Potty Training a Shiba Inu

A coppery Shiba Inu dog sits in grass

A coppery Shiba Inu dog sits in vibrant green grass. There is a list of words in white text on the right: Independence, Stubbornness, Cleanliness, Sensitivity to Routine Changes, and Strong-willed Behavior.

Potty training is crucial for Shiba Inus, as it not only ensures a clean and hygienic living environment but also fosters a harmonious bond between the dog and its owner. Shiba Inus are known for their independent and sometimes stubborn nature, making early and consistent potty training essential. Establishing a routine and positive reinforcement techniques can help them understand where and when to relieve themselves. A well-trained Shiba Inu not only prevents household accidents but also sets the foundation for a well-behaved and respectful companion, ensuring a happy and stress-free coexistence between the dog and its human family members.

Potty Training Shiba Inu Puppies

Potty training is especially crucial for Shiba Inu puppies due to their unique temperament and characteristics. Shiba Inus are known for their independent and sometimes stubborn nature, which can make them more challenging to train compared to some other breeds. Starting potty training early is essential to establish good habits and prevent accidents in the house. It helps the puppy understand where it should and should not relieve itself, ensuring a clean and hygienic living environment for both the dog and its owners. Additionally, successful potty training contributes to the overall behavioral development of the Shiba Inu, fostering discipline and obedience that can be applied to other aspects of their training and socialization. Ultimately, potty training is a fundamental step in raising a well-adjusted and well-behaved Shiba Inu puppy.

Three Shiba Inu puppies sit on a patch of dirt

Three Shiba Inu puppies sit cuddles up close together in a back yard on a patch of dark rich soil.

Challenges with Shiba Inus

Potty training Shiba Inus can be uniquely challenging due to their breed-specific traits and temperament:

  • Independence: Shiba Inus are known for their independent nature. They often like to do things on their own terms, including when and where they relieve themselves. This independence can make them less inclined to follow your potty training schedule.
  • Stubbornness: Shiba Inus can be quite stubborn, and they may resist following commands or routines they find inconvenient. This stubborn streak can make it challenging to establish consistent bathroom habits.
  • Cleanliness: Shiba Inus are generally clean dogs and may be averse to soiling their living space. While this is an advantage, it can also make them hold their bladder longer than other breeds, which might lead to accidents if they are not taken out regularly.
  • Sensitivity to Routine Changes: Shiba Inus can be sensitive to changes in their routines. Any disruptions or changes in the schedule, such as moving to a new home or a different feeding time, can temporarily affect their potty training progress.
  • Strong-willed Behavior: Shiba Inus have a strong-willed and sometimes aloof demeanor. They may not respond well to traditional training methods that rely heavily on force or punishment, as this can lead to further resistance and challenges in potty training.

To overcome these breed-specific challenges, it's important to use positive reinforcement techniques, patience, and consistency when potty training a Shiba Inu. Establish a regular schedule, offer praise and rewards for successful bathroom trips outside, and be prepared for some initial setbacks. Gradually, with time and persistence, a Shiba Inu can become reliably potty trained.

Basic Potty Training Principles

Shiba Inu puppy potty training, like training any other breed, relies on several fundamental principles for success: consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience.

  • Consistency: Consistency is key when potty training a Shiba Inu puppy. Establish a regular routine for bathroom breaks, feeding times, and playtime. Take your puppy to the same spot outdoors each time they need to go, as the scent can trigger the desire to eliminate. Consistent timing and location help your Shiba Inu understand what's expected of them and when.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Shiba Inus respond well to positive reinforcement. Praise and reward your puppy immediately when they eliminate in the desired location. Use treats, verbal praise, and enthusiastic petting to make it clear that they've done something right. Positive reinforcement creates a positive association with potty training and encourages your puppy to repeat the desired behavior.
  • Patience: Patience is crucial, especially when potty training a Shiba Inu. They may be independent and stubborn, which can lead to occasional setbacks. Avoid punishment for accidents, as this can create fear or resistance. Instead, calmly clean up any messes and refocus on consistent training. Understand that it may take some time for your Shiba Inu to fully grasp the concept of potty training, so remain patient and persistent throughout the process.

Additional tips for Shiba Inu puppy potty training include:

  • Frequent Potty Breaks: Shiba Inus have small bladders, so take them outside frequently, especially after meals, playtime, and waking up from naps.
  • Crate Training: Utilize crate training to prevent accidents when you cannot supervise your puppy. Dogs typically avoid soiling their sleeping area, so a properly sized crate can encourage them to hold it until they're taken outside.
  • Watch for Signs: Learn your puppy's signs of needing to go, such as sniffing, circling, or whining. Anticipating their needs and taking them out promptly reduces the chances of accidents.
  • Clean Accidents Thoroughly: Clean any accidents in the house with enzymatic cleaners to remove the scent completely. This prevents your puppy from being attracted back to the same spot.

Remember that every Shiba Inu puppy is unique, and the time it takes to fully potty train can vary. Stay committed to these principles, and with time and effort, your Shiba Inu will become reliably potty trained.

A little girl in a red shirt sits beside a Shiba Inu in a red shirt

A little girl and a Shiba Inu puppy are both wearing matching red tee shirts and 3-D glasses while sitting on a couch. A blue and white bucket of popcorn rests between them.

The Importance of a Designated Potty Spot

Using synthetic grass or a designated dog toilet spot, such as a Porch Potty, can be particularly beneficial when potty training a Shiba Inu, as it provides several advantages:

  • Consistency: Synthetic grass or a dog toilet spot offers a consistent and easily recognizable area for your Shiba Inu to eliminate. The texture and smell of the synthetic grass can mimic the outdoors, making it clear to your puppy where they should go.
  • Convenience: These designated spots are convenient, especially for owners living in apartments or urban environments. You won't need to rush your Shiba Inu outside during bad weather or in the middle of the night. This convenience can help maintain a consistent potty training schedule.
  • Hygiene: Synthetic grass and dog toilet spots are easy to clean and maintain. They often come with a tray or drainage system that allows urine to be disposed of or flushed away, leaving a clean surface for your puppy. This helps keep your living space odor-free and sanitary.
  • Transitional Training: For Shiba Inus that may be transitioning from potty pads or indoor training, synthetic grass can serve as a bridge to outdoor training. You can gradually move the synthetic grass closer to the door or outdoor area to encourage your puppy to eventually go outside.
  • Privacy and Comfort: Some Shiba Inus are sensitive to distractions or the environment when eliminating. A designated spot can offer a degree of privacy and comfort, helping your puppy focus on the task at hand.

To use synthetic grass or a dog toilet spot effectively for potty training:

  • Place it in a consistent location: Position the synthetic grass or dog toilet spot in the same place every time so that your Shiba Inu associates that area with potty time.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Praise and reward your puppy when they use the designated spot correctly. Offer treats and enthusiastic praise to reinforce the desired behavior.
  • Maintain cleanliness: Regularly clean and disinfect the synthetic grass or designated spot to prevent odors and maintain hygiene.
  • Be patient and consistent: Just like with outdoor training, patience and consistency are key. Stick to a routine, and gradually transition your puppy to outdoor potty breaks as they become more reliable.

Using synthetic grass or a designated dog toilet spot can be a valuable tool in the potty training process, especially for Shiba Inu puppies or dogs living in situations where outdoor access is limited.

Encouraging Use of a Dog Potty

Encouraging Shiba Inus to use a Porch Potty effectively involves patience, positive reinforcement, and gradual acclimatization. Initially, place the litterbox or toilet in an accessible and quiet location, and introduce your Shiba Inu to it gently. Reward and praise them enthusiastically when they use it correctly, using treats and affection to reinforce the positive behavior. Be vigilant in observing their cues and schedule for bathroom breaks, taking them to the designated spot promptly. Regularly clean the litterbox or toilet to maintain cleanliness and minimize odors. Over time, you can gradually reduce the size of the indoor potty area or transition to outdoor potty breaks as your Shiba Inu becomes more accustomed to the new routine.

A Consistent Daily Schedule

Creating a consistent schedule for potty breaks is essential when potty training a Shiba Inu puppy. While individual needs may vary, here's a sample daily routine that you can adjust based on your puppy's age, bladder capacity, and specific circumstances:


  • 6:30 AM: Wake up and immediately take your Shiba Inu puppy outside to their designated potty area. Be sure to praise and reward them if they eliminate.
  • 6:45 AM: After they've had a chance to go, bring them back inside for breakfast and some playtime.


  • 8:30 AM: Take your puppy outside for another potty break. Remember to praise and reward for success.

Late Morning:

  • 11:00 AM: Another quick outdoor break before your puppy's mid-morning nap. If your Shiba Inu is very young, they may nap for a couple of hours during this time.


  • 1:00 PM: After your puppy wakes up from their nap, take them outside for another potty break and playtime.


  • 3:30 PM: Another outdoor break. Shiba Inu puppies often have active periods in the late afternoon, so be vigilant for signs they need to go.

Early Evening:

  • 5:30 PM: Dinner time, followed by playtime and a potty break.


  • 8:00 PM: Another outdoor break before bedtime. Keep this break low-key to encourage your puppy to settle down for the night.


  • 10:00 PM: Take your puppy out one more time before you go to bed. Keep it quiet and uneventful to minimize disruption during the night.

Throughout the Night:

  • As Needed: If your Shiba Inu puppy is very young (8-10 weeks old), they may need a middle-of-the-night potty break. Set an alarm to take them out every 3-4 hours, gradually increasing the time between nighttime breaks as they grow.

Remember that young Shiba Inu puppies have small bladders and may need to go frequently. As they grow and develop better bladder control, you can gradually extend the time between breaks. Be patient and adjust the schedule based on your puppy's progress and signals. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and attentive observation are key to successful potty training with a Shiba Inu.

A Shiba Inu and its owners sit in a grassy park

A Shiba Inu in a harness is being petted by its owner, a woman in a brown shirt sitting on the grass in a park. Her young son is wearing a jean jacket and is standing beside her.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Potty training a Shiba Inu puppy can be challenging, but avoiding common mistakes can help make the process smoother and more effective. Here are some common errors to steer clear of:

  • Lack of Consistency: Inconsistent schedules and routines can confuse your Shiba Inu puppy. Stick to a consistent schedule for potty breaks, feeding, and playtime to help them understand what's expected.
  • Not Supervising: Leaving your puppy unsupervised in the house increases the chances of accidents. Keep a close eye on them, especially during the early stages of potty training.
  • Using Punishment: Avoid scolding or punishing your Shiba Inu for accidents. This can create fear or anxiety around potty training and hinder their progress. Instead, use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
  • Ignoring Signs: Pay attention to your puppy's signals. Shiba Inus, like other breeds, may show signs like sniffing, circling, or whining when they need to go. Missing these cues can result in accidents.
  • Inconsistent Rewarding: Be consistent with praise and rewards when your puppy eliminates in the correct spot. This reinforces the desired behavior and encourages them to repeat it.
  • Using Potty Pads Indefinitely: While potty pads can be helpful initially, using them for too long can confuse your Shiba Inu. Gradually transition them from potty pads to outdoor potty training as they progress.
  • Not Cleaning Accidents Thoroughly: Properly clean up accidents using enzymatic cleaners to eliminate the scent completely. Lingering odors can attract your puppy back to the same spot.
  • Neglecting Crate Training: Crate training can be a valuable tool in potty training. However, it should not be used as a punishment. Ensure the crate is a comfortable and safe space for your puppy.
  • Skipping Regular Outdoor Breaks: Even if you're using potty pads or synthetic grass, don't skip regular outdoor breaks. This helps your Shiba Inu understand that outdoor potty breaks are part of the routine.
  • Expecting Quick Results: Potty training takes time and patience. Shiba Inus can be independent and may progress at their own pace. Avoid getting frustrated and be prepared for occasional setbacks.
  • Not Adapting to Your Puppy's Needs: Each puppy is unique. Pay attention to your Shiba Inu's specific needs and adjust your training approach accordingly.
  • Ignoring Health Issues: If your Shiba Inu continues to have accidents despite consistent training, consult with a veterinarian. Underlying health issues could be a contributing factor.

By avoiding these common mistakes and approaching potty training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your Shiba Inu become reliably potty trained over time.

Potty Training Older Shiba Inu Dogs

If you have an older Shiba Inu and you're unsure whether they need potty training or a refresher course, look for the following signs and behaviors:

  • Accidents Inside: If your older Shiba Inu starts having accidents inside the house after previously being reliably potty trained, it's a clear sign that they may need a refresher course. Accidents can indicate a lapse in their training or could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
  • Increased Frequency of Accidents: If you notice a sudden increase in accidents, it's a sign that something might be amiss. This could be due to changes in the dog's routine, medical issues, or even age-related changes in bladder control.
  • Urinary Incontinence: Older dogs, including Shiba Inus, can develop urinary incontinence as they age. This condition can lead to involuntary urination, especially when the dog is at rest or asleep. If your Shiba Inu is dribbling urine or having accidents while lying down, consult a veterinarian to rule out medical causes.
  • Changes in Behavior: Changes in your Shiba Inu's behavior, such as increased restlessness, frequent pacing, or excessive licking of their genital area, could be indicators of a urinary tract infection or other health issues affecting their ability to control their bladder.
  • Increased Thirst and Urination: If your older Shiba Inu is drinking more water than usual and urinating frequently, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition like diabetes or kidney disease, which can affect their ability to control their bladder.
  • Physical Limitations: Older Shiba Inus may experience physical limitations that make it difficult for them to signal their need to go outside. Arthritis, joint pain, or mobility issues can prevent them from reaching the door or alerting you as effectively as they once did.
  • Cognitive Changes: Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to dementia in humans) can affect older dogs. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction may forget their training and exhibit erratic behavior, including house soiling.

If you notice any of these signs or behavioral changes in your older Shiba Inu, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian first to rule out underlying medical issues. Once medical causes are ruled out, consider a refresher course in potty training to reinforce good habits and establish a routine that accommodates any age-related changes in your dog's needs or abilities. Additionally, providing more frequent potty breaks and making necessary accommodations for any physical limitations can help maintain your older Shiba Inu's quality of life.

Using a Dog Potty for Older Shiba Inus

Using a designated dog toilet like a Porch Potty can greatly benefit older Shiba Inu dogs by offering them convenience and comfort. As Shiba Inus age, they may face mobility challenges or be less tolerant of extreme weather, making outdoor potty breaks difficult. A designated dog toilet provides them with an accessible and weather-independent option for relieving themselves, promoting continued independence and reducing potential stress associated with outdoor trips. Additionally, it can be particularly helpful if they have urinary incontinence or other health issues, providing a controlled and clean environment for bathroom needs, all while maintaining a familiar and comfortable routine.

It's important to note that while a designated dog toilet can be a valuable option for older Shiba Inu dogs, it should not replace regular outdoor walks and exercise. Dogs still benefit from physical activity and mental stimulation outdoors, so be sure to strike a balance between indoor and outdoor potty breaks to ensure your dog's overall well-being. Additionally, consult with your veterinarian if your older Shiba Inu is experiencing any changes in bathroom habits, as these could be signs of underlying health issues that need attention.

Transitioning to a Porch Potty

Transitioning an older Shiba Inu to a designated dog potty involves selecting an appropriate location, gradually introducing the new spot, using positive reinforcement for correct use, and maintaining a consistent schedule. Keep a watchful eye on your dog's behavior and redirect accidents to the designated area while promptly cleaning any messes. If your Shiba Inu was previously potty trained differently, shift to the new method gradually. Be patient throughout the process, understanding that it may take time for your older dog to adapt to the change, and continue to provide outdoor exercise and stimulation alongside the designated potty routine.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency plays a pivotal role in retraining an older Shiba Inu for potty habits as it provides a clear structure and expectations. Older dogs, like Shiba Inus, often rely on established routines, and consistency helps them understand where and when they should eliminate. Maintaining a regular schedule for potty breaks reinforces the desired behavior and reduces confusion. Consistent positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats for using the designated potty correctly, also strengthens the association between the designated spot and rewards. Any deviations from the established routine can cause setbacks, so steadfast consistency is crucial in successfully retraining an older Shiba Inu for improved potty habits.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're potty training a Shiba Inu puppy or retraining an older Shiba Inu, consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are paramount. Establish a consistent potty schedule, use positive reinforcement techniques to reward correct behavior, and closely monitor your dog's cues. Gradual introductions to designated potty spots, whether indoors or outdoors, are key, and be prepared for occasional setbacks. For older dogs, consult a veterinarian if health issues might be contributing to potty problems, and maintain outdoor exercise for both physical and mental well-being. Ultimately, the journey to successful potty habits with Shiba Inus of any age relies on a steady commitment to these principles.

For more information on potty training your dog, check out these articles:

How to Transition Your Dog to Porch Potty

How to Potty Train a Puppy

How to Potty Train an Older Dog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.