How To Potty Train A Puppy To Use Pee Pads

Consistency is key when training a puppy to use pee pads.

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puppy pee pads
Indoor potty pads are a useful tool, but accidents can and do happen. Lolostock/Shutterstock
Jennifer Mauger

Not too long ago I walked into a house where it looked like a huge pee pad explosion took place. There were literally pee pads covering most of the floor space, and yet the puppy was still having accidents everywhere! Pee pads can be a very useful training tool if used properly, but how do we train a puppy to use pee pads?

Why Use Pee Pads?

Pee pads can be very helpful for potty training puppies in a variety of situations, including:

  • When it is too cold outside or during other extreme weather.
  • When puppies live in apartment or condo settings without grassy areas nearby.
  • When puppies live in high-rise apartments.
  • When it’s too difficult for senior citizens or other guardians with health and/or mobility issues to take the dog outside.
  • When puppies are left alone for more than 5 or 6 hours.

How To Train Your Puppy To Use Pee Pads

Follow these steps to train your puppy to use a pee pad:

1. Create a designated pee pad spot.

Create a specific place for your puppy to potty in the general area you are keeping your puppy. This is the spot where you’ll always put the peed pads. It can be in a small space, such as a powder room, laundry room or exercise pen, or you can block off a small part of an area if necessary. You can even create a space in your garage using an exercise pen. Just remember to keep it small.

2. Stick to a schedule.

Make sure you follow your potty training schedule to prevent accidents. Take your puppy to the designated potty area when he first wakes up, after meals, playtime, training or naps.

3. Be supportive.

Stay with your puppy until he goes potty. Immediately afterward, praise, treat and/or play with your puppy. Anytime you see your puppy heading toward the pee pad area go, with him and encourage him to go to the pads. Follow with praise, treats and/or play.

Giving Your Puppy Access To Pee Pads When You Are Not Available

It’s not always possible to be there to take our puppies to their pee pad spot. This is especially problematic if we are away from home. We can solve this by changing up their space.

If you are using a crate while training your puppy, place your crate inside your potty area off to one side with the door propped open.

If you are confining your puppy to a small area instead of a crate, place bed and toys off to one side and pee pads across from them. This can also be done using an exercise pen within the area.

Transitioning Your Puppy To Go Potty Outside

Now your puppy is using the pee pads on a regular basis and you have decided to transition your puppy to go outside. This can be done using the following steps:

  1. Place a pee pad outside in the area you want your puppy to potty.
  2. Once again, going back to your potty training schedule, take your puppy outside to the area first thing in the morning, after meals, waking up, training or playing.
  3. Make sure your puppy continues to have access to his inside pee pads until he is routinely going outside.
  4. Once he is going outside on a regular basis, start to limit access to the pee pads indoors until he is no longer using them.
  5. Discontinue using the pads outside.

What To Do If Problems Arise

Accidents happen! Just take a deep breath and a step back in training. We are not perfect, and neither are our puppies. We all make mistakes. Here are some common problems and what you can do to combat them.

Problem No. 1.

Puppy is missing the pee pads and going on the floor.
Solution: You need to reduce the area you are using for the pee pads so that your puppy does not have access to the rest of the floor.

Problem No. 2

Puppy was consistently using pee pads but is now having accidents.
Solution: Do not hesitate to take a few steps backwards in your training to set your puppy up for success.

Problem No. 3.

Puppy pees on throw rugs and towels.
Solution: The texture of pee pads is very similar in texture to softer rugs and towels. Pick all rugs and towels in your puppy’s area until your puppy is consistently using the pee pads.

Problem No. 4.

After you have transitioned puppy to going outdoors you find that puppy is having accidents in the old pee pad area.
Solution: Make sure to clean the area well with an enzymatic cleaner and then completely block access to the area until your puppy is no longer trying to go potty in that area.

Problem No. 5.

Puppy decides that pee pads are great fun as a toy.
Solution: There are pee pad trays that prevent your puppy from running away with or chewing them.

When Not To Use a Pee Pad

Do not use pee pads if your goal is to have your puppy going outside and not using a pee pad. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as weather or health concerns, you are better off training him to go outside from the beginning. It will save you a lot of training time.

You also do not wat to use pee pads if your puppy is a large or extra-large breed puppy. You will not want him flooding your home as he grows!

Lastly, hold off on the pee pads if you or family members are immune compromised. I would check with your doctor before starting a puppy on pee pads.

As with the family above, with patience and consistency you too can turn your home from looking like a pee pad explosion to having a puppy that consistency uses pee pads in your chosen spot.

Article Categories:
Behavior and Training · Dogs · Puppies