My hard work has paid off in everything except one HUGE problem

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Our Yorkie pup is 5.5 months old, we absolutely adore her. The most important thing when we were considering the right breed to fit with our family, was that the breed should be generally great with kids. That really paid off, she is amazing with my children, they have a brilliant bond, she's super affectionate, plays gently, is really friendly and has a very sweet nature and is eager to learn and make us happy! She is a very happy pup. Our breeder (just a family with two pedigree Yorkies, not a professional breeder) have been brilliant and we are still in touch 4 months later and they love to see happy updates.

To save making you read a huge essay, I'll write down briefly the minor issues we've had, and how working with her has paid off, and what we are struggling with now.

Barking: She was a bit 'barky' when people pass our home (we live close by to a popular dog walking route) and would bark at other dogs during her walks, but it was an excited, (lets play!) bark. Now if she is telling me someone is walking past the house, its enough that I say thank you to her for telling me, and now hush. I figured she was just making sure I was aware so when I thank her she understands she doesn't need to do it. And now if a dog is approaching on our walks, I'll ask her to be quiet and she understands. She's so clever

Jumping: Jumping at visitors in excitement became a problem. Now I have a tin of high value dog treats hidden in a greenhouse you have to walk past to come inside the house. I asked all visitors to say Hi but ignore her completely until she settled down, and to give her a treat when she did. (My home is opened by a back gate and family will just stop by unannounced sometimes so it was good practice asking everyone ahead of time to help me in training her). She has absolutely nailed it now!

Biting hands: Her teething drove her crazy and she would bite my hands when we played (but never once to the kids, even when they are excitedly playing with her). The only thing that fixed this was just being really consistent that playtime ends briefly when she mouthed my hands, and when she approached again, she got the message. Teething toys from the freezer helped a lot too!

Sleep: She used a crate for the first 2.5 months, but she was miserable. I understand it works for some people, but it didn't work for us. We are happy for her to sleep upstairs on our own terms (eg: if we want alone time she is out the door) and she's fine with it. She doesn't chew things up and can be trusted to chill out and its no problem. We can leave the house for 2 hours and she will just chill out on our bed, no accidents or anything destroyed.

Now here's the problem, she potties downstairs. She understands that I want her to go outside, she is rewarded with roast chicken pieces (her favourite) only for pottying outside. She understands the command but sometimes she will pee downstairs even though the back door is wide open, or if I've just been outside with her encourging her to potty. I've spoken with the vet about it and she said Yorkies are notoriously hard to potty train because of their small bladder, but I think its a choice she is making – when we leave her home to go out, we come back to no accidents, nothing.

I have her on a feeding/water schedule so I can judge her potty times better, she has 2 or 3 walks a day (but has only pooped 3 times on her walks in the 3 months she's been allowed to walk outside) and only pee's during her walks if she really, really needs to. I don't punish her if I find a puddle, I just show her and say "bad" and clear it up and make no more issue of it. If I catch her in the act, she gets a firm no, and I take her outside. I've done the leash outside in the garden so she doesn't get distracted, bringing puppy pads back into the home, different high value treats, keywords (potty, wee-wee's) and I have been really consistent with taking her outside, waking early and going to bed later to make sure she has pottied. I even spent a week with her tethered to me in the home, have an app to remind me when potty time is, I'm positive and encouraging and never get angry with her.

My husband is really angry that she keeps doing it, but he was actively against the crate and doesn't help at all with the time consuming aspect of taking her outside to work on it. He is old school and says we need to rub her nose in it or a smack on the backside next time. I told him he gets no say in how I discipline her if I'm the one who is putting in 100% of the work and that she happy and trusting of us, I don't want her to be fearful of me and set us back in other areas where she is doing great. I 100% do not agree this is the way to go.

So, the hard work has paid off in most aspects, I can walk her around other dogs without her jumping and barking now, people can come into our home without being jumped at, she is calm and chilled at home, playful, sweet natured, has a super close bond with our cat, and is amazing with our kids. She is AWESOME and bringing her into our home was the best thing we ever did. No regrets. I just need to fix this pottying issue but I'm getting nowhere.

Any advice is welcome and I'm sorry if this is a very long read!

Puppy tax (hope it works)

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