What you’ve heard is true – Dachshunds can be difficult to potty train.
I know this from personal experience and because of the hundreds of frustrated Dachshund owners that have reached out to me for help over the years.
Dachshunds certainly can be trained, but it can be longer before you stop experiencing accidents in the house than with other breeds.
Your Dachshund will be potty trained faster if you are vigilant and consistent.
I’m currently drafting a more detailed how-to-potty-train article but, until that is done, I thought I would just share my top tips.
7 Keys to Reliably Potty Training Your Dachshund
I’m not going to promise these tips will help you housebreak your Dachshund in 5 days.
However, implementing these tips, if you are not doing these already, may help may start to reduce the number of accidents in the house right away.
I will note that these methods are most effective with puppies but I have used them to give older Dachshunds a “refresher” when they are staying with us (they can be confused about where to potty in an unfamiliar house).
1) Begin With Frequent Potty Breaks
Make sure you are giving your Dachshund potty breaks frequently enough.
Frequency is dependent on how often accidents in the house happen.
I started off by taking my puppy outside to potty every 20 minutes when I was home (if I wasn’t, she was in her crate).
Then I slowly extended that time, moving to the next stage when I was sure she wasn’t going to have accidents in the house.
If your dog is having accidents in the house every hour, then potty breaks should happen at least every 45 minutes – before an accident is likely to happen.
Some people wait until their dog “tells” them they need to go out. I advise against this.
Until your dog is 100% reliable, YOU should be the one telling your dog when it’s time to go out and go potty.
2) Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Them
One of the most important keys to potty training is recognizing the signs your Dachshund is looking for a place poop or pee in the house and interrupting them before it happens.
Always watch your Dachshund closely if accidents are still happening in the house.
Learn the (sometimes subtle) signs that your dog may be looking for a place to go and take them outside immediately.
These signs may include:
- Sniffing the ground more than normal
- Turning in circles
- Hanging out by a spot where a previous potty accident occurred
- Acting excited and running around
- Whining or whimpering
- Sitting and staring for no reason, especially near a doorway or the place you exit the room
With one of my Dachshund’s, the #1 sign she needs to go outside is the last one. Even after she was potty trained.
That’s how subtle her “I need to go out” sign is. No whining, no running around, no running to the back door.
She sits on the rug and stares at me.
If I don’t get up, she starts to lean to one side like “I’m here waiting, Maybe you can’t see me?”
If I still don’t get up, she moves an inch or two closer and does it again.
It’s cute and funny but not cute if I’m focused on my favorite TV show, miss the signs, and she gives up and goes potty on the rug!
Closely watching your Dachshund means:
- Actively engaging with your Dachshund (playing or petting)
- Watching TV and not letting your dog out of the room or out of your sight (ie. watch your dog every time they are not sitting on the couch with you)
- Tying a leash to your belt so your dog can’t wander away from you (this is a tip from many dog trainers).
It helps to close off any rooms in the house where your Dahcshund may be able to sneak away.
If you cannot pay close attention to your pup, or are not home, they should be in a crate, pen, or designated room in the house with no carpet.
3) Outside Playtime Is a Reward
Outside sniff and play time is something a dog earns.
Until Your Dachshund is potty trained, outside time should just be for going potty or walk on leash.
Give your dog about 5 minutes outside and focus on making him or her go potty.
Put your dog on a leash so they won’t sniff all around the yard doing nothing if you have to.
If your dog does not go potty, take them back into the house.
You can put your Doxie in a dog crate but you don’t have to as long as you can watch them carefully as described above.
If your dog does go potty outside, then praise them, maybe give them a treat, and give allow an additional 5-10 minutes of outside exploring as a reward.
4) Create a Routine
Your Dachshund will have an easier time knowing when and were to go potty if you have routine.
You have to find what works for your own routine and lifestyle but try to stick to at least 3-4 regular potty times throughout the day.
The most logical times, and easiest to stick with, are first thing when you get up in the morning and right before you go to bed at night.
My adult Dachshunds need to go out at least 4-5 times in between morning and night potty breaks.
Puppies will need to go out more frequently.
The most common times your Dachshund will need to potty, and when it’s most important to take your puppy out for a break, is:
- After sleeping or napping
- After eating
- After play time
5) Pick a Designated Spot
Whether it’s a specific spot in the corner of your yard, or a pre-selected spot just outside your apartment door, pick a designated spot where potty should happen and go right to that place as soon as your take your dog outside.
Teaching your Dachshund there is a specific place outside to go potty will help trigger that action when you go there.
This will help with the routine and if your dog always goes in the same spot they will be triggered by their smell once they get there and be more likely to go.
6) Don’t Punish for Accidents
If your Dachshund does have an accident in the house, calmly clean it up without scolding, pushing their nose in it, or otherwise punishing them.
Follow these steps instead:
- Clean up as much of the mess as you can without using cleaner
- Take the paper towel or rag with pee/poop out to one specific place in the yard (that is assuming you have a yard or some place you can stash them that won’t upset neighbors)
- Immediately take your dog outside to that spot and encourage them to go potty (your dog may not go but it reinforces where you want them to go and what to do next time).
- Clean up the rest of the accident inside using an odor-neutralizing cleaner
The next time you take your Dachshund out, take them right to that same spot.
7) Reconsider Using Indoor Potty Pads
There are theories about training a dog to go potty on newspaper or pads inside – a theory that says it makes potty training harder.
In a nutshell, the primary reasoning is that dogs associate their environment with where to eliminate.
Training a dog to go inside on a pad teaches them that it’s ok to go potty when they see familiar furniture, it’s warm, and it smells like the inside of the house.
Until your Dachshund is no longer having accidents in the house, consider completely removing any potty pads on the floor.
Potty training a Dachshund can be frustrating. Know that you are not alone.
Your Dachshund may not be reliably potty trained as quickly as a dog of another breed.
Some people expect their Dachshund should be housebroken in 5 days but that’s just not realistic. Not for any dog, actually (although it has been known to happen).
More realistic would be for your Dachshund to be potty trained in 12 weeks (3 months)
I’ve heard it taking up to a year with some Dachshund puppies.
Don’t give up to early though and throw up your hands saying, “My Dachshund can’t be potty trained”.
I assure you your Dachshund WILL get there. It just may take some extra dedication and consistency on your part.