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Potty Training Dachshunds – Doing The Impossible

I won’t sugar coat it – I have raised five dachshunds and most of them have been a challenge to potty train.

Many of my friends have dachshunds and they share the same sentiment.

But with each new dog we have developed a system that works.

There will be bumps in the road, and sometimes it will feel like all your progress was for nothing. But I promise if you stick with it – you will finally have a potty trained dachshund.

How long does it take to potty train a dachshund?

In my experience, and the experience of my dachshund owning friends and trainers, it takes about 3 to 5 months to fully potty train.

Expect to have some set backs from time to time.

Age makes a difference

It’s easier to potty train a 2-month-old puppy than a 6-month old adolescent.

An adult dachshund will be even more challenging.

Once a dog is set in their ways it’s harder to change their routine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t, it just means training will take some extra time.

Consistency is key. Don’t feel discouraged!

Making Messes On Purpose

Adult dachshunds are known to go potty indoors as a sign of discontentment.

We found this to be the case when:

  • Introducing a new dog to the home
  • Changes to their routine
  • Changes to their food
  • Stress or noise in their environment

If your adult dachshund is suddenly making messes in the home – they may just be upset about something.

Dealing with Bad Weather

Cold, snowy, or rainy weather may cause your dachshund to potty indoors. This is especially true when you’re still in the training phase.

You can try using an indoor porch potty or grass box.

Otherwise, you may need to create a space in your yard that is clear of snow or covered from the rain.

You may also need to actually pick your dog up, walk outside, and place them down in the designated potty spot.

The Usual Potty Training Routine

First, let’s establish the usual routine for potty training. This is the normal advice given and a good foundation to start with.

If you’ve already tried this – move onto the next section where I give tips for training particularly stubborn dogs.

1. Establish the Routine

  • Take your dog outside every 2 to 3 hours. Puppies younger than 6-months need to potty more often and should be let out every hour.
  • This means you may have to take some time off work, or ensure someone is always around to keep up with this routine.
  • Establish a routine: Set a consistent schedule for feeding your puppy and taking them outside to potty. Puppies typically need to go out shortly after waking up, after meals, and after playtime. Take them to the same spot in your yard each time.

2. Supervise

  • Supervise closely: Keep a close eye on your puppy at all times, especially during the initial stages of training. If you can’t supervise, confine them to a crate or a small, puppy-proofed area.
  • Watch for sniffing, circling, and the tail sticking straight up. These are signs that they’re looking for a place to potty. Take them outside immediately.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

  • When your puppy goes potty outside, praise them enthusiastically and offer a treat as a reward.
  • Positive reinforcement helps them associate going potty in the right place with positive outcomes.

4. Clean up Accidents

  • Make sure to clean accidents properly using an enzymatic cleaner to remove the scent. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, as they can encourage the puppy to go in the same spot again

5. Be Patient and Consistent

  • I’ll keep reminding you because I had to remind myself constantly… Patience and consistency are key. It will take time, months even!
  • Avoid scolding and punishing your puppy for accidents, as this can confuse them and actually make the training process more difficult.
Standard wire haired dachshund

Potty Training Stubborn Dogs

Okay, so we established how normal potty training is done. Now what about if your dog (probably a Dachshund) is refusing to cooperate?

We’ll simply use the above instructions but with a little more zest.

1. Let Outside Every 2 Hours Without Fail

Set a kitchen timer or a reminder on your phone. No matter what, let your puppy out and place them in their designated potty spot every 2 hours.

The only exception is during the night – which can be extended to every 4 hours.

That’s right, you’ll likely have to set an alarm and let your puppy out at least once during the night.

For example, let’s say you go to sleep at 11pm.

Outside times during the night:

  • 11pm (just before bed)
  • 3am
  • 7am (or when you wake up)

Continue letting them out every 2 hours until bed time.

2. Increase Supervision

Have a set of eyes on them at all times. If you’re on your laptop or phone, keep your dachshund within arms reach with a baby gate or crate.

If you have to do something that will take your undivided attention, I recommend crate training or a closed space. See Point 5 and 6 below.

3. Avoid Carpets and Rugs

Dogs, and especially puppies, prefer to use something absorbent to do their business on.

They can often confuse a rug or carpet for the feeling of grass. Or, they really have to go and a carpet is the next best thing.

Try keeping them away from carpets and rugs during the training period.

Dog beds are completely fine however. They will avoid doing their business where they sleep.

4. Keep Up With Rewards & Praise – Even When Frustrated

The hardest part of all this is keeping your cool. Because after months and months sometimes it feels like you’re not making progress.

Keep your emotions in check. Getting angry and upset may only set back training.

Dachshunds are also known to potty indoors when they’re feeling upset, so they may even get worse if you’re visibly angry.

Every time they potty outdoors have a treat ready and give them lots of praise.

5. Try Crate Training

Crate training is great, especially if you have to leave your pup unsupervised for a short time.

Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping area, so using a crate can help them learn to hold their bladder and bowels.

I recommend following these steps to proper crate training.

6. Use a Closed Space

You can increase supervision and avoid carpets / rugs by restricting the dog’s access to a specific area within your home.

This can be achieved by utilizing indoor dog gates and closing doors.

By confining your dog to a smaller space, you can closely monitor their behavior and let them out at a moments notice.

When selecting the designated area, strike a balance between providing sufficient room for play and ensuring constant visibility. An ideal option is a compact room or a well-defined section within a larger room.

Moreover, opt for an area that offers convenient and direct access to the outdoors, preferably through a door. This facilitates smooth transitions for your puppy during potty training.

Lastly, prioritize an area that is easy to clean. Keep in mind that accidents are common during the initial stages of training, and having a hassle-free cleaning process will be beneficial.

    two dachshunds on couch

What If I Have to Leave The House?

If you’re potty training a puppy, you’ll need someone to be home to assist in training. Or leave them with someone who can care for them while you’re gone.

This could mean taking a few weeks off of work (or working from home) during the training process.

For Adult Dachshunds

I recommend crate training. They’ll typically hold it in longer rather than make a mess of their space. However, this only buys you a little bit of extra time. Dachshunds have small bladders and need to go potty every 2 to 3 hours.

At the very least, make use of the closed space and away from rugs/carpets if possible. However, they can still have a bed to lay on.

Remember not to get angry or frustrated if you come home to a mess. Just keep following the process.

Photo of author

Katlin Primrose

​​Katlin is ​a Certified Master Groomer (PIGA) and a registered Veterinarian Tech Assistant (working in emergency, exotics, and general practice). You can also find her in the show ring with her dogs, winning awards in rally obedience and show grooming with the Canadian Kennel Club. You might say she's multi-talented when it comes to pets.

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