I think Yorkies, like all small stubborn breeds, are known as a bit of a potty training challenge. I watched a few Youtube videos before Nami arrived home and fully expected a few weeks of waking up in the middle of the night to make him go pee as part of his training process.
Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as that. :P
Luckily, Nami adjusted fairly quickly, but he still has accidents in the house.
Puppy proofing shopping list
Before Nami arrived, I covered the apartment carpet flooring from his crate all the way to the patio with surface plastic. I bought plastic surface covering from Bunnings and used cloth-tape to stick them together. Make sure you don’t put an extra heavy weight on top of the cloth tape (like a couch, for example) or else it’ll get super sticky on the carpet.
You may not feel like the plastic covering is necessary — all depends on your risk appetite. :P We didn’t actually need it after Nami arrived, but every pup is different so you just never know.
We have a 1-bedroom apartment so it was easy to cover the hallway, rooms, and living spaces with rugs. ALL THE RUGS. I’m not concerned about Nami peeing on our rugs since they’re replaceable — I only want to avoid pee on the apartment carpet.
IKEA sells this rug for only $30 which you can buy if you have surfaces you’d like to cover. It keeps our home looking like a home while fully expecting some accidents to happen. The material is also not too thick so I can put it in the washer easily. It’s just an extra layer of protection over the carpet flooring so we can get our bond back. :D Ahahaha.
Buy a big bottle of enzymatic cleaner, and have it on hand even before your puppy comes home. Nami still ended up peeing on the carpet flooring a few times…as expected of a yorkie :’D
Washable pee pads are also a MUST. My friend’s yorkie would have accidents even as an adult so they will go a long way compared to the disposable ones. If you can wait at least a month, you can buy cheaper ones off AliExpress. I bought 2 sizes:
- 65 x 90 cm
- 90 x 105 cm
First week: potty indoors
We got Nami when he was 9 weeks old, and in the first week his potty setup was indoors, right at the patio door. I just needed him to know where to pee and poop, so later I can move his grass mat outside. This is a very blurry photo:
On the first week I would:
- Wake up every 3 hours (i.e. 12md, 3am, 6am, 9am) to bring Nami to pee or poop on the grass mat. He doesn’t always go potty but I will still wake up to bring him.
- After about 3 days I woke up every 4 hours instead to bring him to go potty.
- Go potty when he first wakes up, after his meals, and after he drinks water (especially after he drinks). The rest of the time I just keep an eye on him to notice when he’s about to go.
- Reward him with a treat after he pees or poops.
- After the first week, I stopped waking up at night and would just bring him out to potty when I wake up in the morning (7am).
Second week: potty on the patio
I decided to test moving the grass mat outside the patio door to see if he will follow it. I rinsed the mat and plastic grass with hot water to get a bit of the smell off then moved it outside :P
I think Nami was confused the first day the mat was moved outside because he did his potty on the patio floor, where I rinsed the mat. I lead him back to the grass mat and stayed with him until he finished his potty and then rewarded him with a treat.
I kept bringing him out or leading him outside to potty until eventually we noticed that he will stand by the patio and look outside whenever he needs to go. He now goes near the patio door to signal that he needs to potty, and we open the door for him.
A few times we had accidents: sometimes he couldn’t wait long enough for us to open the door and does an accident right in front. I made sure I had a rug or a washable pee pad right at the edge of the patio door for those cases.
Sometimes we also didn’t realise he was standing by the door so we weren’t able to open it for him, oops!
Whenever he does an accident on any indoor rugs or on the carpet flooring, I dry the spot with a tissue, pour some of the enzymatic cleaner, and then pat and wipe the spot dry.
I also regularly use the Glen disinfectant spray on the floor to make sure the smell doesn’t stay indoors.
Third week: potty on the grass
We live in a residential apartment and right outside our patio is the communal garden :P After a week of doing potty on the fake grass mat at the patio, Nami graduated to real grass!
Actually, I think he might have been doing potty outdoors at the breeders because he automatically peed and pooped on the real grass. I’m not sure how it works. He just didn’t need training to transition to real grass at all.
Potty in unfamiliar places
Nami isn’t comfortable doing his toilet business in other people’s houses or unfamiliar places. It’s much easier to bring him to a grass or soil to convince him to go potty. Sometimes I get caught without his pee mat so I have to guide him and stay with him until he does his business in the spot designated for it. :’)
- Sometimes he absolutely refuses to go. The first time I brought him to the office (on first week he came home), he kept it in until we got back to our apartment.
- The first time I went to a friend’s house with him, he also didn’t know where to pee so he peed in his blanket in his carrier :’D
- One time we went to a friend’s house, who had disposable potty that Nami wasn’t used to. He was ‘crying’ / barking and I knew he needed to go, and I had to ‘herd’ him towards the potty until he finally went.
- In another friend’s house, I could sense he needed to go so we stayed in their bathroom for about 15 minutes until he peed.
If I’m bringing him out, I just bring a travel-sized bottle of the enzymatic cleaner so I’m ready for all accidents! :D I also bring the smaller washable pee pad when we go out, especially when visiting a friend’s house or when I bring him to the office.
We use wipes for his butt and peepee, and to clean his toes and tiny beans every time he goes back into the house. It’s good to start this early, I think, so they get used to it. I’m trying to train Nami to expect it as part of his “walk-walk”, and give him a treat before and after cleaning.
Even if Nami usually does his business on the patio or grass these days, he still has accidents around the house. It’s usually at the front door, which we use when I bring him to walk in the afternoons. Or by the patio door, which leads to his fake grass mat outdoors.
I just make sure I have a rug or a washable pee pad in front of both doors that I can regularly clean, wash, or replace whenever Nami has an accident.
For everything else, there’s enzymatic cleaner. :D
Even though Nami is a yorkie, every dog is different: different personalities, different temperaments. But we love them all the same.
If you have more questions about Nami’s potty training, or any other topic, leave a comment below. :)