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A lot of pet parents turn to puppy pad training as a part of their beginning puppy training routine. In a lot of instances, this sort of potty-training aid is indispensable. You might, for instance, live in an apartment in a busy section of town, making frequent trips outside more difficult on a regular basis. 

Whatever the reason, many pet owners swear by puppy pad training. If you’re one of them, or if you’re interested in learning more about this potty-training aid, read on. You’ll find out the pros and cons of puppy pads, how to do it the right way, and much more.

Puppy Pads: A Good Potty-Training Aid?

While there are some advantages to this approach, there are some drawbacks as well. 

The Pros Of Using Puppy Potty Pads

  • ConvenienceYou can put puppy pads just about anywhere. Some places are better than others, as you’ll learn later, but you have a lot of options when it comes to where you put the pads. It’s also easier to use them. Your pup can use a pad rather than having to rush to get them outside.
  • Ease of useWhen your puppy does their “business,” all you need to do is pick up the pad and throw it away – no muss, no fuss. It’s a lot less messy than putting newspaper in a cardboard box or using a litter box (yes, litter boxes aren’t just for cats).
  • Encourages good habitsPee pads show your pup the right places to go, rather than having an accident on your flooring or furniture.1

Pee Pad Training Cons

  • ConfusionA pup might think that anything is a pee pad. In some cases, a dog can associate any square surface as an okay place to urinate or defecate.
  • Interference with outdoor trainingSome believe that using puppy pads in conjunction with outdoor potty training can send mixed messages. It could make it more difficult for the puppy to learn how to “hold it” when they’re inside. There is a right way to combine puppy pads with outdoor training, though. You’ll learn more about that later in this article.
  • Chewing riskThere is a chance that your puppy might want to chew up their pads – or worse yet, eat them.2

How To Train Your Puppy To Go On Potty Pads

For a lot of people, the pros of using puppy pads far outweigh the cons. If you’re one of them, that’s fine, of course. You’ll still want to make sure you use them the right way. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Limit your pup’s indoor accessKeep your pup on a leash when you first bring them home, only allowing them to explore areas you want them to check out. Whenever the dog seems ready to go, take them immediately to their pad. 
  • Set up a specific room for your pupHave a spot where you can leave the dog whenever you can’t be home or otherwise can’t supervise them. Make sure they have not only puppy pads but also water, a few toys, and a bed.
  • Be consistent Your pup’s feeding schedule will be crucial to your overall house-training efforts. If you feed twice a day, put down the food at the same time, each time. Then wait a few minutes and direct your pup to the pad.3

Where To Place Puppy Potty Pads?

As noted earlier, one of the great things about puppy pads is you can put them nearly anywhere you want in your home. If you use a crate, put the pad just on the other side. Dogs are very clean animals, and they don’t like to “go” where they sleep. When your pup starts giving you signs they need to do some business, quickly take them out of the crate and direct them to the pad. Pups will typically scratch their crate or whine when it’s time to relieve themselves.4

How To Size A Crate For Potty Training

Puppies can grow extremely quickly, so you’ll want to be careful when buying a crate. The dog should be able to turn around, lie down, and stand without brushing up against the sides. At the same time, though, the crate can’t be too large. Your pup might think it will be okay to soil one corner if they’re sleeping in an opposite corner.5

Measure your dog’s length (measure from their nose to halfway down the tail) and height (from the top of their head to the floor). Then, add four to six inches to each measurement. That will give you a good idea of what size crate you’ll need to buy.6

How To Use Puppy Pads And Outdoor Potty Training Together

Critics of puppy pads might think they make outdoor potty training difficult (if not impossible), but there is a right way to combine both approaches. Here’s a quick look at how to do it.

  • Pick good spotsFrom the moment you bring your puppy home, you should have already chosen the places where you want them to go – both inside and outside. Don’t use a bathroom that gets a lot of traffic, or any other highly frequented area.
  • Set a schedulePut your dog on a leash after they wake up from a nap and take them to both their designated potty spots. Go to the inside spot first, and then the outside spot. If they don’t use the bathroom immediately, keep them on the leash and try again in a few minutes. When they do go, give them a lot of praise and love – and maybe even a treat.
  • Positive reinforcementSpeaking of treats and love, these are part of the positive reinforcement approach to dog training. The more you provide a reward when your dog goes in the right place, the easier it will be to train them. They will associate doing the right thing with something rewarding.7

What To Do If You Catch Your Puppy Peeing In The House

No matter how diligent you are with your house-training, accidents are going to happen every once in a while. When it happens, never, ever punish your dog. Don’t rub their nose in the mess, and definitely don’t hit the dog. That won’t accomplish anything – all it will do will make the dog afraid to be around you. That’s the last thing any good pet parent would ever want to happen.8

Remember to use positive reinforcement instead. Take the puppy outside (or to their inside puppy pad) and gently show them that’s the place they need to go. Again, when they do use the right spots, give them plenty of love and a treat or two. They’ll get it eventually – just be as patient as you can possibly be.9

No one ever said that puppy pad training would be easy. But if you’re patient, show a lot of love, and realize that accidents will occur every once in a while, the effort will be worth it in the long run.

Learn More:

Tips For Training A Puppy To Grow Into An Obedient Dog: Positive Reinforcement And Love

Learn How To Give Mental Stimulation For Dogs

Breaking Bad Habits In Dogs: Tips For Pet Parents