In the puppy parenting world, deciding if you should train your pup to use pee pads is akin to the great diaper debate in the human parenting world!
You know what I mean, the cloth vs. disposable debate?
Don’t believe me?
Head to any relatively large dog Facebook group and say “I’m thinking of using pee pads for my puppy!”
Then grab the popcorn, sit back, and watch the caged match begin!
Let’s learn a bit about the pros and cons of pee pads.
If you’re decide that they’re right for you, read on for tips on how to get your pup to actually use them.
Pros and Cons of Puppy Pee Pads
Why would something as simple as pee pads cause so much controversy in the dog training world? To understand that, we need to look at the pros and cons a bit. Once you have a full picture, you can decide if they’re best for your needs.
Pros of Pee Pads
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- Easier to clean than puppy litter boxes, and different sizes make them ideal for larger breeds who won’t fit in a litter box
- The odor-eliminating liner traps urine, so your house doesn’t stink
- Ideal for apartment living, when it can be difficult to get your dog outside in time to avoid accidents
- Also good for senior dogs with health issues.
Cons of Pee Pads
- Slows down the training process since it’s basically adding another step
- Pups may never become fully potty trained to go outdoors
- Puppies can mistake other things for pee pads, like small area rugs or blankets left on the floor
- Pups tend to chew on them, which makes a gross mess! You can train your dog not to chew their potty pads, though.
Bottom line: Even though pee pads may not be the ideal choice for potty training your puppy, they are the best available thing if you live in a condo or apartment and can’t train your puppy to go potty outside.
They are also a great way to prevent any accidents if you are not home for hours during the day. In this case, pee pads will allow your pooch to relieve himself at any time, without having to wait for you to come back.
So, if you’ve decided that they are right for you, here are detailed instructions on how to train your puppy to use pee pads.
How to Train Your Dog to Use Pee Pads
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1. Choose the Pee Pad
The first step in the entire process is selecting the pee pad. Pay attention to the size, price and type of the pee pad when you make your decision. When it comes to the size, you should choose a larger pad than you think you need. That way your dog will have enough space and it will be easier to teach him how to relieve himself in the pad.
- The plastic pads are easier to maintain but you have to consider the brand of the pad and choose a quality pad with good size.
- The grass pee pads look more like the outdoors, so they may help your pup better associate pee pads with going potty outside
If you want a pad that resembles grass, you should keep in mind that they usually involve a draining system that holds urine beneath the plastic grass. That means that you will have to regularly maintain this pad, cleaning it at least once a week.
Choosing the right pad is very important so you don’t have to change it later. This can confuse your dog while he learns how to use it.
2. Choose a Spot for the Pad
When you choose the spot for your pup’s pee pad, you should choose a place where you can keep an eye on him easily, but it should also be a room or area that is at least somewhat confined.
Of course, you should avoid placing the pad on the carpet since accidents can occur. It is also best to choose a spot where you plan to leave the pad for a long time. Moving it around often can interfere with the training.
3. Show Your Pup Where to Go
Now that you have everything set up, it is time to introduce your puppy to the pee pad. First, take him there to show him the pad. Then you need to take your puppy to the pad often. Puppies can’t hold their bladder as much as adult dogs, so going to the pad often will help you avoid any accidents.
The best thing to do is to set a timer and take your puppy to the pad every two hours. You may also use a leash to lead your pup to the designated spot. In addition to this, you should also take your puppy to the pee pad after eating, when they wake up and after playing.
If you need a bit more of a visual aid, check out this great video on how to train your pup to use pee pads:
4. How to Train Your Puppy to Use Pee Pads
You have introduced your puppy to pee pads, you have set the timer and take him there often, so, now what? Well, now comes the part that requires a lot of patience.
Once you take your puppy to the pee pad, you should wait for him to eliminate. When your dog goes potty, you should give him a treat to reward the good behavior. You should also praise your pooch, say him that he is a “Good boy”.
If your puppy doesn’t show intent to go, wait for half an hour and bring him back to the pad. Repeat this process until your puppy is fully trained.
Alternative Way to Potty Train Your Puppy
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There is another way to train your puppy to use pee pads, but this one will require a lot more pads and a room for your pooch.
- First, set aside a room where your pup will spend his time.
- Make sure to put his sleeping and eating areas in different corners of the room and cover the entire room with pee pads.
- This way, your pooch will have no other place to eliminate other than pee pads.
- Every day, remove one pad from the room.
- If your dog goes potty on a spot not covered with a pee pad, cover the entire area with pads again.
Eventually, your pup will learn to associate pads with eliminating and he will only use pee pads to go potty. However, this method might teach your puppy to only go potty in the room you have set aside for him.
When you take your puppy to the pad, try to encourage him to go with commands like “Go potty” or “Go pee”.
You need to be aware that accidents will probably happen during the training process.
- Never punish your dog for an accident or he will learn to go potty when you are not around.
- Don’t scold your pooch when he makes a mistake, but have a firm stance so he doesn’t feel free to go anywhere he wants.
- A stern “No!” is enough to help him understand that he made a mistake.
When your dog has an accident, clean that area thoroughly.
- Dogs will often go potty in the same spot if they can smell urine from the previous time.
- Also, don’t put a pee pad on the spot where the accident occurred.
- You need to teach your pup to go to the pad on his own and this would only confuse him.
Keep in mind that training your dog to use pee pads might affect his ability to learn to go potty outside later. And, remember, the key to dog training, including learning how train your pup to use pee pads, is patience.
So be patient and give your pup enough time to learn.