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Potty Training Tips for Shih Tzu Puppies

by Scott Lipe
Potty Training Tips for Shih Tzu Puppies

Welcome to our guide on potty training tips for Shih Tzu puppies! Housebreaking a Shih Tzu can be challenging, but with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be stressful. In this section, we will provide you with essential training guidelines and helpful tips to ensure successful housebreaking. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or looking for specific advice for Shih Tzu puppies, you’ve come to the right place.

Preparing for Housebreaking

House training a Shih Tzu puppy

Before you start the housebreaking process with your Shih Tzu puppy, it’s important to make a few important preparations. These steps will help set you and your puppy up for success in their potty training journey.

Choose a Designated Area

Firstly, choose a designated area outside where you want your Shih Tzu to eliminate. This area should be easily accessible and away from high foot traffic areas. By consistently bringing your puppy to this spot, they will learn to associate it with potty time.

Set Up a Defined Space Inside

In addition to an outdoor area, it’s recommended to set up a defined space inside for your Shih Tzu, such as a playpen or an indoor area with pee pads. This will serve as their designated potty area when going outside is not possible. Make sure the defined space is easily accessible and separated from their sleeping or eating areas.

Preparations for HousebreakingDescription
Choose a Designated AreaChoose a specific spot outside for your Shih Tzu to eliminate.
Set Up a Defined Space InsideCreate a designated potty area indoors, such as a playpen or an area with pee pads.
Use a Tethering SystemUtilize a tethering system to supervise your Shih Tzu when they are not in their defined area.
Have Training Treats HandyKeep effective training treats on hand to reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior.
Choose Cue WordsSelect cue words to signal bathroom time, such as “Go potty.” Use these consistently during training.
Invest in Enzyme CleanserPurchase a quality enzyme cleanser to eliminate odors after accidents and prevent future accidents in the same spot.

Use a Tethering System and Have Training Treats Ready

When your Shih Tzu is not in their designated potty area, use a tethering system to supervise them. This involves attaching a leash or tether to yourself, keeping them nearby, and preventing accidents. Additionally, always have effective training treats on hand to reward your puppy for good potty behavior and reinforce positive habits.

Choose Cue Words and Invest in Enzyme Cleanser

Choose cue words such as “Go potty” to associate with bathroom time and use them consistently during training. This helps your Shih Tzu understand what you expect of them. Furthermore, invest in a quality enzyme cleanser to eliminate any odors after accidents. This not only keeps your home clean and odor-free but also helps prevent future accidents in the same spot.

By making these preparations, you’ll be ready to embark on your Shih Tzu’s potty training journey with confidence and set them up for success.

Establishing a Routine

potty training routine

To ensure successful potty training for your Shih Tzu puppy, it’s essential to establish a routine that promotes consistency and reinforces good bathroom habits. A well-structured routine will not only help regulate your puppy’s bathroom needs but also strengthen their understanding of where and when to go.

Feeding schedule: Maintaining a regular feeding schedule is key to establishing a routine. Feed your Shih Tzu puppy at the same times each day to help regulate their digestive system and create a predictable bathroom schedule. Consider feeding them smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large meal to avoid overwhelming their tiny stomachs. Remember to provide water regularly, but control their access to it to prevent excessive drinking and accidents.

Potty breaks: Take your puppy outside for potty breaks immediately after meals, naps, and playtime. These are common times when they are more likely to need to eliminate. Watch for signs such as sniffing, circling, or whining, indicating that they need to go. Always use a consistent cue word or phrase, such as “Go potty,” to signal bathroom time and reinforce the association between the cue and the desired behavior.

Walking schedule: In addition to planned potty breaks, establish a consistent walking schedule. Regular walks not only provide opportunities for your Shih Tzu to eliminate but also offer mental and physical stimulation. Aim for at least three walks per day, focusing on morning, afternoon, and evening. Stick to a predetermined route and encourage your puppy to eliminate in their designated potty spot during these walks.

Remember that every puppy is different, and there may be slight variations in their individual bathroom needs. Pay attention to their body language and adjust your routine accordingly. Consistency is key in establishing good bathroom habits, so be patient and persistent as you work towards successful potty training.

Using Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a highly effective method for potty training your Shih Tzu puppy. By using rewards, praise, treats, and a consistent command, you can reinforce good behavior and encourage your puppy to eliminate in the correct spot. This approach creates a positive association between going potty and receiving a reward, making your puppy more motivated to follow the desired behavior.

When your Shih Tzu eliminates in the designated area, immediately provide positive reinforcement. Offer verbal praise in an enthusiastic tone, saying phrases like “Good job!” or “Well done!” This lets your puppy know they’ve done something right and can help reinforce the desired behavior. Additionally, you can offer a small treat as a reward. Choose training treats that your puppy finds irresistible to make the reinforcement even more effective.

It’s crucial to reward your Shih Tzu immediately after they finish eliminating. This timing helps them make the connection between the action and the reward. If you wait too long, your puppy may not understand what they’re being rewarded for. By providing immediate positive reinforcement, you can enhance the effectiveness of the training and speed up the potty training process.

“Positive reinforcement is a powerful training method that encourages your Shih Tzu to repeat the desired behavior. By associating going potty in the right spot with rewards, praise, and treats, you create a positive experience for your puppy, making them more likely to continue with good bathroom habits.”

– Dog Training Expert

Confinement and Gradual Freedom

In the process of potty training your Shih Tzu, confinement plays a crucial role. Using a crate or a small confined area when you cannot directly supervise your puppy helps prevent accidents and reinforces the idea of a designated potty spot. It’s important to ensure that the space is large enough for your Shih Tzu to move comfortably, but not too large to encourage eliminating in one spot and sleeping in another.

To begin with, introduce your Shih Tzu to the crate or confined area gradually. Make it a positive and comfortable space by placing their bed, toys, and some treats inside. Encourage your puppy to enter voluntarily and reward them with praise or treats. Slowly increase the amount of time your Shih Tzu spends in the confined space, starting with short intervals and gradually working up to longer periods.

During the confinement period, it’s essential to closely supervise your Shih Tzu when they are outside of the crate or confined area. This helps prevent accidents and provides opportunities to reinforce their potty training. Keep a close eye on their body language, such as sniffing or circling, which may indicate the need to eliminate. Take them to their designated potty spot immediately and reward them for successful elimination.

“Confinement is a useful tool in the potty training process.”

As your Shih Tzu becomes more reliable in their potty training, you can gradually increase their freedom by expanding their access to other areas of the house. Begin by giving them access to one additional room at a time, always keeping a close eye on their behavior and providing ample opportunities for them to eliminate outside. Remember to maintain consistency and reinforce good habits throughout the process.

Crate Training

One effective method of confinement is crate training. A crate serves as a safe and cozy den-like space for your Shih Tzu. It helps limit their access to the house, preventing accidents and promoting a sense of security. When using a crate for potty training, ensure that it is the appropriate size for your puppy. It should be big enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so spacious that they have room to eliminate in one corner and sleep in another.

Benefits of Crate Training for Potty TrainingSteps for Crate Training
  • Teaches bladder and bowel control
  • Provides a safe and den-like space
  • Reduces the risk of accidents inside the house
  • Aids in establishing a routine
  1. Introduce the crate gradually, making it a positive space
  2. Encourage your Shih Tzu to enter the crate voluntarily with treats
  3. Slowly increase the amount of time spent in the crate
  4. Use a command, such as “crate” or “bed,” to associate it with entering the crate
  5. Never use the crate as a punishment
  6. Provide appropriate toys and treats to keep them occupied in the crate

Potty Bells and Additional Training Tools

One effective tool to aid in potty training your Shih Tzu is the use of potty bells. By teaching your furry friend to ring the bells when they need to go outside, you create a clear communication method between you and your pet. To train your Shih Tzu to use the potty bells, hang them on your doorknob at nose level and encourage your dog to ring them with their paw or nose. When they do, immediately take them to their designated potty area.

In addition to potty bells, there are other training tools you can utilize. If you live in an apartment or lack a backyard, indoor puppy pads or litter boxes can be helpful alternatives for your Shih Tzu to eliminate inside. These tools provide a designated spot for your pet to relieve themselves, minimizing accidents and promoting consistency in their potty training routine.

Remember, every dog is unique, so you may need to experiment with different training tools to find what works best for your Shih Tzu. Be patient and consistent in your approach, and always reward your pet for using the designated potty area or following the potty bell training.


  • Potty bells can be used to establish a communication method between you and your Shih Tzu for potty breaks.
  • Hang the potty bells at nose level and teach your Shih Tzu to ring them with their paw or nose when they need to go outside.
  • Indoor puppy pads or litter boxes can be helpful alternatives for apartments or homes without backyards.
  • Experiment with different training tools to find what works best for your Shih Tzu.
  • Remember to be patient, consistent, and reward your pet for using the designated potty area or following the potty bell training.

Patience and Positive Attitude

Potty training can be a challenging process, but it’s crucial to approach it with patience and a positive attitude. Your Shih Tzu puppy is learning a new skill, and accidents are bound to happen along the way. Remember that staying calm and composed will create a more relaxed environment for both you and your furry friend.

When accidents occur, avoid getting frustrated or angry with your puppy. Punishing them will only create fear and anxiety, making the training process even more difficult. Instead, focus on reinforcing positive behavior. Clean up any messes thoroughly, using an enzyme cleanser to eliminate odors and prevent repeat accidents.

Consistency is key when it comes to potty training. Stick to a routine, taking your Shih Tzu outside to their designated potty spot at regular intervals throughout the day. Use the same cue words to signal bathroom time, such as “Go potty” or “Outside.” Be patient and wait for your puppy to eliminate, then reward them with plenty of praise, treats, or playtime. This positive reinforcement will help them understand what behavior is expected.

“Potty training can be frustrating at times, but it’s important to remain patient and maintain a positive attitude.”

Remember, accidents are part of the learning process, and progress may be gradual. Each puppy is unique and will learn at their own pace. Stay consistent and persistent, and celebrate every small milestone your Shih Tzu achieves. With time, patience, and a positive attitude, your furry friend will become a potty training pro.

Seeking Professional Help


If you’re struggling with potty training or experiencing behavior problems with your Shih Tzu, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer can provide expert guidance and support tailored to your specific needs. They have the knowledge and experience to assess your Shih Tzu’s behaviors and create a customized training plan to address any issues.

One option to consider is enrolling in an online training course that specializes in potty training or general behavior problems. These courses offer convenience and flexibility, allowing you to learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home. Look for reputable online training programs such as SpiritDog’s “Mastering Potty Training” or K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass” that come highly recommended by dog owners and experts.

When seeking professional help, it’s important to communicate openly about your Shih Tzu’s challenges and goals. Provide detailed information about their potty training history, any previous training methods, and specific behaviors you’d like to address. The more information you can provide, the better equipped the professional will be to assist you.

Remember, seeking professional help doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a pet owner. It simply indicates that you’re committed to giving your Shih Tzu the best possible training and care. With the guidance of a professional, you can overcome any obstacles and achieve success in potty training your furry friend.

Table: Top Online Training Courses for Potty Training Shih Tzu

Online Training CourseFeaturesUser Rating
SpiritDog’s “Mastering Potty Training”– Step-by-step guidance
– Video demonstrations
– One-on-one support
K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass”– Comprehensive training program
– Access to professional trainers
– Interactive learning materials
Pawsitive Pups’ “Potty Training Made Easy”– Proven training techniques
– Real-life examples
– Troubleshooting tips

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are you potty training a Shih Tzu puppy? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help guide you through the process.

1. What is the best age to start potty training a Shih Tzu?

It is recommended to start potty training your Shih Tzu puppy as early as 8 weeks old. However, older dogs can also be successfully housebroken with consistency and effort.

2. What are the signs that my Shih Tzu needs to go potty?

Watch out for common signs that indicate your Shih Tzu needs to eliminate, such as sniffing, circling, pacing, or whining. These behaviors often signal the need to go outside or to their designated potty area.

3. Can I potty train a Shih Tzu in an apartment?

Absolutely! Potty training in apartments may require some additional tools and techniques. Consider using indoor puppy pads or litter boxes as alternative options for your Shih Tzu to eliminate inside. Consistency and patience are key to success.

4. Are there any recommended online training courses for potty training Shih Tzu puppies?

If you’re looking for expert guidance and support in potty training your Shih Tzu, consider enrolling in online dog training courses such as SpiritDog’s “Mastering Potty Training” or K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass.” These courses specialize in potty training and can provide valuable insights and strategies.

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