Are Small Dogs Impossible to Potty Train? Myths

Small dogs are undeniably adorable, with their tiny frames and big personalities. However, one common misconception about these pint-sized pooches is that they are impossible to potty train. 

The idea that small dogs are inherently challenging to housetrain has persisted for years, but is it really true? 

In this article, we will delve into the world of small dog potty training, debunk some myths, and provide you with practical tips to successfully train your petite pup. 

Let’s put the “impossible” notion to rest and pave the way for a well-mannered and well-trained small dog.

Myth #1: Small Dogs Have Small Bladders

One of the most common myths surrounding small dog potty training is that these dogs have tiny bladders, making them incapable of holding their urine for extended periods. 

While it’s true that smaller dogs generally have smaller bladders than their larger counterparts, this doesn’t make them impossible to potty train. In fact, understanding your small dog’s bladder capacity is essential for effective training.

Small dogs do have smaller bladders, which means they may need more frequent bathroom breaks compared to larger dogs. 

However, this doesn’t mean they can’t be trained to control their bladder and use designated outdoor spaces for elimination. Consistency and patience are key factors in helping your small dog succeed in this aspect of training.

Myth #2: Small Dogs Are Stubborn

Another misconception is that small dogs are more stubborn and less trainable than larger breeds. This stereotype is unfounded. 

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The success of potty training largely depends on the owner’s approach, consistency, and understanding of their dog’s needs.

Small dogs, like all dogs, thrive on positive reinforcement training techniques. They are eager to please and can learn commands and behaviors with the right training methods. 

Rather than assuming your small dog is stubborn, focus on building a strong bond through positive training experiences.

Tips for Successful Small Dog Potty Training

Now that we’ve debunked some common myths, let’s explore effective strategies for potty training your small dog.

Establish a Routine: Consistency is the cornerstone of potty training. Set a regular schedule for feeding, bathroom breaks, and playtime. Small dogs thrive on routine, and this will help them anticipate when it’s time for a bathroom break.

Choose a Designated Area: Designate a specific area outdoors where you want your small dog to eliminate. Use consistent verbal cues such as “Go potty” to associate with this action. Reward your dog with treats and praise when they use the designated spot.

Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward-based training works wonders with small dogs. Whenever your pup successfully goes potty outside, shower them with praise and treats. Positive reinforcement creates a positive association with outdoor potty breaks.

Monitor Food and Water Intake: Pay attention to your small dog’s food and water intake. By managing their mealtimes and water consumption, you can predict when they are likely to need a bathroom break.

Watch for Signs: Be vigilant for signs that your small dog needs to go potty. These signs may include sniffing around, circling, or whining. When you notice these behaviors, take your dog outside immediately.

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Clean Accidents Promptly: Accidents will happen, especially during the early stages of training. When they do, clean them up promptly using an enzymatic cleaner to remove the scent and discourage repeat accidents in the same spot.

Be Patient and Persistent: Potty training takes time, and small dogs may require a bit more patience due to their smaller bladders. Stay consistent with your training routine and remain patient, even when setbacks occur.

Consider Crate Training: Crate training can be a useful tool in potty training. Small dogs often view their crates as safe and cozy spaces. Use the crate to prevent accidents when you can’t supervise your dog closely, but avoid using it as a punishment.


In conclusion, small dogs are not impossible to potty train. With the right approach, patience, and understanding of your small dog’s unique needs, you can successfully housetrain your petite pup. 

Remember that myths about small dog training are just that—myths. Small dogs are capable of learning and thriving in a positive training environment. 

So, toss aside any doubts, embrace the training journey with enthusiasm, and soon enough, your small dog will be a well-mannered and potty-trained companion.