How to Train Yorkies: It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Pet Training


March 26, 2023

Yorkies are an adorable breed with lots of spunk and personality, and training them is a must if you want them to be a valuable member of the family. Yorkies love to be playful and are great with kids, and despite their small size, they make great watchdogs.

If you’re curious about training your Yorkie but you don’t know how, you’ve come to the right place. Below are some things you can do to train your Yorkie properly.

Are Yorkies Hard to Train?

Despite the fact that they’re cute and small and have pleasant personalities, Yorkies can be difficult to train. They’re very intelligent animals, but they are also very curious about things, as well as self-confident and a little on the stubborn side.

Because of this, it’s best to train them as early as possible because once they get too used to their environment and they get older, it’s even more difficult to train them and make them obey commands.

In addition to starting the training early, here are a few things to keep in mind when learning how to train Yorkies:

  • Always use positive reinforcement. Never punish the dog while training or use any type of negative reinforcement. Not only does it not work, but it can take longer to complete the training. Never yell at or hit the dog, but use positive reinforcement such as treats and lots of praise to get the job done.
  • Be consistent. Dogs are smart, and they’ll notice any inconsistency and use it as an excuse to ignore your commands, which makes it difficult to train them. Choose the training method you prefer and stick with it; in other words, don’t switch back and forth from one method to another or let the dog get away with something one day and not the next. Consistency is crucial when training dogs.
  • Start your training as early as possible in the dog’s life. If you wait too long, the dog will be more resistant to participate in any type of training. If you do it this way, the dog will get used to the training early on and it will be much more effective in the end.
  • You’ll have to repeat the same thing over and over again. Different dogs will learn what you’re trying to teach them at different times, so be prepared to repeat the steps over and over again until the dog learns what they are and can be considered officially trained. Also, it’s much better to keep the lessons short and repeat them more often, than it is to stretch out the lessons and practice them only periodically.

To be sure, if you follow a few simple rules the process of training a Yorkie is much easier, and remember two main things: be consistent and patient, and always use positive reinforcement in order to be effective.

At What Age Are Yorkies House-Trained?

First of all, Yorkies can be difficult to house-train because they are so stubborn and independent, so be prepared for what is sometimes a challenging ride. Nevertheless, if you’re patient and use positive instead of negative reinforcement, most Yorkies can be fully house-broken by the time they are six or seven months old. To make things worse, Yorkies have small bladders and often experience separation anxiety, so they can have accidents even after they are fully trained.

One thing to keep in mind is that if they start to have frequent accidents after the age of seven months, you should take them to see their vet. While occasional accidents are not uncommon at most ages, frequent accidents at this age could be the result of a medical condition that only your vet can diagnose.

If you start your training at the recommended age of 12-16 weeks and they’re fully trained by 6-7 months, this means it should only take around four months total to train your Yorkie to potty outside. Not bad!

You’ll be more successful sooner if you follow these tips when house-training your Yorkie:

  • Make sure you schedule both meals and potty breaks. In the beginning, have the dog go every two hours, and make sure it gets fed at regular (and the same) intervals throughout the day. Potty breaks should occur roughly 20 minutes after they eat.
  • Always use a leash so the dog doesn’t run all over the place, and so it’ll know where it should be going. Taking the dog to the same spot every time gives it a routine and lets it know that it’s time to potty. It also avoids any confusion and therefore makes it easier for the dog to be trained.
  • Don’t give them any liquids close to their bedtime, and consider using a crate when they’re asleep. Remember that if you wake the dog up once or twice at night to go potty, especially in the very beginning, this can help reduce accidents. Keep liquids away for two hours before they go to bed.
  • Pay attention to the dog at all times while house-training in order to recognize when it might need to go potty. Observe its behavior because it’ll likely show signs that it needs to go outside. If they’re preparing to go potty and you haven’t taken them outside yet, firmly say “no,” and then take them outside so they can potty there.
  • Reward them appropriately every time they go potty. Rewards such as treats and praise are important, and remember to also use the same verbal command every time you instruct them to go pee. Naturally, negative reinforcement and punishment should never be used but instead, go with positive reinforcement every time.
  • Always clean up thoroughly after an accident. Dogs have a strong sense of smell and if they smell urine or feces left over from an accident, they’ll be more likely to go potty in that same location next time. Even if the smell is slight, they may still smell it, so make sure you clean up accidents as thoroughly as possible.

House-training a Yorkie has its challenges, just as training any other dog does, but if you’re consistent enough and patient enough, and you follow a few simple rules, the task becomes much easier.

How to Train a Yorkie to Sit

Training dogs to sit is one of the most basic types of training, and your Yorkie can learn to sit using a variety of training methods, including these:

1. Capture and Reward the Behavior

This method involves starting out in an area that has no distractions in it. Just play with the puppy, and when it sits down, say “sit,” and then reward it with praise and maybe even a treat. Pretty soon, it’ll learn the behavior because it’s been rewarded so many times, and because it’ll learn to associate the command with the action.

With this method, you don’t force the dog to sit but instead, just wait until it sits on its own and then reward it and praise it. Keep practicing until you feel comfortable that it’s learned the command.

2. Gently Guide the Dog to the Right Action

With this method, you’ll be gently lifting your dog and setting it on the floor in a sitting position, then rewarding it for the behavior. Keep in mind that Yorkies are small and don’t weigh much, so you have to be very gentle with it so as not to hurt it.

The first time you set the dog on the floor, it likely won’t know what you’re trying to do, so you have to keep practicing the action and be consistent. One important tip is this: this is not the method to use if handling it upsets it or makes it angry. You’ll have to use another method instead.

3. Luring in the Dog So It Can Sit

Yes, you’ll be luring the dog in with this method, and you can start by showing it a treat and letting the dog smell it so it knows it’s there. You have to attract the dog’s attention before you go any further. Once it becomes interested in the treat, move it behind its head, and it should automatically sit in order to try and grab the treat.

When it does, say “sit,” and then reward it with a treat. If you keep practicing this, it’ll eventually learn to sit every time you give the command.

There are likely other methods to help Yorkies learn to sit, but they all take practice and consistency in order to be successful. Consider your dog’s personality when trying to determine the method that will work best for you. Remember that every dog is different, so you’ll need to find a method that it’s comfortable with most of all.


Yorkies are a challenge to train because they can be stubborn and are very confident. They are also very playful, and that playfulness sometimes gets in the way of what you’re trying to do.

Nevertheless, if you follow some simple rules and learn to “read” your dog’s behavior, the process is a lot easier, faster, and more successful in the end.