When you bring home a new puppy, it feels physically impossible not to fall in love right away. After all, everything about puppies, from their tiny paws, soft fur, and sweet, soulful eyes, is absolutely adorable – everything, that is, except the lack of potty training.
Luckily, there is an excellent training tool available that can help bridge the gap between a puppy’s precarious first days at home and total outdoor potty independence – that’s right, we’re talking about pee pads for dog potty training.
Pee pads can be a lifesaving tool for anyone working with a new puppy, an older dog with incontinence issues, or one who needs a bit of extra support while recovering from an injury or surgery.
But as with most popular training tools and techniques, there’s a specific list of pros and cons to watch out for when deciding whether or not to use pee pads during potty training your own pup. Let’s take a closer look.
The Pros and Cons of Using Pee Pads for Potty Training
The use of pee pads for dog potty training has become increasingly popular over the last few years as many dog owners look for convenient and effective ways to train their canine companions. And while there may be many benefits to using pee pads for this purpose, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks too.
The Pros of Doggy Pee Pads
Cultivate a Welcoming Environment
Bringing a dog into a brand new environment for the first time can be overwhelming at first. You can avoid messes in unwanted areas around your home by using pee pads to provide a soft, inviting area for your pup to use when needed. This also gives your new puppy a safe indoor space in which to do their business as they build confidence to begin the next phase of their potty training – going outdoors.
While there is no surefire way to avoid pet messes altogether, especially with a puppy or an elderly pet at home, the use of pee pads will allow you to provide a dedicated space in which to contain these accidental messes. Placing your pet’s pee pads in a more discreet, easy-to-clean area (such as a tiled laundry room or bathroom) will spare your pup from embarrassment and your carpets from ruin!
Cleaning up pet messes and stains can be a messy, time-consuming job. To relieve the burden of constant cleaning, many owners will choose to use disposable pee pads, which can significantly reduce both cleaning time and odor – no scrubbing required!
Create an Alternative Potty Plan
Many pet owners will elect to use pee pads to provide their pups with an alternative to the outdoors. This is especially useful for senior dogs or young puppies who may not always have the awareness to go outside each time nature calls. Providing an alternative potty plan in case of emergency will help keep your home clean and the mess contained when your pup has an accident.
The Cons of Doggy Pee Pads
Can Cause Confusion
When used without a clear plan, pee pads can easily confuse your dog about where exactly he should go when nature calls. For this reason, pee pads can quickly cause more harm than good if placed incorrectly or used for a purpose other than to transition to outdoor potty use. Unless pee pads are used with consistency and for the purpose of training and preventing accidents, a dog may mistake any soft surface (such as a carpet) for a potty spot.
Can Create Hard Habits to Break
One of the biggest cons of using pee pads for dog potty training is that they can create bad habits which are difficult to break. For instance, a dog may become accustomed to using the pee pad as a regular toilet instead of going outside.
This can be very hard to undo and may teach a pet to use the pee pads even when they are grown up, leading to a chaotic home environment and an unhappy pet owner.
Not only that, but continued use of pee pads without additional training will encourage a dog to believe it is okay to go inside the house in other areas. This makes effective potty training even more difficult overall.
Potty pads should be used in the same way diapers are used for babies – as a means to an end rather than a permanent solution.
Tips for Using Pee Pads for Potty Training
If you’re ready to take the plunge and make pee pads part of your pet’s potty training routine, it’s important to understand the basics of using them in order to get the best possible results.
With these expert tips and tricks, you can confidently train your pup in no time, leaving messes a thing of the past!
Remember: the secrets to success with potty training are consistency, positive reinforcement, and lots of patience.
Tip #1 - Use the Right Pee Pad
Before purchasing just any ol’ pee pad, consider your specific needs and preferences first. Are you looking for a disposable pee pad that won’t break the bank, or would you rather splurge on something environmentally-friendly like the Bark Potty?
Whichever style you select, make sure it’s large enough for your pup to fit on comfortably and made of durable material.
Tip #2 - Be Prepared for Messes
Even when your pee pads are perfectly placed, messes are bound to happen. In fact, according to this article from the American Kennel Club, it takes a full sixteen weeks for a puppy to gain control over its bladder. This means that the first four months of your pup’s life will consist of inevitable accidents – even in spite of a pet parent’s best efforts to avoid them!
To best handle these inevitable messes, pet parents should arm themselves with an arsenal of supplies, such as an odor-repelling citrus stain remover or a portable carpet cleaning machine. When it comes to cleaning pet messes, one can never be too prepared!
Tip #3 - Teach the Difference Between Using the Floor and a Pad
Pet owners who use pee pads for dog potty training must teach their pets the difference between using a pee pad and the floor. One way to do so is to use this three-step pee pad setup guide:
- Step 1: Select a discrete area of your home to place the pee pads. This can be any room that is out of the way and easy to clean, such as a bathroom or laundry room.
- Step 2: Cover the entire floor of your chosen room with pee pads – corners, too! Covering the whole space will minimize accidents, making cleaning a breeze (especially if you opt for disposable pads).
- Step 3 – As your pup’s training progresses, slowly remove one pee pad at a time until only a single pad remains.
Tip #4 - Use Plenty of Positive Reinforcement
Though potty training a pet can be frustrating at times, it’s essential for owners to keep training sessions positive and upbeat for the best results.
As you make your way through the steps mentioned in the previous section, be sure to offer high-value training treats when your pet does as he’s told. This will encourage repetition of that behavior (in this case, going potty outside instead of using the pee pads).
Once your pet has mastered the use of a single training pad in Step #3, it’s time to make the final push toward outdoor potty use.
When your pup uses the single potty pad without infringing on the floor area or opting for another room of the house, be sure to offer genuine praise and high-value treats for a job well done.
Then, begin slowly moving the pad toward the door and eventually to the outdoor potty area itself.
With patience, consistency, and tons of positive praise (both verbal and treat-based), your pet will be ready to fully transition from pee pads to the use of the great outdoors.
Tip #5 - Ask for Help When You Need It
If your pup isn’t progressing as quickly as planned, even after using all the tips and tricks the internet can provide, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Fortunately, many resources are available (both online and otherwise) to help get your pup back on track.
From online dog training classes that you can take in the comfort of your own home to local, on-site dog training options, there are many resources out there for pet owners – the secret? Asking for help when you need it.
Doing so will save you AND your pup countless hours of frustration.
Tip #6 - Be Patient and Consistent
Whether you’re potty training a dog for the first time or you’re an experienced professional, the keys to success are the same – patience and consistency.
It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes – even your puppy! When this happens, simply correct and continue training.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Pee Pads for Dog Potty Training
Potty training a dog can be a daunting task for even the most experienced pet owners. It’s an incredibly involved process that requires patience, consistency, and the ability to pay close attention to your pup’s needs.
For many, potty training a dog can seem like an impossible challenge; however, with some knowledge of common mistakes to avoid, it can be a much easier, stress-free process.
Mistake #1 - Getting Mad When Accidents Happen
When your adorable new puppy mistakes your expensive area rug for a training pad, keeping your cool might feel like a tall order. But when it comes to potty training, reacting to your dog with a loud or angry voice will do more harm than good.
When dogs have accidents, the most effective reaction is a neutral one (as difficult as this may seem). Shouting or attempting to punish a dog who has an accident can cause the dog to become fearful and less likely to respond to training efforts.
Rather than reacting negatively when you walk in on your pup mid-accident, great trainers will attempt to interrupt the action and quickly escort the dog outside.
Alternatively, you may provide him with a pee pad to finish.
If you discover an accident after it has happened, the best thing to do is to take a deep, cleansing breath, clean up the mess, and move on.
Studies show that attempting to correct a pet after the fact will not “teach him a lesson” and may be counterproductive to your training efforts.
Mistake #2 - Not Sticking to a Schedule
The urge to “go” is strong for puppies and will strike many times a day (and night for the first few weeks). Most young puppies will require a potty break immediately after waking up, after eating, and even after (or during) a play session.
By creating a schedule – taking your pup outside or gently placing him on a pee pad after each event – you can set your dog up for potty training success.
Dogs thrive on routine and structure and respond best when there are clear parameters in place regarding feeding time, walks, and bathroom breaks.
Making sure your pup knows what you expect of him at all times allows him to understand when he will get his “business” done.
Where to Place Pee Pads for Potty Training
When it comes to using pee pads for potty training, proper placement is vital.
If the training goal is to have your puppy transition from potty pads to using the bathroom outside, start by covering the entire floor of a small, easy-to-clean space such as a bathroom or laundry room.
Then, as your pup gets the hang of using the pee pads, begin removing one pee pad at a time until only a single pad remains.
Once your pup has mastered the art of doing their business on just one training pad, it’s time to slowly begin moving the placement of the pad closer to the door.
Eventually, you’ll be able to move the pad outside before removing it altogether.
Pro Tip: Choose a verbal cue such as “Go Potty” when placing your dog on a pad or in the outdoor potty area, and be sure to praise and reward your pup whenever they go to the designated spot.
If pee pads are to be used by a senior or health-impaired dog, the proper placement may look a bit different. According to this AKC article, older or more fragile dogs will require an indoor potty spot in a low-traffic area of the home.
Choosing the Right Pee Pad for Your Pooch
Best Odor-Reducing Pee Pads for Potty Training
These large, scented pee pads from Hartz are designed to stop odor in its tracks, keeping your home smelling fresh and clean – even when accidents happen!
FAQs About Pee Pads for Potty Training
“Are Pee Pads Good for Senior Dogs?”
Senior dogs with mobility issues or who may be experiencing incontinence can benefit from the use of pee pads, which provide a safe and hygienic alternative to the outdoors.
“Can I Use Pee Pads in My Dog’s Crate?”
Crates provide a safe haven for dogs and should be kept clean and cozy. Therefore, using pee pads in your puppy’s crate is never a smart idea.
In addition to being counterproductive to housebreaking efforts, placing pee pads in a dog’s crate can be hazardous – especially for a destructive puppy who may destroy or ingest it.
“Are Pee Pads Good for Potty Training Puppies?”
When housebreaking your pup, pee pads are a great way to show them where and when to go before they are ready to brave the outdoors.
Allowing your pet to experience success with potty pad training will help create a positive association toward housebreaking. As a result, the path toward outdoor training will be much easier!
“Do Pee Pads Make It Harder to Potty Train?”
Pee pads can make the transition to outdoor potty use more difficult – IF they aren’t used properly. When used consistently according to a schedule that works for you and your pet, potty pads will help you reach your housebreaking goals quickly and effectively.
Pee pads should be treated as a temporary means to an end and should be eliminated once a pet has been fully housebroken.
“How Long Should You Use Puppy Pads?”
According to dog training professionals, puppy pads should be used alongside a predictable feeding and potty schedule for at least two weeks. After that time, a puppy should be ready to transition from using the pads to outdoor potty use.
However, if your pet needs more time to adjust, stick to your schedule, remain consistent, and try to transition away after a few more days. It’s important to remember that different dogs have different needs, so the time frames may vary based on the individual pet.
“How to Attract Dogs to Pee Pad?”
Attracting a dog to a pee pad is simple. With a quick spritz from this potty-training spray, you can mark the areas you want your pet to use, such as a pee pad or an outdoor spot.
Or, for more adventurous pet parents, a small sample of a dog’s own urine can be used to attract the pup to the pee pad.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to add lots of praise and high-value treats to reward your pet for doing his business in the designated area instead of on your favorite rug or blanket.
“Can Dogs Use Pee Pads Forever?”
For new puppies who will eventually use the outdoors when nature calls, pee pads should only be used for a short time. However, potty pads or boxes can be a great permanent option for apartment dwellers, elderly pet owners, or pets that live in areas without a suitable outdoor potty option.
Potty training a pet may seem difficult, but incorporating training pads into your routine can simplify the process. Once you select a potty training pad that matches your pet’s needs and your style and budget, your pup will be ready to respond when nature calls!