Do you need to train your puppy in potty habits, and you’re considering pee pads as a convenient training method? We can tell you all about the ins and outs of pee pads and how to train your dog to them in a variety of situations.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Train My Dog to Use Pee Pads?
- How to Train an Older Dog to Use Pee Pads
- What You Need to Get Started
- How to Train Your Dog to Poop on a Pee Pad
- How to Train Your Puppy to Pee on a Pad and to Go Outside
- How to Train a Housebroken Dog to Use Pee Pads
- Can Male Dogs Use Pee Pads?
- Are Pee Pads a Bad Idea?
- Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Use Puppy Pee Pads?
- The Top 6 Puppy Pee Pad Training Problems
- The Top 3 Washable Pee Pads for Older Dogs
How Do I Train My Dog to Use Pee Pads?
1. Place your dog in a small and confined but comfortably livable area, such as in a sizable kennel or playpen/pet pen, depending on your dog’s size. In the area, provide a bed, water and food station, and a pee pad.
2. Use a special word that you’ll always say when you want your dog to use the pad. This can be something as simple as “potty” or “peepee,” or something else that you feel comfortable with.
3. Place your dog on the pad at a time when they likely have a need to pee and, in a positive tone, say the word or phrase you’ve selected to signal to them that it’s time to use the pee pad. Don’t worry if they don’t pee right away – simply repeat the word until they do.
4. After your dog pees on the pad, praise them and give them a treat. This gives them positive reinforcement for using the pee pad, making it more likely that they’ll associate it with good things permanently.
5. When you have your dog out of their confined area for playtime or any reason, you must keep an eye on them constantly without getting distracted away. This is so that when they begin showing signs of needing to use the pad, you can get them to it quickly.
6. Remain patient and try not to get frustrated if it takes your dog some time to get into the habit of going to their pee pads. Never yell at or punish your dog for making a potty mistake – this can lead to them associating pottying with punishment, making them less likely to use their pad.
7. When washing washable pee pads, never use fabric softener or detergent with it included. A fabric softener will make it more difficult for the surface to absorb pee and can break down the waterproof underside of the pad.
How to Train an Older Dog to Use Pee Pads
Schedule Time for Pee Pad Training
It’s important to schedule time each day for pee pad training. You’ll need to devote around 10-15 minutes a day to train your dog. Be consistent with your training, and soon your dog will be using the pee pads like a pro!
Feed At the Same Time Each Day
One way to help your dog learn to go to the bathroom on cue is to feed them at the same time each day. This will help your dog develop a regular bathroom schedule. Feeding your dog at the same time each day will also help keep them healthy and happy!
Set Indoor Pee Pads Strategically
Place a pad in an area where your dog had an accident inside already, if possible. Make sure that you take him there on his usual walk schedule.
Scent the Indoor Pee Pad
You’ll need to scent the pee pad inside to help your senior pup associate the pad with going to the bathroom. Use a paper towel to wipe up some of your dog’s pee while on the walk then put that on the indoor pee pad.
Teach Your Dog a Cue When They Pee and Poo
Next, teach your dog a potty cue like “go potty” followed by treats and praise when they go outside. Then when they are used to that do it indoors next to the pee pad.
Use Rewards Outside and Inside
Use a few different types of rewards like praise, a treat and play. Once your dog knows what “go potty” means continue to do the cues with rewards both inside and outside
Repeat Training Each Day for 1-3 Weeks
Yes, even senior dogs can learn this new pee pad trick with consistent training. With a little patience and persistence, your dog will be using the pads like a pro in no time!
What You Need to Get Started
All you really need to get started training your dog to a pee pad are the pads, a comfortable containment area for your dog, and treats. Also consider investing in a good, pet-safe enzymatic spray for cleaning up accidents.
How to Train Your Dog to Poop on a Pee Pad
In much the same way you train your dog to pee on the pad, you can take them to the pad when they exhibit signs of needing to poop. It may take some time, but giving treats when they successfully poop on the pad and being consistent will help you both.
How to Train Your Puppy to Pee on a Pad and to Go Outside
Begin by training your puppy solely to the pad. Once they’ve learned pad training well enough to consistently go there every single time, begin moving the pad closer to the door you want them to go out of for outdoor pottying a few inches each day.
If your puppy has accidents on the floor when you begin moving the pad, you could be moving it too far too quickly. Place a pad right outside the door when they’re ready for that change, slowly moving it toward the grass, and when they reliably go to the pad in the area where you want them to pee and poop, begin experimenting with removing the pad entirely.
How to Train a Housebroken Dog to Use Pee Pads
Sometimes it becomes necessary to train a dog that is already housebroken to pee pads, whether it’s because they can’t go outdoors for any reason or their owner becomes unable to take them out as quickly and often as the dog should go. Since housebroken dogs are often on a schedule, go ahead and put your dog on its leash and take it to the pee pad instead of taking it outdoors to signal that the pad is the area to pee and poop in.
Can Male Dogs Use Pee Pads?
Any dog can use pee pads, though sometimes it becomes an issue when a male dog gets old enough to discover that he can lift a leg to pee. If your male dog insists on lifting his leg and tends to miss because of it, there are varieties of “pop up” pee pads that have a vertical target for your dog to aim at.
Are Pee Pads a Bad Idea?
Training methods often have to be varied depending on your dog’s personality and potty habits, but pee pads are generally a great idea, especially for puppies and for dogs that will need to go potty indoors at any time. As with any decision regarding your dog, consider both your and their needs when deciding on pee pad training.
Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Use Puppy Pee Pads?
In general, it isn’t dangerous for your dog to use a pee pad – but this is with proper use. For instance, don’t leave a disposable pee pad unattended in your dog’s travel crate, because it can be a chewing and choking hazard, and can encourage them to use the potty inside their crate.
The Top 6 Puppy Pee Pad Training Problems
1. Peeing beside the pad
Your dog might not like the texture or smell of the pad. You may need to use a different brand, but first, try opening all of the pads up to absorb the smell of your living area, so that they don’t smell as packaged or like the manufacturer.
2. Peeing on the edge of the pad
Sometimes puppies feel the pad under their feet and, since they can’t quite consider the difference, are unable to realize that they aren’t in the right spot. Try putting your dog on a leash and leading them to the center, and give them a treat when they pee in the correct area.
3. Crumpling or playing with the pad
This is a problem particularly with disposable pads, since the texture can tempt puppies to scratch, crumple, and drag it around to play, and can cause pee to run off as a result. Try using pieces of cellophane tape or painter’s tape to adhere the corners of the pad to the floor.
4. Not quite making it to the pad to pee
Just like small children who don’t always make it to the potty in time, puppies have very small bladders and excitable brains. Even though they know the spot they need to get to and try to make it, they don’t always get there in time, and it might be something you simply have to patiently wait for them to grow out of while remaining consistent with training.
5. Peeing on the pad, but won’t pee more than once
Some dogs are fussy and become very particular about the area where they pee. If their aim is good, but it bothers you that they won’t pee on a pad more than one time, try cutting a disposable pad into half or quarters, or replace washable pads more often.
6. Refuses to ever pee anywhere except the pad
This is often a problem when trying to train a dog to pee and poop outdoors while keeping pads indoors for them to use. If your dog avoids pottying outside on a walk but goes right to their pad to pee or poop upon going indoors, try waiting them out on a particularly long walk until they pee.
The Top 3 Washable Pee Pads for Older Dogs
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Best for Large Dogs
Pee pads aren’t just for small dogs – you can easily use them for larger breeds, too. These pads are extra large at a whopping 65×48 inches, making them perfect for bigger dogs.
While they’re soft, they’re also durable, and the materials resist wear and tear. Their non-slip rubber backing helps keep the pads where you put them, as well as making them leakproof, keeping pee from soaking through to the floor.
The surface dries to the touch quickly, keeping your dogs – and anyone else in the household – from accidentally tracking wet footprints off the pad. You can also use them for other purposes, such as lining a vehicle’s back seat on a trip with your dog.
Best for Small Dogs
These 32×24 inch pads are ideal for smaller dogs and can be easily placed in their smaller pens and kennels to keep pee from soaking through. The material is high density and provides a liquid-absorbing layer to lock in fluids.
Easy to clean, these pads can be thrown into the washing machine, and they dry quickly so that you can get them back down as soon as possible, if necessary. Once washed, they don’t hold onto the scent of urine, so you don’t have to worry about the pee pad aura affecting your home.
The manufacturer provides two-year quality assurance on their pads. They also offer 24-hour customer support, so if you have any problems or need advice, they’re always there.
Best on a Budget
While washable pee pads tend to be more expensive than disposables, there are some budget options, as well. These waterproof pee pads are quite a bit less expensive than many other options, while still providing protection for your floors and easily washable pads.
With a completely polyester surface and PVC barrier underneath, they are suitable for the washing machine and dryer. Their dimensions are 31×27 inches, making them a good size for most dogs, and despite their much lower price, still come in a pack of two pads.
My name is Ken and I’m one of the staff writers at Petloverguy.com. I’ve cared for pets most of my life starting with hamsters, turtles, and snakes. Then moving up to parakeets, guinea pigs, and even ducks.
I currently live with two yorkies and a chihuahua mix.