House Training Small Dog

House training small dog’s is not really different in practice than training any other type of dog. Many pet owners, however, do find that smaller dogs are more difficult to train.

While small dogs will need to go outside more often in order to avoid accidents (they do, after all, have much smaller bladders), the actual process of training them is the same as for other dogs.

Crate Training

Crate training is one of the most effective ways of house training a small dog or a big dog. One of the keys is to choose a crate that is the correct size.

One common mistake that is made with small dogs is that owners choose a crate that is too large.

This allows the dog to sleep at one end of the crate and eliminate at the other. Instead, the crate should be just large enough that the dog can stand up and turn around, but not much larger.

When you are away, the dog can be kept in the crate to eliminate accidents.

Regular Schedule

When house training small dogs, or any other dog, keeping the pet on a schedule is very important.

Again, small dog equals small bladder so do not expect your three pound pet to be able to hold it for eight hours while you are at work.

If possible, let your dog out every two to three hours. Do not carry your dog outside, instead, let him go on his own. This will teach him to walk outside when he needs to use the bathroom.

When he goes in the right place give him praise and a treat.

Also, issue voice commands that are the same each time such as “go potty” or “hurry up puppy”. The dog will learn to associate those words with going to the bathroom.

As much as possible, try to be at home during the time that your pet is being house trained. Of course, this is not always possible, but if you can take a couple of weeks of vacation to work on this, it will make the house training much easier.

Even when you are home, you should try to stick to a schedule that is similar to what it will be when you go back to work.


A very common mistake that pet owners make when house training a small dog is that they punish the dog for having accidents in the house.

This will not help your dog learn correct behavior, but will likely make him think that going to the bathroom makes you angry.  He will probably still go in the house, but in places that you will not see.

Instead, ignore bad behavior and reward correct behavior. When he does let you know he needs to go outside, or when he eliminates in the yard instead of the house, reward him. That will be much more effective than yelling or becoming upset when he goes in the house.

Puppy Pads

Puppy pads are a controversial training tool. Some say that all these items do is teach your dog that it is ok to go to the bathroom in the house. Others, however, have found them to be an invaluable part of the training process.

One way you could use them is to place them very close to the door. This will help prevent accidents on your carpet and begin to teach the dog to associate the door with going to the bathroom. Eventually, you can move the pad outside before stopping their use altogether.

House training small dogs takes time and patience, as does training any type of dog. Stick with it and be consistent and you will be surprised at how fast of a learner your four-legged friend can be!

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