Behaviour, Training

How To Potty Train A Shih Tzu Puppy – Get It Right The First Time!

potty train shih tzu puppy


potty train shih tzu puppyDoes this sound familiar? You are relaxing at home, following your favorite TV show, then your Shih Tzu walks in front of you and does their thing right in the corner of the living room.


You may be scratching your head trying to figure out how you are going to potty-train your Shih Tzu effectively. The good news is that it is quite an easy thing to achieve. The Shih Tzu is not just cute dog breed but they are also smart, and this means that they are highly trainable.


However, you’ll still need to be patient and committed. Yes, your Shih Tzu might be smart and highly trainable, but they will need enough time to learn and new behavior.


So, how long will it take for your Shih Tzu to learn to be potty trained? That depends. Some would take between 3 to 6 weeks, while others would take up to six months to learn. Regardless of that, you need to be patient enough until they master the training. It will happen, I promise!







Why Might You Need To Potty Train Your Shih Tzu Puppy?


  • No Dog Mess/Odor In Undesirable Places.
  • They Can Stay In The House When Unwell Or Injured
  • It’s A Good Idea For The Home Owners
  • It Gives You Peace Of Mind

If you ask a dog owner why they are potty training their pet, the would give you different reasons. Some do it for the good of the dog, others for their property, while others for themselves. Regardless of the reason, it is always beneficial to potty train your Shih Tzu. Here are some of the benefits of doing so:


No Dog Mess/Odor In Undesirable Places


This is supposedly the most obvious reason. Some dogs tend to find a hidden section in the house and do their thing there. If you cannot find where your dog relives themselves, you might have a difficult time keeping your house smelling fresh. But if you potty-train them well, you can eliminate that bad smell.


They Can Stay In The House When Unwell Or Injured


When your Shih Tzu has an injury or an illness, it might not be safe to take them outside. This means that they might do their mess in the house, which will force you to clean it up. But what if they are potty trained? Wouldn’t it be okay for them to stay indoors knowing that they will relieve themselves in the right place?


It’s A Good Idea For The Home Owners


If you are one of the dog owners that usually take their furry buddies outside when its time to use the bathroom, you might consider potty training. But is it a must? Yep, it sure is.

So your Shih Tzu has alerted you that they want to ‘go’ and you live on the 10th floor of the building. When you get out of your apartment, you find the elevator jammed; other residents are stranded as they wait for this one elevator to get to your floor. The dog can’t hold it anymore. In no time, whoosh! He just messed the floor. In situations like this, it’s important that your dog also has the option of relieving themselves indoors.


It Gives You Peace Of Mind


Not only does potty training your Shih Tzu help to keep your house free from the odor and mess, but it also gives you peace of mind. Have you ever come across a pet owner who always rushes home from work to take their dog out? When your dog is potty trained appropriately, you wouldn’t have to worry about rushes home when you are out and about.



How To Potty Train Your Shih Tzu Puppy


  • Start As Soon As Possible
  • Observe Your Shih Tzu Puppy
  • Decide On The Location (And Stick To It!)
  • Follow A Regular Feeding Schedule
  • Designate A Potty Spot
  • Introduce A Litter Box



Now that you know why you should potty-train your dog we can move on to how you can achieve this. You just need to learn how to do it and when to do it, and you’ll be good to go. Let’s explore those strategies.


Start As Soon As Possible


First things first, you need to start the potty training as soon as the puppy gets home. If you just got them from the breeder, don’t wait! The earlier you start, the better your success. Too many new pet owners make the mistake of ignoring the mess the puppy leaves around the house for the first few weeks. They presume that the puppy will learn when he grows up. This is a very big mistake.


Instead, start the potty training soon enough. Also, keep in mind that puppies have a small bladder. This means that the puppy will poop and pee whenever they want to. They cannot hold it for a long time. When potty training a puppy take it as though you were handling your 2-year old child. Remember to be patient!


Observe Your Shih Tzu Puppy


After you understand that they have a small bladder and can do their thing almost anywhere and whenever they feel like it, you will need to keep an eye on them. Make sure that you observe them to see if they are showing any signs of ‘wanting to go.’


Since you want to potty train your Shih Tzu, you will need to watch out for common signs like sniffing, squatting, or circling. Always be keen to notice any body language that indicates they want to relieve themselves.


Decide On The Location (And Stick To It!)


Another important thing you need to consider is whether you want to train the dog in the house or outside. Do you want to train him to ‘go’ on a specific spot outside or do you prefer using a litter box or pad in the house? Which of the two is the best option? That depends on some factors.


If you live in an apartment with multiple floors, you might want to consider potty training indoors. But if you live in a home with a yard, the outside option would also be a good idea.


All in all, choose one option and stick to it. Do not train your dog to use the litter box today; then take them outside the next day. Doing this would completely confuse them and be counter-productive.


Follow A Regular Feeding Schedule


If you happen to feed your Shih Tzu at specific times throughout the day, it will give you an easier time as you can predict when they will want to go. It’s a good idea to establish a routine for both you and your dog. Feed them the same times every day so that they can also use the bathroom at regular times. Remember, your dog will most likely want to go about 30 minutes after feeding.


Remember to give them enough water. Some owners deny their dog water so that he cannot urinate overnight. Just because the same approach works with your kids doesn’t mean you should apply the same to the dog. The dog needs plenty of water throughout the day. Ensure that there is fresh water available for your dog at all times. We want them well trained but we don’t want to be cruel or punish them in any way.


Designate A Potty Spot


For those living in a home with a yard, you should consider designating a spot for your Shih Tzu to use whenever they want to relieve themselves. Doing this is the simplest approach if you prefer the dog to go outside. The dog can easily sniff his pee and poop, which then encourages them to go in the same area again and again.


One way of making the process easy is to pick a specific corner in the yard. The corner should be specifically dedicated to your Shih Tzu’s potty business. Choosing a corner is a good idea because the pee and poop smell rarely vanishes.


For those that don’t have a backyard, you can opt for a specific tree or grass patch where they can do their thing.


Introduce A Litter Box


The litter box is the best friend for any dog owner that wants to potty train them. One thing about the litter box is that it is suitable for any house. Whether you live in a home with a backyard or a condo/apartment, the litter box would serve you perfectly. You’ll need to use the right size litter box according to the size of your dog and how often they go.


You will need to use positive behavior when training your dog. Here are some helpful things to follow when potty training your dog with a litter box:


  1. Find the right box – As we have mentioned, you need to choose the perfect box for your dog based on their size. The walls of the box should be low enough for your dog to step in and out easily. However, this should be on one side only. The other sides should be higher than the other side.
  2. Add some litter –  Don’t forget to line the box with some pee pads or newspaper.
  3. Introduce your dog to the litter box – Once the litter box is set up, you will need to introduce your dog to their new potty box. Let your dog sniff around the box and explore it and become comfortable being in it. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect the dog to pee or poop at that specific time and it will take a while before they get used to it.
  4. Take them to the litter box after meals – Now that they are aware of their new potty spot you’ll need to familiarize them to the litter box. Take them to the litter box after meals, not immediately after but when you know it’s around the time they will want to go. Remember we said the Shih Tzu takes around 30 minutes to poop or pee after meals so this is a good estimate.
  5. Use a command when necessary – Sometimes, you don’t need to get up the sofa and take the Shih Tzu to the litter box or outside – especially if they already know where he should go. All you have to do is say the magic command, and they will follow it accordingly. You can use the simple command, ‘Go Potty’ to tell him to use the designated area. But this should only be used when you notice your dog wants to go. For example, if you see them circling, squatting, or sniffing, say the command. This way your dog will associate this positive command with going to the toilet. I don’t agree with scolded or negative commands when they go in a place you don’t want them to go, just ignore them and reinforce the positive command when they go in the right place. Positive reinforcement is the key here.
  6. Reward him for going to the right place – Whether you trained the dog to go outside or inside the house in a litter box you should reward them when they do it correctly. With the reward, you can either give him a ‘Good Boy’ or a dog treat as long as it’s something positive that your dog responds to in a positive way.  Also, make sure you reward them immediately after they go so they can associate what they have just done with the treat. If you leave it too late they won’t realise what they are rewarded for.


If you would like to see some reviews on the best litter trays for dogs then please read our article – Litter Trays For Dogs.



Things To Consider When Potty Training Your Shih Tzu


I do not recommend the crate option. This is another way of ‘locking up’ your dog. Although it may be effective I believe it to be cruel and think you can achieve the same results with a more loving approach. Remember your dog is a sentient being with feelings and should be treated with the respect they deserve.


Don’t punish or scold them – The Shih Tzu does not respond positively to punishment. You should not yell at him or hit him in any way. They are not intentionally relieving themselves in the wrong place and you need to be understanding and patient.


Ensure that you clean the Shih Tzu mess properly, especially in the unwanted areas around the house. If you fail to clean thoroughly, the smell will remain and they will go to the same place again.


Be patient and committed – it may take some time but you will get there eventually!





So that’s how you should potty train your Shih Tzu. Quite easy, right? Just remember that you need to have enough patience with your dog during the potty-training period. If they are still a puppy, be as gentle as you would be to your 2-year old child. Don’t rush your dog and keep in mind that the earlier you start the training process, the quicker and easier it will be for both of you.


[woo_product_slider id=”423″]

1 thought on “How To Potty Train A Shih Tzu Puppy – Get It Right The First Time!

  1. Thank you so much for the info on potty training my shitz Tzu puppy!!! This is my first ever small dog and I am finding him (Dude) way to cute for much serious training, however have been consistant with trying to take him outside which has not been working well, am going to try litter box method. Dude is only 8wks today and has been apart of our family for 1 week. Love him to pieces. Thanks again.

    Melody Prawitz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *