Potty Training Small Breed Dogs – (Everything You Need To Know)

When it comes to adopting a new puppy, knowing about their potty training problems can be really important. Because house soiling is one of the most common reasons why many dogs end up living in shelters. 

Potty training small dog breeds can be a bit of a challenge so if you are willing to adopt a small friend, you must be interested to know that what are the potty training problems associated with these buddies and how you can handle them. 

Can Small Dogs Be Potty Trained?

Yes, just like any other dog in the world, small dogs can also be potty trained. You need to learn the right procedure and stick to that. A strict schedule and staying consistent and patient is the key to successful puppy potty training. 

Are Small Breed Dogs Harder To Potty Train?

As compared to the large and medium-sized dogs, small breed dogs can be really hard to potty train. They can really challenge your patience and you need to be a lot more attentive and energetic to potty train them. 

Why Are Small Dogs So Hard To Potty Train?

Small breed dogs can be really hard to potty train because of

1- Small Body

The size of the dog matters. Because of the body size of these dogs, food, and water end up in the bowel and bladder right away and they need to go to the toilet after a very short break.

2-Fast Metabolism:

Small dogs tend to be more active and have a faster metabolism. That is why they need to go to pee every now and then and that makes them difficult to house-train.

3-Small Bladder

Small dogs have small bladders. They can’t hold pee for as long as a large dog of the same age can. This is why they need to go to the toilet more often.

4-Too Cute To Be Trained

Small dogs are very cute and most owners treat them like babies which is not good for their training. Ofcourse, for this purpose, you need to be strict and punctual.

5-Can’t Go Out In Extreme Weather

Small dogs are usually not strong enough to bear extreme weather such as snowy days. This becomes a reason, they are switched between outside and puppy pads more often which makes it difficult to housetrain them. 

Do Small Dogs Take Longer To Be Potty Trained?

As compared to the large and medium dogs of the same age, small dogs may take longer to be potty trained. This is because of their small size and because their muscles strength develops at a slower pace. 

Why Do Small Dogs Take Longer To Be Potty Trained?

Small dogs take longer to potty train because:

  • Their muscles tend to develop at a slower pace. 
  • They are more pampered by the owners
  • They need to pee more often that is why there are great chances of having a potty accident at home and then they are more likely to pee on that place again. 

Read More: How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Puppy?

Can You Potty Train Small Dogs Indoors?

Many puppy owners choose to potty train their small dogs indoors. And this can be a wise decision to make.

Small dogs need to go to the toilet more often and it will be easier to take them to the potty spot on time to save them from having a pee accident. 

Using puppy pads is a good option. You can either choose your small dog to go the pee pads forever or you can just train them to use pee pads and transition them to go outside later on. 

What Is The Best Way To Potty Train Small Breed Dogs?

Small dogs need to be taken to the potty spot more often, so if you have enough time and energy and you are committed then the best way is to potty train your small dogs to go outside.

But if you think that you can’t stick to the process all day long for many days, then you can use puppy pads to train your dog and when he will be fully potty trained, transition him to go outside later on. 

Puppy pee pad training may have problems, but if you will do it the right way, it will be fine. 

How Do You Pee Pad Train A Small Dog?

To train a small dog to use puppy pads, there is no difference from the usual pee pad training. Just choose the right pads and put them where you want your dog to pee and take the dog there every time it’s time to go. 

Find out our puppy pee pad training guide here. 

For How Long Do Small Breed Dogs Can Hold The Bladder?

It is usually said that dogs can hold their bladder for one hour for every month of their age until they are fully potty trained or their muscles are fully developed.

But for small dogs, things can be different. They can’t hold their bladder for so long.

We can say that a small dog can hold his bladder for 30-45 minutes every month of his age until he is fully potty trained and knows where and when to go. 

At What Age Should A Small Dog Be Potty Trained?

You should start setting good potty habits from the very first day and begin conscious potty training when your little dog is around 12 weeks old.

You can expect a small breed dog to be fully potty trained by the age of 9 months to 1 year. (if everything else remains ideal).

How to know that your dog is fully potty trained? Find out here.

Tips To Make Small Breed Dog Potty Training Successful:

Small breed dogs can be potty trained successfully if you will follow the right process. Here are a few tips that will help you a lot and you will get your dog to be fully potty trained at the right time. 

1- Follow Strict Schedule:

While potty training a small breed dog, you need to follow a strict schedule. Your dog should eat and drink right at a fixed time. This way you will understand that after how much time of eating and drinking, your dog goes to the toilet.

Then you should take him to the potty spot, right on time. This way, you will be able to save many accidents and that will lead you to successful puppy potty training.

2- Adopt A Small Dog That Is Eager To Please The Owner:

If you haven’t already adopted a dog yet, you should choose a small dog who is eager to please the owner or is obedient. Just like Miniature Schnauzer, Papillon, and Maltese.

An obedient dog will be easier to train including potty training.  

3- Proper Sized Crate:

Crate training really helps with potty training. If you won’t use a properly sized crate, your dog might go on the spare side of the crate to do the deed and that might mess up.

Choose a crate that is enough for the puppy or dog to sit, stand and turn around, not more than that. Because dogs are coded not to soil the place where they go to sleep. 

4- Stick To One Command:

Sticking to one potty command is crucial in the process of potty training. Multiple commands can confuse the dog and he may not show very good progress.

Select one simple command, such as “go potty” and stick to it. 

5- Do Not Become Lenient: 

This is one of the most common mistakes people make while potty training small dogs. They become lenient with them, maybe because of their baby looks. 

If you really want your dog to learn good potty habits then you need to become strict. It doesn’t mean that you have to yell at them or punish them but become consistent with the schedule and do not let them go inside the house or to the place where you don’t want them to go. 

6- Train To Use Pee Pads:

Small dogs need to be taken outside every now and then. They have a pretty small bladder so if you cannot get up and take them outside. It is a good idea to potty train them using puppy pads. 

Puppy pads are not a devil if you will use the right method to potty train your dog using them.

You have to make sure that you are following all the right techniques and tips while training your pooch. 

You can also choose to use real grass pads. A company named “DoggieLawn” will deliver fresh grass patches right at your door according to your chosen size and delivery time.

Find out our guide about training your dog to use puppy pads. 

Are There Any Small Dogs That Are Easier To Potty Train?

Luckily, there are some small dog breeds that are comparatively easier to potty train than other small breed dogs. We can say that this is because of these dogs’ intense urge to please the owner or the level of intelligence they get that makes them easier to potty train. 

Small Dogs That Are Easy To Potty Train:

Here’s a small list of the easiest small dogs to potty train:

  • Shiba Inu
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Pappilon
  • Maltese
  • Havanese 

Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu are also said to be easier to potty train as compared to other small dogs.

Find out more about easiest small dogs to potty train. 

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Tools Required To Potty Train Small Breed Dogs:

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Find out the perfect puppy potty training method here.


Small breed dogs can also be potty trained but they require more effort as compared to large dogs. This is because they need to go to the toilet more frequently and someone should be always there to keep an eye on them and take them to the potty spot right on time. 

Although, some small dogs get fully potty trained easily because of their high intelligence level and eagerness to please the owner. 

No matter, what the dog breed is, you need the right method, consistency, strict schedule, and a lot of patience. With all these practices you can be successful easily.

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