Yorkie Potty Training Q and A

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yorkiesOne of the most difficult parts about owning a Yorkie is their stubbornness. This typically translates into 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 our fans. We try to answer your questions as they come in, but we don’t always have time, and we certainly don’t have all the answers. Every yorkie and every situation is different. If you have Yorkie potty training questions, first go read our original post on house training here.

In our last email we asked you for your potty training questions. Today we’re going to attempt to answer some of those questions. We’ve chosen 7 of your questions and we’re going to answer them here.

Question 1

We have a 2yr. old who absolutely refuses to go potty on the puppy pad or outside.
we have a 3yr. old who does use the puppy pad most of the time but is getting confused because the other one has done it in the house before we got her. I shampooed but doesn’t seem to be enough.  She will sometimes go outside if we put her in a cage so she can’t run around & just play.
-Dena H.


Dena, I think you’re on to something with the crate. If your 2-year-old will hold it when in the crate, it’s time to focus on crate training. The crate can be an excellent tool for training, when used properly. Also, try to focus on one specific potty method until she “gets it” before moving on. Use only the pad or outside until she is consistently using it. Your best bet at this point is to crate her for short periods of time – taking her out of the crate every 30 minutes or so and going directly outside, or to the pad, whichever you choose. After 5-10 minutes, whether she’s done her business or not, put her back in the crate. Take her out again in another 30 minutes. Repeat until she does her business in the designated area. When she does her business, you can let her run around the house for 10 minutes or so, then, back to the crate. Keep repeating until she’s consistently going where you intend her to go. Then you can extend the amount of time spent outside of the crate. Just remember to be consistent. Consistency is the most important factor when it comes to training a Yorkie.

Question 2

Have a 7 year old n is mostly potty trained until we are gone for the day then he pees on a door facing we put down a pee pad n he still pees on the door facing. Only started after our Maltese died any suggestions on how to stop it ?
-Gail P.


Gail, sudden changes in the dynamic of the house can create potty training challenges. The loss of his “first mate” definitely falls into this category. The situation is magnified when he’s left alone. It sounds to me like a classic case of separation anxiety. The ASPCA has a great article on separation anxiety and counter conditioning here. What you need to do is try to find a way to associate your being gone as a good thing – like the article suggests – a puzzle toy filled with good treats that he only gets when you leave the house. That sort of thing.

Question 3

We have brothers that just turned 4 the first of Nov.  They both use their potty pads 99% of the time. Recently Dylan has started wetting our bed. We are puzzled by this behavior. They have a ramp that allows them easy access. He seems to be doing it deliberately. We have started blocking the ramp during the day. We hate to do this because Winston loves to climb on the pillows and snooze if we’re gone or busy and he can’t sit with us.  Any thoughts?
-Sharon N.


Sharon, It may sound ridiculous, but he’s probably doing it because the bed smells like you. I don’t know Dylan, but this may be an attempt to establish dominance. It’s time to stop this behavior, for sure. First, to prevent messes during retraining, get a belly band for him. I get my belly bands here – they are washable and reusable. Second, read about the NILIF method. This will help you establish dominance and be the alpha of the pack. Here’s a pdf about the NILIF method from the Cairn Rescue Network. Establish your dominance, and Dylan will stop trying to become the alpha.

Question 4

have a 3 lb. 3 year old Biewer Terrier & from day one she has been trained to go on piddle pads. I live in Ohio so the Winters can be brutal & I don’t want her out in all that snow, also she tinkles frequently & the vet said, it is because she is tiny, as they did tests & all came out fine. Here is my issue, she goes #2 always on the pad, her #1 she does it 98% of the time on the pad, she will go right next to it, or 2 feet from it & I just don’t understand why….this is not a daily thing, but every once in awhile this occurs & I can not figure out why….Any help on this would be very appreciated.
Thank you,


dog_on_padLoretta, this may simply be an issue of comfortability. Some Yorkies like to sniff and circle and sniff and circle until they find the perfect spot and position to potty. The area may simply not be large enough for her to get the perfect spot. My suggestion is to get bigger pads, or put two down so she has more room to circle and sniff and find the perfect spot.

Question 5

I will take out Tilly out and she will go potty and then come in the house to do her dirty job.  Help -Sherree


Sherree, this is an extremely common issue. I’m going through this one myself at the moment, though I think mine has more to do with how cold it is right now than anything. First, you need an enzymatic cleaner for after the accident. If Tilly continues to smell her scent, she’ll think that’s a nice place to do her business. Second, constant supervision is key. Be consistent. Don’t let her out of your sight for even a few minutes. This is where a crate comes in handy. After you take her outside, if she doesn’t do her business, put her in the crate for a few minutes then take her back out. Some dogs also tend to need to go after a bit of exercise. Make sure you’re walking her long enough to work up the urge to go. Finally, make a potty schedule. Start writing down when she does her business so that you’ll be more in tune with her needs. If you keep a daily log, you’ll be better able to predict when she needs to go and you can get her outside consistently.

Question 6

I have two yorkie brothers that will be 2 yrs old at the end of the month.
One is a rock star who rings a bell to go out and never has accidents in the house
However , his brother will go outside to pee but shortly after will sneak up to our 2nd floor bath and poop on the bathroom floor.
We tried timing his feedings and closing the door to the bathroom but nothing has worked. WE have caught him (sometimes) and brought him outside to go and he does. But we can’t police him 24/7. Some of his pooping is late a night when no one is up to “catch” him. He is very smart and we figured out that when he was a puppy we trained him to go on a pee pad and a white bath mat “looks” like a pee pad. However, if we remove the mat he will go on the floor in the bathroom and if the door is closed he will find another place to go.We have rewarded him when he goes with his favorite cheese and only give him a treat when he goes outside but still we have not been successful.
Side note we went on a trip out of state and he never had an accident once in 10 days. We are baffled.
Frustrated Yorkie Mom in Connecticut


Tracey, I think your biggest problem right now is the scent. Your guy has found his perfect potty spot and it still smells like him. Get an enzymatic cleaner and really clean that bathroom. The second issue is that he wants to go inside the house. There are a couple of possible reasons for this. One, he likes to go on certain surfaces. Maybe the flat, level floor of the house is more comfortable to him than the uneven, grassy ground outside. Try taking a carpet sample outside. Two, he may like to go inside because he knows it’s safe, and no predators will “find” him. This can be a challenge to overcome. The fact that he had no accidents while on vacation seems to indicate to me that fear of predators isn’t really his issue. It’s more likely the comfort issue. Try to replicate his favorite indoor spot outside.

Question 7

Hi My yorki’s name is velvet, even though she will not urinate in the house she will not boo-boo outside so I got a mat for her to boo-boo on in the house. How can I help teacher her to boo-boo outside? Thanks for the advice,
– Heather A.


Heather, I answered the first part of your question above about going outside. However, I’d like to address moving from an indoor puppy pad to going potty outside. I’ll say it one more time – they key is consistency. Start with that and you’ll be successful.

Now, if your Yorkie is consistently using the puppy pad and you want to transition to going outside, start by slowly moving the puppy pad closer to the door you will use to go outside. Make slow movements, maybe just a foot the first day, and in a few days, if things are going well, a few more feet, and so on until the pad is by the door. Once the pad is by the door, pay close attention to your Yorkie. When he goes to the pad, before he does his business, take him outside. Again, be consistent. Every time he goes to the pad, take him outside and stay outside with him until he goes. Be sure to reward good behavior with praise or treats (or both). If the transition to outside is rocky, you can take the pad outside or have a second pad outside to create some level of comfort. Found Animals has an article about transitioning from puppy pads to outside here.

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