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7 puppy potty-training tips to housebreak your Dachshund

While they’re undoubtedly one of the cutest breeds, Dachshunds are infamously difficult to housebreak. According to research, they make the list of the top seven most difficult breeds to potty-train. But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a smelly home. Although not all Dachshunds can be fully potty-trained, patience and persistence can go a long way when it comes to housebreaking your Dachshund. You’ll save yourself — and your pup — a lot of stress with our puppy potty-training tips. Here’s what you need to know about potty-training one of the most stubborn dog breeds in the world. 

A Dachshund puppy lying on a tree stump with his paws on green leaves.

Why are Dachshunds so hard to potty-train?

Larger breeds like retrievers and spaniels are probably what spring to mind when you think of hunting dogs, so it may surprise you to know that dachshunds were originally bred to hunt. These little pups are the perfect size for wriggling into a badger’s den. In fact, the name dachshund is German for “badger dog,” with dachs meaning “badger” and hund translating to “hound” or “dog.” Dachshunds are also extremely clever dogs with high prey drives. The All American Dachshund Rescue claims that intelligence is the root cause of their stubbornness. 

7 steps to potty training your Dachshund

Because doxies are so difficult to potty-train, you may want to consider keeping your pup in a crate at night and while you’re away from home to prevent accidents. Let’s look at our favorite seven tips to housebreak your dachshund. 

1. Take your dog outside for regular potty breaks

If your puppy has frequent accidents in the home, try taking him outside every 20–30 minutes. Gradually extend the amount of time between breaks as your pup uses the bathroom outdoors more frequently. 

2. Consider using pee pads — but be cautious

Pee pads are a fantastic option if you live in an apartment without access to a yard — or if you have a quite young or senior dog who can’t make it outside. However, if you have an outdoor space, your pup may adjust to using pee pads indoors and refuse to go outside, especially if it’s cold or rainy. The choice is ultimately yours, but we don’t recommend using pads as a long-term solution if you intend to take your dachshund out to do his business.   

3. Take your pup outside after he eats 

Dogs usually need to use the bathroom within 20 minutes after eating. Take your dachshund outside after he’s eaten and give him about five to 10 minutes to potty. You may need to bring him back inside if your pup stubbornly refuses, but you’ll want to keep a close eye on him and take him back outside at the first sign he’s ready to go indoors. Eventually, your pup will realize he needs to go out after meals. 

A brown Dachshund wearing a red collar sits outside surrounded by autumn leaves.

4. Reward him with treats when he uses the bathroom outside

Like most dogs, Doxies love treats. Try giving him a reward when he uses the bathroom outside to reinforce your training. You can even reserve your pup’s favorite treats for this occasion, which may help him catch on faster than using an everyday treat. 

5. Don’t reinforce bad behavior

Catch your dog urinating or defecating in the house? Tell him “no” in a firm voice and immediately relocate him to a pee pad or outdoors. Don’t yell at your dog for relieving himself indoors. You may frighten him, and he won’t understand why you’re angry.

6. Remove any stains with a specialized pet cleaner 

Accidents happen, especially during potty training. Use a pet stain-and-odor cleaner designed to eliminate the scent of feces and urine, as the smell of their own excrement will draw pups to use the same spot repeatedly. (You should avoid ammonia-based cleaners since they smell like urine.)

7. Be consistent with your training

Every member of your household should take part in potty-training your dog. If you take the dog out every 30 minutes, someone else should step in while you’re away from home. Consistency is the most important part of successful dog training, so make sure the whole family is on board.  

A brown Dachshund lying on a beige sheet outdoors.

Staying positive on your potty-training journey

When potty-training any breed, it’s important to remember that your pup doesn’t mean to be naughty. Most of the time, he simply doesn’t understand that he’s supposed to do his business in specific areas. No matter how frustrating it is to clean the carpet in the middle of the night, please refrain from shouting at your dog. Not only do dogs learn better through positive reinforcement than through punishment, but also displays of anger may result in your dog being frightened of you. Instead of waiting for accidents to happen, we recommend a more proactive approach. Watch out for signs that your pup may need to go outside, including:

  • Sniffing around the house.
  • Barking at the door when no one is outside.
  • Signs of fidgeting or excitement.
  • Barking or whining for no apparent reason.
  • Circling the floor and squatting down.
  • Returning to a spot where he’s had an accident before.

If you notice any of these signs, take your puppy outside immediately and wait for him to use the bathroom. Praise him after he’s done his business to help him make a connection between going to the bathroom outside and a positive experience. 

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