Shih Tzu House Training Tips: Proven Methods for Potty Training Your Shih Tzu

Welcoming a Shih Tzu into your home is like adding a bundle of joy to your family. These affectionate, lively companions fill our homes with love but also bring the challenge of house training. Shih Tzus, with their intelligent yet stubborn temperament, require patience and consistency during training. This guide aims to arm you with effective house training tips to ensure a smooth transition for your furry friend into a well-behaved member of your household.

The Basics of House Training

Understanding the fundamentals of house training is crucial before diving into specific strategies. House training, at its core, is about creating a routine, using positive reinforcement, and being patient with your Shih Tzu. It’s about teaching them where it’s appropriate to go to the bathroom and where it’s not.

Setting Up a Routine

Consistency is key when it comes to house training any dog, including Shih Tzus. A structured routine helps your pet understand expectations and adjust their bodily functions accordingly.

Feeding Schedule

Stick to a consistent feeding schedule. Feeding your Shih Tzu at the same times every day will help regulate their digestion and make their bathroom habits more predictable.

Potty Breaks

Take your Shih Tzu outside frequently, especially after they eat, play, or wake up from a nap. Initially, this might mean taking them out every hour or two, but as they learn, you can gradually extend the time between breaks.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in house training. It involves rewarding your Shih Tzu for good behavior, encouraging them to repeat those actions.

Praise and Treats

Whenever your Shih Tzu does their business in the correct place, immediately reward them with praise, petting, or a small treat. This helps them associate going to the bathroom in the right spot with positive outcomes.

Ignoring Mistakes

Accidents will happen, especially in the early stages of house training. It’s important to remain calm and not to punish your Shih Tzu for mistakes. Instead, clean up quietly and continue to encourage them to use the correct spot.

Utilizing Crate Training

Crate training can be an effective component of house training, as dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area. A crate simulates a den-like environment, providing your Shih Tzu with a sense of security.

Choosing the Right Crate

Select a crate that’s large enough for your Shih Tzu to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so large that they can use one corner as a bathroom.

Gradual Introduction

Introduce your Shih Tzu to the crate gradually. Start by placing treats or toys inside to encourage exploration. Gradually increase the time they spend in the crate, ensuring it’s a positive experience.

Crate Training and Potty Breaks

Use the crate to help regulate potty breaks. If you’re unable to supervise your Shih Tzu, time in the crate can prevent accidents. Just ensure to take them outside to relieve themselves as soon as they’re let out.

Dealing with Accidents

Despite your best efforts, accidents are inevitable. How you respond to these incidents can significantly impact the house training process.

Immediate and Appropriate Cleaning

Clean any accidents immediately with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors that could attract your Shih Tzu back to the same spot. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, as they can mimic the smell of urine.

Understanding Why Accidents Happen

Try to understand why an accident occurred. Was it a lapse in the routine, or did your Shih Tzu not have enough opportunities to go outside? Use this information to adjust your approach.

Patience and Consistency

Patience and consistency are your best tools in house training your Shih Tzu. They will have both good days and bad days, but with time and effort, they will learn.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling with house training your Shih Tzu despite following these tips, it might be time to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Persistent issues could be a sign of an underlying problem.

Looking for more tips on training your Shih Tzu? Check out our articles on Shih Tzu training tips, Shih Tzu potty training in apartments, Shih Tzu potty training tips, exercise tips for senior Shih Tzus, and best times for Shih Tzu potty training to keep your furry friend happy and healthy!


House training a Shih Tzu demands patience, consistency, and a lot of love. Every dog is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. By understanding the basics, establishing a routine, utilizing positive reinforcement, and being prepared for accidents, you’ll set the stage for a well-trained companion. Remember, the effort you put in during these early stages will pay off with years of companionship and love from your well-behaved Shih Tzu.

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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