How to Housetrain a Dog-Fast

Here's a fuzzy phone pic of our Sunny that captures her quirky self.

How to Housetrain a Dog-Fast ~ anartfulmom.com

For those new to my blog, Sunny is our little Yorkie- a rescue from a puppy-mill. She is 6 pounds of sweetness. If any of you are feeling some empty nest blues, just get one of these little sweethearts. Sunny is more baby-like than dog-like.

When we got Sunny, she wasn't housebroken. She had been a puppy-mill dog for 4 years and lived in a crate for a lot of that time. (I still can't believe anyone would treat a dog that way...)

Sunny didn't know how to tell us she needed to go out.  (She still doesn't.)  So we developed a schedule. This is how it goes--  We take her out morning, lunchtime, dinner, and bedtime. We also take her out within an hour after she drinks water. (Tiny Yorkie= tiny bladder.)   She learned that during the day, she goes out to go potty, but also to explore, chase rabbits, etc.  (Since she's only 6 pounds, we never let her out without one of us.  Did you know that hawks have been known to swoop Yorkies and other tiny dogs up and fly away with them?  True.)  At bedtime, she knows that it's time to go out to do her business and then come right back in.

It was amazing how quickly she learned.

This was our approach:

While inside, we kept Sunny in view all of the time. Yes, this is a bit (actually a lot) like having a toddler.

When we weren't home, Sunny stayed in her crate.  ( I was home a lot though, so she wasn't spending much time in the crate. You could also gate off the kitchen or another room that has a washable floor.)

We took Sunny out on a schedule, and praised her lavishly when she "went."

 If we saw her start to go potty inside, we tried not to yell or scare her. Instead, we would say,         "No!," pick her up,  and immediately take her outside to go.

After dark, we took her right back into the house after she was finished. (Dogs need to know when outside time is intended for play vs. strictly business.)

We put her water bowl away two hours before bedtime. (And we still do.)


Is Sunny housebroken?  Yes.  Does Sunny have accidents?  Yes, but very rarely.  We think she does very well, considering she was once a puppy-mill dog. (And, supposedly, many Yorkies are never quite completely house trained. Remember, small dog=small bladder.)

She feels secure in her crate and sleeps there at night.  Much like a crib!  She also stays in her crate when we are away from the house shopping, etc.  It's the first place she runs when it thunders.

Do we baby Sunny a bit too much?  Maybe, but we justify it by saying that it makes up for her first four years in the puppy-mill.

I hope these tips help you!

23 comments

  1. Your tips are great! I crate trained both my dogs. I have a 3 pound Chihuahua and 50 pound retriever mix. Lady (our big dog) trained fast. Guapo (our tiny) is 5 and still has accidents here and there, but not often.
    I also had a puppy mill dog once, but I didn't know when I got him he came from a puppy mill. He didn't live long, and it broke my heart. I did some research, found out about the puppy mill and had them shut down.

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  2. Aw, baby her away!! So glad there are people like you to save dogs like Sunny. I still have a baby and I want a puppy for the cuddle baby reasons.
    These are good tips. When we finally get our family dog, I will be the one to feed and care for it most. My husband works too much. I'm ready to take it on. I know how big it is.

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  3. I fell in love with Sunny from the first picture that I saw of her on your blog, way back! She is so precious. How awful that she had such a difficult start in life, but how blessed she is now! I love when dogs are baby-like...I know just what you mean! I enjoyed reading your post! Hugs, dear Pam! Thinking of you and hope college life is going well for ALL of you!

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  4. Oh, my goodness...what a little sweetie! Sunny is adorable! I think you shared some wonderful tips and many of them we followed when we were house-training our dogs years ago. Hope you enjoy her to the max, Pam!

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  5. Sunny is so cute!! So glad she now have a loving forever home!

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  6. Great tips! We're considering adding a dog to our family, so all of your tips come at a great time. THANK YOU for adopting a rescue dog!

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  7. Yay for rescue dogs! She is so adorable! These are great tips. My dog was a senior when we got her so I didn't have to train her, but she does have an accident every now and then. It sounds like the key to housetraining is making sure you can dedicate the time to maintaining a routine. Sunny is so lucky to have found you!

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  8. I totally get the empty-nest blues! My cat fills that void for sure!Puppy mills are so horrible. I wish there was more awareness on this. Babying your pet is never a bad thing.

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  9. Sunny looks like such a sweet little girl! We have a Jack Russell that will be 15 this year and it's amazing how much you can love them. They truly become part of the family. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  10. She is a cutie! We have always had shelter dogs and they were relatively easy to train. We did get a puppy last year and we did the same thing as you, took him outside constantly, and he got it pretty quickly. I think it helped too that we had two older dogs as well who helped teach him.

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  11. Aww, so sweet! I´m glad she ended up with you! :-)

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  12. I have a St Bernard (our second), so it's hard to even think of these tiny critters as actual dogs. I do see a lot of little dogs that seem to have potty problems. I just thought small dog = small brain, but I never thought about the tiny bladder as well. I guess that explains it.

    I would like a smaller dog some day - my husband just loves gi-normous dogs. The smallest dog we've ever had is a German Shepherd and I've never had one that would comfortably fit in my car, let alone in my purse. I don't think I'd go smaller than a cocker spaniel or beagle size though. And never a puppy again. I just don't have the kind of patience to train them like you do.

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  13. SO precious!!! Such hard work to take care of that bundle of joy!! Love the pictures and the tips!

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  14. She is so precious - these rescue dog stories just break your heart don't they? We have one too, had her for about 3 years now and can't imagine life without her!

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  15. She is SO ADORABLE!!! I think it's impossible to baby that sweet little face too much! We used a very similar routine for our rescue dog (the only addition: we rang a bell we put on our doorknob when we took her out so she'd start telling us when she wanted to go out by ringing the bell)and it really worked! You just have to be consistent and patient. :) --Lisa

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  16. Hmm... I really wish my folks had an easier time training their 5 mini dacschunds. They are older now and while they are let out, and even have a doggie door, they still pee and poo in the house. And when they weren't home, they had a huge cage for all of them. Its really frustrating and they've tried a lot. Might need the Dog Whisperer...lol

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  17. Those are really helpful tips for any dog!! Our older dog was a rescue from the streets, and she preferred to go outside, so she has always let us know it was time. She has a big chain collar and she shakes her head to rattle the chains when she wants our attention. Our little dog we got as a puppy and he learned from the bigger dog. Little one doesn't have a chain collar, but he knows to shake his head when he wants to go out - it just doesn't make as much noise, LOL.

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  18. Great sharing with us, I really liked it, Thanks for share..

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  19. What great tips! So many have problems with this and just don't keep on it - this would really help them. :) #HomeMattersParty

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  20. Sunny is so cute! I am so glad she learned to go outside so quickly. Puppies are a lot like having a real baby - they are a lot of work. #HomeMattersParty

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  21. Sunny is so cute! As Nicole says, Puppies are like babies. #HomeMattersParty

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  22. Sunny is absolutely adorable!! I wanted a Yorkie. My heart ended wanting Spyro (Chihuahua mix) before I could find a Yorkie worth getting. This is the exact way I house train a dog too, and it is very time consuming, but definitely worth doing.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty.

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  23. Oh I can definitely relate to ALL these. When we got our puppy he had lived solely in his crate and potty training was a huge task- but there is light at the end of the tunnel :) And they bring so much joy into your life, it's worth all the trouble! #homemattersparty

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I appreciate every comment. Thank you!

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