How to Train Your Dog to Use a Pee Pad

Medium
4-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

There may be many reasons a dog needs to be trained to pee on a pee pad. Dog owners who are immobile may not be able to take their dog outside often enough for the dog to eliminate. Some owners train puppies on pee pads before training the dog to go outside. City dwellers without yards might decide to use a pee pad for their dog inside the apartment. Moreover, older dogs who might not make it outside may find their last years easier using a pee pad. Small breed dogs are often taught to use pee pads because the outdoor elements may be difficult for them to handle as the seasons change. Teaching your dog to use a pee pad could eliminate stress for you as well as your dog. He will not be left fearing punishment after having an accident, and you will not have to worry about messes to clean from carpets and floors.

Defining Tasks

Using a verbal command such as “potty” will help teach your dog where to go. Pee pad training your dog is not difficult, but it does require patience. To be successful, someone will have to be with your dog for long periods of time over the first few days to show him your expectations for using the pee pads. Puppies will be easier to train to use pee pads, however, adults can be trained as well. It just may take more time and patience, as you are not only teaching him a new skill but potentially changing previous habits. If you want your dog to eliminate on a pee pad always, be prepared for the materials you need and have a space partitioned off within your home to do the training. Keep the pads in the same place, because moving them may require retraining for your dog.

Getting Started

You will need a few items on hand before you begin to train your dog to pee on pee pads.

  • Pee pads
  • Treats for rewards
  • Patience
  • Time with the dog to encourage eliminating every hour or two

The Room of Pee Pads Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Room of Pee Pads method for Use a Pee Pad
Step
1
Set up
Place pee pads across the entire floor of a small room. When possible, use a hard surface floor instead of carpet.
Step
2
Introduce command
As your dog is learning to use the pee pads, place him in the room with a “potty” command or another verbal cue.
Step
3
Get acquainted
Each time you visit the room with your pup, let him sniff around without allowing him to play.
Step
4
Reward
Once the dog eliminates, use the command word again and offer your dog a treat.
Step
5
Timing
While training, be sure to visit the room often. About ten minutes after eating, visit the pee pad room with your dog, repeating the steps above.
Step
6
Monitor and reinforce
Keep a close eye on your dog as he trains to use the pee pads. Reward for positive behaviors and redirect if he has an accident elsewhere.
Step
7
Keep it up
Keep actively training your dog until he can go into the room by himself to eliminate.
Step
8
Reduce pee pads
As he learns what the pads are for, you can remove some pads and keep only what you need in that room instead of covering the entire floor.
Recommend training method?

The Keeping a Pee Pad Method

Effective
3 Votes
Keeping a Pee Pad method for Use a Pee Pad
Step
1
Location
Keep your puppy partitioned off and confined to a small area, either a room or a crate large enough for your dog to have a sleeping area separate from her potty area.
Step
2
Set up
Cover the entire potty area with pee pads and leave your dog.
Step
3
Introduce command
Take your dog to the potty pad often and use the “potty” command.
Step
4
Reward
Reward good behaviors while on the pad.
Step
5
Redirect
If your puppy begins to play or does not eliminate after a few minutes, remove him from the pad and place him back in his sleeping or playing area.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat these steps often, keeping in mind a puppy can typically hold his bladder one hour for every month he is old.
Step
7
Redirect
If your dog has an accident, blot the urine onto a paper towel and place the paper towel on the pee pad to attract your dog’s sense of smell.
Step
8
Reduce pads
Over time, as your dog learns to use the pee pad, you can decrease the number of pee pads in your dog’s space and open his space to include more of the house.
Recommend training method?

The Keeping Your Dog Away from Pee Pads Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Keeping Your Dog Away from Pee Pads method for Use a Pee Pad
Step
1
Monitor
Keep a close eye on your dog as you bond and play together.
Step
2
Go to pee pad
Every few minutes, leash walk your dog to a pee pad you have in a separate place within your home.
Step
3
Introduce command
Place your dog on the pee pad and say a command such as “potty,” so he can associate the word with the action of eliminating.
Step
4
Redirect
Only keep your dog on the pee pad for a few minutes. If he does not eliminate, do not allow him to play.
Step
5
Leave potty area
Leash walk him back to the area where you two play and bond.
Step
6
Repeat
Continue this process with the understanding that once he goes, he should be able to hold his bladder one hour for every month he is old.
Step
7
Reward
Once he is successful, use the command and treat reward for praise.
Step
8
Continue
Repeat this process until your dog begins to lead you on his leash to the puppy pad himself. Remember to reward your dog each time he uses the potty on the pee pad
Step
9
Train with accidents
Try to catch him in an accident and take him to the pee pad with command words and a treat if he is successful.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Toby
Biewer Terrier
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Toby
Biewer Terrier
1 Month

When my dog is in his play pan, he goes to potty on his pee pad, sometimes he has even accidents in his play pan. When I let him out to explore the room with potty pads placed in one area of the room, he doesn’t even pay attention to pee pads and relive himself everywhere specially on carpets.
Most of the time he plays and eat the blue part of the pee pad. Would you please help me to understand how train him?
Thanks a million for your help in advance.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
94 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

Add a comment to Toby's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
11 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
11 Weeks

We have set up a playpen with a crate for her. We have kept 2-3 pee pads inside the pen making sure it is away from her crate and providing some non pee pad place for her to play. However she don't consistently pee on the pads. Sometimes she pee just on the edge or sometimes entirely outside the pad. Can you tell me how can we teach her to pee in the pad always.
Thanks.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anjali, First, keep an eye on her whenever she is in there and you are home and reward with a treat each time you see her pee on the pad instead of elsewhere. In addition to rewarding her, you can either cover the entire pen with pee pads, reward each time she goes on a pad, then gradually decrease the number of pads as she improves, or you can crate train pup and take pup to the pee pad pen area on leash, rewarding pup each time she goes potty there. With the crate training option, I recommend doing that for a couple of weeks, until pup is consistently peeing on the pads when you take her, then you can switch to the exercise pen method once she is targeting the pads well - which is similar to what you are doing now with the exercise pen, for convenience sake for the rest of potty training. Doing crate training for a week or two before switching to the exercise pen method, tends to be the most effective way for most puppies, but covering the pen with pads and decreasing overtime works for some puppies. Either way, it's important to reward with a treat when pup goes in the right spot. These methods mention a litter box, but pee pads, disposable real grass pads (which tend to be the least confusing for pups), and doggie litter boxes can all be used with these methods. Crate Training method https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Trixie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
veer
Golden Retriever
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
veer
Golden Retriever
1 Month

pee pad training

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
94 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

Add a comment to veer's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Shy
Terrier mix
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Shy
Terrier mix
3 Months

We are in the process of potty training my puppy to poop and pee outside, so far so good. But the problem is when she is inside the house, she doesn’t know to go to the pee pad to let go. She would pee if she needs to go. How as we train her to pee on the whole inside as we continue to train her to pee/poop outside.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michi, If your goal is for her to only go potty outside in the long run, I suggest removing pee pads entirely, following the crate training method or a combination of the crate training method and tethering method from the article below, and simply going straight to outside potty training to avoid future confusion and an easier, overall potty training process. In general, a the maximum amount of time a puppy can hold their bladder for during the day is their age in months plus one - meaning 3-4 hours hours for your pup right now, and 4-5 hours once pup is 4 months of age. Take pup out more frequently like the method describes when home, and when you are gone off, crate pup and make sure pup is taken out at least every 3-4 hours at this age. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are wanting pup to learn how to go potty inside and outside long term, I suggest following the Exercise Pen or Crate Training method from the article linked below. Bring pup either outside or to the pad on a leash like the method describes if following the crate training method. If pup doesn't go potty, return pup to the crate like the method describes, then try again after 30-45 minutes. Repeating this cycle until pup finally goes on the pad or outside - at which time you will praise and reward with a treat. Exercise Pen and Crate Training methods - mentions a litter box but the training steps are the same using a pee pad and grass pad too. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy If you are trying to teach pup to go potty inside and outside, I would suggest switching from a pee pad to a disposable real grass pad for the sake of consistency, to avoid pup confusing fabrics like carpet and rugs with pee pads. Disposable Real Grass Pad brands - on amazon too: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Finally, when setting up your indoor toilet/pad, choose where you want the pad to be long-term. Part of indoor potty training is teaching pup isn't okay to go potty in a specific spot, not just on that type of surface, so the location of the pad needs to stay the same as much as possible right now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Shy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Winnie
Pomapoo
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Winnie
Pomapoo
12 Weeks

My dog Winnie is 3 months now. She has 2 areas with a puppy pad. She pees on them sometimes but also goes to the bathroom all over the house. I cannot get her to poop on the pads or consistently pee on them. Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maria, It sounds like pup doesn't understand the concept. The pee pads themselves are easily confused with other fabric type surfaces for puppies. I suggest checking out the article I have linked below and following the Exercise Pen method with pup. You can use a litter box, pee pads, or a disposable real grass pad with this method and the steps should be the same. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pads - can be good for pups who confuse pee pads with carpet and rugs, but the exercise pen method will still be needed for training this. Also available on Amazon: www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com www.freshpatch.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Winnie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd