How to Handle Accidents During Shih Tzu Potty Training

As a Shih Tzu owner, it can be perplexing when accidents happen during potty training. You may feel frustrated and overwhelmed, wondering if you’re doing something wrong or if your furry friend simply isn’t getting the hang of it. The truth is, accidents during potty training are common and can happen for a variety of reasons. In this article, we’ll cover prevention tips, how to handle accidents when they do occur, and how to maintain a positive attitude throughout the process. By following these steps, you can help your Shih Tzu become fully house trained while maintaining your sanity. So, let’s dive in!

Prevention Tips

Prevention Tips
It’s important to establish good habits early on when potty training your Shih Tzu. By taking preventative measures, you can avoid the frustration and mess that can come with accidents. With consistency and patience, you can successfully train your Shih Tzu to go potty where you want them to. These prevention tips will help make the process as smooth as possible, whether you’re training a Shih Tzu in an apartment or a house with a backyard. Consider these tips to help you get started on the right foot.

Create a Consistent Routine

Creating a consistent routine is crucial in ensuring successful potty training for your Shih Tzu. Dogs thrive on routine and repetition, and having a set schedule for potty breaks and meals can help them understand when it’s time to go outside.

Here are some tips for creating a consistent routine:

Establish a scheduleSet specific times for your Shih Tzu to eat and go outside. This could be first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime.
Designate a potty areaChoose a spot outside where your Shih Tzu can consistently go potty. This will help them associate that spot with the need to eliminate.
Use a cue wordUse a specific word or phrase, such as “go potty” or “do your business,” to signal to your Shih Tzu that it’s time to eliminate.
Stay consistent with rewardsIf you use treats or praise for successful potty trips, make sure to consistently reward your Shih Tzu every time they go outside.
Keep track of progressWrite down every time your Shih Tzu goes potty outside or has an accident. This will help you identify patterns and adjust your routine accordingly.

By following these tips and establishing a consistent routine, you can help your Shih Tzu understand when and where it’s appropriate to go potty. Remember, consistency is key to successful potty training. For more Shih Tzu potty training tips, check out /potty-training-shih-tzu/.

Watch for Signs of Needing to Go

Watch for Signs of Needing to Go

One of the most important aspects of successful Shih Tzu potty training is being able to identify the signs that your pup needs to go. By paying attention to these cues, you can guide your Shih Tzu to the appropriate spot and prevent accidents in your home. Some common signs to watch for include:

Circling or SniffingYour Shih Tzu may start circling or sniffing the ground when they need to go.
RestlessnessIf your Shih Tzu seems restless or is wandering around aimlessly, it may be a sign that they need to go out.
Scratching at the DoorYour Shih Tzu may scratch at the door or whine to let you know they need to go outside.
SquattingIf your Shih Tzu starts to squat, it’s a clear sign that they’re about to go, and you should lead them to the designated potty area.
Barking or WhiningIf your Shih Tzu barks or whines while looking at you, it may also be a sign that they need to go.

If you notice any of these signs from your Shih Tzu, take them immediately to the designated potty area. Knowing your dog’s bathroom habits and sticking to a consistent potty schedule will also make potty training easier for both you and your dog.

Use a Crate or Confinement Area

Crate Training or Confinement Area: One of the most effective ways to potty train your Shih Tzu is by using a crate or confinement area. Dogs, by nature, are den animals and providing them with a crate or confined area will give them a comfortable and secure space to relax in. It will also prevent them from wandering around the house aimlessly and having accidents.

When choosing a crate, make sure it’s the right size for your Shih Tzu. If it’s too small, they will feel cramped and uncomfortable, and if it’s too big, they may use one end as a potty area. You can cover it with a blanket or towel to create a cozy environment.

How to Use a Crate: Introduce your Shih Tzu to the crate by placing treats and toys inside. Make sure the door of the crate is left open initially so that your Shih Tzu doesn’t feel trapped. Gradually increase the time they spend inside the crate and always reward good behavior with a treat. Never use the crate as a form of punishment.

Benefits of Crate Training: Using a crate or confinement area helps you to monitor your Shih Tzu’s potty behavior, and it gives them a sense of routine and structure. They will learn to hold their bladder for longer periods and only go when taken outside. It also helps with avoiding accidents around the house, which can be difficult to clean up.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that crate training should not be the only potty training method used. Make sure to take your Shih Tzu outside frequently for potty breaks, especially after meals, playtime, and naps.

For more tips on Shih Tzu potty training, check out our article on Shih Tzu Potty Training Tips.

Dealing with Accidents

Dealing With Accidents
Dealing with accidents during Shih Tzu potty training can be a frustrating and messy experience for any dog owner. Even with the best efforts, accidents can happen during the learning process. It’s essential to learn how to handle these situations with patience and a calm attitude. In this section, we will share some practical tips on how to deal with accidents during potty training to ensure that you and your furry friend can stay on track with the training program. Let’s dive in and discover some helpful ways to manage potty training mishaps. For more information about potty training Shih Tzu, check out our guide on how to potty train your Shih Tzu.

Remain Calm and Patient

Dealing with accidents during Shih Tzu potty training can be frustrating and overwhelming, but it’s essential to remain calm and patient. Punishing or scolding your pup can cause fear and anxiety, hindering their progress.

Here are some tips to help you stay composed when accidents occur:

  • Take a deep breath and count to ten before reacting.
  • Remember that accidents are a natural part of the learning process.
  • Do not yell or hit your Shih Tzu.
  • If you feel yourself getting upset, take a break and come back when you’re feeling calmer.

By practicing patience and composure, you’ll create a positive atmosphere that encourages your Shih Tzu to continue their potty training progress.

It’s important to remember that potty training takes time and practice, and your Shih Tzu may make mistakes along the way. However, as long as you remain patient and positive, your pup will eventually learn to associate the desired behavior with a positive outcome.

For more tips on Shih Tzu potty training, check out our other articles such as Common Shih Tzu Potty Training Mistakes, Crate Training for Shih Tzu Potty Training, and Shih Tzu Potty Training Apartment Tips.

Address the Mess Right Away

Accidents can happen during Shih Tzu potty training, even with the best prevention measures in place. When you do catch your pup in the act, it is essential to address the mess right away. Not only is it important for hygiene reasons, but it can also help with training your pup to recognize the designated potty area.

Here are some steps to help you address the mess:

  • Put on disposable gloves to protect your hands from any potential bacteria or odors.
  • Start cleaning up the solid waste with a paper towel or poop bag. Make sure to pick up as much as possible to avoid any remaining smell.
  • Using a cleaning solution, like an enzymatic cleaner, spray the affected area and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel until it is dry. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the mess to a larger area.
  • Dispose of the paper towels or cleaning cloths and dispose of them properly.

It is also a good idea to keep a stockpile of cleaning supplies, like paper towels and enzymatic cleaners, close to the designated potty area. This will allow you to address any accidents promptly, especially if they occur during the night.

Remember to stay patient and consistent with your training efforts. Accidents can happen even with the most well-trained pups. With the right approach and a positive attitude, your Shih Tzu will eventually learn to use the designated potty area properly.

If you’re struggling with Shih Tzu potty training, it may be helpful to read our article on potty pads vs. outside training or rethink the amount of time dedicated to training.

Use an Enzymatic Cleaner

Cleaning up accidents is an inevitable part of Shih Tzu potty training. However, it’s important to use the right type of cleaner to effectively eliminate odors and prevent your pup from returning to the same spot. This is where an enzymatic cleaner comes in handy.

Enzymatic cleaners are specifically designed to break down the proteins in urine and feces, which are the cause of lingering odors that can attract your pup to the same spot. The enzymatic action of these cleaners ensures that the organic matter is effectively eliminated, leaving your furniture or carpet smelling fresh and free from any lingering odors.

When using an enzymatic cleaner, it’s important to remember a few key points. First, make sure to blot up as much of the mess as possible before applying the cleaner. Then, thoroughly saturate the affected area with the cleaner and allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time before blotting it up again. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s label carefully to ensure that it is being used correctly.

It’s also important to choose an enzymatic cleaner that is appropriate for the surface you are cleaning. For example, some cleaners may be designed for use on carpet, while others may be better suited for tile floors or upholstery. If you are unsure which cleaner to use, consult with a professional or ask for recommendations at your local pet store.

By using an enzymatic cleaner to clean up accidents during Shih Tzu potty training, you can ensure that your home stays smelling fresh and clean, and that your pup doesn’t develop any bad habits. It may take a bit of extra effort, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

Adjust Your Training Approach

Adjusting your training approach is crucial when dealing with accidents during Shih Tzu potty training. If accidents persist, it may be time to re-evaluate the training techniques you are using. Here are some adjustments to consider:

Going too long between potty breaksShorten the time between potty breaks. Increase the frequency of trips outside.
Accidents happening in one specific locationLimit access to that area until the pup is consistently going potty outside.
Overuse of verbal commandsReduce the use of verbal commands and focus more on using a consistent routine and the pup’s natural instincts.
Using punishmentStop using punishment as a method of training. It can create fear and delay progress. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement.
Lack of supervisionEnsure that the pup is supervised at all times and that someone is available to take them outside when needed.

It’s important to remember that every Shih Tzu is unique and may require different training approaches. Adjusting your approach can take time and patience, but it’s essential for helping your pup become fully potty trained. Keep in mind that accidents will happen, and it’s all part of the learning process. With consistency and positive reinforcement, you and your Shih Tzu will get there eventually.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Potty training a Shih Tzu can be a challenging task, but maintaining a positive attitude is key to achieving success. The process can be frustrating at times, especially when accidents occur, but it’s important to stay focused on the progress being made. By staying positive and offering consistent praise and rewards, your Shih Tzu will be more likely to continue learning and improving their potty training habits. In this section, we’ll explore ways to maintain a positive attitude throughout the potty training process.

Celebrate Progress

As your Shih Tzu makes progress with their potty training, it’s important to celebrate their accomplishments. This will not only boost their confidence and motivation but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. Here are some ways you can celebrate your Shih Tzu’s progress:

Verbal PraiseSimply saying “good job” or “well done” in a cheerful tone can go a long way in reinforcing positive behavior.
Tasty TreatsReward your Shih Tzu with their favorite treat immediately after they successfully go potty outside. This creates a positive association with going potty in the designated area.
New Toys or AccessoriesIf your Shih Tzu is highly motivated by toys, consider getting them a new toy or accessory as a reward for good potty behavior.
Extra PlaytimeAfter your Shih Tzu goes potty outside, give them some extra playtime or a walk as a reward for their good behavior.

Remember to always celebrate progress, no matter how small it may seem. This will make the training process more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend, while also ensuring that your Shih Tzu continues to make strides towards their potty training goals.

Offer Praise and Rewards

As your Shih Tzu puppy begins to master their potty training routine, it is important to reward their success with plenty of praise and treats. Positive reinforcement is an essential component of effective training, and it can help to reinforce good habits and behaviors. When offering rewards for successful potty training, keep in mind the following tips:

Vary the Rewards:Offering the same treat every time can become boring for your pup. Instead, mix it up with a variety of treats, toys, and verbal praise. This will keep your furry friend excited and engaged with the training process.
Be Specific with Praise:When offering verbal praise, be specific about what your pup did right. For example, saying “good boy for going potty outside” is more effective than just saying “good boy”. This helps your dog associate the praise with the desired behavior.
Praise Immediately:When your Shih Tzu successfully goes potty outside, offer praise and rewards immediately. This helps your pup understand the connection between the behavior and the reward. Delaying praise can create confusion and make it more difficult for your dog to learn.
Use Treats Sparingly:Treats are an effective way to reward your pup, but overuse can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Use treats sparingly and rely more on verbal or physical praise (e.g. belly rubs or playtime) to reinforce good habits.

By offering varied rewards, specific praise, immediate feedback, and limiting treat use, you can create a positive association between good potty behavior and rewards in your Shih Tzu’s mind. Remember to always have fun, stay positive, and celebrate your furry friend’s progress along the way!


In conclusion, potty training a Shih Tzu can be a challenging process but with the right approach and patience, it can result in a well-trained and obedient dog. Remember to be consistent with your routine, watch for signs that your dog needs to go, and use a crate or confinement area. If accidents happen, remain calm and address the mess right away, using an enzymatic cleaner to prevent lingering odors. Adjust your training approach as needed and always maintain a positive attitude, celebrating progress and offering praise and rewards. With these tips and a commitment to consistent training, your Shih Tzu can become a well-trained and well-behaved member of your family. Best of luck in your potty training endeavors!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do accidents happen during Shih Tzu potty training?

Accidents can happen due to a variety of reasons such as an inconsistent routine, lack of supervision, or a medical issue.

How long does it take to fully potty train a Shih Tzu?

It can take several months to fully potty train a Shih Tzu, depending on the individual dog and consistency in training.

Can punishment be used to stop accidents during potty training?

No, punishment should not be used during potty training as it can create fear and anxiety in the dog, hindering the training process.

How often should a Shih Tzu go outside to potty?

Shih Tzus should go outside to potty at least every 2-3 hours, or after meals, playtime, and naps.

What are some signs that a Shih Tzu needs to go outside to potty?

Signs include sniffing around, circling or pacing, whining or barking, and suddenly stopping activity.

Can using a crate for potty training be harmful to a Shih Tzu?

No, when used properly, a crate can provide a safe and effective way to help with potty training and can prevent accidents when the owner is not around to supervise.

What is an enzymatic cleaner?

An enzymatic cleaner is a cleaning solution that uses enzymes to break down and eliminate organic stains and odors, such as urine and feces.

What should I do if my Shih Tzu has an accident while I’m away?

Clean up the mess promptly using an enzymatic cleaner, and adjust the training approach to prevent future accidents.

Is positive reinforcement necessary during potty training?

Yes, positive reinforcement, such as praise and rewards, can encourage and motivate a Shih Tzu to continue good potty habits.

When is it appropriate to seek professional help with potty training?

If a Shih Tzu consistently has accidents or shows no improvement in potty training after several months, it may be time to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or veterinarian.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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