The Secret Sauce to Potty Training a Yorkie: Everything You Need to Know

🦴 Updated on July 16th, 2023


Yorkshire Terriers are a great family dog to have as they are one of the most affectionate, friendly, and loyal. However, don’t be misinformed by their size. Yorkie breeds are one of the most hyper and active dogs to own. 

When I first got my Yorkie puppy, I quickly realized how much energy they had and how hyper they could get. Because of their energetic nature, it can be challenging to house train them. Without proper research, Yorkies can get out of hand quickly. 

As soon as I got my pup at 16 weeks old, I immediately started potty training a Yorkie. Due to its stubborn behavior, I was consistent, in control, and on the ball. Although it took a while, I managed to have my Yorkie house trained within a few months.

At What Age Are Yorkies Potty Trained?

When owning a Yorkie Puppy, the question that comes to your mind might be, “when do I start potty training a Yorkie?” “Is she too young, or is it too late?” Firstly, it’s never too late to start potty training a Yorkie. 

As soon as the Yorkie puppy leaves their mother and comes to your house, you should start the house training process. However, there are a few things to consider, such as indoor or outdoor training and what training tools you’ll need upon preparation.

Aim to start as early as 12 weeks (3 months), but with little expectations initially. 

With constant supervision, timing schedules, persistence, and proper tools for training, you should expect your Yorkie to be fully potty trained by seven months old. Because of the Yorkies’ small size, their puppy bodies may have difficulty controlling their bladder at 12 weeks old. 

So, it’s a good idea to start potty training at three months. However, at this stage in the game, it will mainly be developing habits and routines to get you both on the schedule of remembering.

The more times you remember to take your Yorkshire pup outside or direct to puppy pads, the better your Yorkie will be able to practice holding its bladder muscles. 

Are Yorkies Hard to Train?

Training a Yorkie puppy is not the most straightforward task in the world as they are stubborn, curious, and confident breeds. When you ask them to do something, they almost do the opposite – not to misbehave but because they are energetic and curious 90 percent of the time. 

Ensure that you never start or end the training process with an impatient attitude. Bring your Yorkie pup with you, or place her in a room with food, water, and a puppy pad if you must go out. 

In fact, during many stages of the housebreaking process, ensure you have an adequate amount of time. Check that you are using positive reinforcement with soothing voices and assertive behavior. 

Keep in mind that the transition should end smoothly if you have a positive structure upon beginning housebreaking. Never use harsh voices or reprimand your Yorkshire Terrier for peeing inside. 

Instead, use distraction and prevention methods. As long as you start early (3 months), repeat the process daily and often, and be consistent with your positive reinforcement, there should be minimal difficulty during the procedure.

How to Potty Train a Yorkie

At the beginning of the potty training stage (about three months old), remember that your Yorkie is young and will not be able to hold their pee for longer than 2 hours. Whereas an adult Yorkshire can hold it for up to 8 hours and only after being fully trained. 

Forcing any dog to hold in their pee will result in urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and behavioral issues. It’s important to crate train your Yorkie or get a dog sitter if you’re not going to be around. 

With that said, there are a few things you will need for potty training Yorkies. 

  • Clicker
  • Treats
  • Patience
  • Timer
  • Undivided attention
  • Leash and harness

A leash and harness are used so that you can attach your Yorkshire Terrier to your hip and be as attentive as you can to her. By constant attachment, you know when your Yorkie’s triggers and signs she needs to potty are. 

Every time your Yorkie uses the potty appropriately (goes outside and urinates or defecates), you use the clicker and the treat in one go. So, how to train a Yorkie puppy to potty is done in just a few simple steps.

Set a timer

Set a timer for every hour on the hour. With the leash and harness connected to you and Yorkie all day, you will be able to tell when she is antsy, which is a clear sign that she is looking for a place to potty.

When the timer goes off, ensure you take your pup outside immediately. 

If your Yorkie has an accident before the timer goes off, take your pup out right after this has happened, so she learns to associate potty with outside.

Use a command word

Always use the same command word. For example, when your timer goes off, you say “potty” in an excited and gentle manner. Get up and take your Yorkie outside. It’s best to stay outside for at least 20 minutes.

Watch for signs

Signs your Yorkshire Terrier needs to go are:

  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Sniffing
  • Pacing
  • Scratching

Watching closely for these signs will help you to know that it’s time to go outside. However, if your Yorkie doesn’t show any signs, following a strict hour-to-hour basis helps the learning proceed successfully.

Get rid of any distractions

Make sure that when you take your Yorkie outside, there is little noise such as traffic (if this is possible), no kids playing or yelling, no other dogs around, etc. You want to try to enforce that this is not playtime; it’s pee time.

Write down the times of day your Yorkie successfully used the potty.

Once your pup has gone potty effectively, make sure you keep a journal on hand and write the time down, what happened before the urination and what you did afterward.

Every time you write this down, you may be able to see habits and a routine starting. For example, your Yorkie might have peed every day at the same time, around 2 pm. 

Reward every time

Do not skip the reward. Use treats, love, and blow it out of proportion. Once your Yorkie realizes you’re happy when they pee outside, they’ll make the connection to keep doing it. 

Although there are many different techniques to have the most successful experience, it is up to you to find out what works for you and your Yorkie. Not every person trains the same, just as not every puppy learns the same.

Using Puppy Pads and Crates to Train My Yorkie

Fortunately, we all have a life, so on the days you cannot be there to potty train your Yorkie, it’s best to set up crate training and puppy pads. On the days you will be home, try to train your pup on the pads and crate first. 

Best Pads for Potty Training
Leak-proof 5-Layer Pee Pads

Dog Pee Pads are the perfect way to protect your floors from pet accidents. These pads feature a leak-proof design and a quick-dry surface, so you can quickly clean up any messes.

Our Rating:
We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

House training a Yorkie using puppy pads and crates ensures that your Yorkie knows what to do at night time when you’re asleep and when you’re not home. Although, you shouldn’t leave a Yorkshire Terrier pup for too long, or no longer than 4 hours at a time. 

It’s best to crate train your Yorkie when you are home, so they do not get separation anxiety.

Schedule times

Running errands and nighttime is best for your Yorkie to learn about the crate when you are busy. During one of these moments, put your Yorkies favorite blanket, toys, and treats in the crate. 

When you want your Yorkie to go in the crate:

  • Let them sit in it without the door closed.
  • If they sniff the crate, give them a treat.
  • Ensure you’re using one command for crate time, such as “bedtime” or “relax.” 
  • Ensure playtime is over

To reduce damage to your crate and your puppy’s teeth, ensure that you have taken your Yorkie outside to get all its energy out. Play with him before it’s time to go in the crate and allow no distractions such as a busy time of day. 

Do not force your pup

Forcing your Yorkie to go in their crate will only enforce fear, and they will learn to hate their crate. You do not want this to happen. Let them get used to it by sniffing the crate and chewing toys and food in it. 

Treats are important

Treats are the most important for training your Yorkie. Most of the time, your Yorkie will not potty where they sleep. Remember to use your clicker and treats for crate training during every step of the process. You will want your Yorkie to love their crate, not fear it. 

To train your Yorkie for puppy pads inside the house, follow the above steps in “How to Potty Train a Yorkie,” except bring them to their puppy pad.

With patience, repetition, and positive reinforcement, they will learn to connect indoor urination only on puppy pads. 

Tips and Tricks on House Training a Yorkie

Some tips and tricks for getting your Yorkie to become successfully house trained are:

  • Consistency
  • Ensure you bring your Yorkie to the same spot every time
  • In case of accidents, bring your pup to their pee spot (puppy pad or outside), use the command word, and wait at least 20 minutes before returning to your daily activities.
  • Click, praise, and reward every triumphant moment.
  • Time meals 1 hour before they are scheduled to go outside.
  • Clean accidents with soap and water (not bleach) that is strong enough to disallow the smell from your Yorkie returning to that spot.
  • Never leave your dog unattended.
  • Never leave her in the crate for too long.

Punishing your Yorkie by rubbing her nose in their accident is inefficient and cruel. Yelling at your pup will only make them fear you and bark back. Remember to use corrective methods when training your Yorkie – not fear-induced methods. 

Yorkie Potty Training Problems

Some common problems include:

Yorkie pees immediately after being outside

The solution to this is that you have likely not given your Yorkie enough time to be outside, and they will also pee immediately from being cold back to warm.

Ensure you spend at least 20 minutes outside every time. Also, make sure your Yorkie has something warm to wear.

Your Yorkie was doing everything except defecating outside

You have noticed your Yorkie eating pebbles, chewing on grass, sniffing the house, or doing anything except urinating. Have a leash and harness (not a collar) so that you can redirect their distraction behavior.

Use the clicker and command word. After 20 minutes of being misdirected, they will figure out what they are supposed to do. 

Messing the house no matter what you do

Ensure that you have a designated area for your Yorkie until she is entirely potty trained. Having full reign of the house to your Yorkie means they can do whatever they want.

To avoid this notion, crate train them immediately and have them where you are so they can see you. 

Mistakes Made by Pet Owners Potty Training a Yorkie

Mistakes happen with every dog owner. However, some mistakes should not be made, so here is what not to do:

  • Never leave your Yorkie alone for too long

Understand that your toy-sized puppy will not be able to hold its bladder for very long. When you leave them alone, expect accidents due to separation anxiety, boredom, and weak bladders.

  • Do not rub her face in her accident

Rubbing her face in her accident will not do anything except close the gap for a bond, and it does not teach them anything and is pointless.

  • Do not distract your pup

For a successful potty moment, it is best to let them focus. If they are messing around, redirect their attention by walking away and using only one command. If you talk, your pup will become distracted quickly. 

  • Do not stop training

After a few successful attempts at potty training, do not relax until your pup is successful each time after a few months. 

  • Never punish your pup

Yelling at your pup or punishing by hitting their nose will only make your Yorkie scared of you, resulting in them peeing out of your sight. 


Potty training a Yorkie can be challenging; however, once you get into a routine with set alarms, pottying in the same spot, and commands that work, it’s essentially just patience and consistency.

Yorkies will not be fully potty trained until they reach adulthood; this depends on how much focus and time you put into house training a Yorkie. 

Yorkie potty training problems will arise, so ensure you give enough attention and reward on the successful moments while ignoring the accidents. Puppies are easily distracted, so try to divert their attention to the task at hand.

Picture of Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt keeps online and looking great! When he’s not working on our web pages, he’s helping people and their pets as a certified dog trainer. With such a unique combination of skills, it’s easy to see why he’s such a valuable asset to our team.