poo somewhere else! Or he’ll be outside for half hour, or have a lead walk, refuse to go, then come in and mess in a hidden place.
    He has had some upheaval in his short life because we took him just as we were going to start a complete refurb on our home. However, we have been as consistent as possible. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to go 15 minutes after a meal, but up to 6 hours after! Therefore, he can go anytime. He often goes in his crate overnight (which is in our bedroom with us). We have one yorkie already and a havanese, and I used to train guide dog pups, but I can’t fathom out why he prefers to go inside to outside? Thanks.

  33. Patti Says:

    I rescued an 11 month old Yorkie. I adore her after just one week! She came with pee pads, yet never used them here yet. I take her out first thing in the am to pee, feed her, take her back out 30 mins later to stool. I consistently take her out every hour to the same location daily to go potty. I work 8 hour days. She’s crate trained to be in there while I’m at work. There is 5 to 7 mins of crying fuss then she’s fine. There are never any messes in the cage. I feel like we’re doing well, but daily there is a stool dropped in the house. I’m thinking I give her too much run of the house too soon?? She’s allowed all over with me. She sleeps at night with me in bed. No accidents. Doesn’t get up to sneak potty. Maybe it’s just the transition?? My husband is not a fan of pee pads. Insists she goes outside. I’m trying! Any suggestions??

  34. Ashley Says:

    I have a 5 yr old teacup yorkie she has been potty trained for quite a long while now besides occasional accidents at night when unable to go outside but I’ve come to visit my mom for the summer and she has been pooping in the house we take her out regularly and she will pee and sniff around for awhile and as soon as we are back in and she’s out of my sight she will poop somewhere do you think it’s because it’s a different environment I don’t know what to do any suggestions would be greatly appreciated…..Thanks

  35. Susan Says:


    I have two yorkie sisters. One is doing well on the pads one is not. They are 11 months old.

    I try to watch their schedules and when I leave a room I have isolated her from her sister and put her in an area close to her pad. But she still goes on the carpet even if I am watching her closely. Perhaps I should praise her when I see she is going on her pad.
    Any suggestions. Thank you

  36. Rgray Says:

    Hello I just got my yorkie Berkley 2days ago. I am crate training him but I work 2 nights a week and they are 12hour shifts the other 3 days I work are days only 8 hours and I can go home to let him out. I worried about the 12hours at night but I don’t have any other options other then putting him in his crate. Any advice??

  37. maria Says:

    I did not sleep all night 4th yorkie I gave had. I have only had one girl that ever really was potty trained her entire life. Lucked out actually. My other mixed terriers are trained. I guess all my adopted dogs were trained puppy or older. The 3 expensive pure be breeds I cannot or could not train no matter how many hours and thousands of dollars and trainers and Techniques I use. Now my 2 year old is starting to bark all night out of the blue???I love all my pets. I do not know what to do. I am sooooo tired. Help!??!!!! Maria

  38. Sarah Says:

    We have a rescue yorkie, Dixie, who was found living on the streets, vet didn’t think she would make it overnight. We’ve had her 6 weeks today and the first week was a nightmare and I had to take all of my rugs up but with regular trips outside, every two hours, much praising and keyword ‘tiddles’ we are 99.9% potty trained! She now lets me know when she wants to go out by walking in a circle and then staring up at me and if really urgent has an urgent bark. I mostly don’t even have to say tiddles anymore either. Letting her sleep on the bed solved night time issues and she will wake me up if desperate. Now I just have to get her to eat… Can’t have everything! Keep persevering everyone

  39. Lynn Says:

    Help! Help! Help! I’ve recently moved in with my boyfriend who “shares custody” of two yorkies with his ex-wife. The younger yorkie fell when he was very young and he “just hasn’t been right” since. I think, they use that as an excuse and enable the dog but this dog is out of control. He is 4 years old and has NO CONCEPT of going potty outside! I have a 1 year old Westie that I trained in a matter of weeks and have trained 5 other dogs successfully so potty training is not a foreign concept to me and I know how to do it really well…except with this dog! He has always been allowed to roam freely and, basically, he thinks my BF’s house and his ex-wife’s house are his playground, potty area, HIS place. My BF has cleaned his carpets NUMEROUS times because this little guy “just can’t seem to get it right” … which frustrates me soo much! We get him on a schedule, get him in the mindframe of where he needs to potty and then he goes to her house and she wipes ALL that we’ve done. She just doesn’t pay too much attention to the dogs when they are at her house. She has all but ruined these dogs and their house training. We are getting ready to invest alot of $$ and remodel our house and I have ALOT of anxiety over the potty habits of this dog. I do NOT want that dog urine smell in my “new” house. I have tried repeatedly to (and different tactics) to get this dog to come over to be a good dog and living in our house. I am at my wit’s end, here and I need some help! My BF LOVES these dogs (like they were his own children) so when I told him that he either needs to tell her that she needs to relinquish custody over these pups (so that they can be properly trained) or she needs to keep them on a full-time basis – he fell apart. I have serious anxiety over this issue but I will not have a defiant dog in my home (1) and (2) a dog that INSISTS on pottying in the house. Quite frankly, that grosses me out …. I have just read about the consistent crate training and I will be utilizing that method soon. Got any hints or ideas? I just don’t think a 4 year old dog should be pottying in the house …..

  40. Sarah Says:

    Lynn, you’re in a difficult situation because consistency is important, and with shared custody, that can be a big issue. Crate training usually does the trick with older dogs, but it can be difficult, especially when they are used to being able to roam free. I would ask your boyfriend if he can discuss the situation with his ex so that crate training can be going on at both houses.

  41. Yorkie Potty Training Q and A | Yorkie Blog by Yorkie Splash and Shine Says:

    […] potty training issues. House training difficulties are so common among Yorkshire terriers that our potty training post is one of our most popular. We also get at least 3 potty training related emails every week from […]

  42. Wanda Says:

    I’m getting a yorkie puppy, I have a question on crate training. I work mon to wed so I will be gone from home approx 10 hours those days. I have a huge kennel that I was going to put a bed, food, water and toys in it for him and a small pee pad in the corner, when im at home I will be taking him outside to pee. Is this the correct thing to do, I hate leaving him in the kennel for so long those days and also I have a doggy play pen should I use that instead for those days

  43. Sondra Says:

    I have a 6 year old yorkie he just start where he goes pee in the house i dont know what to do he has never did this before

  44. mari Says:

    I have a 7 months yorkie …he like to eat his poo..what can I do so he can stop. I pick it up at soon I see it.but there times I don’t see it.

  45. Izelle Says:

    We have a 12 week old Yorkshire Terrier and we live in South Africa. It is winter now and extremely cold and raining constantly
    The puppy is a male and we love him very much.
    We are desperately needing help with teaching him to do his business outside the house or JUST on the puppy matts and newspaper.
    We tried the newspaper trick, and I always take him outside when he wakes me up during the night to go do his business.
    But during the day, he does his business everywhere around the house or NEXT to the newspaper!
    It is raining every day now so I can’t really take him outside…
    I’m out of answers….I love him so much, but I literally have to watch over him 24/7. He bites, he has toys, he is just really a hand full when he is awake. I have no problem with him acting like a puppy should, but how on earth do you house train a puppy to do his business outside when it is constantly raining?
    I thought about making a type of “place” where he can do his business inside on the tiles, (covered with newspaper and puppy pads of course)

    maybe like a 1m by 1m enclosed square to teach him to ONLY do his business there?

    Please I’m Desperate!!

  46. Faye Says:

    We have 2 yorkies Milly and Billy who are 2 years old. We have always been consistent with toilet training, they’ve always had puppy pads and have access to outdoors constantly when we are in the house. The problem is that in 2 years we have had to have 3 new lounge carpets, I’ve replaced laminate floors and now just today when we went out for an hour one of them urinated on the sofa (not the first time). I am sick and fed up of them using our house as a toilet and don’t know what to do about it – seriously looking at crates today. What do others think please?

  47. Marios Says:

    We have a one year old Yorkshire Terrier,is a female and we love her very much..However,she barks with everything and everyone.She barks at all the other people and animals, even to cars and different loud sounds..We are trying to socialize her but it’s impossible,she barks very loud at everyone..Is it something we can do?Are we doing something wrong that encourages her to bark at everyone?
    How do I stop my yorkie from barking at everyone??
    Please help us!!

  48. michelle Says:

    i have a 9 month old neutered male yorkie. i take him out to Potty every 4 hours. he understands what i want but lately he has started squatting down and potty right in front of me!! He has also started pottying in My bed when we Are watching Tv so now he is banned from the bedroom entirely and he know he has done wrong by the look on his face and he runs off and hides. why is he doing this now???

  49. Wanda Says:

    I have a question. have a 7 month old yorkie he is awesome on going outside and the occasionally he goes on the puppy pad when nobody is at home or at night, he has the run of the house. but he will pee on my rug in front of my sink or the rug by my front can i stop him from peeing there.

  50. Martha Says:

    I have a un neutered ,soon will be,yorkie…his name is Skyar…He is a wonderful BABY…I thought we had beaten house training but now he has started peeing and pooping again in the house….we are not on a schedule in this house …Could that be a problem ? I feed and take him out at different times daily… We had started to walk him when he began to go in the house again. We have scolded lightly…but use good praising ..Help…He does cry in the crate at night if needs to go out…During the day he gets to roam the house…What am I doing wrong ?

  51. Yorkie Potty Training Q and A - Yorkie care tips Says:

    […] potty training issues. House training difficulties are so common among Yorkshire terriers that our potty training postis one of our most popular. We also get at least 3 potty training related emails every week from […]

  52. barbara Says:

    my 15 week yorkie pees/poops where ever he wants.he has many puppy pads,goes in a puppy playpen when I’m at work and at night,or gone off for a few hours has never cried once,he has water,bed,toys,pupoy pad(he doesn’t use very often.He goes out but won’t go.I don’t want to pen him up all the time he is a 3lb love,he has a wild streak won’t let me put a collar/harness/lease on him.the potty training is my biggest issue

  53. Asia Says:

    My 8month old yorkie was trained to go outside. Summer was easy to train, he was let out in our back yard whenever he wanted. The worst are rainy days, he will not step outside when the ground is wet and now winter is coming, I think tough training season is ahead of us. Accidents always happened but lately he peed on one couch twice, the other couch once and in our bed for the first time. He used to have accjdents on the floor. I don’t want to punish him. How to handle this sittuation? Anybody had similar problem that was solved? Please help.

  54. Riley Says:

    this is realy help full for my 2 year old male puppy he had problems peeing in the house THANK YOU VERY MUCH IT HELPS

  55. Riley Says:

    My puppy has almost stopped peeing in the house

  56. Yorkie Potty Training Q and A - A WordPress Site Says:

    […] potty training issues. House training difficulties are so common among Yorkshire terriers that our potty training postis one of our most popular. We also get at least 3 potty training related emails every week from […]

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