How to Train Your Dog to Use Fake Grass

Medium
1-2 Months
General

Introduction

Training your dog to go potty outside is hard enough, but what if you need to leave your pup alone at home for hours at a time. You can't leave him kenneled for this long on a daily basis as it is not healthy. Your pup will not pee or poop in his kennel unless he has no choice, just as a wolf will not defecate or urinate in his den. One way to deal with this is to train your dog to use fake grass both indoors and out.

By doing this, you can teach your pup to do his business on a small piece of fake grass that is placed in a specific place in your home. Not only will this keep any messes he might make all in one place, it will allow him to be free in your home instead of caged up for hours at a time. The same concepts can be applied to help your dog adapt to using artificial turf outside in your yard, if necessary. 

Defining Tasks

The concept is to teach your pup that it is only okay for him to relieve himself in your home when he does so on the fake grass. The only real problem with this is that if you have already trained him to go outside to go potty it can be hard to train him to do so in the house. This is a big change for both of you, who have worked so hard to get him to go outside.

The best way to make this training stick is to pick one location in your home to place the fake grass and leave it there. Moving it around will only confuse your pup and make it that much harder to successfully train your pup. Be aware that it can take your pup a few weeks to master this skill and not forget how to do his business outside when appropriate. 

Getting Started

Start training your pup during a time when your house is nice and quiet. It is so much easier to train when there aren't any distractions. Be sure to choose a spot in your home with a hard floor, not carpet. It is possible, at least in the beginning, that your pup might miss the fake grass from time to time and his urine may soak through onto the floor. You will also need a few supplies, including:

  • Treats: You need a way to reward your pup.
  • Leash: To lead your dog to the fake grass and hold him there until he goes potty.
  • The fake grass: You need a large piece of fake grass that can be cut to size as needed.
  • Patience: This type of training takes plenty of patience if you want it to be successful.
  • Time: Be prepared, it will take your pup some time to master this new "skill."

Once you have all supplies gathered, the only thing left for you is to commit to the time needed to work with your pup several times a day until he masters this skill. The good news is your pup is very smart and loves learning new things, make use of this along with plenty of treats and he will soon know where to go potty when he can't get outside. 

The Pick a Spot Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Choose your spot or rather, his
Pick a spot in your home for your pup's fake grass potty. It should be on linoleum, tiles, hardwood, anything but carpet. If you don't have a spot like this, you can put plastic or a tray under the fake grass to protect the floor beneath. Once you have chosen a spot, stick to it, as moving it around will only confuse him.
Step
2
Never trust your dog
Just because your pup understands that the real grass outside is where he is supposed to go potty, don't assume he will automatically start using the "fake grass" on the inside. Chances are he won't want to, especially now that you have worked so hard to get him to go outside.
Step
3
Back to potty training 101
Remember taking your puppy outside every half hour whether he looked like he needed to go or not? Well, training him to use the fake grass on the inside will be a lot like doing this all over again. Keep your pup on a leash at the beginning and walk him over to the fake grass every 30 minutes or so. When he goes potty, be sure to reward him and give him lots of praise.
Step
4
Take the leash off
Now you should be able to take his leash off and let him roam free. Keep a close eye on him and watch to see if he goes to the fake grass or tries to go somewhere else. If he goes on the fake grass, give him a treat, if not go back to working with him on a leash until he does.
Step
5
Repeat this step
Repeat this until your pup will go over to the mat on his own without the leash on. Each time he goes potty on the fake grass successfully, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Recommend training method?

The Dogs Love Routine Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Pick a spot
Find a safe place in your home to place the fake grass, one that you can leave it in place and that your dog will be able to find easily that is not near his kennel if you use one.
Step
2
Take it to the mat
Just like in the early days of potty training your dog, you will need to take him to the mat (fake grass) frequently during the day, when you first get up, just before bedtime, and after meals or when he drinks a lot of water.
Step
3
Stand in place
Once you have your dog standing on the fake grass, make him stand there for ten minutes. The idea is to give him enough time to decide he needs to go potty. If he finally goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
When he won't go
If he hasn't gone potty after ten minutes, release him and keep a close eye on him. If he shows any indication that he might need to go potty, usher him over to the fake grass. This may take a while, but you need to watch him closely or you may end up with messes to clean up.
Step
5
Keep trying
Once your pup has decided that it's okay to use the fake grass as his potty, the rest involves plenty of practice, but in time he will get the message and you will no longer have messes to clean up.
Recommend training method?

The Getting Smaller Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Pick a room
Find a room in your house that has a solid floor such as the kitchen or bathroom, one that you can confine your dog in during the training process. It should be a room in which you can cover the bulk of the floor with fake grass.
Step
2
Lay out the grass
Lay the roll of fake grass out flat, leaving as little open floor as possible for your dog to use instead of the grass.
Step
3
Enter the pup
Place your pup in the room and barricade him in it. When he does his business on the fake grass, be sure to give him treats and a heap of praise.
Step
4
Reduction time
Start cutting the fake grass, making it smaller by about one foot all around every three days. If he keeps going on the fake grass, give him plenty of treats. If not, put the fake grass you cut out back in place and work with him until you can start removing sections again.
Step
5
Work your way down
Keep repeating this process until you have cut the piece of fake grass down to the size you plan to use. Keep working with your pup using treats until he never misses the fake grass and voila! Your pup will always use the fake grass in the house to go potty.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Oliver
Shih Tzu
2 Months
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Question
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Oliver
Shih Tzu
2 Months

I recently purchased an artificial grass pad for my pup, but he constantly takes his toys on the pad and does more playing than eliminating. Is there anyway I can get him to realize it is strictly just for eliminating? I've looked into the potty sprays but I dont want to spend the money if it's not worth anything.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Makalya, The problem is that Oliver has no reason to differentiate the fake grass from the rest of the house. He needs a strict potty training schedule and close supervision, or confinement between potty trips. Either attach a six to eight foot leash to Oliver and to yourself when you cannot focus sole on just him, so that he will stay close to you, confine him to a crate when you will be gone or cannot supervise or attach him to yourself, or directly supervise him so that you will immediately catch any attempts to go potty or indicate that he needs to go. Also, whenever you are home take him to the fake grass every hour on a leash and tell him to "Go Potty". If you don't want to use a leash you can place the fake grass in an Exercise Pen to keep him from wandering off of it or bringing toys onto it. Taking him to the fake grass and telling him to "Go Potty" will be the most effective in the morning after he has held his bladder overnight. When he goes potty, then give him three small, soft treats or pieces of his dog food and praise him enthusiastically. Repeat this every hour while he is young and learning where to go on his own. If he does not go potty when you take him, then take him again in thirty minutes. Continue to try every thirty minutes until he goes potty on the fake grass. If he is having accidents even while following this schedule or simply will not pee on the fake grass, then he needs to be crate trained. You can use the crate to teach a dog to go in almost any area, not just outside. While in a crate, a dog naturally tries to hold his bladder because of his inherit instincts to keep a confined space clean. Crate training means that he is either in a crate where he does not want to pee and poop or on the fake grass where he is more likely to pee and poop, unless his bladder is completely empty. By crate training him you remove all the other options of places he could pee until he learns to go in the right spot by himself. It also forces him to pee on the correct spot so that you can reward him for it and teach him that that was correct. By rewarding him you will help him to want to go in that spot instead of somewhere else. Here is an article on crate training. Follow the "Crate Training" method, and instead of taking him outside to go potty like the article mentions, take him to your fake grass area instead each time. If you can get him to pee on the fake grass simply by crating him, then you probably don't need the pee spray. The spray simply makes the training go faster and works well for dogs that are having a hard time making the connection between an area and peeing. When they smell it, it essentially reminds them of going to the bathroom so that they are thinking about that while in that area instead of being as distracted by other things. Once your puppy goes in the correct area a few time he should begin to associate that area with peeing more and be less distracted. Potty Training with the crate article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

My situation is that my puppy 13 weeks old, is holding her pee and poop until I get home (4 hours) and when I place her in the fake grass, she still wants to go out and poop or pee. HELP

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Question
Jane
Pit bull
11 Weeks
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Jane
Pit bull
11 Weeks

When we first got Jane at 6 weeks we trained her to pee and poop on pee pads. She did so good and mastered it fast. However over the last few days she has decided to no longer pee in her pee pads and goes any where in house. We got the artificial grass and have placed it where her pads used to be in addition to putting one on our porch. I can’t get her to go on the grass either. Help please

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jeanette, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Exercise Pen" method but use the faek grass instead of a litter box like the article mentions. You can also use disposable real grass pads instead. The scent of the grass tends to encourage peeing even more. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2950812127482351126&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Prancer
Australian Cattle, German Shepherd
7 Years
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Question
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Prancer
Australian Cattle, German Shepherd
7 Years

My dog is trained to use the yard as her bathroom. Recently due to new circumstances that make this so much more annoying we made a grass spot on the porch for her. I try to let her out often but we are having difficulty getting her to go ON the grass. She seems to avoid it. I’ve tried putting real grass shavings on it and putting her urine smell on it, and keeping it clean from poop but she still seems to avoid it and pee on the regular porch instead OR pee/poo in the house. I’ve gotten her to pee with me out there a few times but she doesn’t like to poo with people watching. I plan to use method two(patterns) but wasn’t sure if you had other suggestions for my situation. I’m a new mom and her stubbornness is really stressing me out, please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jazzmyn, I would suggest trying method two like you mentioned. If that does not work there are a couple of other things you can do. The first is to lay a piece of real grass sod on top of the area until she gets used to going in that location on the grass. When he will go there on her own, then you can leave remove the piece of sod and leave some of the dirt and grass blades on the fake grass to reminder her of the sod, like you tried before. After she will eliminate on that, then you can remove the remaining dirt and grass. I suspect that the issue is the consistency and feel of the fake grass. Fake grass feels more like carpeting than regular grass does and can also be spikey and uncomfortable on sensitive dogs' paws. Using real grass will help her form a habit of going in that spot so that she will be less discouraged by the fake grass later on, and the habit will hopefully trump the unpleasantness of the fake grass. While you are doing this, every time that she eliminates on the grass sod give her at least three small treats, one at a time. This will help her to associate peeing and pooping in that area with rewards, which should help her continue eliminating in that area once you remove the grass later on. Another option is to substitute the sod for a wide litter box made out of a large, shallow plastic tray and cat litter. Many dogs prefer litter boxes over fake grass or pee pads. Since your dog is larger you can create a shallow one out of a wide plastic tray. A third option is to use crate training with her temporarily to force her to pee on the area until she gets used to going there. To do this, start on a day when you will be at home all day, like the beginning of the weekend. Place her into a crate with a chew toy, such as a food stuffed Kong, and then when it is time to take her out to go potty, attach a leash to her and quickly lead her over to the fake grass and tell her to "Go Potty". Stand by the fake grass with her for five to ten minutes and wait for her to go. If she does not go, then immediately take her back inside and place her back into the crate for thirty to forty-five minutes. After that time has passed, then take her to the fake grass again, tell her to "Go Potty", and wait for her to go there. Repeat crating her and taking her to go potty until she will go on the fake grass, and when she does go give her at least five treats, one at a time, praise her profusely, and then give her three hours of free time before placing her back into the crate until she needs to eliminate again. Repeat this entire process for as many consecutive days as you can, until she will start to go over to the fake grass on her own when she needs to go. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Guero
adopted
8 Weeks
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Question
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Guero
adopted
8 Weeks

My dog has 8 weeks old and doesn't want to use the synthetic grass. I made the mistake (i think it was) of making his potty spot larger with potty pads but he only uses those and plays on the grass. Is there a way to make him use the grass to pee and poop so that i can eventually use no more potty pads?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anna, If he will use the Pee Pads just fine, then place one Pee Pad in the middle of the fake grass for Guero to go on. When he gets comfortable going there, then slowly decrease the size of the Pee Pad overtime by cutting or tearing the sides of your Pee Pads off. Do this until the Pee Pads are only three or four square inches wide and he will go on it and the fake grass also because the Pee Pad is not large enough to contain all of his urine anymore. When he reaches that point, then remove the Pee Pads altogether so that he is peeing only on the grass. Reward him with three small treats every time that you catch him peeing on the fake grass until he develops a habit of going there. You can also skip straight to removing the Pee Pads completely by spraying a Potty Elimination Spray, such as "Go Here" or "Hurry Spray", on the fake grass and taking him over to the area on leash when his bladder is full. To get his bladder full enough without causing him to have an accident, place him into a crate for one hour. At the end of the hour, clip a leash on him and bring him over to the fake grass and tell him to "Go Potty". If he goes then give him four small treats, one treat at a time .If he does not go, then take him back to the crate and place him back inside for thirty minutes, then take him over to the area again. Repeat this until he goes potty on the fake grass when you take him and you can reward him for it. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to use the crate to teach him to go potty on the fake grass. 1. Do not let him stop on his way from the crate to the grass or he might have an accident on the floor. 2. Make sure you stick to the schedule very strictly until he gets comfortable going potty on the grass. When he is comfortable, then you can go back to your original method of potty training if you wish. 3. Make sure that you reward him when he goes potty there so that he will want to go potty there instead of somewhere else. 4. Make sure that his bed, food, and water are not within a couple of feet of the fake grass or he might avoid peeing there to keep those things clean. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Captain
German Shepherd
11 Weeks
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Question
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Captain
German Shepherd
11 Weeks

Hi.My main problem is at night.I left him alone at night with my bedroom door open and he would mess up the whole house(Eliminate at 5 different spots).I bought fake grass to put in my room at night with a closed bedroom door.The thing that worries me is that I want him to potty outside on the real grass because I have a big yard and now I'm scared he will only potty on the fake grass.(FIY:He stays outside most of the day and only comes inside at night and when I am there).Will this idea of mine work because I cant wake up every 4 hours to take him outside.
Thank You

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lou, Some dogs will potty on both fake grass and real grass no problem. Since Captain is so young and is just now learning to go potty outside, the most important thing is to emphasize using the bathroom outside more than inside. You need to spend time potty training him. You need to use a method that teaches him to hold his bladder when there is not a toilet area present, and to only relieve himself when there is grass or fake grass available. Opposed to just going to the bathroom whenever he feels the urge, like an outside-only dog would. The easiest way to teach that is to crate train him because dog's have a natural instinct to hold their bladders inside a confined space where they eat and sleep. The crate needs to be large enough for him to lay down and stand up, but not so large that he can use the bathroom on one end and stand in the other end of the crate, away from his mess. Buying a large crate and using the included wire divider to temporarily make the crate smaller accomplishes this without having to buy multiple crates. If you are spending time taking him outside to go potty, praising him and rewarding him when he pees and poops outside, and supervising him or confining him inside so that he will not an accident, then he may learn to only use the fake grass and grass and not go potty just anywhere in the house. The main concern with the fake grass so early on in his training is that he might start to have accidents when you remove the fake grass later. You can take that risk if you choose, and increase your chance that he will be fine by taking him outside to go potty and rewarding him for going with treats. You can wake up during the night to take him to go potty. In about a month he should only need to go potty once during the night or possibly not at all. When dogs sleep their bladders sort of shut off, allowing them to hold it for longer during the night. If he is going more than once by 16 weeks of age, then he is probably crying for attention and not because he needs to go potty. In the long run, taking him to go potty during the night will be less work, but he needs to be crate trained and to sleep in his crate at night to prevent accidents and bad habits from forming until he is potty trained. When you crate him at night, either crate him where you can hear him if he wakes up and needs to go potty, or set an alarm to take him. Another option, that is the compromise between the first two options, is to create a real grass toilet area for him, so that he will learn to pee on grass and the training will transfer more easily to the outdoors. To do this, purchase a piece of real grass sod, cut the sod into the correct size that you want, and place the grass sod in a container, like a large plastic storage container or sealed wooden box that is not too tall. Set up an Exercise Pen, place the grass toilet in one end of the Exercise Pen and a chew-proof bed, like a PrimoPad that can be ordered online, on the other end of the Exercise Pen. Have Captain sleep in that pen near the toilet so that he will go to the toilet as needed. You can also place him in the Exercise Pen when he is inside and you cannot supervise him, to prevent him from having accidents inside. When he is able to hold his bladder through the night, then you can place the grass toilet outside on the grass and take him to pee on it there. When he gets used to that, you can gradually take away part of it overtime, until you are only left with the grass in the yard and he will pee in your yard without the toilet. I recommend spending time taking outside to pee and rewarding him for peeing during the day while he is using the grass toilet at night still. You ultimately want him to prefer peeing outside. It is easier to create a new habit than break an old one. You want him to develop a habit of peeing outside while he is young. When you take away the indoor toilet, either the grass sod toilet or the fake grass toilet, when he can hold his bladder overnight, you might still need to crate train him to teach him to try to hold his bladder, since he may be used to peeing more frequently than he has to because it was convenience before. Keep this in mind when choosing a method. Also, the reason I suggest real grass instead of fake grass, even though they look similar, is because they are not that similar to a dog. Fake grass it made out of a plastic type substance and does not smell like grass. To a dog it is completely different and they do not associate the two with each other normally. Fake grass is better than Pee Pads because fake grass does not look that much like other areas in your home, like your rug and shirt, so fake grass is still a better option than Pee Pads. Real grass will likely stink if you use it, but it will be temporary, and will be an easier transition since it is the same as real grass. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Howl and Calcifer
Dachshund and Cairn Terrier
3 Years
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Question
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Howl and Calcifer
Dachshund and Cairn Terrier
3 Years

My boys are trained to go outside, but I want them to have the option to use a patch of turf for when we are away at work or really gone for any amount of time longer than 5 hours. I have set up an area in a quiet corner with the turf as well as a puppy pad. I put them on the leash and bring them over to it. I've always praised them with "[good] potty" whenever they've gone outside, so I use potty to indicate the area I've set up as well. Usually they will sniff at the turf (which I encourage) but then just sit/lie down on it (I don't know if I should discourage this or just wait it out). I've also tried to find things that other dogs have marked on and brought them to the turf in an attempt to entice them to mark over it or at least know that urine is alright there (was this unwise?). Nothing has worked and it's been some time. I always end up caving and bringing them outside because I don't want them to cause themselves kidney damage or blood toxicity in their ardent adherence to being good boys and not peeing inside. I know that caving in can reinforce that all the need to do is wait long enough, but I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jeffrey, You are essentially trying to get them to break two new rules at once in their minds. The first is to pee inside. The second is to pee on a plastic type surface, which is what turf essentially is. Grass turf does not look or smell like real grass to a dog and puppy Pads closely resemble carpeting to many dogs. I would suggest removing the Pee Pads immediately because they can cause long term accidents if your dog does not differentiate between the pads and other fabric surfaces, like carpet and rugs, well. For the grass turf, try placing some grass turf outside where your dogs normally pee. Encourage each dog to go potty on the turf outside, where he is less likely to feel like he is breaking a rule. If he needs further encouragement, then spray a potty encouraging spray on the fake grass or have another dog pee on it or place one of your dog's feces on it. When your dog goes to the bathroom on it, praise him and offer him several treats. Practice this until he is completely comfortable going on the fake grass outside. When he is comfortable with that, then practice on the grass turf inside. First, try taking the dogs over to the piece of grass turf that they are used to peeing on outside by moving that turf inside. If the grass turf is gross, you do not have to use that specific piece long term but the smell of it will help temporarily. After the dogs are used to peeing on that, then you can switch it out for a cleaner piece of turf. Tell the dog to potty there and if he does, praise him and reward him. If he is still unwilling to go, then set up an Exercise Pen so that one end of the Exercise Pen is the grass and the other end is a place where he can lay down off of the grass turf spot. Place the dog inside the pen, tell him to potty in a happy tone of voice, and then wait. Go far enough away from him while you wait for him, for him to not to feel like you are spying on him, but stay close enough to see when pees for the first time. Expect this to take a long time the first time. A great time to do this is right after he wakes up in the morning when his bladder is full. Take him to the Exercise Pen and tell him to 'potty' rather than taking him outside. Eventually he will be forced to go potty there. The key to minimizing prolonged strain on his bladder often is to get him used to peeing on the grass turf outside beforehand, telling him to go potty, having a positive attitude so he does not feel like he will get in trouble, giving him some space, and catching him peeing and rewarding him for it, so that he will be more likely to go there in the future. You will need to catch and reward both dogs peeing on the turf several times before they will start to feel comfortable going there. When both dogs are comfortable peeing on the turf inside, then you can remove the Exercise Pen if you wish. If you have the space for it, it may be beneficial to keep it up though, and to keep the door to it open so they can use it as needed. The Exercise Pen can serve as a clear bathroom spot, making your dogs less likely to confuse the turf with other surfaces in your home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Piper
Terrier/Pomeranian
1 Year
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Question
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Piper
Terrier/Pomeranian
1 Year

I just got my girl on Saturday (4 days ago). I rescued her and she was in a foster home prior to me. She’s familiar with going potty outside, but when I haven’t been home and my roommate is there, she has had a total of 3 accidents. I have two solid panels of artificial grass on my patio for her to relief herself. I have a doggy door for her to come in and out. I want to establish a routine of taking her outside in the morning and when I get home from work (5pm), but I want her to use the grass on the patio as her main spot. I’ve put her poops there, I even soaked up some urine to dab on the grass. She’ll sniff the grass but has no interest in going on it. I need help lol.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Haley, Piper's issue is that you have provided a toilet area for her but she does not understand that she is supposed to go potty there. She will need for you to physically take her to that spot on a leash each time until she learns to immediately go potty on the turf when you tell her to "Go Potty". At that point you can get her comfortable with going through the doggie door with treats, then you can simply walk her over to the doggie door when it's time to take her to go potty, point to it, tell her to "Go Potty", and then watch her from the window to make sure she goes. If she goes potty, then when she comes back inside after going, give her a treat for doing it, until she has a strong habit of going to the porch to go potty on her own. To initially teach her to go potty outside, you will need to follow one of the outdoor potty training methods from the article that I have linked below, but simply take her to the balcony on leash when it's time for her to go potty, instead of taking her outside. Purchasing real grass toilet areas to put on top of the fake grass until she gets comfortable going in that spot should also help. As she gets comfortable going potty on the balcony, then you can cut the grass rectangles in half, and then cut them smaller and smaller, until she is simply going on the fake grass without any real grass on top of it, assuming you want to transition to fake grass entirely. Here is the link to the potty training article. If she refuses to pee or poop on the fake grass even after you put a real grass spot on top of it, then use the "Crate Training" method. That method will force her to hold her bladder, and will let her bladder get so full that at some point she will have to go on the balcony when you take her, at which point you can heavily reward her with treats and praise when she does so, to show her that it is okay to pee on the balcony on that spot. Rewarding her for going potty on the balcony several times, should help her get over her inhibition to go there. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Here is a link to a disposable real grass pad area. https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bubba
Maltese mix
6 months
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Question
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Bubba
Maltese mix
6 months

bubba is 6 month old male maltipoo. 1st the people that i got him from were not allowed to have dogs so he was kept inside most of the time.2nd we live in an in door apartment on the 2nd floor.. so it is down the hall.. around the corner.. down the hall and down the stair and out... i can't get him to pee outside.. no matter how long we spend outside...i have had him about a month... he has gone to school can sit, down and stay.. walking is still a work in progress.. my other baby, bobbie sue practically trained herself..

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kristi, Bubba needs to be crate trained and crated to get him to pee outside. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method Every time that you take him outside, pick him up as soon as you open the crate door and carry him outside so that he does not have any accidents on the way, because his bladder will get really full until he learns to go potty when you take him more often. Carry him every time until he gets to the point where he will consistently pee as soon as you put him outside when you tell him to and is no longer having any accidents indoors. When he gets to that point, then you can reach into the crate, clip on a leash, and quickly walk him outside, to teach him to start alerting you when he needs to go out. When you take him outside, take a potty encouraging spray and small, easy to eat treats with you. Keep them somewhere convenient, like by the door, to remind you to take them. Put him down on the grass, tell him to "Go Potty", and when he goes, give him five treats, one at a time. If he goes, then instead of forty-minutes of freedom like the article mentions, since he is older, he can have up to two hours of freedom before being put back into the crate before the next potty trip, three-to-four hours since he last went. If he has accidents during that two hours, then decrease his free time to one hour. If he does not go potty when you take him, then carry him back inside and put him back into the crate again for one hour. After one hour carry him back out to try again. Because he is older, instead of taking him outside every one-to-two hours, like the article mentions, take him outside every three to four. When you are not home, he should be able to go six hours if he is in the crate, but only if he is in the crate. It is extremely important that you never give him any free time in your home while he is learning this, unless he has gone potty within the last two hours. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Dogs are born with a natural desire to keep their own space/dens clean. Most dogs will naturally try to hold their bladders and bowels while in a confined space such as a crate. Crating a dog whenever his bladder is not completely empty and giving him only one other option to pee on forces the dog to pee where you take him because most dogs would rather pee there than inside a crate. This will only work if he has not been forced to pee in a crate before from being crated for too long or from being kenneled in a crate all the time, like at a Pet Store. The crate needs to be large enough for him to turn around and lay down, but small enough that he cannot pee in one end and get away from it in the other. The crate should be his exact size and not larger. If your crate is larger, then you can block off the back with something. Most metal wire crates come with metal dividers for this purpose. Also, do not put any soft bedding in the crate or he may pee on that because it is absorbent. If you need a bed to put in there, check out PrimoPads.com. Their pads offer firm foam cushioning covered in waterproof vinyl. They are also extremely durable against chewing, especially if you tie down the corners with the included zip-ties. It is very important that you are very strict with crating him all the time unless he has peed within the last two hours. Provide him with food stuffed chew-toys to entertain him in the crate, and keep in mind that being strict with the crate now will give him years of freedom later because he will be trustworthy in the house. Less freedom now to provide years of freedom later. Many dogs are re-homed due to potty training issues that could be prevented through hard work and confinement during the first two months of potty training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Toby
Shorkie
3 Months
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Toby
Shorkie
3 Months

We just got Toby a few days ago and are having a hard time potty training. We want him to primarily use an indoor pad since he’s so tiny and winter is coming. How can we make it click? He is also in puppy stage and is biting us and chewing on anything except his toys. How can we help that?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiffany, Check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest following the "Exercise Pen" method until he starts to get the hang of peeing and pooping on the fake grass. The article talks about litter box training but you can use the same method for fake grass. Simply substitute your fake grass for the litter box in the article. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Add a potty encouraging spray to the fake grass every three hours during the day until he starts to go to the grass when he needs to pee. If he is still having a hard time, then purchase a real grass pad and put that on the fake one. The real grass will naturally encourage him to pee there more than the fake grass will. When he gets used to peeing on the real grass pad, then gradually make the real grass pad smaller and smaller until he is only peeing on the fake grass below it, at which point you can remove the real grass completely. Another option is to use real grass pads instead of fake grass permanently. Below is a link to a real grass pad. They are advertised as each lasting two weeks. https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI To deal with him biting you, check out the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite To deal with him biting other objects, also work on teaching him the "Leave It" command, which can be found in the "Leave It" method from the article I linked right above. Crate Train him or set up an exercise pen and whenever you cannot supervise him, place a food stuffed Kong or other hollow chew toy in the crate or pen with him. To stuff a hollow chew toy you can put his food in a bowl, cover it with water, let it sit out until the food turns into mush, then mix a bit of peanut butter or liver paste into the food mush. Loosely stuff several Kongs and toys with the mush, then freeze them overnight. When you purchase a Kong, buy him one size up from what he seems to need so that the food is easier for him to get out and it holds more. Make several of these toy pops ahead of time, and when you crate him or put him in the pen, give him one of them to work on.You can feed him all of his food for the day this way and as treats during training. He does not have to have his food in a food bowl if he is getting it from other sources. The goal with chewing it to teach a puppy what to chew. You cannot stop a puppy from chewing because it is natural for him to explore the world with his mouth. He comforts himself by chewing, alleviates boredom, communicates with other dogs, learn about the world around him, and comforts sore teething gums. Instead you must teach a puppy what is okay to chew by encouraging him to chew on his own really fun toys. You can do this by limiting his freedom whenever you cannot watch him and confining him with only good things for him to chew, and making those good chew toys really interesting with food, so that he learns to like chewing on those things best. If he tends to chew on the same object or piece of furniture again and again, then purchase bitter apple or bitter melon spray and spray that thing with it to deter chewing with the bad taste. Keep an eye out the first time that he chews on that sprayed object though, because the rare puppy will actually enjoy the bitter taste. Most puppies hate it though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Chevy
Mixed breed (Pom/Bichon cross)
7 Years
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Chevy
Mixed breed (Pom/Bichon cross)
7 Years

Hi.
My dog Chevy is 7 years old.
As a pup (12 weeks old) he was given a huge backyard to play and potty in. About 4.5 years ago I moved into a condo on the main level where there’s access to grass (intentionally because of him). He has had a small space (approx 10 sq metres) where he was trained to go on. He’s been great with that since living here. Now the condo board is saying no he can’t use that space just off my patio for his business (despite that I pick up after him and repair any damages).
I’ve had to get a porch potty for him. Chevy avoids this thing like the plague!! I’ve tried using the leash to “drag” (gently pull) him over, tried rewards with treats. I’ve had to place him on it and basically barricade him on the patch until he can’t hold it any longer and goes pee on it.
He won’t poop on it.
I have a lead that’s bolted inside my house that used to give him to the length of the grass which is now shortened to give him the length to get only to the porch potty.
He’s house trained (can hold it up to 10 hours while I’m at work).
I’m concerned I won’t get him to poop on it or willing pee on it. IF he continues to pee or poop on the concrete instead of the porch potty- the condo board may request I either get rid of my dog or force me to sell my place.

Please help!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Heather, First, I suggest that you use the real grass porch potty patches, opposed to the fake grass. Many dogs do not want to pee on fake grass because it feels, smells, and absorbs differently. Even though it looks like grass to us, the experience is completely different for a dog. I see that Porch Potty also sells a training real grass patch that has been scented to encourage elimination on it. I suggest starting with the scented one. You may already be doing all of that though, but if not start there. Next, although it's not a long term solution, I suggest purchasing large plastic trays or storage bin lids that are big enough for a porch potty grass patch to fit on it. Put a grass patch on the plastic tray to start out, to avoid the grass being lifted off the ground. The raised wicker container could be the issue. Put these grass patches on lids all over the balcony, covering as much of the concrete as possible. You want to remove the option of peeing on concrete. You are turning the balcony into a grass yard temporarily. Block off the actual yard, so that you can let her out into the balcony yard and her only option is the porch potty grass there, with the wicker basket that also has a patch in it on one end, where you want her to eventually go potty all the time. Sprinkle treats around the wicker basket and replace these treats regularly as she eats them, so that every time she encounters it, she likes it and chooses to get close to it and climb onto it to get the treats. This will help the transition back to using it later. Crate her in the house, and every four hours take her outside to go potty on the balcony grass. Tell her to "Go Potty" when you send her outside. If you know that she will not have an accident in the house, then you can also avoid the crate and simply take her outside every four hours, but if she does not go potty within ten minutes of being out there, bring her back inside. Repeat taking her outside to try every hour after the initial four hours, until she either goes or it has been eight hours since she last went. If she goes, then praise her and give her six small treats, one at a time, then let her play or come back inside, whichever she prefers as an additional reward. If she does not go and it has been eight hours since she last went, then you are going to leave her out there until she goes. You will have to watch her to see when she goes though. You can even set up a camera that has a phone app or video monitor, so that you do not have to stand at the door or outside watching though. I you have a video security camera, GoPro and live phone app, video baby monitor, or two devices that can be Skyped or Facetimed to one another on mute, then any of those will work for monitoring. As soon as you see her go, you will have to rush to her as fast as you can to get the reward timing as close to her peeing or pooping as you can. I you are gone to work all day and she can hold her pee while you are gone, then you can start the initial potty break after four hours, such as six or seven hours, but if possible, give her opportunities to pee out there without having to be locked out at first, meaning try to take her out initially before eight hours whenever you can, so that she has those more pleasant ten minute chances too. When she will consistently go potty quickly out there when you put her out on the grass balcony, then you can gradually make the grass covering smaller by taking away one grass patch at a time. Monitor and make sure that she is still choosing to go potty on the grass though and not reverting back to going on the concrete. If she starts to go potty on the concrete, then do two things. First, keep using the full amount of grass patches for longer, so that she will form a stronger habit of preferring grass. Second, when you are ready to try removing a grass patch again, clean the concrete really well with a pet safe spray that contains ENZYMES. The enzymes will break down the pee and poop to remove the smell. Also, avoid any cleaners that contain ammonia on your balcony, because ammonia smells like urine to a dog and can encourage peeing where you spray it. If that still does not work, then put a piece of bubble wrap or aluminum oil over the concrete to teach her to avoid it, make sure that she has a grass path to get to the rest of the porch still though because she probably won't want to walk on the odd surface of the foil or bubble wrap. If you use the bubble wrap or foil, then you will need to watch her when you take her potty, to make sure that she does not try to eat it. By this time she should be peeing quickly though, so you should not have to stand there for too long. Eventually, you should be able to remove all of the grass patches but one, which you can try to make just the original wicker basket patch, and then remove the bubble wrap or foil if you used that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sage
Basenji
8 Weeks
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Sage
Basenji
8 Weeks

I'm bringing home an 8 week old basenji puppy soon. I live on the 3rd floor of a condo and the grassy area is across the street. Plus, it's cold (sometimes snow) and very windy where I live in the winter. So, It will take me a minute to grab her, throw on my pull on boots, coat, etc., put on her coat, boots (to protect from cold/ice, and salt on the sidewalks/streets), get her downstairs (tucked under my arm with me taking the stairs would be faster than the elevator), and across the street to potty. So first, there is the time it will take me to get her to her potty place outside, I'm afraid she wont' be able to hold it until I'm able to get her where she needs to go. She will be left alone for 4 hrs in the AM, I'll feed her lunch (until she's 6 mths old)/walk her at lunch, then she will be alone again for 4 hrs in the PM until I get home from work. That's too long to crate her with her tiny bladder, so I'm setting up a 4x4 pen with a crate (divided so that she only has enough space to sleep), and a piece of K9Grass over a pee pad. Since I can't get a dog walker in twice a day, I figured she could use the artificial grass between me walking her and at night until she's old enough to start holding her bladder for 5 hrs (then I would feel comfortable locking her in the crate).The breeder is starting them on litter box training, but I also have a cat and don't want to encourage her to go into the litter box (it's an electronic litter box so there won't be any cat poop for her to get into). My thought is that artificial grass closely resembles real grass enough that it will be easier for her to make the connection to where to potty inside and to outside. Once she is fully housebroken, I actually plan on letting her sleep in the bed with me, but I do want her fully crate trained as well for during the day while I'm at work. I guess my question is, does what I have explained make sense? Should I do anything different? Are there any concerns that I need to address or be prepared for?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nyka, Your plan is very well thought out and it sounds like you are prepared. There are only two things I would suggest doing differently. The first is, I would look into real disposable grass pads instead of artificial turf. You can use artificial turf and that would still be much better than pee pads, but artificial turf can still resemble carpeting to some dogs (far less than pee pads though) so your transition later will be harder than real grass pads would be. Using real grass pads would make peeing outside and inside far more consistent because both would be real grass and the scent, feel, and absorption are the same. Real grass pads cost more than pee pads but you can also use each one for a couple of weeks. Real grass pads are essentially just cardboard pads with grass grown on one side. You can also make your own grass pad for less money by putting a piece of grass turf into a wide shallow plastic storage container - the turf might be hard to find this time of year though. Real grass pad (directly from fresh patch you can also do auto-ship for slightly cheaper): https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1246892926736108787&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 The second and even more important thing I suggest doing differently than your plan is to have the puppy sleep in the crate at night and not in your bed. You can put the crate in your bedroom if you would like but if the puppy sleeps in your bed, she will very likely have accidents on your bed or the floor in the middle of the night (since she won't be able to hold her bladder through the night at first). When in the crate she will probably bark to wake you up when she needs to go potty - letting you take her outside or to the grass pad. Letting her be free at night and potentially have accidents will make potty training extremely difficult. Also, when she gets older and her jaws get stronger around five months of age, you will probably run into a chewing phase where she can chew through things and chew off pieces. Many puppies at this age start destroying things at night if they are loose and unsupervised - because you are sleeping and not watching her. This is extremely dangerous for the puppy and expensive for you because they can then swallow things and certain items can be life-threatening. When she starts chewing, you will have to back-track and crate train her at night which will be MUCH harder after she is already used to sleeping in the bed and less tired so able to cry for longer. I always suggest crate training until a dog is past all the destructive chewing phases and potty trained (essentially when a dog is trustworthy when left loose in a house alone). When the dog is mature enough to be left unsupervised, then it is fine to let them start sleeping in your bed at night if you wish and there are no health or aggression issues. Your plan for the crate and exercise pen and general schedule sounds wonderful and well thought through though. Enjoy the new puppy! At www.lifedogtraining.com under the free downloads tab there are two free PDF e-book downloads on puppy training as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lexi
Lhasapoo
13 Weeks
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Lexi
Lhasapoo
13 Weeks

My little pup used her fake grass pad perfectly the first day we brought her home and she was heavily praised and seemed to understand. Any day after that though we have not been able to get her to properly use the fake grass potty once. We have to take her outside (we live on the third floor) in order to avoid her pottying on the carpet. I’ve tried spraying our carpets down with repellents so she doesn’t go potty anywhere outside of her designated indoor potty spot as well. Anytime we’ve placed her on the fake grass she will just sit pretty or run off and try to potty elsewhere inside. How do I get her to realize she needs to actually go potty on the fake grass? I’ve been trying to crate train her as well so I can avoid as many messes as possibly but I still want her to be able to use her fake grass potty.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nayeli, I suggest using the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below to keep her close to the grass until she goes potty. Make it small enough that she is likely to go on the grass instead of beside it at first. Using the crate is also great. You can crate train her and use the crate between potty trips to help her learn to hold her bladder, then take her to the exercise pen with the grass when it's time to potty - so that she cannot leave the area until she goes potty. Praise and reward her enthusiastically when she does go potty, then give her 45 minutes of supervised freedom outside the exercise pen and crate before putting her into the crate again until the next potty time (so that she is not free when her bladder is full). You can also try using a disposable real grass pad if she continues to struggle. Real grass smells more natural and is softer so many dogs prefer going on that (dogs can tell when grass is fake). The article linked below mentions litter box training but you can follow the same steps for the methods while using grass pads (fake or real) also. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad (if you continue to struggle): https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11245198227425751697&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=aud-643330155750:pla-568582223506&psc=1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Taquito
Chihuahua
5 Months
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Question
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Taquito
Chihuahua
5 Months

My dog actually learned to use the fake grass from the very beginning since there are times when we need to leave her home for long periods of time. However, now I'm planning to take her to my office on a regular basis and I'm concerned that she won't know how to go potty outside since she has never done it, she also is not used to let me know when she needs to go since she has always had access to the fake grass. I'd love to hear what you recommend to do in this case.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ale, I suggest starting to take her potty outside part of the time at your home to get her familiar with the idea. If she won't go while outside, then crate train for a couple of weeks until she gets used to going potty when you take her. When you crate train her, take her potty every 3-4 hours when you are home. You can use your grass pad or take her every seven hours if she stayed in the crate when you cannot be home to take her more often. Reward with treats when she goes potty outside. When you first take her to work with you, I suggest crating her for a couple of weeks to get her into the habit of holding it at your work place. You will need to take her potty every 3-4 hours when you transition away from the crate. When you take her potty outside and at work I suggest teaching her to ring a bell on your way to take her. Use the bell at home at first, then when you start taking her to work hang it up somewhere close by there and instruct her to ring it before you take her potty every 3-4 hours (or more often as needed) before you take her. Give her treats for going potty outside after ringing the bell (even if you told her to ring it). Crate training method from article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Ring a bell (you can also use dog squeeze cheese or liver paste instead of peanut butter - just something dog safe that will stick to the bell): https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Bishon Frise
9 Weeks
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Question
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Lucky
Bishon Frise
9 Weeks

Hi, We got a male pup from a breeder who had the pup in a play pen with artificial grass at the tip of the pen. I copied the same set up. When I have him in the pen he would pee on the grass 50% of the time but then he would pee while standing and eating or just on floor short of the grass. When going #2 he would go to the grass and try to jump out of the pen then when cant hold it anymore he will poop on it. I praise him, treat him... I was not able to keep him inside of the pen at night because of excessive moaning/crying so he roams the house. I placed another grass area in the living room (he occasionally use this one when loose in the house for #1.) he would do #2 outside of the pen close to the grass area or in living room behind the TV but not on the grass area.
my questions are two:
1- How to get him to stay in the pen at night without waking in up the house. It has been 1 week that we got him
2- How to get him to be consistent in using the grass for both #1 and #2. Can i add more of the same kind of grass in different spots in the house to make him see it and use it

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kevin, For the night waking he needs to be left to cry. I know it is not fun but most puppies will cry for the first two weeks at night. They need the opportunity to learn to self-sooth and go to sleep at night. If you let him out, the crying will only last longer, he will not become potty trained, and it will be a lot harder to teach him when older. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and use the same method for the Exercise Pen. If you plan to train him to potty outside, you can also introduce the crate and work on that too. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate To teach him to potty on the pad, I suggest switching to a real grass pad because the texture and smell will encourage him better but it will still be similar to what he started with. Use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below to train him. Do not simply give him a lot of freedom in the house and put pads down. He doesn't understand the different between the pads and carpet or other areas yet and will not be potty trained doing that. Follow the Exercise Pen for details on how to make the transition to more freedom in the house as he becomes trained. Also, how much is your exercise pen? If it is very small, he will not want to go potty in the confined space. Exercise Pen method - the method mentions a litter box but you can use grass pads instead and the rest of the steps should be the same: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad: https://www.freshpatch.com/products/fresh-patch-standard?variant=3477439297¤cy=USD&gclid=Cj0KEQjw3PLnBRCpo8PCoaGM99MBEiQAppRuC4YlPyR_mX4cp3iP5mCCk9ifXPA2hQ6DerEEEaIhMaQaAj6O8P8HAQ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Scrappy
Chihuahua
2 Years
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Question
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Scrappy
Chihuahua
2 Years

My dog won’t use the pad for pooping no matter what. My dog grew up in a house where he could freely go to the yard and he had no problem holding his business while inside and asking to go to the yard by standing in font on the door. We moved to a 9th floor where there’s obviously no backyard so I got a pad, but I’ve tried and tried and he just won’t use it until he can’t hold it anymore and even then he will only pee. I try taking him to the pad as soon as we wake up and tell him to go potty in an encouraging tone, but he just keeps holding it. Whenever he really can’t hold it any longer he will pee and I will praise him, but he never poops. I always end up caving in and taking him for a walk because I’m afraid he will get damage from waiting too long since he waits up to two days without pooping if I don’t take him outside and then as soon as he touches the grass outside he goes.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
397 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexandra, I would resort to a method that's a little more extreme in your case. First, purchase a real-grass pad (so it smells and feels like real grass). Second, place the grass pad in an area outside where he normally will go potty. Take him there and tell him to "Go Potty". When he goes potty on it, praise and give a treat. Give multiple treats if he poops. Work on this for at least a week so that he learns what "Go Potty" means. When he is comfortably pooping on the grass pad outside, move the grass pad into your apartment. It may smell like a bathroom from being used outside at first - which isn't ideal for you, but it smelling like a bathroom to him should actually help him get used to using it inside at first. I suggest placing something plastic underneath it for cleanliness sake since it's been outside. I also suggest placing it in an area with better privacy in your apartment, like a bathroom or more discrete corner of the kitchen, so that he feels less like he is soiling the rest of the house and has better privacy. Take him potty inside the same way you did outside, walking him around your apartment on leash slowly to "get things going", telling him to "Go Potty", letting him sniff the grass pad, and rewarding with lots of treats if he goes on it. Be patient. This will take persistence and lots of trips to the grass pad. I suggest starting this when you have a couple of days off. Once he is used to going potty on the real grass pad, I suggest sticking with real grass pads instead of astroturf - many dogs do better with the real grass and they are advertised to last two weeks before they need replacing. Obviously you can use a clean one once he will go potty on it well consistently. Real grass pad brands - also found on Amazon: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com - this option is expensive so only buy this AFTER pup is fully trained. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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