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.
Fresh Patch – as seen on Shark Tank – is real (hydroponically-grown) grass that you dispose of. It’s available at Amazon.
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.
We have a Morkiepoo. She was born 9-11-19. The breeder used per pads only. We started taking her out every 30 min commands potty/pee poo giving praise and a great. We take her to the same spot but she moves will not go in the same spot twice. Then She will go 2 days perfect no accidents. Then look out 1 or 2 accidents for the next two days. She knows she did wrong getting into her crate putting her head down. Help
Thanks for your comment Retha – take heart you’re on the right path! I would suggest that you take a step back in her training. Keep a very close eye on her, or keep her in her crate if you can’t. The moment she seems like she needs to go take her outside right away. Don’t forget – TONS OF PRAISE for doing it outside. Use your go-to phrase like “good potty!” in a really happy voice when she does it right.
When she makes a mistake, she obviously knows it, so you don’t need to come down on her there… Instead really play up the positive when she’s good. I’m sure you’ll find that she’ll get back on track soon.
And by the way, putting her in her crate if you can’t keep an eye on her is not punishment – don’t make it feel that way In fact, praise her then too.
Let us know how you do! Thanks and good luck!
I bought a morkie for my parents; I picked her up when she was approx 8-9wks old and the breeder had her trained on pee pads and she was crated since (probably) birth. I brought her home to my parents and they continued the same practice. She is very good at going back to the peepad to do her business #1 & 2) but would (still) have accidents throughout the main floor of the house (it’s a bunglow). Any idea why she utilizes both peedpad and (at times) throughout the house?
Thanks for your question… I apologize for the delay in getting back to you… the answer’s a little longer than I thought. So I’m doing a blog post on it and in the meantime, I’m sending you a separate email that you can print out for your parents. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in your inbox, from firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let me know how they do.
My Morkie I take her outside to potty ands
I would love to see your answer to this question as well. I checked the blog but couldn’t find it. Can you also email me your response?
I would love to see this answer also. My murkier is about 15 months now. Same problem
Samw here,maybe becausethere a few pee peepads but she does goes outside well,sleep all night as I bring her out at 10:00 pm!!
We have a Morkie and got her at 6 weeks old. She had already been started on pad training so we continued it. We have confined her to a small space, only have it in one room, and have done all the things listed. We work during the day and my husband and I try and rotate and go home to check on her twice during the day. One moment she will use the pad and then two seconds later she is peeing or pooping on the floor. I have read so many reviews today that state how hard Morkies are to potty train. If I felt we had some progress maybe i wouldn’t be so discouraged. We only feed her in the morning and at night. We really do not let her out of her room unless someone is with her at all times. We make sure that she is given lots of chances to go. She has not gone in the rest of the house as of yet but we watch her like a hawk. But she still won’t always go on her pad when she is in her area. I also want to crate train her but I am afraid to put her in it and have her pee or poop all over it. I know they say that she won’t but I have not seen her be consistent with anything. I am desperate for help.
I just got a Female Morkie. She is 9 weeks old. She currently has a play pen with her food, pee pads and food ( that is what the seller had her trained to do) and I’m wanting to train her to go outside, but I’m am wondering when should I start and how should I begin. Thanks.
Hi Theresa, Thanks for your question.
Even though it’s not the best weather right now, I believe the sooner you start the better. When you’re ready to make the switch, make it 100%. I suggest you remove the pad from the pen of course, and you might have to reduce the size of the pen temporarily, so she doesn’t go over to one corner and pee. Depending on how the pen is made, you could squeeze it together more, or put a large cardboard box in it. The idea is to make her space so small that she won’t be tempted to find a ‘corner’ and go there.
Then, start taking her out, to the same place where you want her to go. Take her:
-first thing upon wakening
-after a longer nap during the day
When she goes outside at the spot, give her tons of praise – use your “go potty” phrase, in a very positive, exaggerated voice, telling her she’s good, and “good ‘potty training’ phrase.”
You can expect some accidents during this process; if you catch her actually going in the house, a firm, No! is enough. If she’s already gone, then ignore it, and clean it up quickly, using a treatment to remove the dog scent.
Best of luck
PS you can also check out these pages on my site:
We have an almost 5-month old (this Friday, September 28th) male Morkie. We adopted him at 15 weeks old and are going on our 7th week of having him in our home. He’s super smart and quick to learn most any trick. However, potty training is a different story and we cannot seem to get this through to him that he needs to go potty outside. Here’s the story….the first week we brought him home, he was peeing every 7-10 minutes. I took him to the vet and sure enough he had a uti and crystals in his urine. 10 days of antibiotics and it was cleared up totally and another time culture confirmed this. So that made total sense. After the uti cleared up, I expected things would get better and while he doesn’t go every 7-10 minutes now, he still is peeing on average every 15-30 minutes when out of his crate. We are crate training him and have him on a very strict schedule that we follow to a tee. He eats and drinks at the same time each day. He holds his pee through the night (10pm-6:30am) and never has accidents during any of his crate time during the day. Here’s the schedule:
6:30a-8:00a – wake up, breakfast, walk, play
8:00a-11:00a – crate time (I am out of the home during that time)
11:00a-12:00p – lunch and play
12p-2p – crate time
2p-3p – play
3p-5p – crate time
5p-6p – dinner, play, and walk if not too hot
6p-8p – crate time
8p-10p – play and try to have downtime before bed
During all of these playtimes, he is doing training as well as learning “come” (trying anyhow) and all of his tricks and we actively play ball and toys with him 95% of the time. He will wander off and we go right behind him 95% of the time and regardless of whether we are there or not, he will pee. Again, this isn’t after hours but just like 15 minutes or so. During play and time he is out of his crate, we take him every 20 minutes and he will produce a dribble outside most of the time. But the thing is, sometimes he doesn’t even make it the full 20 minutes til we take him out before peeing in the house. We have potty bells on the front door and we are having him ring them every time he goes out. We tell him to come ring his potty bells and he does. We take him to the same spot outside each time. We give him treats, lots of praise and hugs and kisses after each time he potties outside. I’ve even upped the treats to turkey deli meat for after potty ONLY. We use “go pee-pee potty, go poo-poo potty” for his code words. He’s never punished for going in the house except a firm “NO” if we catch him then immediately outside and he’s told “you potty outside.” He’s about 4.5 pounds and is expected to be about 5-5.5 pounds full grown. He isn’t neutered yet but will be in the next few weeks. I don’t know if this will help or not though. I don’t know if he’s marking….he doesn’t lift his leg nor squat….he just stands there and it sprays out everywhere and I’ve even seen him walk through it….not sure if that’s normal or not but I guess another story. I just don’t know what we are doing wrong, not doing right, or what else we could possibly do. He’s on s good quality kibble and does not drink excessively. We are not lazy people but we are exhausted from this! Any advice?
I found this info on cuteness.com
Don’t get upset if your Morkie is doing “submissive urination.” Many puppies leak some urine when they get excited or nervous, especially those with smaller bladders. This is involuntary, so it’s not a real “accident.” Your Morkie should outgrow the problem by the time it is 6 months old. In the meantime, don’t make a big fuss or punish it because it can’t help the leaks.
I have a 3 month morkie but is not doing too good on pee pads , but maybe because I work .any suggestions
I trained my Morkie to ring a bell on the door since the day I got her. Now she either rings the bell or sits by the door. She too likes to go out & just sniff around. I give her so much time & then bring her in. She is 7 mos old & does pretty good. Would like to break her of barking at everything. Any suggestions?
WOW that is amazing Jane!! Great job. I’m sure you can turn down the barking if you can do this!
Dogs have a number of reasons for barking, so the first thing is to figure out why she’s being loud. Then you can match the strategy to the cause. I have a fairly lengthy post here:http://www.aboutmorkies.com/2017/01/31/why-does-my-morkie-bark-so-much/ I hope this will give you some insights and help.
Let us know!
Our morkie is one, a male. We have had issues since we got him at 8 weeks. He finally seemed to do better but we took him to Chicago and it messed him up. Due to the ‘accidents’, we tore out our carpet and put tile down (AZ). He has a designated wee wee pad to use in our large bathroom. He can’t go out because we have coyotes and hawks and an owl…In the summer it is way too hot even in the morning. We don’t want to confuse him (he already is) and I don’t know what to do…nothing is working and he is peeing on everything whenever he wants.
Thanks for your post. Sounds like your little guy is confused and doesn’t know where to go. Normally, the first suggestion I make is more exercise, and routine. But I understand in your case that it’s very hot. However, whenever you can try to take him out on a leash, even for a short walk. As the dog whisperer Cesar Millan says, “a tired dog is a good dog.”
In your case, I would suggest containing your Morkie in a very small area, then taking him out and showing him the pee pad. Wait around until he goes and then give him plenty of praise. Leave him loose while you can keep a close eye on him, and when he starts sniffing around like he is going to go, take him back to the pee pad and give him lots of praise. It’s good to have a key phrase that you repeat over and over – like “go potty.” When he’s good, you can say it in happy, melodic tones, praising him (I know, but you do what you gotta do) As he’s going, even say it, so he gets what it means.
If you can’t watch his every move, put him back in the small area and then take him out in a couple of hours. Again, show him the pee pads.
Basically you’re going back to square one to train him all over.
When I say put him in a small space, it could be a crate or a cage, with his bed and water of course. Or try using a small powder room, but put a big box in it, to fill it up. As you know, dogs hate to “dirty their nests” so don’t leave him a corner where he can go and pee.
Finally, shouting and punishing doesn’t work. Research has proven that dogs don’t have a clue what we’re trying to say when we shout and get angry. They panic, and can’t think straight. Although there’s nothing wrong with a firm NO.
I think you’ll find that your little guy will get back on track quicker than you think.
Best of luck with this – let us know!
When we got our Morkie, she had already been started with indoor training. So, we continued it. We thought there would be a gradual progression to outdoor potty use. We have an older toy poodle who is amazing. She goes to the door to let us know when she has to “go”. We were hoping she would pass that skill on to our pup. We take her out, she sees what’s going on and act accordingly. Our Morkie goes through the motions! She goes through the motions. We take her outside. She does her circular, prancing, running thing and…..nothing! She holds it. We take her for walks….nothing. She waits until she gets back inside and run to her pad. Please help.
I just got a morkie and although completely house trained, he is doing the same. He runs to the door and acts as if he needs to go, but then just sits when outside. Like he’s taking in all the views. I’m hoping its just the new surroundings and he will become adjusted soon.
You’ve done a great job if your Morkie is pad trained; she’s got the message. Now she thinks that “inside” is the way to go and will not necessarily want to go outside.
One thing you could try is to take a pad that she’s peed on, and put it outside. Meanwhile, (and you’ll have to do this when you’re home for the entire day) … remove the pads from indoors. Watch her carefully and when she’s looking around inside for the pad, take her out and show her the pad there. Encourage her with lots of warm, soft “good girl” statements. If she does go on the pad outside, give her tons of praise, and as I was saying in another post, use a keyword like “go potty” – say it in high, happy, praising tones. Even while she is going, say it in a positive way. Keep this up (pad outside, none inside, watch her) for a couple of days and then see how she does when you take her outside with no pad.
I’m sure she’ll get onto it in no time. They live to please us!
We trained our Morkie to only go outside. During training we would take him out right before bedtime. We would set our alarm for 1am and take him out and he would be good until early morning. Every few days we would extend the night time alarm to an hour later. He was sleeping through the night with no accidents ever since. I heard horror stories about potty training but it was a piece of cake with our Bentley.
Good for you Louise! It’s either superb training or great luck 🙂 Probably a bit of both!