Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier (often shortened as Yorkie) is one of the smallest dog breeds of the terrier type, and of any dog breed.

The Yorkshire Terrier was developed during the mid-1800s in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire to help rid the mills and mines of rodents.  English ladies in late Victorian times quickly adopted them as fashionable lapdogs.  These dainty, compact, toy-size terriers are tenacious, feist, brave and can be very bossy. They make fine little watchdogs.

Their floor-length, silky coat is hypoallergenic. The coat is more like human hair than animal fur. Since their hair does not shed, it needs continual grooming.

The Yorkie has quite the personality, providing years of laughs, love, and close companionship.

Yorkies love their owners, and are very intelligent and eager to please. Offering effusive praise and treats for good behavior will work far better with the Yorkie than harsh corrections. Starting from an early age, the Yorkie should be socialized to strange situations, people, and other dogs.

Image describing the Yorkies by On Command K-9 Academy

Why is the Yorkie so hard to potty train?

The Yorkshire Terrier can be extremely hard to potty train. If an eight week old puppy is less than 2 pounds, image the size of their bladder.  No wonder they need to go potty so often. The bladder is not big enough to hold a very large amount of urine.

As Yorkies get older, they gain more control over their bladder, this normally occurs around five months of age.  

Here is a simple mathematical formula that can be applied for Yorkies: age (in months) + 1 = maximum hours they could hold their bladder.  This is not a hard fast rule, but going by this formula a puppy at 8 week should never go over 3 hours without going potty. This means getting up at night until the puppy is old enough to hold their bladder.

One of the serious health issues with Yorkies are urinary tract infections which can be caused by repeatedly making one of these dogs hold its urine too long.

Yorkies also need to be taken out within fifteen minutes after eating, drinking, taking a nap, or playing.

Yorkie being crate trained
The first four – five months are the hardest, but the rewards will last a lifetime.  You need to keep your eyes on your puppy all the time. Keeping your eye on your puppy all the time can be difficult.  There are several options you can choose.

  • You can put a leash on your puppy and keep it beside you at all times.  Be careful not to get involved in something and forget to pay attention.  Puppies are quick and can squat and have an accident in a heartbeat.


  • You can use a small crate or small doggie kennel and keep the puppy in the crate unless you are playing or feeding it.  With a puppy only weighing a few pounds, you could easily put the crate/dog kennel on your desk or move it around as you go about your daily activities. It is important that your Yorkie be close to you, but in a confined space. 
  • You can designate an enclosed puppy area and put potty pads down in that area. Keep your dog in that area unless you are with it. Be sure the area is big enough to designate an area to play, eat, and potty. This would be best used if you are working and have to be away from your puppy for an extended period of time.

If you see your dog get into position to potty, make a loud noise to distract your dog and then immediately bring your Yorkie to their potty area (inside or outside, whichever you decide).

How to Potty Train the Yorkie

  • Choose an area where you want your Yorkie to go potty.  This should not be in a high traffic area, but somewhere out of the way and quiet.
  • After each feeding, put your dog on a leash* immediately and take them outside to their spot.
  • After getting a drink, put your dog on a leash* immediately and take them outside to their spot.
  • After waking up from a nap, put your dog on a leash* immediately and take them outside to their spot.
  • After playing, put your dog on a leash* immediately and take them outside to their spot.
  • Give the dog a verbal bathroom command, such as “Potty.” If your dog eliminates, click a training device or give your verbal marker. Follow that with lots of praise and a treat.

* If you are worried there is no time to waste, you can pick them up and carry them out. Just make sure to grab a leash as you go.  Put the leash on them when you get outside.

Is Potty Training related to Aggression?

image of sedan chair If you carry your Yorkie to their potty area every time you want them to go potty, how are they going to let you know they need to go? If they are carried and treated like royalty, then they become the royalty and you become the servant.  Servants aren’t always treated with respect or politely. Royalty gets preferential treatment. It’s THEIR couch, THEIR toy, THEIR food, etc. Why are YOU bothering THEM? This behavior can be avoided. You be the head of the house.  Let your Yorkie walk on his own four feet as much as possible. Do obedience training with him. Build him a tiny obstacle course. Teach him to play fetch with a cherished toy or ball. Above all, make sure he behaves.

Coddling, babying, treating like royalty can lead to an insecure dogs who trembles in your arms and barks at every strange sight or strange sound. That isn’t a healthy state of mind for any dog.

How about Aggression?

Image of Yorkie Puppy

Yorkshire Terrier

Rottweiler Puppy


Image of pitbull puppy


Most people wouldn’t dream of letting a rottweiler or pitbull jump on them or guests; bite their hands or fingers, or act aggressively as a puppy.  These puppies will grow into pretty big dogs.

The same is not true of the Yorkie.  They’re just so cute, so cuddly, so adorable!  Yes, but they are dogs! They may be cute and cuddly like a stuffed animal, but inside their brain, they are still a dog. All dogs need socialization when they are puppies.  The ideal time to socialize your puppy is between eight and twelve weeks.  Your Yorkie should be carefully introduced to people, other dogs and cats.  These interactions should be done in a controlled way so the puppy doesn’t get overly-exuberant or in a situation that could cause accidental injury or induce fear and anxiety.

Your Yorkie should have a positive exposure to diverse people of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and sizes. These people should be wear or carry a variety of hats and carry things such as umbrellas, briefcases or backpacks so that they come to accept these objects and people as non-threatening. If the puppy becomes fearful or anxious, step back and give the puppy some time to calm down or even leave that situation and try again later.

Yorkies were breed to hunt rodents.  They are not couch potatoes.  The Yorkie should be taken on short walks with their owners once or twice a day.  These walks will not only help your Yorkie healthy, both mentally and physically, but also help develop a strong bond between you and your dog.  You should spend a few minutes with short burst of activity, such as chasing after a tennis ball in the backyard or playing tug with a favorite toy.  Don’t forget their minds also need stimulation.  Teaching simple obedience commands can be fun and rewarding for both you and your dog.


Author/Trainer: Debbie Fields *The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the training views of On Command K9 Academy.