How to Train a Shih-Tzu Puppy to Potty Outside

Potty training a Shih Tzu puppy can be a challenge. The key is to teach your puppy that it should relieve itself outside only. Given the proud, headstrong nature of this breed, convincing your puppy to potty outside can be tricky, requiring patience and understanding. While there are multiple schools of thought on the process of training a Shih Tzu puppy, positive reinforcement and a strict schedule are the most effective tools for housebreaking your pet.

Make a schedule and stick to it. This is the most important step when training a Shih Tzu, whether your dog is a puppy or an adult. Shih Tzu puppies need routine to potty train.

Get a crate and train your puppy to use it. Crate training is simple and effective, both for your puppy's potty training and for its security. While your Shih Tzu may initially resist the crate, using it is key to keeping your puppy contained when it can't be watched. Eventually, the puppy will come to regard the crate fondly and ease into potty training.

Watch the puppy 100 per cent of the time it's indoors and outside of the crate. Constant vigilance will keep your Shih Tzu on track. Never leave a puppy unattended or give it free run of the house.

Never punish the puppy for going to the bathroom indoors. When you catch it eliminating inside, pick the puppy up and take it outdoors. Shih Tzus are extremely determined and do not react well to negative reinforcement.

Vigilantly mop up messes and neutralise the odour with vinegar. This will keep the puppy from returning to that spot to urinate again and keep the smell from infecting your home.

Give your Shih Tzu puppy positive reinforcement when it potties outside. Praise it profusely and offer a treat. Some experts recommend playing with the dog afterward, while others recommend ignoring the Shih Tzu puppy completely while outdoors. Learn your puppy's temperament and decide which method works best.

Use puppy training pads or newspaper to house train your dog. Use the same methods of scheduling, using a crate and offering positive reinforcement. When house training in conjunction with house breaking, take the training pad outside and encourage the puppy to use it.


Have patience and don't give up. Potty training a Shih Tzu puppy is difficult and time consuming. Do not allow your Shih Tzu puppy to move around unattended until it has consistently avoided urinating inside the house for four to six weeks.


Punishments cause confusion and can provoke bad behaviour in Shih Tzu puppies.

Things You'll Need

  • Training pads
  • Newspaper
  • Mop
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About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.