Consistancy, Consistancy, Consistancy
The foundation to all training is to be consistent. Here is something to remember. Your puppy LOVES ALL ATTENTION. Any negative attention, ie: "Buster, did you go on the carpet again, bad boy" is STILL attention. My recommendation is UNLESS YOU CATCH YOUR PUPPY IN THE ACT OF HAVING AN "ACCIDENT", IGNORE IT. I mean obviously you will want to promptly clean it up, but the puppy won't remember after 3 SECONDS and won't really know what you are yelling about anyway. CONSISTANT POSITIVE ONLY REINFORCEMENT is the key.
Litter box trained dogs can STILL be housebroken. Our Chihuahuas are. The advantage for us was, as a puppy they are just too small to rely on going out as often as they need to. We can miss a signal and then the pup learns the wrong behavior. It is harder to retrain a dog than to just train it right in the first place. The litter is great if you are gone longer than you expect, go out for the evening, or if weather outside is bad. My chi's hate the rain, so this way they don't have to go out in it. Your baby can stay warm in the winter thanks to the litter box. PLUS IT IS CLEANER AND MORE SANITARY THAN PUPPY PADS AND NEWSPAPER. Our puppies don't go outside and on the ground until their shots are done. There is too much chance of our little ones picking up something nasty, like Parvovirus, from outside. They are carried and we don't set them down at the vet office either when they are very young. I want our puppies to have the BEST start and so do you. Ask your breeder if they litter train. Congrats on litter training your puppy!!
Just a couple things I would like to mention. First, if you are having trouble with housebreaking and litter training and live in the metro Toledo area, I may be able to come to your home and help you get started and on the right track. I charge a reasonable fee to help you train your dog and have done so before. If interested, simply shoot me an email.
Secondly, I DO NOT work for Second Nature. I don't get my litter for free or get some discount for promoting their product. I simply only recommend them because to me, they are the best product for your dog litter needs and keep the cost of their product VERY reasonable.
Litter Box Training Your Puppy
A step by step guide exclusively from Midwest Chihuahuas
I get a lot of questions about litter training so I wanted to take a few minutes to explain the in's and outs of getting your puppy or dog accustomed to the litter box. I have had great success with litter box training and HIGHLY recommend it to people who own toy breed dogs, especially the very small such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies as their little bladders are not as capable as larger dogs, even those over 10#.
What Kind of Litter?
Choice of litter is VERY important. DO NOT use cat litter for training you puppy!!! I have heard of people doing this and it is BAD. Cat litter can get stuck in their pads and they can lick it off their coat causing expensive and harmful gastro-intestinal complications. I USE ONLY SECOND NATURE LITTER FOR DOGS. It is in an orange bag and can be purchased at any fine petstore. I shop at Pet Supplies Plus, but I am certain it is available at Petco and PetSmart as well. If you don't see it at your pet store, ASK. They might carry it for you or tell you somewhere that does.
Oftentimes when you get your puppy, it will have started being trained to paper or "wee wee" pads that sit on the floor. If you did get a puppy like this, great, as this is an easy transition to make. If your puppy has no idea and won't use the pads either, hope is not lost. First off, get your pup to use newspaper or a pad in a designated area (or two) of your home. If he/she won't do this already, there is spray available from the pet store you can spray on your paper and get puppy interested in going there. Once your pup is on paper consistently (hopefully from the breeder), go to the pet store and buy as SECOND NATURE BRAND litter box. These are economical as the biggest one I believe is under $25. Buy one that will suit the ADULT SIZE of your pup. The boxes state adult size and weight so this is an easy step. These are great boxes with a "lip" for your little one to get in. I don't use cat boxes so I can't comment on how they might work. I believe in sticking to what works. :) Bring your box home and when you put down new paper (in the same designated spot) for puppy, put it IN the litter box. If you like the paper can go over the edges of the box. If your puppy is at all hesitant, use the spray and stick to very big positive reinforcement when puppy uses the box with paper to do his/her business.
Second Step of Training
Once your puppy is using the litter box with the paper on it CONSISTANTLY for 5-7 days, take your SECOND NATURE FOR DOGS dog litter and put it in the litter box for your puppy. COVER THE LITTER WITH THE PAPER OR PADS YOUR PUPPY HAS BEEN USING. That way when your puppy now climbs into the litter pan to go, he/she will feel the litter under their feet. THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT. DO NOT SKIP IT. Your puppy might need the same encouragement to use the paper with the litter under it, but give it to them. You are on the right track. :) Once your puppy CONSISTANTLY uses the litter pan with the litter in it and paper over it for 5-7 days, REMOVE THE PAPER. Your pup now knows where to go and how. Your puppy might need a little encouragement with the litter, but has, over time, learned this is the way to keep you happy with their potty habits.