Paper, Pads or Litter?

What is the biggest problem with a new puppy or adult dog?

It's house training -- teaching your dog where to go to the toilet where YOU want, and not on your prized rug! Hands down, it's the first and usually the biggest problem most dog owners will encounter.


You've got a new puppy coming home:  how are you going to approach house training?

There are a number of different approaches to successfully house training a Yorkshire Terrier - the key is - pick one and stay with it.

Changing house training methods will confuse your Yorkie and will ultimately lead to dog accidents.

Here are the main methods to train a Yorkie


Going outside - "house training" means your Yorkie can never go indoors, even on puppy training pads or "pee pads" as we call them in our household.

From the moment you bring your new Yorkie home, take him to the spot you want to designate as his “dog potty area.” Use your command phrase “go outside” or “go potty.”

As soon as he goes, woohoo!  Give lots of immediate verbal praise, treats and kisses!

Consistency (yes, this word again) is very important with dog potty training. If you are not consistent with when you take him out and where you take him out, it will be hard for your dog to know what is right and what is wrong.


paper train your yorkiePaper training is a dog potty training method where you train your puppy to potty on several layers of newspapers inside your house that are in the same spot at all times.

Of course, you change the papers after each use, but THE KEY IS that the newspapers are always available for the puppy’s use.

Paper training is separate from house training. It is not a preliminary step to house training. This is a COMMON mistake among people. (The only exception is for very young puppies that are too small to go outside.)

If you decide to teach your puppy paper training, then that's the method you'll use for the rest of his life.

Paper training works well for:

  • small dogs
  • apartment dwellers
  • elderly or handicapped owners
  • young puppies with little or no control of their bladder or bowel muscles yet.
  • Yorkies that haven't had all their immunization shots yet.
  • people who work long hours and have to leave their Yorkies home alone.


Puppy training pads are also used for indoor house training. These are absorbent pads that are scientifically treated to attract a puppy to potty on it.

You can use the same steps for the puppy training pads as you do paper training.

The benefit to puppy pads is that they absorb moisture so you can easily throw them away after use - plus, it's easy to travel with them with if you'll be staying in a hotel, on a boat, etc.


Another dog potty training method is using a litter pan. This is when you train your small dog to eliminate in a cat litter pan or one of the new "doggy litter pans."

An indoor litter box is a wonderful alternative to coming home to accidents after a long day at work.  Besides being less stressful for you, it’s probably much healthier for the dog, because it reduces the stress placed on her  bladder over the course of an entire day.  A Yorkie’s  bladder can’t hold out for long periods of time like that of a larger dog. Little dogs have to go more often than bigger dogs: it’s that simple!

Plus, a tray filled with kitty litter or shredded newspapers is not as unsightly as soiled newspapers and is more sanitary.

A heavy-duty plastic litter pan is best because it can be washed easily with soap and hot water. Basically litter pan training is the same as paper training. To make the pan more appealing to your puppy, place a newspaper shred with his urine on it in the pan. Or, leave a small piece of his poop in the pan.

He will be drawn by his scent. Let him sniff around, place him in the pan, and say a command such as “go potty” or “use your tray.” You can also lift your dog and set him in the litter box, while encouraging him to use the it. When he does potty, praise him.

Remember that every dog owner and dog is different. You will need to decide which dog potty training method is best for you and your Yorkie.

But choosing the right house training method for your dog is only the first step in the road of dog potty training.  Good quality dog training resources can make the process easier.

By the way... did you know


You may not believe it, but you can train puppies and older dogs to go to the bathroom on command. Many puppies can hear words that are repeated and associate them with what you want them to do. For instance, when your puppy is outside relieving him or herself, say go potty.

If you do this enough, the puppy will soon associate the phrase 'go potty' with relieving him or herself. This will train the puppy to go potty on command. Word association is the best way to train your puppy.

If your puppy goes to the bathroom in the house, you can say, "No, go outside," then take the puppy outdoors. After a while, the puppy will use this word association with something they should not do indoors but outdoors.

There is never a need to spank a dog when you are using command training. The puppy will associate the word 'no' with bad behavior and will learn to go outside rather than indoors. In fact, Yorkshire Terriers have such an inbred stubborn streak, spanking or over-correcting can have disastrous results: your Yorkie will dig in her heels and it will be next to impossible to train  her!


Take the puppy outside and tell him "go potty." The puppy must stay outside until he goes. Keep saying "go potty" until he finally does. Then you should praise the puppy for a good job. After a while, the puppy is going to learn that going potty outside makes you happy.

You should choose one specific spot for command training to relieve themselves. They will associate this spot with going potty.

The way you praise your puppy and treat them will have a positive affect on command potty training. If you use the phrase 'go potty', be precise and clear. Some puppies may hear the word as 'no' if you are not clear.

You could also choose a different phrase such as 'potty' or 'do your job' can command train your puppy for any word command and she'll eventually learn it.

The one thing you must do is be consistent. Do not use different phrases or words that should mean the same thing, the puppy does not understand this and will become confused.

When using any type of command training, you should use praise as well as little puppy treats. This just helps reinforce a good job and the puppy will associate the command with what you want them to do so they can have a treat.

Any dog wants to please her owners - especially Yorkies. Young or old, they want to do what makes you happy.  You just need a little patience and understanding and you'll get there!

Command housebreaking a puppy can be done indoors or outdoors. If you prefer the puppy to urinate outdoors, this will work well. If you prefer the dog to urinate on paper or puppy pads indoors, place the puppy on the pad and instruct him or her to potty. But be sure to do it all the time - remember, consistency is king!

Many times, after a puppy is completely potty trained, you can stop the commands.

Want to learn more about dog potty training? Click here for a FREE, no-obligation report.