What’s the Best Method for Potty Training a Shetland Sheepdog Puppy in Cold Climates?

April 18, 2024

As a dog owner, you know that training a puppy is one of the most challenging tasks. It becomes even more difficult when you’re potty training a Sheltie puppy in cold weather. You’re probably asking yourself: "How do we do it right?" Today, we’ll dive into the most effective strategies for training your Sheltie in these conditions.

Understanding Your Sheltie

Before diving into the nuts and bolts of the potty training process, it’s essential to understand your Sheltie’s natural instincts and behaviors. This breed, recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), is known for its intelligence, agility, and keen instinct. Therefore, it’s important to use these traits to your advantage during the training process.

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Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, were originally bred in the Shetland Isles of Scotland. They were used as herding dogs, making them highly trainable and responsive to their owners. However, their thick double coat is designed to protect them against the harsh weather of their native land, which may pose some challenges when potty training in a cold climate.

Potty Training Basics

A Shetland Sheepdog puppy can be potty trained as young as eight weeks old. Remember that consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key. Regular feeding times, frequent bathroom breaks, and a designated potty area will help set up a reliable routine for your pup. The best time to take them outside is first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bed.

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The command for potty training should be simple and consistent. You might choose "go potty" or "do your business”. Once they do, offer immediate praise and rewards. This will reinforce the behavior and make them more likely to repeat it.

Creating a specific outdoor area for them to do their business will help them associate the spot with going to the bathroom. However, in cold weather, Shelties may be reluctant to go outside. This leads us to our next section.

Adapting Potty Training to Cold Weather

When training your Sheltie in cold climates, there are a few additional considerations. Firstly, your Sheltie might be hesitant to go outside in the snow or freezing temperatures. To deal with this, you can clear a small area in your yard free of snow for your puppy to use. This will make the environment less intimidating and more comfortable for your pet.

It’s also helpful to put a coat on your Sheltie for extra warmth. Shelties have a double coat, but puppies may not have developed their full protective layer yet. A good quality dog coat can provide additional protection against the cold.

Lastly, remember to be patient. Your puppy may take longer to do their business in cold weather. Therefore, give them enough time to get accustomed to the cold before expecting them to go.

Using Potty Training Products

There are several products on the market that can aid in potty training your Sheltie puppy. Potty pads can be a great training tool, especially for those cold, rainy days when your puppy might not want to go outside. These pads are made with a scent that encourages dogs to relieve themselves on them, making them a great indoor potty solution.

Another useful product is a dog door. If you have a fenced yard, a dog door can give your Sheltie the freedom to go outside whenever they need to. This can be especially helpful in cold weather, as it reduces the amount of time you will need to spend outside in the cold with your pet.

Lastly, if you are struggling, there’s no shame in seeking professional help. A certified dog trainer can provide personalized advice and techniques based on your specific situation and your Sheltie’s behavior.

Training Your Sheltie: A Worthwhile Challenge

Training your Sheltie puppy can be a challenging process, especially in cold weather. But remember, the time and effort you put into potty training will pay off in the long run. A well-trained dog is a joy to have around and makes for a smoother, more harmonious relationship between you and your pet.

With patience, consistency, and the right aids, you can successfully potty train your Sheltie puppy, even in the coldest climates. So embrace the challenge and remember that every small success is a step towards a fully potty-trained Sheltie.

Making Use of Porch Potties and Other Indoor Solutions

Sometimes, despite using all the tactics listed above, the weather may just be too severe for the puppy to comfortably go outside. In such instances, the use of a porch potty or other indoor solutions may be the best option.

A porch potty is essentially a small, grass-like area designed to be an indoor bathroom for your dog. These specially designed systems can be placed on your porch or in any other suitable indoor location. They come with a built-in drainage system, making cleanup a breeze.

Another solution is the use of puppy potty training pads. Like the porch potty, these pads are designed to replicate the feel of grass in order to encourage your Sheltie puppy to relieve themselves. Puppy pads are a great temporary solution for extremely cold days when going outside isn’t an option. They’re also perfect for nighttime use or for when you’re away from home for extended periods.

However, keep in mind that these solutions should not replace regular outdoor potty breaks. They are meant to be additional aids for extreme weather conditions, not the main form of potty training. Your ultimate goal should be to train your dog to go outside, as this is most in accordance with their natural instincts.

Engaging in Mental Stimulation and Dog Sports

Shetland sheepdogs are highly intelligent and energetic dog breeds. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Dog sports like agility and obedience trials are an excellent way to engage your Sheltie’s brain and body.

Training for these events can also serve as an additional form of potty training. After all, to compete in dog sports, your Sheltie will need to understand and follow a variety of commands, including those related to potty habits.

This kind of mental stimulation can also help you build a stronger bond with your puppy. The more time you spend training and playing with them, the better they’ll understand you and what you expect from them.

Remember that every dog is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Always take your Sheltie’s personality, health, and preferences into account when planning your training strategy.


Potty training a Shetland Sheepdog puppy in cold weather can be a challenging task, but it is not impossible. With the right training strategies and aids, any dog owner can successfully potty train their Sheltie. The most important thing to remember is to be patient, maintain consistency, and use positive reinforcement to help your puppy understand what is expected of them.

Whether you choose to make use of porch potties, puppy pads, or professional dog training services, it’s crucial to stay dedicated to the process and keep your puppy’s best interests at heart. Every small victory in potty training is a step towards a well-trained, confident, and happy Sheltie puppy.

Remember, the time and effort you put into this process will be rewarded with a well-behaved companion who is a joy to be around. So embrace the challenges, celebrate the successes, and keep working towards creating a harmonious relationship with your Sheltie. Happy training!