How To Potty Train a Yorkie

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So you just got a Yorkie and they need potty training? Learn how to potty train a Yorkie in just a few easy steps. 

yorkie looking at the camera with a hair clip in her hair

No matter if you are adding a Yorkie puppy to the family or adopting one that is older, potty training is a must. Obviously the earlier they learn the better it is, but that doesn’t mean that an older Yorkie can’t be trained. 

You can follow these exact same instructions to housebreak your Yorkie no matter what age they are. 

Are Yorkies Hard To Potty Train?

If you are comparing house training your Yorkie or Yorkie mix to other small breeds, they are not harder. Yorkshire Terriers tend to be a little stubborn at times, so that can be frustrating. The key to successful potty training is consistency and patience unless you seek professional training. 

Also, it depends on what you define as being harder. It may take a little more patience because they have to go more often compared to larger dogs just because of their size.

two yorkis running and playing

How to Potty Train a Yorkie 

Choose the same spot

Whether you are housetraining indoors or potty training outside, you want to let them do their business in the same spot every time. This is teaching a learned behavior and ultimately forms a habit after a while. 


You will always want to take Yorkies to the bathroom when you wake up in the morning, before bedtime, after they play or eat, and if it has been an hour or so depending on their age. Afterwhile they will start signaling you when they need to go. 

If you are potty training a Yorkie puppy, remember they are like a child. Their bladders are small. So you will want to take them out at least once an hour until they get older and see if they can go a bit longer. 

Constant Supervision 

While you may not want to hear that you need to watch them 24/7 it is necessary for the beginning stages of potty training, especially when they are young pups. Doggy playpens work well if you need them to stay in one space.

You can also close off different areas of the house using pet gates or baby gates. You should only use gates in small spaces, the bigger the room is the more destruction is possible when it comes to puppy behavior.

We only recommend keeping them in their kennel or crate during the night or while you aren’t at home. 

yorkie outside in a fence looking back

Verbal Commands 

When it’s time to “go,” say the same phrase and pick them up and put them on the potty spot. If you are outdoors you can take them on a leash to a particular place. This is another learned behavior that will come naturally after a while. 

If your dog tries to stray away from the designated area, simply keep picking them up, putting them back in place, and repeating the phrase you use when it’s time for them to go. 

Scheduled Feedings

Do not leave food out all day for them to eat. Obviously eating constantly isn’t good for their health in general and it leads them to drink more water. Which you guessed it. Can cause more accidents or more frequent trips to the bathroom making you frustrated as the dog owner. 

Keep their water bowl near their puppy pads if you are using those in the house. It’s best to leave their water out daily but only put so much in the bowl. If they go without water for too long, they will drink excessively when they finally do get to have it. This can upset their bellies and cause more accidents.

Potty Training at Night 

You probably aren’t going to get up every time they need to go to the bathroom. This is where pee pads really come in handy. Keep them in their crate or sleeping area. If you do take them out at night, avoid playing and other activities. Stay consistent with your phrase for the bathroom, then place them back to go to bed. 

Keep Distractions to a Minimum 

You want your pup to know exactly why they are going outside to this spot (or inside), so avoid playing and eating in the same space. Also, if you have smaller children in the house, you want to keep them away during potty time so your Yorkie doesn’t get confused as to what they are supposed to be doing.

Positive Praise and Reinforcement. 

Believe it or not, when Yorkie puppies are young they don’t understand they have made mistakes. Over time they learn when you say “No” that means something bad. Each time they go to the bathroom like they are supposed to, show them positively. This can be a rub, a different tone of voice, or a treat

Remember they are like children, so go easy on the treats to avoid accidents and them wanting the treat versus actually doing the deed. Choose treats that are only given when they use the bathroom

The treats should also be small, something they like, and formulated for dogs. Avoid giving table scraps for their rewards.

puppy pad for potty training next to dog bone toy

How To Handle Potty Training Accidents 

Before you get all mad, know that your Yorkie is going to mess on the floor. It’s going to make you mad. However, clean it up and move on. Take them to their spot, let them try, and do better the next time. 

If you catch them in the act, firmly say “No”, pick them up right then and take them to their specific spot. 

Many times when accidents happen, pet owners aren’t tracking the time in between potty breaks and it’s often your fault.

It’s important to remain calm, as breeds like Yorkies can suffer from anxiety which can lead to more accidents and negative behavior. 

How Do You Litter Train A Yorkie?

Litter training is similar to pad training. Follow the same instructions and make the litter box the assigned bathroom area.

Which Is Easier House Training Or Outdoor Potty Training? 

Depending on the weather, most of the time indoor training is easier. Oftentimes dog owners rush their pet’s bathroom breaks if the weather isn’t cooperating. Yorkies also may be reluctant to go outside when it’s raining, too cold, snowing, etc. 

Many owners try to house train first when it comes to small dogs and don’t rely on the outdoors as much. 

yorkie eating ice cream from a cone

How Long Does Puppy Potty Training Take? 

You can expect ups and downs for the first two to four months. In humans, it takes 21 days to create a habit and about 60 to actually stick with it. 

Tips for Keeping Your Sanity When House Training Your Yorkie

  • Remember, for this to work YOU have to be consistent. That means with the same spot, the right timing, and not scaring your pup when there’s accidents. 
  • Get a puppy playpen that is the correct size. 
  • Use a pee pad tray that makes clean up easy and keeps the yorkies from tearing it up. 
  • You can also use a bell or other gadgets to help with learned behavior. 
  • Clean up accidents as quickly as possible to avoid damaging your flooring, rugs, furniture, etc. 
  • Be realistic when setting expectations.
  • If you live in an apartment building or a place with grass, you can buy fake grass pads that are made purposely for this reason. 
  • Puppy pads shouldn’t be a long term solution, as they may start using other types of mats such as bathroom or welcome mats in their place. 

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