How to Potty Train a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy

Updated November 21, 2016

Yorkshire Terriers are notorious for being difficult to housebreak. Housebreaking must begin early, and you must be patient and consistent while training a Yorkie to not relieve itself inside the house. Properly housebreaking a Yorkie will ensure that the puppy will grow up to understand that eliminating is appropriate only outside.

Buy a small crate. The crate must be small enough to allow your Yorkie to go in and turn around once, with no roaming room. Due to the Yorkie's size, you may have to purchase an extra small crate and create a makeshift barrier for the puppy in the interim. Dogs are naturally inclined to not want to soil the area where they sleep; giving too much room in the crate allows them to soil in one location and sleep away from it, so minimising the available room in the crate is a crucial step. Lay a towel down on the bottom of the crate to make the crate more comfortable and absorb the mess, should an accident occur.

Take the puppy outside to the designated elimination area as soon as it comes home. Use a cue word like "potty" to teach the dog to eliminate; this word will prove useful as the dog becomes trained because it will associate the word with being told to eliminate. Try to use the same spot to teach the dog to eliminate, and praise profusely if the puppy eliminates outdoors. Offering a tiny treat used only for housebreaking purposes can be useful for Yorkie puppies.

Feed the puppy at the same time every day. Establishing a strict feeding schedule helps to establish a strict elimination schedule. Puppies tend to eliminate as soon as they finish eating or drinking; carefully monitor the puppy's body language, and as soon as you see the puppy sniff around, pick it up and take it outside and put it down on the desired elimination area.

Crate the puppy whenever you will not be able to actively watch the puppy. The crate will become the puppy's den, but it is also used to keep the puppy safe and accident-free. Anytime you are not playing with the puppy, holding the puppy, or actively engaging the puppy, the puppy should spend its time in the crate until it is fully housebroken.

Take the puppy outside promptly after play time. Puppies will nap a lot, and you must take the puppy outside each time it wakes up. First thing in the morning, take the puppy outside. It's also the last thing you will do at night, to avoid overnight accidents. Until the puppy is older, you will need to wake up a few times throughout the night to take the puppy out. The key is to never allow the puppy to begin making the mistake of eliminating in its crate. Once the puppy learns that eliminating in its crate can be done, this habit becomes increasingly hard to break.


Giving effective praise and prompt rewards to your Yorkie puppy will help it learn the desired behaviour. While Yorkies tend to be more difficult to housebreak than some other breeds, it can be done, and with patience, the Yorkie offers many years of devoted companionship.


Never scold your Yorkie puppy for accidents that have already happened. If you cannot catch the puppy in the act of making the mistake, it is too late to scold the puppy as any correction will not be associated with the accident that has already happened. Do not rub your Yorkie's nose in its own mess; this accomplishes absolutely nothing. If you catch your puppy in the act, say "No!" and immediately pick up the puppy and take it outside to relieve itself in the proper area.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog Crate
  • Towel
  • Treats
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