Skip to Content

Are small dogs hard to potty train?

Are small dogs hard to potty train?

Potty training is a rite of passage both for pets and their respective owners. Co-existing with your pet may prove difficult if they don’t understand your rules about going potty.

Dog owners know all about the importance of potty training. If you’ve cared for different dog breeds, you might have noticed that they don’t all respond to that kind of training the same way. To be more specific, many pet owners have experienced difficulties when trying to potty train their small dogs.

So, what exactly is the issue there? I’ve done some digging online and I’ve come up with some interesting answers. Read on if you wish to understand this peculiar issue yourself.

Are Small Dogs Hard to Potty Train?

Let’s get to the main question right away. Are small dogs harder to potty train than their larger counterparts?

No, teaching a dog when and where to go potty should not get any easier or harder depending on their size.

Their behavior could have an impact on their potty habits, but that’s more about the animal’s specific personality. It has nothing to do with their size.

If you’ve found that your small dogs tend to have more accidents than your larger pets, the issue may not necessarily be with them. Instead, it could be your treatment of your pet that is leading to frequent accidents.

Why Can Small Dogs Be Hard to Potty Train?

The challenge of potty training your dog will not be affected by their size. However, the way you treat them because of their size is a different matter.

Many of us pet owners tend to treat our dogs differently because of their size. This isn’t to say that smaller or bigger dogs are being mistreated. That’s not the case.

The real problem is that we tend to have these biases and misconceptions that may affect how we care for small dogs. You may have to adjust the way you potty train a smaller dog, but the process is still not harder automatically.

To better understand why some pet owners may have more trouble potty training small dogs, we’ve highlighted the common causes of problems below. Check them out and see if they are affecting how you train your pet.

Small Dogs May Not Know How to Signal That They Need to Go Potty

It’s hard to resist the urge to just treat your small dog like a baby. Some pet owners do give in to that urge. Soon enough, they start carrying their pets everywhere.

Wanting to carry your cuddly pet everywhere is understandable, but it can be detrimental in one significant way. Because your dog gets so used to carrying, they start to count on you to just take them out to the yard.

When the time comes that they need to go potty and you’re not carrying them, they don’t know what to do. They haven’t learned the signal of standing close to the backdoor or looking at you intently until you let them out. You can see how that can lead to more frequent accidents.

Small Dogs May Not Get Scolded for Improper Potty Habits

Some small dogs look so precious that their owners struggle to scold them. Even if they did something like urinate on the carpet, the owner may not have the stomach to provide a stern scolding.

As a pet owner, you may also not be bothered that much by the amount of waste produced by a small dog. After all, it’s only a small puddle of small urine that you can quickly wipe up.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a high tolerance for your pet’s poor potty habits. Just know that letting them off the hook repeatedly reinforces the notion in their mind that they did nothing wrong.

Being stern when your small dog urinates or defecates in the wrong place is a must if you want to potty train them properly.

Small Dogs May Leave Behind Unnoticed Waste

The amount of waste a dog leaves behind is often proportional to their size. Owners of larger dogs are likely well aware of that.

Still, don’t think you have it easy just because you have a small dog. Small dogs are more likely to leave behind waste that their owners simply don’t see.

Your dog has no reason to stop that behavior unless you catch them. Try to keep close tabs on your dog if you think they’re going potty inside your home. Catch them in the act, scold them, and teach them that going potty should always be done outside.

Small Dogs May Need to Go Potty More Often

Lastly, small dogs may have a tougher time holding it in compared to your larger pets. You need to be cognizant of that.

Take your pet outside more often until you get a good grasp of their potty habits. Adjust to them so they don’t feel the need to go potty inside.

What Dogs Are Easy to Potty Train?

The experience of potty training different dogs should not vary that much. However, some breeds may pick up on the potty training faster than others.

Examples of dog breeds that are easy to potty train include border collies, Boston terriers, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Maltese dogs, miniature schnauzers, and poodles.

As you can see, there is a decent mix of small and large breeds in that group. Size really isn’t a major factor when it comes to ease of training. Your diligence and willingness to work with your pet play larger roles in determining the success of your efforts.

How to Potty Train Small Dogs?

Potty training your small dog is not that different from teaching a larger pet. Detailed below are the steps you need to take if you want to successfully train your small pooch.

Step 1: Give Them Plenty of Time Outside

Dogs must learn to get comfortable outside for their potty training to stick. With that in mind, you should make it a habit to spend time with them outdoors.

Try to take your pet outside after every two hours or so and give them some time to do their business.  You can also use that time to play around and bond with your pet.

Step 2: Offer Treats or Praise When Your Pet Goes Potty Outside

Reinforcing good behavior is a must if you want it to stick. When your dog does their business outside, make sure to reward them. Praising them or giving them a treat whenever they go potty properly should incentivize them to keep up that habit.

Step 3: Keep a Close Eye on Your Pet

During training, you must keep a close eye on your pet. If they start getting restless, that could be a sign that they have to go potty. Err on the side of caution and let them go outside to handle their business.

Watching over your pet is easier if you keep them on a leash. Keep them in front of you at all times and don’t allow them to expel waste inside.

Step 4: Clean Up Any Accidents Thoroughly

Even if you’ve been diligent with regard to watching your pet, accidents can still happen. If they do, you have to clean up the soiled area thoroughly.  Don’t leave behind any trace of the waste because they could entice your pet to continue their messy habit.

Step 5: Get Your Pet to Stick to a Potty Schedule

Once your pet understands that they should go potty outside, you now have to teach them to expel waste at reasonable times. After all, you don’t want to be tasked with walking your dog in the middle of the night.

Consistently feed and walk your dog during the same timeframes. By doing that, your dog can adjust their potty habits accordingly. They will know when the time to go outside is near and they will avoid expelling waste while they’re still inside your home.