Home Dogs How To Potty Train Shih Tzus: The Ultimate Guide

How To Potty Train Shih Tzus: The Ultimate Guide

by Pawsome Tips
how to potty train shih tzus

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey of potty training your adorable Shih Tzu? This phase can be thrilling and daunting for any pet parent. That’s why we’ve crafted “The Ultimate Guide on How to Potty Train Shih Tzus” to help you navigate this crucial aspect of dog ownership.

As seasoned canine enthusiasts, we’ve gathered invaluable insights and expert tips to make this process as smooth and enjoyable as possible for you and your furry companion. So, put on your positive attitude and be prepared to unleash the secrets of successful potty training!

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover every aspect of potty training, from understanding your Shih Tzu’s body language to choosing the right spot for their bathroom breaks. No topic is too small or insignificant, as we believe every little detail contributes to building a solid foundation for a well-trained and happy pup.

So, if you’re ready to embark on this fulfilling journey of bonding and teaching, join us as we demystify the art of potty training Shih Tzus and watch your precious four-legged friend flourish into a well-mannered and confident member of your family.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Potty Behavior

Shih Tzus are known for their intelligence and independence, which can make potty training a bit challenging. They have small bladders and may need to relieve themselves more frequently than larger breeds.

Please observe their patterns and cues to understand your Shih Tzu’s potty behavior. Look for signs like sniffing the ground, circling, or scratching the door. Understanding these signs will help you anticipate when your Shih Tzu needs to go potty and prevent accidents.

Stick to a routine and be patient with your Shih Tzu. They will learn to associate certain behaviors with going potty in the appropriate place with time and practice.

How to potty train Shih Tzus: Basics

Now that you understand your Shih Tzu’s potty behavior better, let’s dive into the potty training basics. The first step is establishing a designated potty area in your home or yard. This area should be easily accessible and free from distractions. Consistency is vital when using puppy pads, a litter box, or taking your Shih Tzu outside. Stick to one method throughout the training process to avoid confusion.

To introduce your Shih Tzu to the designated potty area:

  • Take them there consistently after meals, naps, and playtime.
  • Use a command, such as “go potty,” to associate the behavior with the location.
  • Be patient and wait for your Shih Tzu to go, rewarding them with praise or a treat when they do.

Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are the basis of successful potty training.

Shih Tzu training in a part
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock

Setting Up a Designated Potty Area

Setting up a designated potty area for your Shih Tzu is crucial for successful potty training. It provides a consistent and familiar spot for them to relieve themselves, reducing the chances of accidents in other parts of your home.

Here are some tips for setting up an effective designated potty area:

Choose the right spot

Select a location that is easily accessible for your Shih Tzu. If you’re using an outdoor area, ensure it’s secure and free from distractions. Choose a quiet and easily clean place if you’re using indoor options like puppy pads or a litter box.

Use consistent words

Use a specific command, such as “go potty” or “do your business,” to signal your Shih Tzu that it’s time to relieve themselves. Repeat the command each time you take them to the designated area, and praise them when they go.

Provide the necessary supplies

Ensure an ample supply using puppy pads or a litter box. Keep the area clean and free from any obstacles that might deter your Shih Tzu from using it.

Following these tips will create a comfortable and consistent potty area to help your Shih Tzu understand where they should go when nature calls.

Establishing a Potty Training Routine

Stability is vital in potty training any dog, including Shih Tzus. Establishing a potty training routine will help your Shih Tzu understand when and where to go and prevent accidents in your home.

Here’s how to create a potty training routine for your Shih Tzu:

Set a schedule

Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a regular program for potty breaks. Consistency will help them develop good habits.

Use a crate or confinement area

Consider using a box or a small confinement area when you cannot supervise your Shih Tzu. Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping space, which will help reinforce the idea of holding it until they’re taken to the designated potty area.

Monitor their water intake

Pay attention to when and how much water your Shih Tzu drinks. Limiting their water intake during certain times, such as before bedtime, can reduce the frequency of potty breaks during the night.

Remember, accidents are bound to happen during the potty training process. Stay patient, avoid punishment, and clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any lingering odors that might attract your Shih Tzu back to the same spot.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in potty training your Shih Tzu. You can motivate them to go potty in the appropriate place by using rewards and praise.

Here are some positive reinforcement techniques to incorporate into your potty training routine:

Verbal praise

When your Shih Tzu successfully goes potty in the designated area, shower them with verbal praise. Use an excited and cheerful tone to tell them they’ve done great. Positive words like “good job” or “well done” reinforce the desired behavior.

Treat rewards

Along with verbal praise, offer small treats as a reward for using the designated potty area. Use small, soft, and easily digestible treats to avoid overfeeding your Shih Tzu. The treats should be given after they finish going potty to make a clear connection between the behavior and the reward.

Playtime and affection

After your Shih Tzu goes potty, reward them with a short play session or extra cuddles.

Remember to be consistent with your positive reinforcement techniques and use them whenever your Shih Tzu goes potty in the appropriate place. With time, they will associate the behavior with positive rewards and be motivated to repeat it.

Dealing with Accidents and Setbacks

Accidents are a normal part of potty training, and setbacks can happen even with the most diligent training efforts. It’s essential to handle accidents and setbacks with patience and understanding.

Here are some tips for dealing with accidents and setbacks during the potty training journey:

Stay calm

Feeling frustrated or disappointed when accidents occur is natural, but staying calm is essential. Dogs are sensitive to their owner’s emotions, and punishment or anger can create anxiety or fear surrounding potty training.

Clean up properly

Clean up the mess promptly and thoroughly during accidents. Use an enzymatic cleaner designed for pet accidents to eliminate any odor that might attract your Shih Tzu back to the same spot.

Revisit the basics

If accidents become frequent or your Shih Tzu regresses in their potty training progress, it may be time to revisit the basics. Reinforce the routine, increase supervision, and consider additional training techniques, such as a leash or crate training, to prevent accidents.

Celebrate the successes and learn from the setbacks. Your Shih Tzu will eventually become potty trained with consistency and positive reinforcement.

Common Challenges in Potty Training Shih Tzus

Potty training a Shih Tzu can have unique challenges. Understanding these challenges will help you navigate them effectively and ensure successful potty training.

Here are a few common challenges you may encounter:


Shih Tzus can sometimes be independent and stubborn, making potty training more challenging. Stay patient and consistent with your training efforts, and consider seeking professional help if needed.

Small bladder size

Shih Tzus have small bladders, so they may need to go potty more frequently than larger breeds. Be prepared for more frequent potty breaks, especially during the early stages of training.

Health issues

Shih Tzus are prone to specific health issues, such as urinary tract infections or bladder stones, which can affect their potty habits. If you notice any changes in their potty behavior, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

By being aware of these challenges and adapting your training approach accordingly, you can overcome them and successfully potty train your Shih Tzu.

Tips for a Clean and Happy Home During Potty Training

Potty training can sometimes be messy, but you can implement several tips and tricks to maintain a clean and comfortable home.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Use puppy pads or a litter box

If you opt for indoor potty training, puppy pads or a litter box can help contain the mess. Please place them in the designated potty area and gradually move them closer to the door to encourage your Shih Tzu to go outside eventually.

how to potty train a shih tzu at home
Ilina Yuliia / Shutterstock

2. Invest in washable rugs or mats

 Place washable or carpets near the designated potty area to catch any potential accidents. It will help protect your floors and make clean-up easier.

3. Supervise and limit access

During the early stages of potty training, closely supervising your Shih Tzu is essential. Limit their access to other parts of the house by using baby gates or closing doors to prevent accidents in areas where they shouldn’t go.

4. Clean accidents promptly

Accidents happen, but cleaning them promptly and thoroughly is essential. Use an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any odor that might attract your Shih Tzu back to the same spot.

5. Be patient and consistent

Above all, be patient and consistent with your training efforts. Potty training takes time, and accidents are expected. Stay positive and focused on the end goal of a clean and happy home.

Potty Training Accessories for Shih Tzus 

Several potty training accessories available in the market can aid in the potty training process for Shih Tzus. While not all accessories may be necessary, they can provide additional support and convenience.

Here are some popular potty training accessories for Shih Tzus

Puppy pads

Puppy pads are absorbent pads that can be placed in the designated potty area to capture any accidents. They are convenient and easy to clean up.

Hartz Home Protection Odor Eliminating Scented Dog Pads

  • Super Absorbent
  • Won’t Leak
  • Lavender Scent
  • Regular Size
  • 100 Count

Litter box

Some Shih Tzu owners, similar to cats, opt for litter box training. A small litter box with cat litter can be placed in the designated potty area to provide a familiar surface for your Shih Tzu to relieve themselves.

PetFusion BetterBox Large Litter Box

  • Non-stick coating
  • Open top litter pan
  • ABS plastic is more durable & rigid than standard polypropylene litter boxes
  • Spacious curves are inviting & make for easier scooping/cleaning

Indoor grass patches

Indoor grass patches are designed to simulate outdoor grass and can be used as an alternative to puppy pads or litter boxes. They provide a natural surface for your Shih Tzu to go potty on.

Four Paws Wee-Wee Premium Patch

Indoor and Outdoor Pet Potty for Dogs

Belly bands or diapers

Belly bands or diapers can be a temporary solution for male Shih Tzus who tend to mark their territory indoors. These accessories help contain any accidents and prevent urine from soiling your carpets or furniture.

Disposable Dog Diapers

with FlashDry Gel Technology

  • Highly absorbent core with FlashDry technology
  • Adjustable & repositionable velcro tabs
  • Easy to put on
  • The adjustable tail hole
  • Diapers accommodate both feces and urine


Potty training a Shih Tzu may have unique challenges, but you can succeed with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Understanding your Shih Tzu’s potty behavior, setting up a designated area, and establishing a routine are essential in potty training. Dealing with accidents and setbacks with understanding and implementing tips for a clean and happy home will help you stay on track. Potty training takes time and effort, resulting in a clean and comfortable home for you and your Shih Tzu. So, stay committed, be patient, and celebrate each milestone. Your Shih Tzu will soon become a potty-trained superstar!


What should I do if my Shih Tzu keeps having accidents indoors even after training?

Accidents can happen, even after successful potty training. If your Shih Tzu continues to have indoor accidents, reassess their training routine and ensure you follow the guidelines consistently. If necessary, consult a veterinarian to check for potential health issues affecting their potty habits. Stay patient and persistent, and continue to reinforce positive behavior.

Can I use punishment to correct my Shih Tzu potty training mistakes?

It’s essential to avoid using punishment when potty training your Shih Tzu. Discipline can create fear or anxiety and may lead to more difficulties in the training process. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as verbal praise and treats, to encourage the desired behavior.

What can I do to help them feel more comfortable while going outside?

Some Shih Tzus may be hesitant to go potty outside, primarily if they are not used to the environment or have had previous negative experiences. To help them feel more at ease, take them to the designated potty area on a leash and stay with them during potty breaks. Provide praise and treats when they go potty outside to reinforce positive associations. Gradually expose them to different outdoor settings, and be patient as they adjust to the new environment.

My Shih Tzu has been doing well with potty training, but recently, they started having accidents again. What could be causing this regression?

Regression in potty training can happen for various reasons. Some common causes include changes in routine, stress, illness, or territorial marking. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing a setback, revisit the training basics, ensure no medical issues, and be consistent with positive reinforcement. Avoid scolding or punishment, as this can worsen the situation. Your Shih Tzu should get back on track with patience and reestablished routine.

How do I use a crate to potty train my Shih Tzu?

Cate training can be practical for potty training Shih Tzus. A crate creates a den-like environment, and dogs naturally avoid soiling their living space. To train your Shih Tzu effectively, choose an appropriately sized crate that allows them to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably. Introduce the crate gradually, offering treats and positive reinforcement when they enter willingly. Use the crate for short periods initially, gradually increasing the time as they become comfortable. Take them to the designated potty area immediately after leaving the crate to encourage them to go outside. Remember never to use the crate as punishment; it should be a safe and positive space for your Shih Tzu.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.