There is a dispute about the puppy training pads’ effectiveness in potty training. Some attest that they helped pups move forward in training, whilst others believe they hinder puppy toilet training progress.
However, using puppy training pads can be an excellent tool for fully housebreaking your pooch when used the right way.
Is Using Puppy Pads a Good Idea?
Puppy training pads or puppy training mats have their pros and cons, which dog owners should take into consideration:
3 Reasons Why Puppy Training Pads Are Good
- Puppy training pads teach your puppy where the appropriate potty spot is before he can start toilet training outside.
- Puppy training pads are convenient to use during instances where pooches cannot go outside. It might be due to bad weather, old age, disability, or incomplete vaccinations.
- Some pet owners, especially those who live in apartments, have no quick access outdoors for potty training their dogs. Training mats for puppies are great backups in case their canine friends cannot hold it in. They do not have to rush carrying their pets towards the elevator and risk potty accidents whilst on the way.
3 Reasons Why Puppy Training Pads Are Bad
- Some puppies get too used to doing their business on puppy training pads. This makes transitioning to outdoor potty training a bit tricky. Hence, they will need to get acclimated to the changes, which increases the risk of frequent potty accidents.
- In some cases, puppies mistaken pillows, blankets, and towels for puppy training mats, adding more chores for pet owners. This usually happens as these items have a similar texture to pee pads.
- Dogs are chewers, especially when they are young. Puppy training pads may end up shredded by their chompers. It leaves pet owners having to deal with changing the pads several times a day. Now that we have laid out the pros and cons of training mats for puppies, it is important to highlight that it is not inherently bad for potty training. However, to get the best results, pet owners should take careful steps when incorporating it into their furry pal’s housebreaking sessions.
17 Points for a Successful Puppy Toilet Training
Potty training your furry pal using puppy training mats might seem like a big challenge, but it really shouldn’t be. To help you and your canine friend achieve your goal, we are sharing with you helpful guidelines for puppy pad potty training.
1. Know when to start potty training your puppy.
The ideal age for housebreaking puppies is when they reach 12–16 weeks old. Around this age, they have better control over their bladder and bowel movements.
The general rule of thumb is puppies can hold it in for 1 hour every month of age. Thus, young dogs age 12–16 weeks can withstand not going to potty for at least 2 hours.
“Can an 8-week-old puppy be potty-trained?” is a frequently asked question by dog owners. The answer is yes.
However, they can only withhold urinating and defaecating for about an hour or less. They are very likely to have more potty accidents than their older counterparts.
2. Find the most suitable pee pad for your puppy.
You might wonder: “What are the best puppy training pads?” There are 2 varieties commonly used by pet owners. Let us look into their functionality to know which one is more suitable for your canine friend.
Disposable Puppy Training Pad
As its name implies, this type of pee pad is meant for one-time use. It can only be used for a day or a few hours before it needs to be thrown out and replaced with a new one.
On the downside, disposable puppy training mats are often made of paper-thin material, making it easy for your furry pal to shred and make a mess out of.
If we talk about its cost-effectiveness, using the disposable variety frequently will lead you to spend more since it needs to be replaced regularly.
Hence, it is more suitable for those who want to temporarily use pee pads in preparation for outdoor potty training.
Reusable Puppy Training Pad
This type of pee pad can be popped into the washing machine for cleaning and then used again. It is a more environmental-friendly option compared to its disposable counterpart.
Just keep in mind to wash reusable pee pads once a day or every other day to avoid making them stink.
Reusable training mats for puppies are commonly made of durable fabric, which can withstand the sharp teeth of puppies. So it can endure wear and tear.
When it comes to price, reusable puppy training pads tend to be more expensive. However, if you plan to use it long-term, it is a great investment since it will cost you less in the long run.
Make it a habit to check other qualities of puppy training pads. The thicker they are, the better, as it allows more absorption and prevents leaks. Some also contain special chemicals that convert liquid to gel for easy clean-up in case of spills.
Other puppy training mats also come with scents, such as lavender or lemon, to help mask urine or faecal odour.
If your canine friend is sensitive to scents, puppy training pads with activated carbon are a great option. It mitigates bad odour without giving off other smells.
3. Make sure the puppy training pad size suits your pet’s size.
Regular-sized puppy training pads, which measure around 24″ x 24″, are appropriate for puppies as well as small- and mid-sized breeds.
Large and giant dogs will need bigger pee pads. Depending on their size, 65” x 48”–72” x 72” dog training pads are available.
4. Find a good designated place to lay down the puppy training mats.
When choosing the area where you can put the pee pad, make sure it has less foot traffic. This prevents distractions whilst you carry out puppy pads training with your furry friend.
Also, consider opting for an enclosed space to keep him from going to other parts of the house during training sessions.
It would be good if the area is tiled instead of wooden flooring as this makes potty accidents easier to clean. Some places we recommend are the guestroom, laundry room, or by the backdoor.
5. Make sure to prepare the right number of puppy training pads.
Some dog owners ask: “How many pee pads should I put down?” or “How many puppy training pads will I need for housebreaking?”
It will vary depending on the dog, but generally, 4–5 pee pads will suffice. You can adjust the number once you know how often your dog goes potty.
In most cases, training mats for puppies can last up to 2–4 uses before they begin to stink or become full. So, keep track of how many times it is used so that you can prepare replacements ahead of time.
6. Consider placing the puppy training pads in a playpen.
It is a good idea to keep the puppy training pads in an enclosed space within the room. Keeping him confined whilst he potties will prevent him from making a mess. It also helps him learn to frequent his designated potty area.
Before putting the playpen around the puppy training mats, make sure the sheets are arranged in a way that they overlap each other. Moreover, they should go an inch beyond the playpen’s perimeter to help contain the urine.
7. Introduce your puppy to the potty pad.
Let your puppy create a positive association with the puppy training mat. Reward him with a treat or praise him every time he shows a sign of interest, such as sniffing them.
Around this time, you might encounter one of the most common puppy pee pad training problems. Your puppy might chew or play roughly with the mat. Whenever he starts biting it, avoid giving him rewards.
Instead, redirect his attention to stop the unwanted behaviour. This can be done by firmly calling his name or making a distracting noise, such as shaking a can with pennies inside.
8. Keep your puppy crated to minimise potty accidents.
Never let your furry pal freely roam around the house whilst his puppy pads training is ongoing. Otherwise, he is very likely to pee and eliminate in random areas in your home. Crating prevents these unwanted accidents from happening.
Canines instinctively avoid soiling the area where they sleep. Thus, keeping him confined in a crate will make him “hold it.” It prevents him from making a mess, especially when you are not around to supervise.
Do keep in mind that the crate’s size is an important factor. It should not be excessively spacious, or else your puppy might end up relieving himself on one end of the area and sleeping on the other end.
A few pointers to remember when choosing a crate is that it must be only big enough for him to stand, turn around, and lie down.
Another popular question amongst dog owners is, “Should I put a puppy pad in the crate at night?” The answer is no. Avoid placing a puppy training pad within the crate, as it will encourage your pet to urinate inside.
9. Know when to take your pet to the pee pad training area.
Bring your puppy to his designated indoor potty area each hour. The more frequently you send him on bathroom trips, the less likely potty accidents are going to happen.
It is also advised to let him empty his bladder and bowels 10–20 minutes after playtime, after eating, after gulping down large amounts of water, after waking up from a nap, and before heading to bed.
10. Keep a close eye on your puppy for any indication of pooping.
Prevent potty accidents ahead of time by recognising the signs that your puppy is about to poop. Here are some of the most common signs:
- A sudden shift in attention
- Smelling the floor
- Sniffing the groin or rear
If your puppy displays these hints, bring him to the designated puppy pad training area immediately.
What should you do if he eliminates even before reaching the puppy pads? Clap your hands loudly as a distraction to stop him from relieving himself. Then carry him quickly to the indoor potty area.
11. Encourage your pet to go potty on the puppy training pads.
How do you train a puppy to pee and poop on the pad? Let him sniff and explore the puppy pad training area until he finds a comfortable spot to relieve himself.
As soon as he is about to go potty, use a marker word such as “go poop.” Say it the moment he relieves himself so that he will associate his behaviour with that chosen word. Repeatedly doing this with the right timing will consequently make him potty on cue.
Make sure to shower your puppy with plenty of treats and praises. Do this whilst he is in the middle of urinating or eliminating. This will help him establish that you found his behaviour to be desirable.
12. Make potty time an uninteresting activity for your puppy.
Avoid talking or playing with your furry pal when in the puppy pad training area. He needs to learn how to separate playtime from potty time. Giving him attention will only distract him from the task at hand.
As much as possible, place your dog on a 6-feet-long lead even if you are indoors. It will help you keep him in control in case he becomes rowdy. Wait for 10–15 minutes and see if he goes potty.
Do not give him any reward if he doesn’t. Instead, put him in the crate and wait for another 10–15 minutes before leading him back to the puppy pad training area.
13. Let your puppy sniff the soiled potty pad.
It might seem disgusting, but allowing your dog to sniff the used puppy training mat will aid in reinforcing good potty training habits. The scent of his urine will act as a marker, teaching him where he should carry out his business.
14. Observe which area of the puppy training pads your dog potties frequently.
Over time, your puppy will be able to establish a specific area where he relieves himself. Once this happens, gradually remove other training mats for puppies he does not usually use. This will reduce the size of his indoor potty area as well as lessen the number of soiled pee pads.
15. Transitioning to outdoor potty training.
How to use a puppy pad and outdoor potty training? Pick a designated door for your puppy to use during his outdoor potty training. Then gradually move the puppy training pad toward it. Make sure to praise your puppy every time he uses the pee pad.
However, if accidents become frequent after moving the puppy training pad, it is a sign that you moved it too early. Place it back to its original place and wait for another day before slowly moving it again.
Once the potty accidents have stopped, you can begin switching from indoor puppy pad training to outdoor potty training. Look for an area on your lawn that makes an ideal space for your puppy to relieve himself.
Take the puppy training mat with you whenever you let your puppy out to go potty. Place it on the designated outdoor potty area you have picked out for him. Doing so will help him associate this spot with the puppy training pad.
It is a good idea to place some dirt and grass on the pee pad. This will get your puppy accustomed to pottying outdoors. After a few days, you can remove the training mat for puppies and see if he does his business without it.
16. Reapply the methods you have carried out during the puppy pads training.
Make sure to let your puppy wear the 6-foot lead as you bring him outside. Remember to keep his potty time as boring as possible. Otherwise, he will not be able to focus on doing his business.
When he begins pooping, use the marker word so he understands that he is doing a favourable behaviour. Do not be stingy with rewards too. Offer him a lot of praises and treats when he starts relieving himself in the appropriate area.
Do this consistently, and your puppy will eventually feel more and more comfortable pottying outside.
17. Wean your pet off puppy training pads.
How long should you use puppy pads? There is no set time when you should stop using puppy pads. However, in general, if he waits for you to lead him to the potty area before relieving himself, it is a good time to stop using pee pads.
Some pawrents also ask: “When to stop using puppy pads at night?” Once your pup can go through bedtime without pottying, you can stop leading him to the outdoor pee pad area at night.
There are many approaches to weaning your puppy from pee pads. Here are a few tips that you can incorporate:
- Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove any remaining pet odour on his indoor potty area. Eliminating the odour keeps your puppy from seeking out his puppy pads and making potty accidents.
- In some instances, your puppy may head to his indoor potty area to relieve himself. Prevent this from becoming a habit by making that area inaccessible, such as placing a baby gate.
- Keep him tethered to you with a lead when indoors. It will keep him from sneaking away and prevent potty accidents.
Tie the lead around your waist so you can go about your business whilst monitoring him. Once he shows signs of needing to go, lead him outside.
Successfully transitioning your puppy from indoor potty training to outdoor potty training takes time. Most puppies complete housebreaking around 4–6 months. For others, it may take a little bit longer.
Thus, always practise patience. Do not shout or hurt your puppy if potty accidents happen. Otherwise, it will only lead him to become scared, which can impede his training.
Make better progress by ensuring that his potty training is a positive experience. Take this as a good opportunity to create a strong bond with your canine friend.