Potty Training 101: How to Teach Your Puppy to Use Potty Pads

If the idea of housebreaking your new puppy feels overwhelming, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Puppy potty training is an important task that often comes with its own set of challenges, especially for first-time pet parents. But take heart, successful training is absolutely achievable, and we are here to guide you through it.

Harnessing the power of potty pads can be a game-changer in this process. They are a convenient and effective tool to help keep both your home clean and your puppy comfortable. Plus, they can be a lifesaver during those early morning ‘I’ve got to go’ moments or when weather conditions make the backyard an impossibility.

In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to train your puppy to use potty pads. From choosing the right potty pads, setting up a suitable ‘bathroom’ spot, to rewards and consistency, we’ve got it all covered!

So let’s embark on this potty training journey together and turn those daunting uh-oh moments into successful whoa-ho experiences!

When Are Potty Pads The Right Choice?

Potty pads are the ideal choice in certain situations, providing a helpful training tool and ensuring a smooth experience for both you and your puppy.

During Initial Training: Potty pads are a valuable tool while you’re still in the early stages of training a puppy.

For Unvaccinated Puppies: Puppies who have not completed their vaccination series are susceptible to illnesses that could be present outside. In such cases, providing a safe, indoor area for them to relieve themselves is crucial, and potty pads can serve that purpose very well.

In Bad Weather: If you are living in a location where it frequently rains or significantly snows, the use of potty pads can be more convenient.

In Apartments or High-Rises: When you’re staying in a high-rise or apartment building, taking your puppy outside whenever they need to go can be time-consuming and impractical. In such situations, using a potty pad can be more feasible.

For Older or Unwell Dogs: Pads can be a significant asset for aging dogs, pets with mobility issues, or those with sickness or injuries that restrict frequent outdoor trips.

During Travel: If you’re taking your puppy on a long trip, and bathroom breaks could be unpredictable, having potty pads in the car can offer a handy solution.

When Left Alone for Hours: If you work long hours and leave your puppy alone at home, potty pads can be a lifesaver. They can prevent accidents around the house while you’re away.

While potty pads can be incredibly useful in these circumstances, remember they are not meant to entirely replace regular outdoor breaks. Once a puppy or dog is appropriately trained and any health concerns or travel engagements have been addressed, healthier for them to utilize the outdoors, when possible.

How To Choose Your Puppy Pads

Selecting the right potty pads is crucial for a successful house training experience. Here are some essential factors to consider while choosing potty pads for your puppy:

Size: Consider the size of your dog breed and choose a potty pad that matches appropriately. Small dogs can use smaller pads, while medium to large-sized breeds will benefit from larger pads that provide ample room for them to use comfortably.

Absorbency: Choose a pad with maximum absorbency to avoid leakage and ensure mess-free clean-ups. High-quality pads usually have multiple layers and can hold more liquid.

Odor Control: Select potty pads engineered to neutralize or eliminate odors, providing a fresher environment for you and your furry friend.

Attractants: Pads with built-in attractants can make the training process easier by encouraging your puppy to use them. These pads often have scents that mimic pheromones or grassy smells that entice the puppy to choose the pad as their potty spot.

Non-slip Backing: Opt for pads with non-slip backing or adhesive strips to ensure they stay in place without shifting around your floor.

Quilting and Quick-Drying Surface: Seek out pads with special quilting that traps urine quickly, spreading it out to promote fast-drying, and preventing your puppy from tracking urine throughout your home.

Eco-friendly Options: If you’re conscious of your environmental footprint, consider reusable or washable potty pads. These alternatives are long-lasting, cost-effective, and leave less waste in landfills.

Considering these factors while selecting potty pads will ensure you find the one that best suits your puppy’s needs and helps create a more comfortable and effective training experience.

Best ChoiceFresh Patch XL (Real Grass)The biggest issue with potty training onto pads is that you lose progress with training when you try and eliminate the pad and ask your dog to go outside. With Fresh Patch? That’s not the case.Because it uses real grass, we’re then teaching out puppies from step one (whether you’re on the 25th floor or the 1st), that the acceptable place to pee, is on grass. So, when we eventually take that away? Hey presto… puppy knows they pee on grass and not the other places in your home. Think of this as your doggie lawn. They last 2-4 weeks, and may need a little spritzing with water (but don’t water it!)(This is also perfect for larger breed dogs!)Check PricePuppy Bark PottyBranded as a dog park in a box (very funny!), the Bark Potty is made of natural fibers and odor neutralizers, comes in a leakproof tray, and comes in two different sizes up to 30×20 inches, each one bragging that it lasts up to a month (Which good potty training should only need about a month!).Then, where it uses only natural fibers of wood and similar, it does mean that the product will maximise transfer of training! Like a lot of pads, you’ll have to clean up the number twos, but it does come with a roll of poo bags for ease too! It’s pretty clever really.Check PriceGlad Charcoal Puppy Pads 23″ x 23″They have a nice, large surface area, but, they’re also carbon filled, using the natural de-oderising aspects of carbon!  And they are really good at doing what they’re meant to do. They’re just easy to rip, easy to use, and easy to get rid of, making them incredible appropriate for the job. They’re just a lot when it comes to being wasteful. Check Price

How To Train Your Pup To Use a Potty Pad

Training your puppy to use a potty pad involves a series of steps that require patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to do it:

Choose the Right Pad: Start by selecting the appropriate potty pad for your puppy. Choose one that is the right size and has high absorbency.

Setup a Defined Space: Choose a specific, small area in your house where you want your puppy to use the potty pad. Initially, this space should be small and gradually increase as your puppy gets the hang of it.

Introduce the Pad: Place the potty pad in the designated area and introduce your puppy to it. Allow them to sniff and get familiar with the potty pad.

Maintain a Routine: Consistency is key when training your puppy. Regularly take your puppy to the pad whenever they wake up, after meals, and before bedtime. As puppies, they often need to go the bathroom every few hours.

Encourage and Reinforce: When your puppy uses the potty pad, praise them and give them a treat. Positive reinforcement will encourage them to repeat the behavior.

Be Patient: Remember, potty training takes time. If your puppy has an accident outside the pad, don’t punish them. Instead, clean it up and continue training. Over time, your puppy will start associating the pad with bathroom needs.

Please remember that every puppy is different, and some may take longer to train than others. Patience and consistency will eventually pay off, leading to a properly house-trained pup.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Potty Pad Training

Training your puppy to use potty pads can be a convenient and effective solution for housebreaking. However, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes to ensure success and a smooth training process.

One primary mistake to avoid is inconsistency in routine. Establishing a regular schedule, such as taking your puppy to the pad after meals, waking up, or playtime, is vital to proper potty training. Moreover, it’s crucial to supervise your puppy, especially during the early stages of training, as leaving them unsupervised for extended periods can lead to accidents.

Another critical factor is choosing a designated location for the potty pad and sticking to it. Frequently shifting the pad’s location can confuse your puppy and slow down the training process. Additionally, when selecting potty pads, don’t neglect those that come with built-in attractants, as these can encourage puppies to use them and expedite the training process.

It’s essential to focus on positive reinforcement instead of punishment when potty training your puppy. Punishing them for accidents can create fear and confusion, whereas praises and treats for using the potty pad correctly will motivate them to repeat the behavior. Furthermore, when starting with potty training, begin with a small designated space and gradually expand it as your puppy becomes more proficient in using the pad.

Finally, if you have access to outdoor space and the weather permits, make sure you transition your puppy from potty pads to outdoor potty breaks as they grow older. Puppies can become reliant on pads, and training them to go outdoors when possible is more beneficial in the long run.

In conclusion, every puppy is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Adapting your approach based on your puppy’s progress and having patience throughout the learning process will contribute to successful potty pad training.

How To Move It Outside

Transitioning your puppy from using a potty pad to going outside requires some patience and consistent efforts. Following the steps outlined below can help you successfully train your puppy:

Introduction to Outside: Start by taking your puppy outdoors more often, especially after they eat, nap, or play. Encourage them to explore and spend time outside. This will help them get comfortable with the new surroundings.

Move the Potty Pad Closer to the Door: Gradually start moving the potty pad closer to the door that leads outside. This way, your puppy will associate going towards the door with needing to use the bathroom.

Place the Pad Outside: Once your dog starts heading towards the door, place the potty pad outside. It’s best to choose a specific outdoor spot that you want them to use as their new bathroom spot. Leave the pad there, so they understand this is their new potty area.

Remove the Potty Pad Altogether: After your puppy is successfully using the pad outdoors, you’ll want to transition them off of the pad completely. Start by reducing the size of the pad slowly, allowing them to adjust. Eventually, you can remove the pad, and they’ll understand to go to the bathroom directly on the grass.

Praise and Positivity: It’s important to use plenty of positive reinforcement during this process. Whenever your puppy uses the outdoor area correctly, praise them heartily and give them a treat. This positive association will encourage them to continue this behavior.

Patience and Consistency: Transitioning from potty pads to outdoors might take some time. There could be occasional accidents, and it’s important to be patient, not to scold the puppy during these times. Maintain consistency in your training routine, and eventually, your puppy will be fully accustomed to the outdoors for its needs.

Remember, all puppies are different. Therefore, some might take longer to adjust to new changes. So, keep practicing patience and show a lot of love to your puppy during this transitional phase.

Note: Selecting a real grass pad or a bark pad will make this so much easier!

Potty Success Is Just The First Step

In conclusion, potty training your puppy using pads is a task requiring patience and consistency. However, with the right guidance, it’ll become a seamless part of your routine.

To make this journey smoother, we recommend the Puppy Schedule Pet Care Planner available on Etsy. This digital guide provides amazing insights into puppy development stages, training techniques, and important schedules.

It’s more than just a planner – it’s a valuable tool to enhance your bond with your furry friend. So, simplify your puppy potty training and get your digital copy today. Enjoy your thrilling journey of raising a happy, disciplined puppy. Happy training!

Need help? Book In!






Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!

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