Determining a Workable Schedule
The more predictable your Chihuahua's needs for relieving herself, the easier her housetraining will be. In order to make your Chi's relief times regular, create a regular routine and stick with it. The three most important factors in developing this routine are meals, water, and exercise.
Your Chihuahua's meals should be at specific times. For example, if your puppy is eating four meals a day, you might schedule these feedings at 7 A.M., 11 A.M., 3 P.M., and 7 P.M. Your Chi will need to have a bowel movement very shortly thereafter — usually no more than thirty minutes after eating — so you won't want to put her in her crate and leave for work without this movement. Plan on giving your Chi an hour for eating, exercise, and relieving himself at each feeding. If you cannot keep up this schedule, make sure you have a relative, neighbor, or a pet sitter hired to help when you can't be home.
Allowing your Chihuahua to graze throughout the day (in other words, to eat from a never-ending food bowl) can wreak havoc with a housetraining schedule. You'll never be able to predict when your Chihuahua will need to relieve herself.
Fresh, cool water should be available to your Chi at all times.
Unlike a constant supply of food, access to water at all times will lessen the possibility that your Chihuahua will overload on water at certain times — which would also make your Chi's urges more unpredictable. The only time you might want to pull up your dog's water is two hours before bedtime. This will give your Chi plenty of time to empty her bladder before she settles down for the night. (This can also be helpful with aging, senior Chis that are having problems with incontinence.)
Then there's exercise. Exercise is virtually a guarantee that your Chi will need to relieve herself — either during the exercise or within thirty minutes following. Exercise will also increase your Chi's water consumption, so you can also expect that your Chi — though she's urinated during the walk or during a play session — will need to relieve herself again within an hour or so.
Remember that consistency, reward-based positive training, and moving in small steps will help ensure success with housetraining your Chi. If your Chihuahua has an accident, step back and re-evaluate the situation. Did you follow your schedule? Did you leave her alone too long? Did you move too quickly with allowing her more freedom in the home? If you can't figure out where you might have erred, then take a step backward in her housetraining. Move back to a smaller space or a shorter time period and allow your Chihuahua to regain her confidence — and yours.