If you have heard that potty training a Dachshund is difficult, or you feel like your current potty training efforts are just not working, don’t despair!
My puppy Summit came to me potty pad trained and she was 100% house trained (taught to only go outside) within 3 months.
She is 5 years old now and has never had a potty accident inside the house.
In my experience, the protocol below, which I have developed after years of research and trial and error, is the best way to potty train a Dachshund puppy.
Note: this article focuses on how to train a Dachshund puppy to potty outside, not how to train them to go on potty pads inside.
Puppies are new to the world and most receptive to learning as a baby.
And they have not done the wrong thing so long that they have become stuck in their ways (habituated to it as normal) yet.
However, these tips can be effective for potty training an adult Dachshund too.
Below, I detail my potty training protocol, and the 15 easy tips, that have helped me successfully train several Dachshunds.
I have used these tips on a 1-year old Dachshund I adopted and used these techniques to “remind” my Dachshund sitting clients where the appropriate place to go to the bathroom is.
Why Are Dachshunds Hard to Potty Train?
Dachshunds, like many small dog breeds, can be a bit challenging to potty train for several reasons.
Stubbornness and independence
Dachshunds are independent and intelligent problem solvers, so they may choose to ignore your training attempts if they don’t see a direct benefit for themselves.
This is often interpreted as “being stubborn” when it’s really a lack of communication or proper motivation.
Small dogs have smaller bladders and a higher metabolism than larger breeds, which means they need to go to the bathroom more frequently than larger dogs.
A Dachshund puppy may need to go out a couple times an hour at first and even adult Dachshunds typically need a potty break every 2-4 hours.
Accidents in the house can happen if your dog is not taken outside often enough.
Sensitivity to weather
Dachshunds are close to the ground, they generate less body heat due to their smaller size, and many have what I like to call wet belly syndrome, so they may be reluctant to go outside when it’s cold, wet, or snowy.
This can complicate potty training, especially if you live in an area with a challenging climate.
I previously wrote a blog post specifically focused on convincing your Dachshund to go potty outside in the rain.
Dachshunds are hunting dogs and scent hounds, so they can be easily distracted by interesting smells during potty time.
If they’re more interested in exploring than going to the bathroom, and are allowed to sniff to their satisfaction, this can slow down the training process.
Small dogs may have a harder time communicating when they need to go out.
A large dog might pace by the door or bark to signal their need, while a small dog’s signals might be less noticeable.
How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Dachshund Puppy?
Expecting to housebreak a Dachshund in 5 days is unreasonable.
To be fair, it’s unreasonable for any puppy.
Completely potty training your Dachshund puppy within 6 months of coming home is very reasonable.
Most puppies are fully potty trained sometime before the 6 month mark though, depending on:
- How much work the breeder or rescue did with the puppy before sending them home with you
- Past potty habits (if it’s an adult Dachshund)
- The time you have to dedicate to the training
- Your individual puppy’s personality.
Do be aware that I’ve seen some people say that their Dachshund puppy wasn’t reliably potty trained until closer to the 9 month mark though.
It’s also true that older Dachshunds, especially those that have been having accidents in the house for a long time, may take more time and dedication to reliably potty train.
What is the Best Season for Potty Training Your Dachshund Puppy?
Most people think that late spring and summer are the best times to potty train a puppy.
After all, the days are longer, the weather is pleasant, and it’s less likely to be raining.
That’s what I thought too when I brought my Dachshund puppy home in the fall. I thought that potty training was going to be a nightmare.
On the contrary, I think it was the best time of year to potty train a puppy.
Because she learned to go potty outside in all temperatures and weather conditions.
Teaching your Dachshund that bad weather is not a reason to not go outside, and potty training them in less than ideal conditions, will make it seem normal to them..
I will note that many Dachshunds, no matter how well they are potty trained, may try to potty inside the house when the weather turns cold and nasty in fall.
I like to call this pooping in the house season.
But if you take a few steps back in your potty training protocol, and remind them that outside is where they need to go, the issue is usually resolved.
For example, send them outside even if they don’t seem like they need to go and after displaying cues that they may be looking for a place to potty indoors
Summary of My Potty Training Schedule
When I begin potty training with my Dachshund, I try to keep a regular schedule.
* once there are no accidents in the house, the time between potty breaks is extended
15 Dachshund Potty Training Tips
If you want to potty train your Dachshund fast, these easy tips will help expedite the process.
Some of these potty training tips are elaborations on the steps above and some are new ways to look at things.
1) Begin With a Frequent Potty Break Schedule
Make sure you are giving your Dachshund potty breaks frequently enough.
Frequency is dependent on how often accidents in the house happen, but start with a time interval that feels almost too hypervigilant.
For example, I noticed that my Dachshund puppy started looking for a place to go potty about every 30 minutes.
I started our potty training protocol by taking her outside and giving her the opportunity to eliminate every 20 minutes.
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 occur 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 to poop or pee in the house and interrupting them before it happens.
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 Dachshund 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) Learn YOUR Dachshund’s signals
Honestly, a lot of potty accidents in the house can be eliminated by knowing your Dachshunds specific signs and signals that they need to go out.
While not intended to blame anyone, I firmly believe that, in most cases, it’s not that a dog wasn’t giving signals they needed out to go potty, it’s that the owner hadn’t learned to recognize those signs yet.
The signs can be so subtle!
Cues your puppy may need to go potty 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
- Sniffing their hind end repeatedly (especially while standing)
- Sitting and staring for no reason, especially near a doorway or the place you exit the room
With one of my Dachshund’s, the sign she needs to go outside is the last one on the list above.
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!
4) Use outside playtime as a reward
Outside sniff and play time should be something a dog earns.
Until Your Dachshund is potty trained, outside time should just be for going potty or for a walk on leash.
While it’s normal for dogs to stiff around to find the “perfect” spot to go potty, letting it extend beyond about 5 minutes just means they are distracted.
You can help your Dachshund stay focused by leashing them when you go out and standing in one place to limit their wandering range.
If your dog does not go potty, take them back into the house.
You can put your Doxie in a dog crate because most dogs will not “soil their den”, 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 allow an additional 5 minutes of exploring outside as a reward.
5) Create a Routine
Your Dachshund will have an easier time knowing when and where 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 5-8 regular potty times throughout the day when potty training a dog.
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:
- First thing in the morning
- After sleeping or napping
- After eating
- After play time
- Before bed
6) 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 you want your dog to go potty and go right to that place as soon as you take your dog outside.
The reason to do this is that your dog will smell themselves there, which will help trigger their urge to do it again.
7) Take all of your dogs out together
Older potty trained dogs, especially ones that will go on command, can help teach your puppy good habits.
When your puppy needs to go out, take your other dogs too. Just make sure to restrict play if they try to help eliminate distractions.
8) Contain Your Puppy When Away From Home
When I wasn’t home, my puppy was in her crate without a potty pad.
Dogs will hold it and not “soil their den” if they can.
However, any puppy that is asked to hold it for too long can have an accident.
A good rule to abide by is that a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age.
For example, a 2 month old puppy can go approximately 2 hours without a potty break.
If you work outside of the home, or are gone for a longer period than your puppy can reasonably hold it, consider having a friend or dog walker come by to let your dog out.
If that is not an option, using a large crate or pen and placing a potty pad inside, is an option, although not ideal because it can give your puppy the wrong signals about permission to go potty in the house.
Do what is reasonable and fair for your puppy though. Potty pads can extend the potty training period, but rarely “ruins” a dog (see below for more details).
9) Don’t forget nighttime potty breaks too
How you handle potty needs at night largely depends on where your puppy sleeps, but be prepared that your puppy will need to go out 1-3 times during the night and will interrupt your normal sleep routine.
If your puppy sleeps in a dog crate, they are going to be restless for the first few weeks until they are comfortable being enclosed and away from you.
Being restless means that they wake up more often, which means that they also “remember” they need to go potty more often.
Young puppies have small bladders and typically need to go out 1-3 times a night.
Some people choose to let their dogs sleep in their beds.
I do. My Dachshund puppy slept in my bed the night she came home.
Because she was sleeping next to me, I was able to hear her whine, or if she was restless, so I could easily know when she needed to go potty.
But by some miracle, at 8 weeks old, she slept from 10 pm to 4 am without needing to go out.
I am convinced it was because she slept more comfortably and soundly with us.
10) Calmly Clean Up Messes and Redirect
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.
There are all kinds of pitfalls to disciplining your puppy for having accidents in the house, including teaching them to be sneakier about going in the house and breaking your puppy’s trust in you, which can damage your relationship and making the rest of your training efforts more difficult
Disciplining your Dachshund is not an effective strategy for teaching your dog where to go.
Follow these steps if your Dachshund has an accident in the house instead:
- Clean up as much of the mess as you can without using a cleaning solution
- 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 so they can smell themselves there.
11) Clean Up Accidents Thoroughly
Dogs are inclined to go where they have gone before.
Use an enzymatic cleaner to completely remove the smell of any accidents.
12) Take advantage of weather breaks
Although I am a huge proponent of not letting your puppy refuse to go outside in any weather condition (unless, or course, it’s unsafe), taking advantage of breaks in the weather can help make the experience more pleasant.
For example, if it’s been pouring rain all day but then lets up a little bit, take your puppy outside for a potty break even if the next scheduled potty break isn’t for 15-30 minutes.
13) Communicate clearly with other household members
If there are other people in your household, even if you will be the primary person potty training your Dachshund, it’s important to make sure everyone has the same understanding.
Whether the other people in the house are just roommates or they are family members, there will be times you are not home that they may need to help out with your dog.
Post a general schedule of when your dog needs to go out in a common area of the house, like and entryway or on the fridge.
Include signs your dog will display when they need to go out and any other protocols you need them to adhere to as to not set your potty-training efforts back.
14) Remember that potty training progress is not linear
Progression of potty training is not linear – it doesn’t always just keep getting better and better.
Your puppy may go a week without an accident and suddenly have one in the house.
There is also a “regression” period that can happen around 4-5 months of age.
Remain patient and consistent through these times.
I highly suggest taking a step or two back in your potty training protocol (like reverting to going out every 30 minutes instead of every hour) and then moving forward again.
15) Do a health check
If you have been working consistently on potty training for a while, but your puppy seems to have an abnormal amount of accidents in the house, it may be worth visiting the vet for a health check to make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing it.
The Pros and Cons of Using Potty Pads
Using potty pads inside the house can make convincing your Dachshund that they should only go potty outside a challenge.
Allowing your dog to use potty pads in the house often sends the signal that eliminating inside the house is ok. At best, it’s confusing.
In a nutshell, the primary reasoning is that dogs associate their environment with where to eliminate.
If a dog goes potty inside on a potty pad, they learn it’s ok to relieve themselves surrounded by familiar furniture, in a warm, cozy space, and where it smells like the inside of the house.
It’s a common belief that dogs know where to go potty based more on their surroundings and environment than the actual surface, so soon a potty pad can become can laminate flooring or carpet inside the house.
This is the downfall of pee pad training.
I get that there has to be a compromise in a lot of cases though, especially when an owner works out of the house and the puppy would be left for longer than they can be reasonably expected to hold their bladder or bowels.
So use a potty pad if you need to during training. But understand that it is likely to make potty training take longer and can result in a dog that is never 100% housetrained.
I will say though, one benefit of having your dog learn to go on a potty pad is in regard to traveling.
If you fly with your dog, it’s so convenient if you can place a potty pad on the floor of the airplane, or airport, bathroom so your dog can relieve themselves.
What is Your Opinion on Dog Doors?
In tip #4 above, I suggested that, during the potty training process, free access to the yard should only be a reward for a “job” done in the appropriate place.
Doggy doors are often provided as a way to allow a pet to let themselves outside when they need to go.
However, until a dog is 100% potty trained, and you can trust they will let themselves out when they need to go, and actually go, a dog should be taken out on a schedule and supervised to make sure they are going potty out there, not just following their nose for fun.
For this reason, I do not recommend using a dog door during the potty training process.
If you already have one installed for other pets that use it, personally, I would lock it closed and take everyone out on the same potty schedule.
It’s actually easier to potty train a dog when they go outside with older dogs that already know the routine – that will lead by example.
Once your Dachshund is potty trained, you can again give all pets access to the dog door and start teaching your Dachshund to use it too.
What if My Dachshund Has Been Going Potty in the House for a Long time?
If your Dachshund has been in the habit of going potty in the house for a long time, it’s possible to improve their reliability or create a 100% potty trained dog.
My suggestion is to start a potty training protocol all over again. Yes, right from the beginning.
Because your Dachshund is likely older with some experience, there is a chance you will be able to progress more rapidly through some of the steps.
Just to be aware that ingrained habits may never be completely retrained, so approach the situation with extra patience and understanding.
What you’ve heard is true – Dachshunds can be difficult to potty train.
I assure you that it’s extremely likely that your Dachshund will get there. It just may take some extra dedication and consistency on your part.
My puppy came to me pee pad trained and stopped having accidents in the house within 3 months.
However, it can take longer before you stop experiencing accidents in the house with Dachshunds than it does with other breeds.
Potty training efforts, and habits established before your Dachshund came to live with you, and help or hinder the progress.
If you feel frustrated potty training your Dachshund, know that you are not alone.
By implementing the tips in this article, it’s totally reasonable to 100% potty train your Dachshund within 6 months.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.