How to Potty Train a Shih Tzu in the Winter: Tips and Strategies

by Lisa
How to Groom a Shih Tzu Face

Potty training a Shih Tzu can be a challenging task, even in the best of circumstances. But during the winter months, when the weather is cold and snowy, the task becomes even more difficult. However, with a little patience, persistence, and the right techniques, you can successfully potty train your Shih Tzu in the winter. In this article, we will explore some tips and strategies for potty training a Shih Tzu in the winter.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Needs

Before you begin potty training your Shih Tzu in the winter, it is important to understand their needs and behaviors. Shih Tzus are small dogs with small bladders, which means they need to go outside frequently to relieve themselves. They may also be more sensitive to the cold weather and may be hesitant to go outside in the winter.


To successfully potty train your Shih Tzu in the winter, you will need to establish a consistent routine and be patient with your dog as they adjust to the new environment.


Establishing a Consistent Routine

Establishing a consistent routine is key to potty training your Shih Tzu in the winter. This means taking your dog outside at the same times each day, such as first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. Consistency helps your Shih Tzu learn when it is time to go outside and reduces the likelihood of accidents in the house.


It is also important to establish a designated potty area outside. This can be a specific spot in your yard or a nearby park. Take your Shih Tzu to this spot each time you go outside to reinforce the behavior and help them understand where they should go to relieve themselves.


Dressing Your Shih Tzu for the Winter

Shih Tzus have long, flowing coats that may not provide enough insulation for the cold winter weather. To keep your Shih Tzu warm and comfortable during potty breaks, consider dressing them in a warm sweater or coat. This will help to protect them from the cold and reduce the likelihood of them refusing to go outside due to the weather.

When choosing a coat for your Shih Tzu, look for one that is made of a warm, waterproof material and fits snugly around their body. Avoid coats that are too loose or too tight, as they can be uncomfortable for your dog.

Training Your Shih Tzu to Use Indoor Potty Options

In some cases, it may not be feasible to take your Shih Tzu outside for potty breaks in the winter. If this is the case, you may want to consider training your dog to use indoor potty options, such as pee pads or a litter box.

To train your Shih Tzu to use indoor potty options, start by designating a specific area in your home for the potty area. Place the pee pads or litter box in this area and encourage your Shih Tzu to use it by using verbal cues and offering treats as a reward.

It is important to note that indoor potty training should be used as a last resort and should not replace outdoor potty breaks entirely. Indoor potty training can be a helpful supplement to outdoor potty breaks during inclement weather.

Positive Reinforcement and Patience

Positive reinforcement and patience are key to successfully potty training your Shih Tzu in the winter. When your Shih Tzu goes outside or uses the indoor potty area, offer plenty of praise and treats as a reward. This will help to reinforce the behavior and encourage your dog to continue using the designated potty area.

It is also important to be patient with your Shih Tzu as they adjust to the new routine and environment. Accidents may happen, especially in the beginning stages of potty training. Instead of scolding your dog for accidents, remain patient and consistent with the training process.

Dealing with Accidents

Even with the best of intentions and efforts, accidents may still happen during the potty training process. When accidents occur, it is important to clean them up immediately and thoroughly to prevent lingering odors that may attract your dog back to the same spot.

To clean up accidents, use a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner that is designed to break down the proteins in urine and feces. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaning products that may be harmful to your dog.


Potty training a Shih Tzu in the winter can be a challenge, but with the right techniques and strategies, it is possible to successfully train your dog. Establishing a consistent routine, dressing your dog for the weather, training your dog to use indoor potty options, and using positive reinforcement and patience are all important components of potty training a Shih Tzu in the winter. With patience and persistence, you can help your Shih Tzu learn good potty habits and enjoy a happy and healthy life.


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