ARF, wanna find out how to stop a Yorkie from peeing in the house? Don’t be discouraged – there are solutions! Listen to my barks NOW!
*For simplicity purposes, the gender of the word “dog” will be in the masculine form (“he” or “him”) throughout this post.
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Just a few years ago, I was headed down the elevator for my morning walk in New Orleans when a gray-haired, middle-aged man stepped inside and waved his hand at me.
“Yorkie?” He asked my human.
“Oh yes, he’s a rescue,” my human smiled and proudly answered (she promotes Adopt, Don’t Shop every chance she gets).
“I had two,” he revealed.
“Really?” my human’s eyes widened with interest, and my ears perked up. OK, this guy has gotten our attention.
“Yea, but I had to get rid of them,” he responded.
“WHYYYY?” my human was shocked. GRRR, dogs AREN’T toys!
“Oh man, they were horrible. They kept peeing and pooping all over the house,” he said.
“Well, did you walk them regularly?” my human asked.
“Um…yeah (pause)…we had a dog walker,” he stumbled. It was then quite obvious that he’s covering up.
The doors flew open on the ground floor, and that was the end of the conversation. He no longer had our attention.
AND, just a few months prior, my human and I got this email from one of our readers:
August 17, 2021 (condensed)
“I am writing in hopes of advice or to even find out if potting training is doable anymore for a 3-year-old. I have 2 Yorkies. The boy dog does better holding it, going outside, hit or miss with accidents – if he gets annoyed that I won’t get out of bed, he will crap on the stairs – just to show me. They have a continuous dish of food so they eat when they want. My girl dog is CONSTANTLY peeing in the house – nowhere near a puppy pad. We have tried the crate training but she pees in her cage, even if it’s a half dollar size. We have let them have free range of the downstairs/kitchen area where there is a puppy pad and they/she (usually the girl) pees by the gate when the pad is spotless.
I am feeling it is way to far over the point of getting her help – unless I want to pay $3,000.00 for a 2-3 week dog training class/boarding to change their ways or giving her up to the shelter – which I am not one of those people but having my house smell like pee all the time-it’s getting to the point! Or her peeing wherever she wants to right in front of me, watching me while she does it. We have tried to get rid of the puppy pads but that seems like a nightmare itself! I bought shock collars but don’t think those will help at this point and they’re so big even though I have bought the smallest size. I don’t want to be cruel and shock them. Please help! Cesar Millan would even have troubles with my dogs!”
WOOF, are Yorkies that hard to housebreak or potty train that people should surrender them and even resort to shock collars?
The answer is NO – no Yorkie or dog should be surrendered or subjected to abusive training tactics. I’m glad to hear that this person at least acknowledges the cruelty of using shock collars on dogs. While Yorkies are known to be confident, stubborn, and even feisty, they are NOT as difficult to potty train as people make them out to be. Sure, Yorkies tend to have a “fearless,” bossy attitude (ARF, take me, for instance), which can make housebreaking challenging. BUT, all in all, the human a.k.a. YOU are the responsible pawty for both potty training success and potty training failure. And no, you don’t need a crate to effectively potty train a Yorkie or any dog. Sniff out 10 reasons why you should NOT crate your dog. There are many effective ways to STOP a Yorkie from peeing in the house. Keep on sniffing!
STOP the scolding. STOP the punishment. Use positive reinforcement ONLY:
A pawblem is that a Yorkie’s marks or pee-pee are typically so small that they can be easily ignored by their humans. However, ignoring this issue at hand will only worsen the situation. Do NOT scold or punish your Yorkie since positive reinforcement is the most effective and humane way to train a dog, any dog – yes, including stubborn Yorkies. Instead of yelling or screaming at your Yorkie whenever you wake up to a puddle of urine in the middle of your brand new hardwood floor or carpet, you should hush it and clean up immediately.
Then, proceed to take your Yorkie outside for a potty break. As he lifts his leg (or “squat” if you have a female Yorkie) to relieve himself, say “PEE-PEE” or “POTTY” followed by verbal praise like “GOOD!” or “GOOD JOB!” Then proceed to give him a tasty treat. The good news is that most dogs are treat-motivated so use it to your advantage.
Scolding not only confuses your dog but also makes him afraid of YOU. He will not understand why you are upset and does not associate his “accident” with your reprimand unless you catch him right in the act. If you catch him in the act, say “NO” firmly and confidently. However, never yell or exhibit physical force – ANIMAL ABUSE IS FOR COWARDS.
Admit that it’s YOUR fault:
Repeat, repeat, & repeat – the repetition is on YOU, not your Yorkie. Like in any “training,” practice makes PAWFECT. But training also takes time and effort. If you’re not investing the time and prioritizing potty training for your Yorkie, then failure is inevitable. And, it’s NOT your Yorkie’s fault. Every dog is different; hence, stop passing off accountability by saying another dog didn’t need any training, so your dog must be “stupid.” It’s not that your Yorkie is “dumb, ”stupid,” or “just doesn’t get it” – it’s no one’s fault but YOUR OWN. Ouch, I know my barks hurt, but yes – the truth hurts.
ARF, there’s no such thing as a “good dog” or a “bad dog”; dogs behave a certain way based on how humans treated them in the past. If they’re beggars during mealtime, it’s because their humans have given table food to them, and they learned over time that their persistent stares could be rewarded with tasty food. Every dog learns through conditioning.
Same with “aggressive” dogs – no dog is born aggressive! No breed is “aggressive.” It’s the disgusting humans who abused and conditioned them to behave a certain way. When they’ve had an abusive past, dogs often resort to a fight or flight. And, news flash – DOGS DON’T BITE FOR NO REASON! They will only bite out of the feelings of fear, threat, distress, or anxiety. Abused dogs may also become overly submissive as their way of survival – it just depends on how they respond to the situation. Like humans, every dog may respond differently.
Just because the shelter or previous pawrent says he’s potty trained doesn’t mean that your Yorkie will know where to go in his new home.
So how do you stop a Yorkie from peeing in the house? First, you must take full accountability that you’re the sole person responsible for such behavior that you deem “unacceptable.” Whether you have a Yorkie puppy or rescue adult Yorkie, you need to recognize that it takes time for him to get used to a new environment. Just because the shelter or previous pawrent says he’s potty trained doesn’t necessarily mean that your Yorkie will know where to go in his new home. Once you admit that you are fully responsible (and no one else), you must take control of the situation and invest time into training.
Establish a schedule for potty breaks:
Dogs thrive on routines, and even stubborn Yorkies are no exception. The best way to stop a Yorkie from peeing in the house is to take him outside regularly – 3-4X a day at the same time, every single day. Yorkie puppies will need to relieve themselves once every hour or two whereas adult Yorkies can hold it longer with proper training. If an adult Yorkie has exhausted his “fuel” outside, then there’s no need to pee inside. Once you’ve exhausted your Yorkie’s energy from a walk, he’d be happily sleeping on his back with his paws up in the air.
Going back to the middle-aged guy on the elevator – even if you hire a dog walker everyday, you’ll still need to do some work, such as letting them outside for a quick potty break right before bedtime and in the morning when you wake up. Unless you have a dog walker who walks them at least 3x a day, you must step in to pick up the slack. Dog walkers don’t solve the pawblem. Again, you need to take accountability.
Let your Yorkie train YOU
Use a pee pad or artificial lawn for indoor elimination:
If you work long hours and cannot make it home in time to take your Yorkie out at least once every 6-8 hours, then your best bet is to use a pee pad IN ADDITION to routine walks. Dogs, myself included, tend to mark or pee in the same spots over and over (ARF, I love corners!). Attempt to put a pee pad over the area where your Yorkie has been relieving himself. Artificial dog lawns have flooded the market in recent years, and most are manufactured with a scent, claiming to make dogs want to eliminate on the lawn. Essentially, STOP trying to train your Yorkie; instead, let your Yorkie train you!
SHOP FOR AN ARTIFICIAL DOG LAWN NOW:
Use the urine of another dog:
If putting a pee pad over the designated area doesn’t seem to work, then you’ll need to get creative. And, by creative I mean to rub that pee pad with another dog’s urine. I know it sounds gross, but IT WORKS! Even if your Yorkie isn’t an alpha male like me, dogs will naturally sniff out and then pee over other dogs’ pee. This is a dog’s natural instinct, even for female dogs. Where would you find another dog’s urine? Ask a family member or friend who has a dog. Or take the pee pad to a dog park as a last resort. The more dogs’ urine and marks you can get, the more effective this strategy is!
“Holding it” only holds up as long as your Yorkie is healthy
No matter how much of a potty training star your Yorkie becomes, a time will come when he can no longer “hold on” regularly. Sadly, health issues and old age may eventually cause your Yorkie to become incontinent. Since dogs age substantially faster than humans, this day may come sooner than expected (cherish every moment with your furbaby!). 🙁 Remember to never scold or punish. Be that compassionate and loving pawrent your dog thinks you are. Be patient with your senior dog.
Our response to the email:
August 18, 2021
“I’m sorry to hear that you have trouble potty training your Yorkies. Yorkies, although difficult to housebreak, can certainly be potty-trained – even well into their senior years! I really hope you refrain from using shock collars as they will hurt your Yorkies, and positive reinforcement is the most effective and humane way to train a dog. I’d love to help – let me get some more information first. Is your goal to make them pee on a pee pad or have them hold it until you can take them outside on a routine basis? Or is it both? How often are you taking them outside for walks/potty breaks? Is their walk schedule pretty consistent?“
Their response to our email:
August 20, 2021
“We do positive reinforcement along with “cookies” a.k.a treats. We want to eliminate the puppy pad all together so ultimately have them hold it until they go outside. They have no idea how to hold their bladders. Hence why they wake me up every 2 to 3 hours during the night. We usually don’t do walks unless it’s fall time since summer has been so hot. I work a 9-hour job and by the time we do get home, there is no time for anything, except to make dinner and a little R&R (rest and relaxation) before we get up to do it all again bright and early. Our first yorkie we ever had was the best dog you could ask for.
We could let him outside and he would stay in the yard, no electric fence. Never had issues with potty training or peeing in the house until he got old and had a hard time keeping his bladder controlled. I thought these 2 would be no different but I was way wrong. I honestly feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just exhausting. I got them to help with my severe depression and anxiety, which did help with their cuddles. But everything else is a nightmare and I know we are to blame. “
From this email response, it’s very clear that the two Yorkies are NOT getting the routine walks they need. This is an easy fix, if only the humans are willing to walk them. It’s not that the Yorkies “have no idea how to hold their bladders,” but it’s because the humans aren’t willing to prioritize exercising and potty training them. However, it is refreshing to know, at the very least, this person is taking accountability for her Yorkies’ undesired behavior.
Our response to their email:
August 23, 2021
“I totally understand that it’s been exhausting, especially since you work long hours. However, one thing that will greatly help is establishing routine walks for your Yorkies, if you can put in some time. Can you try doing a quick 10-15 minute walk before bedtime so they can exhaust their energy and empty their bladders for the night? Also, since dogs tend to pee on the same type of things/items/spots, perhaps you can try putting a pee pad (or even some newspaper) near their frequented area and praise them every single time that they pee there? If your friends or family members have dogs, you can try wiping a clean pee pad down with some of their dog’s urine, which will help signal to your Yorkies that it’s a place for potty (I know it’s gross, but it does work :/). It does require time and patience with training, but it is possible! 🙂“
To date, we have not gotten a response. I can only hope that she didn’t give up on her two Yorkies. 🙁
ARF, hope you’ve learned how you can stop your Yorkie from peeing in the house! Now, it’s time for the hard part – ACTION. It’s ultimately up to YOU to invest adequate time and patience into training. Get your furry paws on more info on how to potty train your dog without a crate.
Before I bark goodbye, sniff out my cutest moments:
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Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob