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

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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

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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

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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

Question
Frank
Dachshund
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Frank
Dachshund
9 Weeks

The first few days we brought frank home, he did really well going to the bathroom on his pee pads. Now it seems every day he is getting worse. Having more “accidents”and deliberately not going on them. I will take him to the pad and say “potty” every hour or when he looks like he needs to go and he won’t go then will go immediately once he hits a soft surface. Today he went in his bed twice and his crate once within minutes after i took him and he would not go on the pad. Sometimes he even looks me in the eye as he goes where he knows not to. He never has gone in his bed or crate before. Everyday seems to get a little worse and further away. What is going wrong

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amy, I suggest switching from using pee pads to using a real grass pad or a litter box. Some puppies have a very hard time differentiating pee pads from other surfaces like rugs and carpets. They naturally do not feel like they should be peeing there. Once you make the switch, if you want him to use an indoor toilet, then follow the "Exercise Pen" or "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy If you want him to learn to go potty outside later, then go ahead and start that process by following the "Tethering" method or the "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Also, here is a link to a real grass pad. They are more expensive but each one is advertised to last two weeks. https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rocky
Cocker Spaniel
6 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rocky
Cocker Spaniel
6 Weeks

I want to train him to potty inside his crate, located in the living room, and sleep on a little bed, also located in the living room. How can I do so efficiently?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexandra, First of all unless that was a typo on your request, I STRONGLY recommend that you do NOT teach Rocky to use the potty INSIDE of a crate. That will make all future crate training and possibly potty training attempts, as well as the ability to travel with your dog, board your dog, and possibly re-home your dog if needed almost impossible. A dog has a natural instinct to hold his bladder in a confined, den-like space, which a crate resembles. This instinct can be utilized for potty training and teaching a dog to keep his areas clean, which many dogs are able to eventually generalize to the rest of your home, for potty training. A crate is also an important tool for dealing with separation anxiety, preventing destructive chewing, boredom barking, self-soothing, self-entertainment, and for confining him to keep him safe. Teaching a dog to pee in a crate prevents you from using the crate for any of those purposes. If you wish to train this, then I suggest using a litter box without a lid instead, so that you will still be able to use a crate for other things later on. The litter box will also be more open so that it should not interfere with the instinct to hold his bladder in a confined space, since he will not be locked in an enclosed, den-like area, but will instead be in an open box type area. To litter box train, check out the article that I have linked below. You can use a real grass pad or another potty material inside the litter box structure in place of the litter if you wish. Just make sure that the potty material does not resemble other materials in your home, like fabric and carpeting and rugs. If it does resemble those things, then you might end up with a puppy who pees on rugs and fabric too because she does not understand the difference. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy To teach him to sleep on his own bed check out the article that I have linked below. Anytime that you catch him laying on his own bed without being told after you have taught him to go there using one of the methods from the article, then randomly go over to him without saying anything and place a treat between his paws to encourage him to lay on his bed more in the future by choice. https://wagwalking.com/training/sleep-in-a-dog-bed Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Izzy
Pug-Zu
8 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Izzy
Pug-Zu
8 Weeks

My puppy is doing really well with peeing on her pee pads but not so well with pooping. She will do it almost anywhere besides the pads. Is there anything I can do to make her more sucessful with this? Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, The first thing that you can try to help Izzy poop on the pad is to purchase a spray designed to encourage elimination. This spray can be found at most large pet stores or online. It is typically called "Hurry Spray", "Training Spray", "Puppy Training Spray", or something similar. Spray the spray onto the pad and lead her over to the area. Encourage her to sniff the pad by keeping her on a leash near the pad or by placing the pad into an exercise pen so that she cannot wander off. Also, make sure that you lead her over to the pee pad fifteen minutes after she eats, in addition to normal potty break times, because most puppies this age need to poop after eating. Keep her by the pee pad for up to thirty minutes after you take her, after she has eaten. Tell her to "Go Potty" so that she will learn that phrase overtime. If she goes, then praise her when she finishes and give her five small treats that she likes, one treat at a time. Whenever she is free, supervise her closely, and if she tends to wander away from you and have accidents, then attach her to yourself when she is free for as long as she is still potty training, with a light weight leash. If you see her squat down or begin to sniff around to find an area to poop, then quietly and quickly rush her over to the pee pad and tell her to "Go Potty" there. If she gets distracted again, then spray the spray onto the pad and let her sniff it to remind her what she is supposed to be doing. After she is pooping on the pad regularly, then you can leave one small poop on the pad rather than use the spray, to encourage her to continue pooping there, until she is potty trained. If you prefer the spray, then you can continue to use that instead though. The key with all of this is to encourage her to eliminate on the pads with scent, to prevent her from being allowed to eliminate anywhere else by supervising her closely, and to reward her when she goes so that she will want to poop on the pad in the future. Be sure to clean up an accidents with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes because only enzymes will break down the poop enough to remove the smell for a dog. Any remaining smell will encourage her to poop in that same location. If none of that works, then you will need to use a crate for a little while. To use a crate, follow the "Crate Training" method found in the article bellow. Instead of taking your puppy outside like the method describes, when it is time for her to go, lead her over to the pee pad instead. Once she is consistently pooping on the pee pad and not in other places, then you can stop using the crate if you wish. Here is the crate training article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Another option is to utilize an Exercise Pen when you cannot supervise her, so that she cannot wander away from where the pee pad is. To use an Exercise Pen follow the "Exercise Pen" method in this article bellow, and simply substitute the litter box in this method for a pee pad, unless you would prefer to switch to a litter box in general. Here is the Exercise Pen method article: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy If you are still having issues after trying all of that, they you might need to consider switching to a litter box or to taking her outside to eliminate. She might have an aversion to pooping on the soft, fabric type material of the pee pads. I would not worry about that possibility until she is closer to twelve weeks and showing no improvement at all in this area despite you following the training, unless you simply want to make the switch. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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