Potty Training Your Dachshund

Potty Training Your Dachshund

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Potty Training your Dachshund can be a real challenge.  It is time-consuming and repetitive, but it is very necessary.  Your puppy will not be training themselves, they need your guidance every step of the way. Puppies learn quickly, so use the proper techniques to train them correctly the first time.

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Training Tip:  If your puppy has worms or a parasite in his system, it may cause unpredictable accidents. They Can’t help it!  Get your puppy wormed and vaccinated at the vet.

Dachshund Puppy Housetraining Tips

  • Puppy Potty Clues

  • Designate House Area

  • Designate Yard Area

  • Watch Carefully and Move Quickly

  • Praise and Reward

  • Hired Help

Potty Training your Dachshund

1. Puppy Potty Clues

You can start potty training your dachshund puppy around 8 weeks of age.  Take your puppy outside frequently for potty breaks and help prevent them from having to resort to using puppy pads in the house.

Puppies have predictable elimination times.  Always take them out to go potty during the following events AND every 2 hours in between.

  • When they wake up
  • When they are finished eating
  • After exercise or play
  • Before they go to bed at night

If you spot your puppy doing any of the following, its time to let them outside.

  • Sniffing the ground
  • Turning around in circles
  • Looking nervous
  • Acting worried
  • Whimpering

2. Designate House Area

Keep your puppy in a section of the house that has easy to clean floors, like a mudroom or kitchen.  A room with tiled or vinyl flooring is best. Use newspapers or puppy pads at the beginning of your training just in case of accidents, but they are not to be used exclusively.

You can pick up a piece of scrap vinyl flooring at the hardware store and place a puppy playpen (from Amazon) around the designated area.  These puppy play pens create the perfect designated play space for your puppy.  I used this for my kids when they were little 10 years ago and now I use them for my new puppy, Eko.

Sometimes it is hard to cover all of your entrances, dangerous electric cords, etc.  Any area your puppy loves to chew or hide and go potty needs to be gated off as well.  We like to use those large science fair project boards or thicker project poster boards to cover those areas. It is a more inexpensive way to gate off those hard to gate areas.

The play area for your pup allows you to put them in a safe space when its time to take a nap or a “time out” when puppy teething and chewing gets out of control.

Potty Training your Dachshund

3. Designate Yard Area

It is recommended that your puppy use a specific section of the yard as their designated potty spot.  They will start to understand what they need to do when you take them to that spot every time for pees and poos.  Stay consistent, dogs learn very quickly.

This is not only a big benefit to your yard but also your shoes!  Doggie poo land mines are a pain to clean off your shoes and can be time-consuming to pick up.  Don’t let them roam the entire yard during the training process, this may cause confusion.  Stay in the designated area.

If you take your puppy outside to go potty and they don’t eliminate after 5-10 minutes, take them back inside the house.  Put them back into their play area or crate and watch them closely.  When they show signs of having to go, take them outside quickly.

4. Watch Carefully And Move Quickly

Watch your Puppy Closely! If you notice your puppy showing any of the potty clues above, take that puppy outside quickly.

If you catch them mid pee, pick them up and take them outside, even if they are still going.  Try not to get upset, just put the puppy outside in the potty spot and give him praise.   This will help them realize where they are supposed to go potty.

If an accident happens in the house without you noticing, don’t get upset.  Puppies don’t understand why they can’t go potty in the house.  Try to be more attentive next time.

Your puppy loves you and is very capable of learning.  Accidents are a part of the learning process, be patient and know it takes time.  It is up to you to keep on top of them to make sure this training is successful.

Unnecessary Punishment:

Punishing during the Housetraining phase may prolong training time and make housetraining more difficult than it has to be.  The old methods of sticking your puppy’s nose in his accident are gone.  Stick to positive reinforcement instead.

Training Tip: Puppies aren’t fully in control of their bladder until about 6 months old. Understand that when they have an accident prior to this age, they aren’t able to hold their bladder for more than a couple of hours.  So, it really isn’t their fault. It is up to the owner to stay on top of the training and not rely on the puppy.

5. Praise and Reward

When your puppy goes potty outside, verbally praise the dog with “Good” and give them a small dog treat.  Then, take the dog immediately inside the house.  Your dachshund will begin to connect your designated potty yard spot with getting a positive reward and returning to the house.

               Training Tip:  If your puppy has an accident in the house, clean up the spot as best you can.  Your pup will want to re-mark the same spot going forward if the smell remains.  Use a pet odor neutralizing spray from a pet store instead of a deodorizer.  It is recommended to use a cleaner with the “enzyme” in it.

6. Hired Help

If you work full time or are unable to let your dog out during the day, get some help.  Your pup should not be crated for more than 4 hours at a time.  Ask your friendly stay-at-home mom if they want to earn some extra money for letting your dog out during the day.  Or, you can search on google for some local dog walkers in your area.  There are even some cell phone apps to help you find local dog walkers like “Rover” or “Wag”.

Whether you are in the midst of training your new puppy or leaving your already trained dog at home during the day, getting someone to let them out will prevent accidents that you don’t have to clean up when you come home.  It will also help your dog remain calm while you are away.

Using a House Lead:

During the potty training stage, it is recommended to have your puppy on a “House Lead” when roaming around your home.  You can have your pup use a regular leash and it can be attached to your pants belt loop or free to drag behind them.  It is helpful to have a lead to grab onto in case your puppy starts to go potty inside or gets into trouble.

You can also use the house lead technique during puppy teething as well.  When your puppy starts to chew the furniture or any personal household belongings, it helps to have that leash to redirect them to a toy that they are allowed to chew.  Do not yank or pull hard on the houselead.  Dachshunds are prone to IVDD and need to be treated gently.

Potty Training Step by Step

  • When your puppy wakes up in the morning, put the puppy’s leash on and carry them outside immediately.  I like to say the word “Out” when I exit the backdoor.

  • Place your puppy in the designated potty area outside and don’t move.  Don’t walk the dog around the yard, just stay still as a statue. Don’t play or socialize with your dog, this is potty time only.

  • Say “Go Potty” and point to the grass.  Make sure they are listening and focused on your words.  Do not continue to say “Go Potty” 100’s of times, this will only confuse them or will be ignored.

  • Let your dog sniff around for 5-10 minutes max.  If your pup doesn’t go potty, pick them up and put them back into their crate or playpen.  Do not let them loose in the house, they didn’t do their job.  Take them back out if they show potty signs or just try again in about 20 minutes.

  • If your puppy does go potty outside, praise them with “Good” and give them a small treat and go back inside.

  • Be consistent, take you pup out every 1-2 hours their first couple of months.  You will have good days and many bad days.  It is part of the process.  Be patient, this stage doesn’t last forever if you do it right the first time around.  If you give up too easily, the training will never stick.

4 Tips For Crate Training A Dachshund Puppy

These are the Best Tips for crate training a dachshund puppy that I could find.  Crate training is a good option for dachshund owners.  This allows you to limit your dog’s access to your home while you are away or during potty training.  You want to give them plenty of room to be comfortable but not too much room to feel they can have accidents.

Training Tip:  Never use your crate as a punishment.  Crates are designated as the dog’s safety zone.  You want them to love their crate and not feel anxious about being confined.

Crate Training Tips

1. Crate Placement

Place the Dachshund puppy’s crate near the most active room in your home.  Your pup wants to see you and your family and not feel all alone.  Put a safe chew toy in the crate with your pup to help them stay entertained and calm.

While house training, avoid putting any towels or blankets in the crate with your pup.  You can give him a blanket or towel to lay on when potty training comes to an end or just for bed time at night.

2. Entering the Crate

To entice your dog to enter the crate, use a small treat and place it in the crate.  Please be patient and never force the pup inside the crate.  It may take several tries over the next couple of days to get them to be comfortable with entering the crate. When he does enter the crate, give lots of verbal praise.

3. Food Bowl in Crate

Replace the treats with small bits of dog food in the crate.  Then, start to have their food bowl near the crate for feeding time.

Over the next few days, gradually start putting the food bowl in the crate towards the front of the crate.  Your pup will start to feel more comfortable during mealtime in the crate.  Keep the crate door open during this phase.

The ultimate goal is to have the bowl move towards the back of the crate and having the dog comfortable eating inside the crate.  Once they are inside the back of the crate and eating without trying to escape, shut the door of the crate.  Stick around and watch him eat to make him feel safe.  Let your pup out when he is ready to come out.

4. Repeat

Repeat this training over the next several days leaving the door shut on the kennel for a little longer each time while you are nearby.  Stay consistent and patient, your dog will catch on quickly.

Finally, start leaving the room while they are in the kennel for a few minutes at a time.  Your training is complete when you are able to leave the room for about 30 minutes without your dog getting upset.  Set a timer so that you can keep track of time.

Depending on your puppy’s age, keep track of how often they need to go outside to potty.

Remember, 1-month-old puppy = needs to go potty every 1 hour.

Issues with Crate Training:

If Crate Training just isn’t working and your puppy is continuing to have accidents, then STOP using the Crate.  Crate training may not be for your dachshund.  My puppy Eko didn’t like his crate, he seemed petrified to go near it.  So, the open top, playpen (pictured above) was our solution, and it works very well.

Separation Anxiety Advice

It is important to Understand Separation Anxiety in your Dachshund.  You want to help your puppy be comfortable when you leave the house.  Separation anxiety training is needed to help your puppy learn that you will be back and he doesn’t need to worry or cause mass destruction in the house while you are away.

Remember, dogs are pack animals, they love to be around the ones they love and don’t really care to be left alone.

Dachshunds who have separation anxiety will act out in the house because of their instinct, not because of behavioral issues.  Punishing them for this act may not do any good.

When you perform your crate training, this allows the pup to feel safe in his crate and teaches him when you leave the room, you do eventually come back.

potty training dachshund playpen gates3

Tips for Treating Separation Anxiety:

1. Leaving

To avoid triggering a separation anxiety episode, avoid making a big deal or having direct interaction with the dog right before you leave.

Certain noise triggers like getting your keys out and saying “Good-bye” can set them off.  If your dachshund gets whiny when you are ready to leave, don’t make it a more emotional situation than it already is.  Be strong and don’t give in.

2. Coming Home

When you come home, avoid direct interaction with the dog right when you arrive home at least for 3-4 minutes. Then, let your dog outside immediately without a lot of excitement.

Again, don’t make a big fuss when letting them out.  Make it a normal calm routine when letting him outside.

3. Walking

If your dog has accidents in the kennel or the house when you leave, make sure to take them on a 20-minute walk before you leave. They will usually empty themselves on the walk and last longer in the house without an accident.

Training Tip: If you work full time or are unable to let your dog out during the day, get some help.  You can ask your friendly “stay at home mom” or retired neighbor if they want to earn some extra money for letting your dog out.  Or, you can search on google for some local dog walkers in your area.

4.  Catching them in the Act

If you catch the dog in the act of destroying something in the home, don’t go back inside your house!  This will reinforce this behavior and they will believe that all they have to do is to destroy something to get you to come back home.

5.  Keeping Occupied

Give your dog some food before you leave. If it is part of your routine to give your dog his breakfast before you leave for work, give it to him right as you are leaving to keep them occupied and not panicking.

6.  Calm Environment

Leave a radio or tv on before you leave the house to help your dog listen to familiar sounds while you are gone.

7. Consult a Vet

For more severe cases of separation anxiety, consult your vet for some help.  They may recommend some medications that can help keep your dog calm.

8.  Natural Antidotes

Use natural methods to calm anxiety. Check out your local pet store for lavender based treats or diffusers that will release a calming lavender scent in the air to help keep your dog feeling safe and calm.  Discover some more natural methods for separation anxiety in dogs.

Why is My Dachshund Still Peeing in the House?

Still having issues with accidents in the house?  Your new doxie pup needs to be watched the whole time he is wandering around the house.  If you are not able to watch the puppy, then he needs to be in a kennel or a play pen area so he doesn’t have an accident.  Let your pup outside to go potty often and make sure to keep visiting the same potty area in the yard to stay consistent.   Reward your dog when he goes potty outside.  Also, check out the Helpful Potty Training Links below for some visual YouTube guides that may help.

If you are still having issues with your pup having accidents in the house, consult your vet. Your dachshund may have a UTI or another issue causing him to have more frequent accidents that he can’t help.

Why is Potty Training A Dachshund Challenging?

Dachshunds are a very loving and cuddly breed, but they are stubborn when it comes to potty training.  If you have tried the steps above and still are not seeing any progress, it is not uncommon.  All dog breeds have their unique “quirks”… well, potty training stubbornness is the dachshund’s famous quirk.

Dachshunds are hunting dogs and there are lots of enticing sights, sounds, and smells outside.  Your doxie would much rather take the time to sniff everything instead of concentrating on going potty.  Dachshunds get easily distracted, that’s why patience is a must.

If your Dachshund has accidents while you are away:

If you have to leave your puppy for a long day (8-9 hours), ALWAYS take your doxie for a 20 minute walk before leaving them in their kennel or playpen.  Don’t go back in the house until you get a poop and a pee out of them.  They will last longer this way.

If you are not able to let them out during the day, hire a dog walker or a neighbor to let them out for you.  You dog will have less anxiety attacks if he doesn’t have to hold it so long.  This is very helpful if you work full-time outside the home.

I get it, I have had dachshunds for 14+ years.  I know how they are, it is challenging at times.  With this dog breed, be patient and kind, or it will backfire and slow down your dog’s training.

Helpful Potty Training Links For Your Dog:


  • Schweitzer, Karen. 2010. Our Best Friends the Dachshund. Pittsburg, PA: Eldorado Ink.
  • Pinney, Chris. 2010, 2000.  Dachshunds: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.