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How to Potty Train an Older Chihuahua

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Got an older Chihuahua that hasn’t caught on to the potty rules yet? It’s all good! Remember, they’re quick learners and with a little time and consistency, they’ll figure it out.

black and tan chihuahua wearing sweater peeing on rock

With some patience and consistency, you can potty train your Chihuahua, no matter their age. Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs who aim to please their owners, so with the right techniques and consistency, your Chihuahua can learn to go potty outside in no time.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before getting started, make sure you have the following supplies ready:

  • High-value treats like small pieces of chicken, cheese, or hotdogs to use as rewards.
  • A crate just large enough for your Chihuahua to stand up, lie down, and turn around.
  • Potty training pads or fake grass pads if training your Chihuahua to go indoors.
  • A leash and harness for taking your Chihuahua outside.
  • Enzymatic cleaner to clean up any accidents.

Establish a Routine

Chihuahuas thrive on routine, so establish a consistent schedule for feeding, potty breaks, playtime, and walks right away. Take your Chihuahua outside at the same times each day, for example:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After each meal
  • After drinking water
  • After naps
  • Before bedtime
  • Every 2-3 hours in between

Puppies under 6 months old will need to go out even more frequently. Get your Chihuahua on this consistent schedule and stick to it.

white and orange long hair chihuahua in crate

Crate Training

Crate training uses your Chihuahua’s natural instinct to keep their sleeping area clean. Confine them to the crate when you can’t actively supervise. Only use the crate for 2-3 hours at most until they are fully potty trained.

Make the crate comfortable with a blanket and toys. If your Chihuahua has an accident in the crate, don’t scold them – the crate is too small for them to eliminate in one corner and sleep in another. Just clean the crate thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner before using it again.

Reward Pottying Outside Immediately

When you take your Chihuahua outside, stay with them and reward them the instant they go potty with excited praise and a high-value treat. This helps them associate going potty outside with positive feedback.

If they don’t go within 5 minutes, take them back inside and try again later. Supervise them indoors or confine them to prevent accidents.

Use a Potty Training Command

As soon as they start to go potty, use a command like “go potty” or “do your business” so they learn to go on command.

Always reward them when they go potty outside. Be patient and consistent – it can take Chihuahuas a few weeks or months to fully grasp this concept.

Limit Access to Rooms

Until your Chihuahua is fully potty trained, limit their access to one or two rooms for easy supervision. Use baby gates or close doors to restrict access.

If you allow free reign too soon, they may sneak off and go potty in another room. Stay vigilant about taking them out frequently until the habits are learned.

Watch for Signals

Learn your Chihuahua’s potty signals so you can get them outside immediately. Common signals include:

  • Pacing
  • Sniffing around
  • Circling
  • Going to the door
  • Whining or barking

If you see these signs, promptly take them outside. Always reward pottying to reinforce it.

chihuahua being chastised for pooping

Deal with Accidents Properly

Expect a few accidents before your Chihuahua is fully potty trained. When it happens:

  • Stay calm – don’t punish or scold them
  • Promptly take them outside in case they need to finish
  • Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors
  • Consider limiting access or supervision until potty habits improve

Be Patient and Consistent

Potty training challenges your patience, but stay consistent. Stick to your routine, positively reinforce desired behaviors, limit access, and use the crate judiciously.

With time and consistency, your older Chihuahua will get the hang of it. But you should expect the process to take weeks or even months depending on the individual.

If you ever feel frustrated, take a break and come back with a fresh perspective. Patience and persistence are key!

smiling chihuahua sitting next to puddle of pee

Other Tips and Considerations

Here are some additional tips for potty training an older Chihuahua:

  • Take them out after playtime or any exciting events when they are more likely to need to go.
  • Using a paper towel, wipe up a little pee from where your dog has an accident and rub it on the potty pad or put the paper towel in the place outside where you want them to “go”.
  • If using pads or fake grass indoors, show your Chihuahua and reward them for using it.
  • Gradually move the pads closer to the door until your Chihuahua is willing to go outside.
  • You can use a firm voice to say “no” if you catch them pottying in the house but avoid scolding or yelling if you catch them in the act – just interrupt and immediately take them outside.
  • Neutering/spaying your Chihuahua can help improve potty training.
  • Identify and eliminate triggers that cause “excitement urination”.
  • Use deterrents like citrus or perfume to make soiled areas unappealing. Try placing citrus peels or spraying perfume in problem spots.
  • Speak to your vet to rule out medical issues if struggles persist.
woman holding chihuahua

Potty training an older Chihuahua takes diligence, but it’s a worthwhile investment. With time and consistency, you’ll have a fully house-trained companion.

Just be patient, stay positive, and implement the proper techniques. Your efforts will pay off as your Chihuahua settles into a predictable routine.

I do have to add a caveat here. In a few cases, your chi just won’t ever become house-trained. In those cases, you can keep a belly band or diaper on your dog while they are in the house.

Cathy signature with cartoon chihuahua
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Pet Blogger

I have had dogs all my life. I have been a pet groomer, worked in a pet hotel, and a kennel, and have bred and showed dogs.


Saturday 12th of August 2023

Because there are now bears, mountain lions, and coyotes in my area, I never go out of the house when it is dark. My dog, Bella, is 15 now, blind and deaf. She will wake me in the morning (at 5:45; just like she sees the clock!). I take her to the bathroom and put two wee wee pads on the floor. That gives her more room and I can sort of "herd" her so she doesn't stray off the pads. Lots of kisses and praise afterwards and she is peeing like a little pro.

Cathy Bendzunas

Saturday 12th of August 2023

Good for you for finding a solution that works for both of you.


Friday 11th of August 2023

I was getting 2 puppies from breeder.but after I read about the problems.when taking two puppies home together.,I decided to just take one home .I feel heart broken. But I made a mental decision. Nor a emotional decisio. I just hope I don't regret from what I have read. I love alone .and I am 65.and no one to dog a pinch. Do you have any suggestions. Or input.

Cathy Bendzunas

Friday 11th of August 2023

If you are home most of the time, one puppy is fine. But if you are gone a lot, the puppy will get lonely and it is hard for them to be alone. But a lot of people do it that way.