Litter box training a chihuahua isn’t for the faint of heart. When they leave our home, they are already using both a pee pad and a litter box. I order EVERYTHING from Amazon, nothing beats having all of my dog food, pee pads, litter, and dog treats show up at my door!
Moving them to a new home means they’ll need to learn where the appropriate place to potty is. In the beginning, we recommend starting them in a small space. Kitchen are great for a first room, you may need a pet gate to block their exit. All the other pet gates and baby gates we tried have the bars too far apart for a tiny chihuahua puppy, they slip right out! This Richell Wood freestanding gate is made for small dogs and it shows. The best part is that it’s sturdy enough that you don’t need to mount it to the wall. I’ve owned a lot of baby/pet gates and you couldn’t pay me enough to screw mount or pressure mount another gate! You can get it in multiple lengths and heights and it’s been a blessing for our dog family.
Once they master their business in that room, open them up to a larger area. If they “miss”, then just move the poo in the box or onto the pad. If it’s pee, soak it up with the pad and leave the pad there. That smell helps remind them, they have short attention spans at that age. They don’t want to stop playing or exploring for a potty break. They wait until the last second and then just potty where they are.
We use some pretty simple litter boxes. Our boxes get used a LOT so we have the habit of buying a new one every year. A simple box like this one works fine.
I put just enough to cover the bottom because I don’t want to scoop poop. With just one puppy using it, I’ll dump the litter every 2-3 days. With two pups I do dump it every 2 days. That is when they are still too small to potty outside with the rest of the pack 3x a day. If you scoop the poo, you can make one batch of litter last for a week with one pup. We did this as a little experiment with my daughter’s dog, in her room.
Once you open them up to a larger space, you can spread pee pads all over, at least in the beginning. I know you think you are watching them every second but it’s so easy to get distracted. On the subject of pee pads, we really like these charcoal pee pads. I first discovered them about a year ago and I quickly replaced my regular pads with these. I hate smelling the urine, and these are the only thing that truly lock the smell in! They say they absorb 2x as much, 2x as fast and I AM A BELIEVER! There is a pheromone attractant in them that draw the pups to them and that is so helpful when they are young.
They have two stickies you can use to attach it to a hard floor. The downside to pads is that even when they remember to use it, they may stand on the edge and the poo will still end up on your floor. The best way to eliminate this is with a pee pad holder. These are not expensive and worth every penny.
When I leave the house, or know I won’t be able to keep an eye on a young puppy, I just put them in one of these exercise pens. You can use a larger one if you have more than one pup or if you will be gone all day. My brother and his wife use the smaller, 4 panel in their tiny NYC apartment. Just put their bed, water and food, and the pee pad or litter box inside. They will cry, especially if they see you. Stay strong. It’s training them and you!
The first time they pee on a rug or carpet (even tile sometimes), it becomes a potty spot. I know, I know…you think that you’ll be watching them closely. You’ll miss something. Or maybe a previous pet in your home had already claimed a potty corner. You might not smell it, but your new pup will! If you find that they have an affinity for a particular spot, you better clean it quick.
I only have one room with carpet in my house…my room. One of our retirees, Marci, decided that my room was now her room. Then it wasn’t just her. I’d tried everything else out there. Even having my carpet professionally cleaned didn’t work. A friend who used to do Chi rescue, recommended Angry Orange. The name cracks me up overtime, but it’s no joke. It. Works. It only takes a small amount, follow the directions. Like a miracle, none of my dogs pee in my room. Angry Orange is AMAZING.
Wondering if there are any pee spots you don’t know about, in your home? A quick scan with a black light flashlight and you’ll know!
We love that we have so many options but I truly have mixed feelings when it comes to letting them pee/poo in the house. I would love to have all my dogs do their business in the backyard, not in my house. I’m not a big fan of cleaning up poo and pee in my house. Then again, if they have to go, a pad or box are way better than on one of my rugs. My adults go outside 90% of the time but they will still use the litter box on a day when the weather is bad and they don’t want to play outside.
If you are really experienced with dogs and want to train them to potty outside, I’d recommend Tickle Bells. Another name that makes me giggle. A friend of ours has a little red longcoat female from our “Spices” litter, Minti. Sweet Minti uses Tickle Bells and has done a great job becoming house trained.
Chihuahuas are one of the more difficult breeds to house train. When it comes to chis, I don’t hesitate to hire a reputable trainer. What is your sanity and relationship with your new baby worth?