Potty training is a significant step in training your dog and caring for your home, as well. Dog pee pads are a popular approach. However, they have advantages and disadvantages that you may want to consider.
You have to take the time to analyze what is best for your dog, and what really works for them. Each dog is different; their timeline and preferences to becoming housebroken can differ. Potty training is a challenging process, but with consistency and the right guidance, your training is bound for success.
Pros of Dog Pee Pads
Convenience is probably the main advantage of dog pee pads. They are useful in aiding for potty training, especially at the puppy’s stage, when they have to go frequently. Maintenance and cleanup are easy. You just have to toss the old one and lay down the new one. Dog pee pads are versatile too. You can use these pads part-time or full-time, whichever is suitable for your dog’s needs and your lifestyle.
2. Your Floors Will be Protected
Stepping on your dog’s mess is not something that you would want. Dog pee pads will eliminate that issue. You can put pads in places where your dog has been known to do their business when the urge strikes. Dog pee pads will help them learn the assigned spot they have to use. Dog pee pads provide your flooring protection and will help keep it dry and clean.
3. Cleaning up Messes is a Breeze
When your dog learns how to use pee pads, cleaning it up is as easy as one, two, three. All you have to do is pick up the pad and just throw it away in the trash. You don’t have to mop your floor to get rid of the odor. The pad will take care of it.
4. They are Super Absorbent
Dog pee pads have several layers of super absorbent materials that make them leakproof. Some brands provide more protection. You can check out reviews of those products to see if they are the right ones for your dog. There are premium pads available that are ensured to provide more absorbency.
5. Your Dog Can Easily Identify Their Potty Spot
Dogs, especially puppies, are responsive when it comes to being trained in using pee pads. It will take them a short time to get the concept of what the pad does and use it appropriately.
6. They Come in Different Sizes
No matter the size of your dog, the size of their mess, and the size of the area, there will always be a pee pad that is right for them.
7. They Come with Odor Eliminator
You don’t have to worry if the pad will leave a stench inside the house. You don’t have to think about ways to get rid of the smell, the odor eliminator will do it for you.
Cons of Dog Pee Pads
1. Dog Pee Pads are Not for Everyone
Some dogs don’t like using pee pads. While pee pads could be a part of your dog’s potty-training plan, encouraging them to use, it also requires training. If your dog has frequent and consistent access to an outdoor space, starting to potty train them outdoors can actually be an excellent option.
There will come a time when you have to train your dog to break the habit of using pee pads, and it can be hard. When your dog is used to a designated area, it can be challenging to change the practice. Some puppies may grow dependent on pee pads. They also tend to receive mixed signals when they are told to use the potty spot outside. Transitioning your dog from pads to outdoors can be quite a challenge.
Using dog pee pads is not eco-friendly. Most dog pee pads in the market are disposable, which can create more and more waste. However, there are more eco-friendly pee pads that are available now, if you prioritize sustainability. There are biodegradable pads, pads made from recyclable materials, and reusable, washable pads.
4. Some Dogs will Play with Their Pee Pads
Dogs, especially puppies like to sink their teeth into anything, and pee pads are no exception. They love to pull, chew, drag around and tear apart pee pads, which can make a whole lot of mess.
5. Some Dogs can Mistake Other Things on the Floor for a Pee Pad
When the urge to do business strikes, dogs, especially puppies will mistake flat items on the floor for the area where they’re supposed to pee. This means accidents on dog beds, towels, blankets, pillows, and clothes.
6. Using Dog Pee Pads Can Slow Down Housebreaking
This is probably one of the most persuasive arguments against dog pee pads. It can really slow down the housebreaking process. Dog pee pads work by teaching dogs the right place to pee inside the house, you will need to take extra effort to train your dog to go potty outdoors. Dogs are different; that’s why some may pick up on the transition faster, while others will still look for their indoor pee pad for some time, which can lead to frequent accidents inside the home.
7. Dog Pee Pads Can be Expensive
Most people use disposable ones because of convenience. You can buy the washable pads, but you have to wash them after every use, and for some, this can be tedious work. However, the problem with the disposable ones is they are quite expensive. A bag of dog pee pads can range from $20 to $50. Expect that you will use lots of pee pads per day, especially when there is a new puppy at home, and they are just finding their way around the house. The cost will quickly add up, that is why some prefer to use a crate as a part of housetraining their dog.
Pee Pad Training Basics
Puppies go through a stage when they have almost no bladder control. No matter what you do, they always seem to make a mess. Some owners choose dog pee pads as one of the first steps in potty training their dogs.
You have to keep in mind that pee pads are only a temporary fix for puppies with poor bladder control. You have to eventually train your dog to go potty outdoors.
How to Know if Pee Pad Training is Right for You
Your dog is small
Small dogs equal little messes, so it’s easier to train them using the pad. If you have a much larger dog, it can be messier and stinky.
You live in a place where the weather is always cold
If you live in colder climates, using a pee pad is ideal. Some dogs, especially the small ones, cannot handle the cold outside.
You live in an apartment
If you live on the 35th floor of a high-rise building, it can be hard to take your dog to go potty outside. Some apartments have potty areas on the roof, but several don’t. When your dog needs to go immediately, navigating apartments can be difficult, and the possibility of your dog having an “accident” is high.
You have a type of disability that limits your mobility
Persons with disabilities and senior owners may find pads a great option. It may be difficult for them to bring their dog outside to go potty.
You cannot take your dog outside as often as needed
If you’re busy with work or other things and you cannot bring your dog out frequently, using a pee pad can be an option. You can do this until your dog has a stronger bladder then you can train them to go potty outside.
It’s challenging to walk your dog
Some dogs are timid or have major reactivity. Both types are hard to walk outside. You can hire a professional behaviorist or trainer to address the issue. In the meantime, a dog pad can help eliminate stress. It also applies to old dogs and dogs with disabilities.
Product Options for Potty Pad Training
Pads aren’t the only ones available when it comes to potty training your dog inside the house. There are different options you can choose from.
Classic potty pads
Of course, we’ll mention the obvious one first. These pads are composed of spongy material that is layered and can absorb wetness very well. They are also leak-proof.
Grass mats are made from either artificial or real grass. If you eventually plan to transition to outdoors, this is a good option. It can serve as a natural and easy stepping stone. This is great for picky dogs that won’t go for potty pads. They are eco-friendly as well because they can be composted, and they won’t put a strain on the environment.
Dog Litter Boxes
Litter boxes are usually marketed for cats, but they can be used for dogs too. They contain recycled paper pellets that will absorb your dog’s mess.
Where to Put the Potty Pads
You have to consider where you should put your potty pads inside the house. Pick a spot that has low foot traffic. You can also place it over tile or other hard floors. Most owners choose the bathroom because it is not near food, and it will not be in the way when you are entertaining guests. A bathroom is also a small room where you can easily confine your dog.
Training with a Dog Pee Pad
1. You can begin with a confined space
Dog’s won’t do their business where they sleep, so giving them a crate with just the right size is crucial. It can teach them to hold their pee for a longer time. When you take your dog out from their crate, be sure to take them to the pee pad. When you are not watching your dog, they should be inside their crates.
It is also essential that you crate-train your dog so that their crate will be their happy and safe space, and will not be considered as punishment.
Puppies can’t hold their potty for a long time, that’s why you have to take them out of the crate more often and bring them to their potty pad. You can take your dog to the potty area ten minutes after they have eaten, played, and drank water.
The more you take your dog to the pad, the more likely they are to relieve themselves there. Give your dog a treat or praise when they do their business in the right spot.
Puppies at the age of 2-3 months have to pee every two hours. After those months, add one hour for each month. For instance, a 4-month-old dog can hold their pee or potty for 3-4 hours. Keep in mind not to leave your dog without any access to a potty area for over 8 hours.
You have to make sure that you don’t leave your dog unattended during the initial pad training stage. You need to be there so you can also give your dog positive reinforcement. It will take commitment and patience on your part to make the potty training successful.
2. After successful use of the potty pad, you can upgrade to a larger area
When your dog is already doing great with the crate, you can move on to a larger area. You can create a small area in your home for your dog to roam around. Choose where you want the pads to go, then you can confine your dog in a small area where you will include the potty pads. You can do this with indoor dog gates, x-pens, or closing room doors.
The ideal size of the space should be just enough for your dog’s bed, potty pads, water, and some toys. Your dog will instinctively potty on the pad because they don’t want to mess their bed, water, and toys.
Whenever you catch your dog using the potty pads, give them treats, and praise them. It is also important that you clean up the mess immediately, or else, your dog will be tempted to eat their own poop.
3. Increasing roaming space gradually
When your dog has learned using the potty pad in a small enclosed area, you can gradually make the area bigger until you have a potty-trained, free-roaming pro!
Transitioning from Pads to Outdoors
Now that your dog is already pad trained, it’s time to get them to go potty outside. Here are some options you might like to consider:
- Dog Doors – You can install a dog door that will let your dog go outside and back as they please.
- Doggie Doorbells – These are a strand of bells that usually sit on the door handle. You can teach your dog to nudge the bells as a signal that they need to go potty outside.
Useful advice in transitioning your dog from pads to outdoors
- Move the potty pad a small distance every day until it reaches outside. Work toward the door first, then outside the door, and finally slowly move to the final potty area outside.
- Teach your dog a potty cue. You can say, “Go potty” or “hurry up.” You can start by saying the cue whenever your dog is about to potty, then reward them as soon as they finish. Do it repeatedly until your dog associates the cue with their potty time.
- Once the potty pad is outside, decrease its size. Some dogs will quickly catch on, but if yours is struggling, you can cut the pad smaller and smaller until your dog is already using the ground.
Cutting Back Your Dog’s Pad Dependency
You can start by cutting back on the number of pads that you use gradually. When you eliminate the pads altogether, it will only confuse your dog and can cause them to have accidents, which can be a huge set back in your potty training.
Don’t praise your dog for using the pad, and don’t scold them either. You can praise them or give them a treat when they successfully potty outside.
Dealing with “the Wait”
Pad-trained dogs have the tendency to take forever when doing their business outside. Be patient. You have to get them to pee and poop outside by all means necessary. Never let your dog loose into your yard to go potty while you are still training them. Praise them every time they are successful in doing their business at the right spot.
Why is it not advisable to use dog pee pads for a long time when potty training my dog?
If you use dog pee pads for a long time, your dog will develop a dependency, and it can make you lazy. If you eventually want to train your dog to go potty outside, using pads for longer periods is a no-no. The transition will be very hard for you and your dog.
You have to think about whether you really need the dog pee pad to potty train your dog. If you have easy access to a yard, then you can skip the pads and train your dog to go potty outside. You just have to be patient and consistent.