Potty training small dogs is a real challenge. It’s much harder than training big dogs for several reasons: small dogs have tiny bladders and they simply can’t hold it as long. If your new Morkie puppy has come from a breeder who hasn’t started the process, it’s that much harder. Rescue dogs are another challenge.
But don’t despair – it can be done! Especially if you avoid this #1 mistake most people make potty training small dogs.
You’ve got a new puppy coming home: how are you going to approach potty training?
Puppies naturally want to please.
When you’re consistent with training your Morkie will be less anxious and can focus on the actual training, instead of trying to second guess your mood. Small dogs who aren’t well potty trained will often try to hide their ‘mistake’ somewhere in the home, like a closet or dark corner. When you think about it, that’s really sad. 🙁
The #1 mistake we make potty training: not being clear on WHERE we want them to go.
The #1 rule of potty training
You MUST make it very clear to your new puppy if you want him to go INSIDE or OUTSIDE.
You can’t change methods because your Morkie will be confused and anxious. Pick one – indoors or outdoors – and stick with it.
Everyone’s excited about the new puppy until those “little accidents” around the home get frustrating!!
Potty training your small dog is a real test of your patience, but it is also one of the first opportunities that you and your Morkie puppy will have to bond.
Dog house training is a lot of hard work, but it is necessary. In fact, it’s job one.
Just keep in mind, when it comes to house training, every dog succeeds at a different rate. Morkies – being among the smarter dogs, can be mischievous, making potty training a challenge. But with some patience and sense of humor on your part, you WILL survive Morkie puppy training!
No matter the breed, it takes some dogs only a few weeks to learn, where it may make other dogs several months. Here is perhaps the most important thing to know about Morkie puppy training: the rate at which the puppy succeeds depends on the amount of consistent training that you as the owner give him.
This doesn’t have to be you!
If you pick Going Outside
From the moment you bring your new Morkie home, take him to the spot outdoors that you want to designate as his “dog potty area.” Use your command phrase such as “go outside” or “go potty.”
As soon as he goes, woohoo! Give lots of immediate verbal praise, treats, and kisses! Repeat “Go Outside” in a happy, warm voice as he’s going and even after. He’ll associate your verbal praise with what he’s doing.
Consistency (yes, that word again) is important. Take your Morkie to the same spot in your yard or park every time you take him out to “Go Potty” (or your own phrase). Use the same phrase every time and keep it positive.
If you are not consistent about when you take him out and where you take him out, it will be hard for your dog to know what is right and what is wrong.
If you pick Going Inside
If you want to train your Morkie to go indoors, you have several choices:
- paper training (newspapers)
- use puppy-pads
- try a kitty litter pan
- artificial grass
Indoors or outdoors, consistency is key. Take your puppy to the same spot every time you think he needs to go.
Use a happy, encouraging voice to tell him “go potty” (or whatever your catch phrase is). Then shower him with praise when he goes.
Options if your Morkie goes inside
This is one of the original ways to train a mostly-indoors dog. This isn’t a stage in house-training – it’s a method of its own.
You simply put several layers of newspaper on the floor in a designated area of your house where you want your puppy to go potty. Be sure to use the same spot at all times.
There are special trays for newspapers or puppy training pads, but a plain old boot tray works perfectly, for about 1/4 of the cost.
Change the papers after each use. THE KEY IS that the newspapers are always available for the puppy’s use.
If you decide to teach your puppy paper training, then that’s the method you’ll use for the rest of his life.
Simple newspapers on a plastic tray (a boot tray works well) are all you need for an indoor potty station.
Puppy training pads
Similar to paper training, puppy training pads are a method of their own, and not a “stage” on the path to being house-trained.
These absorbent pads are specially treated to attract your Morkie to go; plus they have a plasticized bottom to prevent leakage onto your floor or carpet.
Use the same steps for the puppy training pads as you do paper training:
- puppy pads in the same place every time
- change them when your dog goes
- always available
- give plenty of praise in a positive, sing-song voice when your pup uses his papers, using your key phrase such as “Go Potty.”
Although the cost adds up over time, puppy pads absorb moisture well, have a plastic backing and are easy to use. They’re also great for traveling with your Morkie.
How to train with a litter pan
Believe it or not, you CAN train a small dog to use a kitty litter pan.
Again, you set it up the same as paper training or puppy pad training:
- always available for your Morkie
- clean and fresh
- in the same place all the time
Use regular kitty litter and the potty mess is all contained. To get your Morkie started using the litter pan, put a bit of newspaper or tissue with his urine on it in the pan. Or, leave a small piece of his poop in the pan. He will be drawn by his own scent.
A sturdy plastic litter pan can be easily washed with hot water and dish detergent to keep it fresh.
Let him sniff around, place him in the pan, and say an encouraging command such as “go potty” or “use your tray.” You can also lift your Morkie and set him in the litter box, while encouraging him to use it. When he does go potty, praise him tons.
Keep using your key phrase “Go Potty” or whatever you choose – in a positive, high tone, even after he’s done his business. That will teach him he’s done the right thing and you’re pleased.
Special dog litter boxes are also available.
Are you ready for fake grass?
There are a number of systems on the market now for your Morkie that include some form of grass – real or fake, along with a system to clean up after he goes potty.
Some can be used on your porch or patio and include running water as the rinsing agent. These can cost $500 and up. At the other end of the scale, the simple tray with layers of artificial grass, available at amazon.com for about $25.
Although it’s an odor-resistant mat with a drainage system, I can’t vouch for how sanitary it is.
This product is advertised as an alternative for when your dog can’t get outside. As you read earlier, you can’t switch up where you want your dog to go based on the weather, our schedule and so on.
It’s indoors OR outdoors, or your Morkie will be confused and go anywhere.
Other fake grass systems
These really are fake grass – artificial turf that is antimicrobial and absorbent. This 3-layer system is easy to clean – rinse with soapy water and you’re ready to use again. Engineered to be durable and long-lasting.
You can see a number of systems like these on Amazon.