Housebreaking a dog is a task that takes dedication and persistence, but can be accomplished if you know the right techniques. Dogs can be trained to go outside, but many owners of toy and miniature breeds such as Chihuahuas prefer to train the dogs to go on paper inside to avoid taking them out in inclement weather. Allowing miniature dogs to eliminate outside alone can also leave them vulnerable to predators like coyotes, owls and hawks. These tiny dogs don’t leave much of a mess on paper, which can easily be cleaned up, so inside training might be the option for you.
Place several layers of newspaper in a corner near a door leading outside and away from food or water dishes. Choose a spot on tile or linoleum away from living areas. This will always be the spot for the dog to eliminate once paper trained. Changing spots will confuse the dog and make training difficult.
Take the dog to the paper within half an hour after it eats and encourage it to eliminate. Dogs usually have to go within a half hour of feeding. Use the same phrase each time to entice the dog to go. “Hurry up” and “Go potty” are common commands.
Wait with the dog until it eliminates. If the dog doesn't go within 10 or 15 minutes, keep it with you or put it in its crate for another 30 minutes and try again. Older dogs that haven't been paper trained are better able to control their bodily functions and may take more time to go. Continue to contain or watch the dog until it goes on the paper, then enthusiastically praise it.
Remove and dispose of the top layer of paper, but leave the under layers. The dog will be drawn to the scent of the area where it has eliminated before. The lower layers will carry the scent that tells the dog this is the proper place to relieve itself.
Feed the dog at the same time twice daily and take it to the papers after it's fed. Allowing the dog constant access to food will make paper training more difficult. Dogs have to eliminate after feedings and if allowed to free feed all day it will be difficult to determine when to take the dog to its spot. It's not healthy to deny water to the dog, so you will have to watch for squatting or leg lifting as warnings to move it quickly to the paper.
Contain the dog or keep it with you at all times throughout the paper-training process. If the dog is crate trained, leave it in the crate if you are unable to monitor its behavior. Consistency is key in paper training. You need to avoid accidents, as they make training more difficult.
Watch your dog for signs that it needs to eliminate; the dog will pace, walk in circles or start to squat when it needs to go. Quickly pick it up and move it to the paper.