Potty Training

You should already have an exercise pen set up.  It should be small enough to fit the kennel, toys, piddle pad, and a food and water bowl.   By making the pen small enough to fit these items only, the puppy has no choice but to use the pad.   If by chance, your puppy is one of the few that potties in its bed, food, or water, don’t worry.   It will figure it out after a while.   Once the pup is using the pad consistently, you can make the area larger.   You need to do this gradually until you can open it up and allow the puppy to have access to one room while being supervised.   Make sure you praise your puppy each time you actually see it use the piddle pad.  Choose a word or phrase to use, and only use this word or phrase.   This is important so that they learn your commands.   Most puppies will need to potty within a few minutes of waking, playing, or drinking water.

Once you have seen your puppy potty on the pad, you should let it out to play for 10-15 minutes after which it should be returned to the pen.   You do not want to allow the puppy to be outside the pen for a long period of time.   It is still a puppy and needs lots of rest, and just like a child, it doesn’t know when to stop.

Piddle pad training has already begun prior to bringing your puppy home.   You will need to begin training your Yorkie to go outside to potty.

It is a good idea to both piddle pad train and outside train your Yorkie.   There will be times that you will be unable to be home in time to take your Yorkie out.   Also, some Yorkies do not like to potty in the rain, snow, or extremely cold weather.   For this training to be successful, you will need to be patient, understanding, and consistent.

You should make sure you take your puppy outside once it wakes from a nap or a night’s sleep. You should also take it out after each meal, giving it some time between eating and going out.

You should have a spot chosen outside where you would like your Yorkie to go potty.   You will need to take it to this spot to reinforce that this is the right spot where it can relieve itself.

You should begin to recognize signs that your puppy needs to go out.   Those signs may include the following:

1) Restlessness, whimpering, turning in circles, or repeatedly sitting down

2) sniffing the floor, hunching over, and looking for a quiet spot

3) after a time, your puppy may scratch at the door, stand in front of the door or bark to indicate it needs to go out

Each time your puppy goes potty either on the pad or outside in the appropriate spot, you need to verbally praise it and provide a small treat to reinforce the behavior.

Your puppy will inevitably have accidents during this training period.   If you catch it in the “act,” scold it by saying “NO” in such a way that the puppy understands what it was doing was wrong and immediately take it to the piddle pad or outside to the spot where it should be going.   This is not the time to baby the pup.   You will only regret it in the future when training is prolonged and accidents continue.  

Never punish your puppy physically or by placing it in its crate.   The crate is its “safe zone.”   This will only confuse your puppy.   If you do not catch it in the “act,” do not scold it. 

Your puppy is incapable of connecting what it has done (even a few minutes earlier) with your current displeasure. Simply clean up the mess making sure you use a product that will eliminate the odor.   Also make sure the product you use is safe.   You can purchase this type of product at a pet store.

Leash Training

Your Yorkie should not wear a collar for training purposes.   Yorkies are susceptible to collapsed tracheas and the constant pulling at the neck is not a good idea.   A collar is good for placing the puppy’s license and rabies tag.   I suggest using a harness instead.

Your first attempt at walking your Yorkie can be frustrating.   Puppies have no idea what is expected of them.   They will continually turn to bite at the leash.   You will need patience to get past this stage.   Many Yorkies will simply sit down refusing to walk.


Keep coaxing it to come to you and praise the puppy if it does.   It may take a few times before it will actually walk on the leash.
Don’t get discouraged.

Most Yorkies love to walk. Remove the harness once you are inside your home. I do this for two reasons:

1) to help to keep its coat from getting tangled and

2) so the puppy can associate the harness with the walk.   Once the puppy understands what is expected, taking the harness out will become exciting for it.   It will begin jumping, barking, and carrying on until the two of you are out the door.

Once you have gotten to this stage, you need to work on walking properly.   The pup should not be pulling you, but instead following your lead.   This is when a good trainer can come in handy.   Although they may require a collar, you can discuss your concerns to see their opinion.   You should use your best judgment whether or not to attend these classes or go it alone.   As long as the collar is not used to pull at the puppy’s neck, it should be fine.

"NO" Command

Use the “No” command when you need your puppy to understand that its behavior is unacceptable.   You need to give this command using a stern voice.   I like to include a hand signal also. You should use either a hand held up with the palm facing the puppy or an index finger held up.   You will be using this command a lot.   Practice will be done often as you allow the puppy out of the pen for playtime.   The puppy should therefore learn this command rather quickly.

"SIT" Command

The sit command can begin in the house during feeding time.   The easiest way I have found to get my puppies to sit is to hold a piece of kibble up high (chest level), and tell the pup to sit.   As soon as it looks up it will automatically sit down.   If this doesn’t happen, gently push its backside down.

Wait a moment, and then give lots of praise and the kibble.   Do this a few times until the pup understands the command.   Continue practicing this command.   As it progresses, you should have the pup sit while you prepare its meal and until you allow it to eat.

"COME" Command

The come command is a little more difficult to master.   Yorkies are notorious for doing what they want.   I start off with the harness and leash on.   I tell my puppy to sit.   I step away maybe two steps and give the command to come.   I like toinclude a hand signal with the word.   I use clapping.

Then I gently pull on the leash until the puppy has reached me.   Give lots of praise.   Repeat this over and over again until you are finally stepping away the length of the leash.   Now it is time to take the pup off the leash and have the command work.  At this point you will need to involve the “stay” command (see next section).   Have the pup sit and stay.  Walk away a distance further than the leash would allow.   Give the signal and say the command.   Your pup should immediately come to you.   Having a small food treat as a reward is extremely helpful in accomplishing these commands.  You will have to work at these commands whether inside or out.   You want to get to the point where you trust that when you call, it will obey.   It all takes time, work, and patience.            

"STAY" Command

This command can be combined with the “come” and “sit” command.   You need to be consistent with your wording at all times.  Again, I like to combine a hand signal with my verbal commands.   I use an index finger pointing to the puppy’s butt for sit, a palm held up to indicate stay and then clapping of my hands for come.   You need to pick the hand signals, if you plan on using them, prior to starting training.   You want to use one signal to indicate only one command. 

The stay command is a difficult command for a Yorkie to master.   It takes a lot of work and self- discipline on the part of the puppy.   You can practice this command inside your home as well as outside.    Have the puppy sit and stay a few feet from you as you sit on the sofa.   Don’t pay attention to him, read a book, watch some TV, etc.   Then have the puppy come.   Of course as with all of these commands the time frame must start out small and continue to increase as the pup masters the command.

"DOWN" Command

This command I am told is the hardest for any dog to learn.   I did not find this to be true.   To the dog it means total submission, which is very hard for them I again used both the verbal command “down” with a hand signal.   I also use a food reward each time they perform this command correctly.   At first you will need to put them in the down position from a sitting position.   Praise them and give them a treat.   Repeat this over and over, giving them a chance to go down on their own first before you do it for them.   Do not continue to do it for them too many times because they will come to believe this is part of the command.   I was able to train each of my Yorkies this command in less than10 minutes.   You will need to repeat this command, just like all the others, all the time.

Soon enough you will have them trained, but they can easily forget if you do not use the commands for their lifetime.   You will find that there will be additional commands you will want your puppy to learn.   There are many good books, videos, and training schools where all these can be accomplished.   Remember, the whole idea is for you to learn how to train your puppy.   For your puppy to be able to respond to your commands, you will first need to know how to be the “boss”.   Both you and your puppy will be much happier if both of you learn these commands.

“A trained Yorkie is a happy Yorkie”.