Potty Training A Shiba Inu (A Complete Guide)


shiba inu puppy being potty trained

Potty training has been a problem for other family pets in the past. So I had every intention of making sure Faith had a proper potty training schedule. Yes, schedule, turns out that’s the best way to handle it.

Shiba Inus are naturally clean and tidy, making them easier to potty train than other dog breeds on average. While some puppies may get it on the first day or week, not all will. It’s best to set a consistent potty schedule that scales with them while they grow and develop. Starting with hourly.

Knowing how difficult and time-consuming other family dogs were I was expecting this to be a long and involved process, but I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out Shiba Inus are usually really easy to housebreak, but it’s best to continue your training even if you think they’ve got it. Let me explain.

Potty Training Difficulty

Shiba Inus are natural clean freaks, making them often easier to house train than other dog breeds. Some pups will get it as soon as their first day or week while others may need a few months.

It’s best to assume they will need 4 to 6 months, the average for most dog breeds, but hope for the best.

Just know, even if your puppy is getting the hang of things quickly doesn’t mean you get to slack off. Sticking to a schedule is both best practice and fair to them.

Your puppy will take longer to potty train if you can’t start and maintain a consistent schedule with them. This is a process, there are no miracle quick fixes.

When To Start Potty Training A Shiba Inu Puppy

8 week old shiba inu puppy going potty

Shiba Inu puppies can start potty training as early as 7 weeks old. Age is less of a factor here while timing is everything.

It’s best to start potty training your puppy as soon as you bring them home. Starting a potty routine, even if they are really young, helps prevent accidents and puts you two on a schedule.

That schedule will become more and more valuable as they grow and start to get more control over their bladder and bowel movements.

How Long Can A Shiba Inu Puppy Hold It?

While each individual puppy will be different, it’s best to follow the “Hour-To-Month” rule.

For every month old your puppy is they “should” be able to hold it for roughly one hour, “should” because accidents do happen. To be safe, it’s best not to count their first month of age. Here’s what I mean by that:

AGE8 weeks / 2 months12 weeks / 3 months16 weeks / 4 months20 weeks / 5 months
How Long They Can “Hold It”1 Hour2 Hours3 Hours4 Hours

It’s not safe or fair to expect a dog that’s less than 12 months old to hold it all day. If you aren’t able to stick to a schedule for them it’s best to ask for or hire help.

How To Tell When Your Shiba Inu Needs To Go Potty

Most of the time, when your puppy goes to the bathroom they’ll quickly do both instead of just one. But sometimes they didn’t need to earlier and all of a sudden need to go now, but how do you tell?

Some easy signs your Shiba may need to go potty are:

  • Fast or nervous pacing
  • Scratching at a door
  • Sniff the ground
  • Squatting
  • Steady whining or barking
  • Walk-in circles

It’s best to observe your dog so you can learn their behaviors, preferences, and habits. A good rule of thumb is to take them out after meals or naps. This helps you prevent any possible upcoming accidents.

Rewards Make All The Difference

Reward behaviors and habits you want your puppy to develop, like walking to the door, when they need to go potty. Positive reinforcement, rewards, accelerate your Shiba’s learning.

Treats are an amazing reward and will work for nearly every puppy, but praise also goes a long way.

“Good boy”
“Good girl”
“Great job”
“Yes”

Are quick, easy, and simple enough for your pup to understand they are on the right track.

Avoid punishing any bad behaviors or accidents, more on accidents later. Hitting, yelling, or locking your puppy up will only confuse them and sour your guy’s relationship. Stick to praising and treating what you want them to do while ignoring the bad actions.

Consistency Is The Key To Your Puppies Success

Any form of training or behavior correction takes two things, patience and consistency.

You need to be consistent with their potty schedule, with the way you reward them, and with how you handle accidents. Inconsistencies in a Shiba Inu puppies rules and schedule delays the learning process and confuse them.

For example: If you can’t your puppy while they are having an accident say “no”, carry them outside, and watch them go.

Don’t “let them” get away with peeing in the house because you were at the store longer than expected. Yes, it was an accident and accidents happen, but they need to know it’s not ok to go in the house. You also don’t want to hit them for it, that’ll just upset and confuse your pup.

More on accidents and training no-no’s later.

How To Start Potty Training Your Shiba Inu

How and where you train your puppy matters. Since puppies can’t hold it as long as adults it’s best to start with a frequent “potty” schedule, with extended breaks while they grow and get used to things.

Getting your Shiba Inu used to grass, concrete, and so on makes taking them out for walks when they start to grow up easier.

I recommend using your backyard if you have one, especially if it’s fenced in. A closed fence with zero gaps will help keep your puppy safe and prevent and potential escapes.

Your front yard will work if you have one, if you don’t a nearby patch of grass or park will do the trick.

Some people like to train their puppies using pads, while there is nothing wrong with that I personally prefer to teach my dogs to always handle their business outside.

You can follow the same steps I’m about to list if you are using a pad, it’s all personal preference.

Make A Potty Schedule

Puppies need to go to the bathroom more frequently than adults, they have a smaller tank and struggle to hold their business for extended periods of time.

Draft a schedule you can stick to, most people start training their puppies after getting them, so frequent potty breaks will be needed.

A Shiba Inu that’s 8 weeks old can hold it for roughly an hour, roughly, it’s not guaranteed.
A puppy that’s 12 weeks old may be able to hold it for about 2 hours, again, this isn’t guaranteed.

Some will be better at holding it than others. And yes, accidents can still happen even if you are on a strict schedule.

A great place to start is taking your Shiba out every hour.

Time Of Day8 Weeks / 2 Months12 Weeks / 3 Months16 Weeks / 4 Months20 Weeks / 5 Months
8 amPotty Break Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break
9 am Potty Break
10 am Potty Break Potty Break
11 am Potty Break Potty Break
12 pm Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break
1 pm Potty Break
2 pm Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break
3 pm Potty Break
4 pm Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break
5 pm Potty Break Potty Break
6 pm Potty Break Potty Break
7 pm Potty Break
8 pm Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break

You can adjust the times to fit your life and personal schedule, but it’s important you take them out immediately when their time to go comes.

If you have school or work ask a friend or family member to help you out. It’s more important they go when it’s time, who takes them out to go potty is less important.

Tie In Meals

While you may not need to go for a few hours after eating, your puppy can’t.

An easy way to prevent mealtime accidents is by taking your Shiba Inu outside to go potty roughly 30 minutes after they finished eating and drinking. If you are using a piddle pad, you would take them to their designated spot.

That “30-minute” timing and be adjusted to better fit the bathroom schedule you guys have after they grow up some. They need to get used to going with you on a schedule and get a bit more control of both their bowels and bladder.

How To Properly Handle And Prevent Accidents

shiba inu puppy after accident

Punishment, big or small, is never a good option. Hitting, yelling, slapping, kicking, or locking your puppy up is not only ineffective but it hurts their relationship with you.

Punishments are a form of negative reinforcement, it’s where you actively discipline actions you don’t want them to take.

Negative reinforcement techniques are slow, harmful, and ineffective. Your best course of action is to actively praise and reward good behaviors you want them to keep while ignoring and minimizing attention on negative ones.

Puppies live and thrive on attention, and our stubborn little Shiba Inus are no exception.

There are a few steps you want to take when you catch your dog in the middle of an accident:

1) Interrupt them – A sharp “outside”, “stop”, or “no” usually does the trick.
2) Bring them to their designated potty spot – Front yard, back yard, and so on.
3) Make sure they finish their business – They started going because they had to, make sure they finish things.
4) Go back and clean the soiled area, thoroughly – Stains are one thing but the smell your pet’s business leaves behind can become a real nightmare later on.

Praise and reward your dog when they properly do their business outside, again you want to reward and pay attention to the actions you want them to repeat. Once they’re done it’s time to go inside and clean.

Properly cleaning your Shiba Inu’s accidents is just as important as catching them in the act of having an accident. Accidents happen, you and your puppy will make mistakes along the way. How you handle them makes the difference.

Do your best not to clean their accident in front of them some pets will mimic our behavior, and for them, that’s usually eating the mess.

Use cleaning products specifically made for pets. Your dog’s “business” has a strong odor that tells them it’s “safe” to go here because that spot has now been marked as a bathroom. You want to catch and clean them before they leach into your carpet, couch, or mattress.

It can be next to impossible to properly remove the scent it several minutes or hours have gone by.

Ammonia-free cleaners are the best for this use case. Ammonia has a distinct odor that mimics urine, so if you aren’t careful you’ll be doubling down on the “this spot is a bathroom” part.

Thankful, but not really, not all accidents are potty mistakes.

Some pets may go because they are submissive peeing, marking their territory, stressed, or may not be feeling that great. It’s best to take note of what may have been going through their mind while they were going.

Knowing what caused your Shiba Inu to have an accident makes preventing more in the future easier.

But Why Are They Getting Worse?

If you start to give your pet more freedom or longer breaks between potty breaks, and they are consistently having accidents, they aren’t ready yet.

It’s best to go back to the last routine that was working for you guys, and slowly work your way up from there.

You need to keep your cool, yes accidents can be frustrating but the last thing you want to do is punish your dog. Punishing your Shiba Inu could stress them out, causing more accidents, or even push them to act out, again potentially causing more accidents.

Potty Training No No’s

The list of things not to do is pretty straightforward, don’t:

  • Hit your puppy.
  • Yell at your puppy.
  • Rub your puppy’s nose in their accident.
  • Use their crate for punishment.
  • Leave stains behind when cleaning.
  • Let them free roam while unsupervised.

Your dog, especially while they are young, won’t understand what you are punishing them for. They’ll only understand that you are angry.

All of the actions above do nothing towards improving your puppy’s training and only cause more problems. It teaches your dog you can’t be trusted, they should be afraid of you and will stress them out (making accidents a more frequent possibility).

It also has the chance to tell your pet they shouldn’t “do their business” where you can find it, like under or behind furniture. Making it next to impossible to catch and clean accidents when they happen.

Each action a dog, or puppy, takes has a cause and effect. Knowing the root cause behind their actions will help tell you what you should do to prevent said bad action from happening again in the future.

Using your pets create as a punishment builds a negative relationship between them and their crate. Making crate training more difficult.

Handling accidents, and potential punishments, the right way sets both you and your shiba inu up for success. You can learn more about how to handle accidents and problems while trainingOpens in a new tab. here.

How To Tell If Their Potty Training Is Working

You’ll know their potty training is working when they can go several hours, while supervising, without going in the house.

As they grow and develop you can start to work on their unsupervised time. Slowly building it up just like their supervised potty schedule.

Remember, if they start to have accidents consistently you need to backtrack to what was working before. It doesn’t mean their training failedOpens in a new tab., it just means they weren’t ready for that “next step” just yet.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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