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Why Are Yorkshire Terriers Hard to Housetrain?

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When it comes to choosing the right dog breed for you, there are many characteristics to consider. There is more to owning a dog than meets the eye, from temperaments and size to genetic predispositions and average medical care costs.

Some dogs require less maintenance than others, which is very important to think about before welcoming a puppy into your home. One of the dog breeds that entails a lot of patience and effort during the puppy stages is the Yorkshire terrier.

They are infamous for being very difficult to housetrain, as many small breeds are. But house training a Yorkshire terrier is not impossible, especially when you look into tips and tricks for successful house training a Yorkie.

But why are Yorkies notoriously tricky to house train? Let’s explore a couple of reasons that can explain why Yorkshire terriers require extra help when it comes to house training, and then we’ll give you some tips that will make your house training experience less stressful.

What Makes Yorkshire Terriers Hard to House Train?

The primary reason why Yorkies are difficult to house train has everything to do with the size of a Yorkie’s bladder. Yorkshire terriers are already small dogs as it is, and with a smaller frame comes a smaller bladder, as well as other internal organs.

Yorkshire terriers typically weigh anywhere between four to six pounds, with seven pounds being the healthy limit. For dogs, weighing less than ten pounds is considered very small, and Yorkshire terriers are regarded as one of the most miniature dog breeds out there.

To go along with their petite frame, the bladder of a Yorkie is so tiny that terrier puppies cannot control their bladder at all when they are young. As a general rule of thumb, Yorkie terriers should be taken outside for a bathroom break every two hours or less as puppies.

Small bladders paired with little to no bladder control can be a recipe for disaster, so putting training pads throughout the house is a great idea. In addition to their small bladders, Yorkies simply need more time to learn the ropes of proper bathroom behavior.

Yorkshire terriers can be hard to house train because owners become frustrated by how slow-moving the process can be, so don’t lose hope. Keep cheering for your Yorkie terrier whenever they do well, and be patient with them even if they have an accident at times.

Your dog will become house-trained eventually, as long as you never give up on them! Continue reading to learn about three tips that can make house training your Yorkshire terrier more bearable.

3 Tips for House Training a Yorkie

When looking for information about the Yorkshire terrier breed, one of the most common questions you’ll find people asking is, “Are Yorkies hard to potty train?” This is because many prospective Yorkie owners want to know what they might be signing up for.

Simply put, the answer to the question, “Are Yorkies hard to potty train?” is yes, they are. Instead of focusing on the difficulty of house training a Yorkie, it’s more helpful to look into ways of making the house training process easier!

Always Place the Training Pad in the Same Part of the House

One of the best tips for house training a Yorkie terrier is to use training pads in the same parts of the house. Doing so will allow your Yorkshire puppy to develop habits and create a routine when house training.

Another practical piece of advice is to replace old training pads with new ones after your dog spoils them. Some pet owners will allow their dogs to use the bathroom multiple times on one training pad, but this often increases the likelihood of an accident because the scent may deter your dog from urinating on the already-wet training pad. 

However, a little pee or poo on the pad will help a pup just learning the process know where to go.

Introduce Positive Reinforcement by Rewarding Your Yorkie

Many dog trainers recommend incorporating a clicking device when house training your dog. They will learn to associate the sound it makes with the act of going to the bathroom, which makes training your Yorkshire terrier that much easier!

Dogs respond very well to positive reinforcements, so you can even go the extra mile and reward your Yorkie with a treat after successfully using the bathroom in the right place. Whether you are still house training your puppy to urinate on training pads or your Yorkie is now ready to have potty breaks outside, a reward is an excellent idea.

Giving your Yorkshire terriers a dog treat after exhibiting good behavior will encourage them to keep up the excellent work!

Try to Minimize the Number of Accidents Your Yorkshire Terrier Has

It’s understandable for your Yorkie terrier to have an accident or two as a very young puppy. Yorkshire puppies have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowel movements after all.

However, another constructive tip when house training your Yorkshire terrier is to keep the number of accidents as low as possible. The more often your puppy has an accident, the more normal freely using the bathroom inside will feel.

Normalizing accidents is a dangerous game to play because your Yorkie terrier will think it is okay to go to the bathroom anywhere he or she pleases. It’ll slowly but surely turn into a habit that will become nearly impossible to break, so it’s best to avoid this situation altogether!

As your Yorkshire terrier gets older, you can start minimizing the number of accidents your Yorkie has in a different way. Simply bring your dog outside as soon as you notice they have started using the bathroom inside because it will build an association between emptying their bladder and being outdoors.

You can’t control your Yorkie terrier’s bladder, so don’t beat yourself up if your Yorkshire terrier does have an occasional accident indoors. Potty training a yorkie isn’t always easy. Just make sure your dog is always allowed outside multiple times per day!

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Judy Robert

Sunday 5th of March 2023

I am having trouble training my Yorkie to pee out side,he goes where ever he wants. Help


Monday 6th of March 2023

For dogs that are really hard to train, you may have to resort to doing harder things to break him of peeing in the house. I have a guest post on my other site that may help: The only thing I would add is: 1-Be very consistent. 2-You have to watch him like a hawk. When he is not in a crate, never let him out of your site. You can keep a leash on him while inside and attach the other end of the leash to your belt so that he never strays where you can't see him. 3-Clean your house really well of all spots where he has peed/pooed. Get a black light to find them and then use an enzyme cleaner or white vinegar to thoroughly clean and get rid of any smells of it. If he smells it anywhere in the house, he will probably try to "go" there again. 4-If all else fails, invest in some washable belly bands to wear in the house and take them off when you take him out to potty.


Sunday 5th of March 2023

My dog is 18 months and he doesnt tell me he has to go out. He will sometimes stand by the dog gate to let me know and bark or growl. But I have to pay attention to his every move (sniffing, mannerism, drinking water)and isolate the area he is in or else he will have an accident. (Sometimes he barks or growl for playtime) I've tried bells, buttons, teaching him to speak and I take him on the same schedule which is 3-4 hours or when he awakes from a nap (or plays). I also watch how any times he will eat, so I know what to expect the next day. Will he grow out of this? I also don't think its a medical problem, but not sure what else I can do. Also, he holds it all night up to 10 hours, what am I doing wrong. =( Suggestions please. Thanks <3


Sunday 5th of March 2023

Is he marking or having accidents? Males tend to mark. And small dogs like Yorkies are often hard to housetrain. Being that they are so small, sometimes it is hard for them to hold it very long with their small bladders. I know you said he holds it all night but he probably doesn't have much in his bladder during the night when he's sleeping. If you are being consistent and it sounds like you are, then I don't think it's anything you are doing wrong. Do you have a word that you use such as "go potty" for whenever you take him out to do his business? Use that word everytime you take him out and when does go potty outside, praise him and maybe give him a small treat and/or play with him. You want him to associate going outside to potty as a good thing. If he goes inside and you catch him in the act, immediately pick him up and take him outside and say "go potty". He probably won't do it at that point but you want it to click in his brain that outside is where he goes to eliminate. Be sure to clean up any spots inside thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner or white vinegar because if there is any trace of the smell left, that's where he will go back to.


Monday 2nd of January 2023

Hello and happy new year! I don't know where you all live, but up here in the great white north, temps regularly fall to -20 for several days at a stretch. And we all know that yorkies are NOT great fans of the cold!! Hence, I'm trying to train my 5 month old puppy to permanently use pee pads. Which is not to say that we won't be taking regular walks as soon as the weather gets just a little warmer.

Any advice on pee pad training?

Thank you!



Monday 2nd of January 2023

We live in the south so though it gets cold, it's not too bad. However I know what you mean. My dogs won't go out when it's raining at all. So it's important that they use the potty pad as well as go outside. How I trained my dogs was to wipe up their pee and poop (when they didn't do it on the pad) and wipe a little of it on the pad so they associate the smell with where they go. And clean the spots where they went but you didn't want them to go really well with an enzyme cleaner. Also place them on the pad after they wake up, shortly after they eat and every few hours or so when they are puppies. Praise them and even give them a treat when they do go on the pad. Watch them like a hawk and when they start sniffing around or turning in circles, put them on the pad. Always use a word for going potty and use it whenever they do go on the pad or when you place them on the pad.


Friday 24th of June 2022

Your methods of dealing with Yorkshire terriers is right on , they have a personality all their own !

I am trying to get our 9 month old male York's to sleep thru the night . ANYONE WITH IDEAS OR HAVE DEALT WITH THIS PLEASE E-MAIL MAIL ME at . Thank you !


Saturday 20th of May 2023

@Rick, exercise, exercise, exercise


Saturday 25th of June 2022

Hi Rick, Does he sleep with you or separately? Yorkies are pack animals and want to sleep with their packs which makes it harder to get them to sleep through the night by themselves. If he is sleeping separately, put the shirt you were wearing that day in his pen or crate with him. Your smell may help calm him. Be sure you take him out to go potty right before bed and if he wakes up needing to do it again (small dogs have small bladders), don't play with him or interact with him except to take him out. Do use the word or phrase that you use when you take him out, such as "Go potty". Once he is done, tell him he's a good boy and put him back in his crate. You also may want to take him for a walk right before bed to tire him out. My dogs sleep with me and whenever I get a new dog, they will go through a period where they will want to play in the middle of the night. I just say "Not yet" and cover my head with my blanket and ignore them. After a few days, they learn to sleep through the night.