Puppy Pad Training and Switching to Go Outside

Housebreaking a puppy is a lot of work. If you live in a house with a backyard, it is more common than not to train your dog to ask to go outside or just use a doggy door. For some, however, training a puppy to use pee pads might be the better option.

puppy pad trainingSource: jumpstory.com

How to know if puppy pads will work for you

Deciding to use puppy pads or not will depend on a bunch of different things. The deciding factor for one pet owner will not be the same for the other! The only thing that matters is that puppy pads benefit both you and your furry friend.

  • If you have a small dog, puppy pads might be a good route for you. Small dogs don’t make a huge mess, so they don’t need a whole yard to roam in. Depending on where you live, it might be unsafe for a small dog to go outside, especially in the dark.
  • If you live in an apartment with many floors. This is especially true if you or your dog have mobile impairments. Trekking up and down multiple flights of stairs every day can be very exhausting or downright impossible if your dog (or you!) has, say, a hip problem.
  • If it is very cold where you live, and your dog won’t go outside in the snow or other bad weather. You don’t want to have to struggle with your dog to the point of frustration when they won’t go outside because the temperature is below freezing. The dog needs somewhere to comfortably go to the bathroom. A pee pad makes a great alternative.
  • You are unable to walk them as much as they need. If you work eight hours a day, your puppy (or even an adult dog) might need to relieve themselves. To prevent mess and inevitable frustration, train them to use pee pads while you’re not home.

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How to Train a Puppy to use Puppy Pads

Training a puppy to go potty on a pad has many of the same elements as outdoors potty training. The most important thing to remember is that while training a puppy might come easy to you, this is all brand new for your little guy. Having patience and sticking to a routine are the most important things for a well-trained dog.

  • Introduce the puppy pads.  Lay a few puppy pads out around the house and bring your dog to each one. While they have a sniff, say whatever command you will use when you want your dog to go to the bathroom. You may say something like “go potty!” or “pee-pee!”
  • Anticipate when your puppy will need to pee. About 15 minutes after eating, sleeping, playing or drinking, your puppy will probably have to go potty. Pick them up and bring them right to the pad and say your command for going to the bathroom and leave them on the pad for about 5 minutes. Keep in mind that if your puppy starts to sniff around on the floor, that might be a sign that they need to use the pee pad, too.
  • Positive reinforcement – no punishment.  Make sure to shower your puppy in plenty of accolades and treats when they go potty on the pad correctly! If they make a mistake and pee on the floor, do not yell, scold or punish. Quickly take your dog to the pee after an accident and reinforce the proper command.
  • Be consistent. Dogs thrive on schedules and repetition. It helps make things easier for you, too by taking out some of the guesswork. Feeding your dog at the same time every day will help keep their potty schedule as regular as possible. You should also be keeping your puppy’s training pad in the same place(s) in your home. They should know exactly where to head when it’s time to go potty.
training puppy to use padsPhoto by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

Training your Dog off of Pee Pads

You might have your dog use pee pads for their whole lives, especially if they’re a tiny breed. However, if you find yourself in a new living situation or pee pad training was just a temporary fix, you’ll need to re-train your dog to start going outside.

  • Move the pee pads near the door. Make sure you have plenty of cleaning supplies because you dog might have trouble finding their bathroom spot once you move it by the door! Don’t forget, you still shouldn’t be scolding your dog, even if they’re full-grown.
  • Move the pad outside. When you see your dog heading for the door, quickly open it and allow them to use the pad that you’ve places outside. Don’t forget to say your command for bathroom time!
  • Remove the pad altogether. Once your dog has gotten used to heading for the door in search of the pee pad outside, you can remove it and be sure that the dog will be excited to go potty outside. Don’t forget to give lots of treats and praise every time they go to the bathroom outdoor!

Important tips for pee pad training AND training your dog to go outside

  • Have the proper cleaning supplies for picking up accidents. You’ll need a bio-enzymatic formula that will destroy any traces of urine left behind. This is important for the sake of your home smelling and looking fresh as well as for eliminating the chance of your dog peeing in the same spot.
  • Go on plenty of walks. If you’re training your dog to pee outside and you see them sniffing or circling an area where there is usually a pee pad, take that opportunity to bring them on a walk and use your command for bathroom. Your dog needs to learn that there are specific times when they can and cannot pee now that they don’t have tiny bathrooms all over the house! Frequent, scheduled walks will help teach them this.

Have fun training your new pup! It can be easy to lose your patience, so don’t be afraid to ask for some help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Keep this page tabbed in your browser to refer to if you have any questions about training your dog on pee pads or training your dog to pee outside!

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