Potty Training Your Shih Tzu: Why They're Among the 15 Easiest Breeds

A Shih Tzu puppy sits on a dirt road.

An adorable Shih Tzu sits on a wooden bench. Six phrases in white text are on the right: Intelligence, Eagerness to Please, Adaptability, Sociability, Patience, and Attention-Seeking

Potty training a Shih Tzu can be a surprisingly smooth journey, thanks to the breed's eager-to-please nature and quick-witted intelligence. Recognized for their loyalty and affection, Shih Tzus are not just prized companions but also remarkably receptive to training. This makes them one of the easiest breeds to potty train, especially appealing for first-time dog owners or those living in apartments and urban settings. With limited space and the unique challenges of city living, finding an effective potty training solution is essential. Enter the Porch Potty: an innovative tool designed to seamlessly fit into the urban lifestyle, making it easier than ever to maintain a consistent and effective potty training routine for your Shih Tzu.

Understanding Shih Tzus: Key Traits Influencing Trainability

Before delving into the potty training specifics for your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to understand the unique characteristics of the breed that influence their trainability. Shih Tzus are not just about their luxurious coats and charming looks; they possess a set of traits that make them particularly receptive to training. Recognizing and appreciating these qualities will not only facilitate the training process but also enhance the bond between you and your furry friend.

  • Intelligence: Shih Tzus are smart dogs, capable of understanding and following commands with the right motivation.
  • Eagerness to Please: This breed loves to make their owners happy, which can be a significant advantage during training sessions.
  • Adaptability: Shih Tzus can thrive in various living situations, from spacious homes to compact apartments.
  • Sociability: They enjoy being around people and other animals, which makes them open to positive social training experiences.
  • Patience: While they are energetic, Shih Tzus can also show a remarkable level of patience, especially when they sense their efforts are appreciated.
  • Attention-Seeking: They often seek attention and praise, which can be used as a tool to reinforce positive behavior during potty training.

Understanding these traits provides a solid foundation for tailoring your potty training approach to fit your Shih Tzu's personality. By leveraging their intelligence and eagerness to please, you can create a positive and rewarding training experience. Moreover, the adaptability and sociability of Shih Tzus mean they can adjust well to the structure and routine necessary for successful potty training, making the Porch Potty an ideal tool in this endeavor.

A Shih Tzu is offered a treat after good behavior

A Shih Tzu receives a treat for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is a vital part of training.

Step-by-Step Training Guide for Shih Tzus

Training your Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience that strengthens your bond and ensures a happy, well-adjusted pet. Following a structured approach to potty training, leveraging the unique characteristics of Shih Tzus, can lead to quicker learning and a more positive experience for both of you. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through this process:


  • Select the Right Spot: Choose a designated potty area in your home where you will place the Porch Potty. Ensure it's easily accessible to your Shih Tzu at all times.
  • Gather Supplies: Have treats ready for rewards, a consistent food and water schedule, and the Porch Potty set up and ready to use.

Establish a Routine

  • Feeding Schedule: Feed your Shih Tzu at the same times each day. This helps predict when they’ll need to use the potty.
  • Frequent Potty Breaks: Start with taking your Shih Tzu to the Porch Potty every 1-2 hours, after waking up, and after eating or playing.

Use Positive Reinforcement

  • Reward Immediately: Give your Shih Tzu a treat and lots of praise immediately after they go potty in the correct spot to reinforce the behavior.
  • Be Patient and Consistent: Not all days will be perfect. Continue to encourage and reward desired behaviors, using positive reinforcement without punishment.

Monitor and Adjust

  • Observe Signs: Learn to recognize when your Shih Tzu needs to go—sniffing, circling, or whining—and promptly take them to their Porch Potty.
  • Adjust Timing as Needed: As your Shih Tzu gets older and more accustomed to the routine, gradually extend the time between potty breaks.

Addressing Accidents

  • Stay Calm: If an accident happens, calmly clean it up without scolding. Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove the odor and discourage repeat incidents in the same spot.
  • Review and Adjust Routine: Consider whether the accident was due to a lapse in the routine or if your Shih Tzu wasn’t feeling well. Adjust as necessary.

Gradual Independence

  • Encourage Independence: As your Shih Tzu becomes more reliable, encourage them to go to the Porch Potty on their own by opening the door for them instead of taking them there.
  • Reward Spontaneous Behavior: Continue to reward your Shih Tzu when they use the Porch Potty independently to reinforce this behavior.

Patience and Persistence

  • Keep Training Consistent: Consistency is crucial. Stick to the routine and continue to use positive reinforcement to shape behavior.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate progress with your Shih Tzu, reinforcing the positive aspects of training.

Training your Shih Tzu requires understanding, patience, and consistency. By following these steps and utilizing tools like the Porch Potty, you can facilitate a smoother and more effective potty training process. Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique, so adapt these guidelines as needed to suit your pet's personality and learning pace.

A Shih Tzu sits on a Porch Potty, equipped with a ramp

A Shih Tzu sits on a Small Porch Potty, with an additional ramp to help it up on the system.

Incorporating Porch Potty into Your Shih Tzu's Training Regime

The Porch Potty, with its innovative design and user-friendly features, stands as an invaluable asset in the potty training journey of your Shih Tzu. Its integration into your daily routine not only simplifies the training process but also introduces a level of convenience and efficiency that is especially beneficial for apartment dwellers or those without immediate access to outdoor spaces. Here’s how you can seamlessly incorporate the Porch Potty into your Shih Tzu’s training regime, highlighting its numerous benefits:

Ease of Use and Accessibility

  • Strategic Placement: Position the Porch Potty on a balcony, patio, or any designated indoor area to ensure it's always accessible to your Shih Tzu, especially during the early stages of training. This accessibility is crucial for reinforcing positive potty habits.
  • Consistent Location: Keeping the Porch Potty in a consistent location helps your Shih Tzu associate it with going potty, making the training process faster and more intuitive.

Simulating an Outdoor Environment

  • Real or Synthetic Grass: The Porch Potty's real or synthetic grass surface simulates an outdoor environment, encouraging natural potty behaviors in your Shih Tzu and making the transition to outdoor potty habits smoother if desired.

Health and Hygiene

  • Sanitary Solution: The Porch Potty is designed to keep the area clean and odor-free, with features like built-in drainage systems that facilitate easy cleanup and maintenance.
  • Safe for Pets: Using a controlled and clean environment like the Porch Potty reduces your Shih Tzu’s exposure to outdoor hazards such as parasites and pollutants, contributing to their overall health and well-being. There is a ramp designed for smaller dogs to help them reach the Porch Potty without too much difficulty.

Convenience and Flexibility

  • Time-Saving: For busy pet owners, the Porch Potty offers a time-saving solution, eliminating the need for frequent outdoor trips while still maintaining a consistent potty schedule.
  • Weather-Independent: The Porch Potty ensures that your Shih Tzu can comfortably go potty regardless of the weather conditions outside, providing a practical solution during rainy, snowy, or extremely hot days.

Integrating the Porch Potty into your Shih Tzu’s potty training regime offers a practical, hygienic, and effective solution to meet the unique challenges of urban living and busy lifestyles. By leveraging its benefits, you can provide your pet with a safe, comfortable, and reliable potty area, ensuring a positive and stress-free training experience for both you and your furry companion.

Troubleshooting Common Potty Training Issues

Even with a breed as trainable as the Shih Tzu, potty training can sometimes hit snags. Recognizing common issues and knowing how to address them can make the training process smoother for both you and your furry friend. Here are some typical challenges Shih Tzu owners might face during potty training, along with effective solutions:

Inconsistent Potty Habits

Solution: Maintain a strict feeding and potty schedule to help regulate your Shih Tzu's body clock. Consistency is key in reinforcing where and when it's appropriate to go potty. Using the Porch Potty at the same time daily reinforces this habit.

Accidents Inside the House

Solution: Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process. When they occur, clean the area thoroughly to remove any scent marks that might encourage repeat behavior. Ensure the Porch Potty is easily accessible and remind your Shih Tzu of its location regularly, especially after meals and naps.

Refusal to Use the Porch Potty

Solution: If your Shih Tzu seems reluctant to use the Porch Potty, it might be due to unfamiliarity. Gradually introduce them to the Porch Potty, allowing them to explore and become comfortable with it at their own pace. Place them on the Porch Potty at regular intervals, especially when they are likely to go, and reward them for any interaction with it to build positive associations.

Distraction During Potty Time

Solution: Shih Tzus can easily get distracted, especially in stimulating environments. Keep potty breaks short and focused. If using the Porch Potty outside, choose a quiet time or area to minimize distractions. Inside, guide them back to the task at hand if they become distracted.

Fear or Anxiety Related to Potty Training

Solution: Some Shih Tzus may develop fear or anxiety around potty training, especially if they've had negative experiences. Approach training with patience and positivity. Never punish your Shih Tzu for accidents, as this can increase anxiety. Instead, use lots of praise and treats to create a positive and stress-free potty training experience.

Regression or Loss of Training Progress

Solution: Regression can occur for various reasons, including changes in the environment, schedule, or health issues. Re-establish the routine and increase the frequency of potty breaks to get back on track. If the problem persists, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Successfully potty training your Shih Tzu is a rewarding journey that strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. By understanding the breed's unique characteristics, incorporating the innovative Porch Potty into your routine, and addressing any training challenges with patience and empathy, you can create a positive and effective training experience. Remember, consistency is key, and every small success is a step towards a well-trained Shih Tzu who is comfortable and confident in their home environment. We encourage you to share your Shih Tzu training stories, ask questions, and engage with our community of dedicated pet owners. Explore our range of Porch Potty products to find the perfect fit for your Shih Tzu's needs and start your potty training journey on the right paw. Together, let's celebrate the joys and triumphs of raising a happy, healthy, and well-behaved Shih Tzu.

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

The Ultimate Guide to Potty Training Your Puppy

How Can I Help My Older Dog Adapt to Using a Porch Potty?

Effective Solutions for Eliminating Pet Odors and Stains

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