When you think of house-training a puppy one of the first things you probably think of is puppy pads. These are a great weapon to have in your arsenal. Pads can help you win the war on puppy puddles.
I know using pads inside might seem contradictory. You want them to go outside to use the bathroom, but you’ll be placing the pads inside. If outside breaks aren’t possible, due to weather or location, then these are a good fallback. You don’t want to take a puppy outside during winter time in New York or summertime in Texas. I wouldn’t want to go outside in those conditions to use the bathroom. Thank goodness we live in a civilized world.
Some companies are even making them out of grass. That’s right, real grass. Genius, pure genius.
Traditional puppy pads have layers of material in them. A leak-proof backing, absorbent layer, tissue, neutralizing layer (usually baking soda), gel core, and a layer that locks in moisture and dries quickly. They are not toxic and are safe for your fur baby. You know those pads you have seen in hospitals? The ones they put on the beds in case of accidents or for a pregnant woman going into labor. That is very similar to puppy pads and what we will be going over in this article.
Just like you would with outside training, you want to keep a schedule. Your puppy should be going for potty breaks at least every hour or so. This depends greatly on age and breed. Remember to use your verbal commands for puppy pads just like you would outside. Also, use treats, you can’t forget the treats! To reinforce using a pad you want to reward, reward, reward.
If you’re curious how to potty train a puppy on pads, here is a great 5 step method.
Choose a Spot
Place the pad in an out-of-the-way area. A good place is near a door, off to the side. Particularly the door you use when going outside for potty. This will make things easier further along in the training process.
Once you have the right spot, a good next step is to confine the area. You can purchase puppy play yards to fence in the pad itself. This is good if you have a large space between the pad and you. This works best if you can see where it is, and for times you can’t be tethered to your pet. I wouldn’t recommend leaving them there to take a shower or cook. That could lead to a puppy escape. If you don’t use a play yard, then use a leash or place them back on the pad when they walk off it.
Keep the leash short. You want it to be long enough that he can move, but short enough to stay on the pad. Straddling the pad and keeping your puppy in the center works very well. If not using a leash, keep placing your pup back on it while using your verbal command when you sit him down.
Change it Often
This doesn’t mean every time they go. You do want to remove any piles right after your puppy is done. A little bit of urine is fine, but don’t let it get saturated. Two or three uses is usually the limit. This will help since your pup can smell it. He’ll know this is where he went before and reinforce that this is the right spot.
Pads are also great for crate training. Most crates come with a bottom that slides out for easy cleaning. Not everyone has access to a water hose spout though. This is usually going to be the case if you are in an apartment. Puppy pads to the rescue!
Keeping clean pads in a crate is especially important. Folding it in half to fit in the back, leaving the front open for sleeping. If leaving them in a crate for long periods, make sure someone can come over to change out the pad, so they aren’t lying in their own filth.
Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go. Each dog is different. Some signs to watch for are:
- scratching at the door
- sniffing around on the floor
These are all indicators that it’s time to go. To watch for signs, you have to be able to see your dog. Either use a leash to keep them close or a gate to section off the room you are in. Using a leash will also let you know if your puppy has wandered off. Possibly looking for a place to use the bathroom.
Being proactive in stopping problems before they occur will make your training go easier.
You can’t potty train overnight. So, accidents are bound to happen. Whatever you do, don’t get mad and yell or hit your puppy. Stay calm. You can wag your finger and sigh all you want if it makes you feel better. I know it’s frustrating, but you’ve got this. If your puppy does go on the floor be sure to clean it up right away. Then sit him on the pad. This will reinforce what you want him to do.
Transitioning to Outdoors
What do you do when you want to stop using pads and think your dog is ready to go outside? You move the pad outside with them.
When the puppy has gotten the hang of using the pad, and encouragement isn’t needed as much, you can start moving it. You want to move it towards the door gradually. A few inches a day is ideal. This keeps the puppy from getting confused. The goal here is to get the pad outside and to the spot you usually take him to. Once you make it there, fold it in half the next time he uses it. Keep folding it in half each day. Keep folding and folding until it’s so small that he makes on the ground.
This will help wean him off the puppy pads and start going outside like the good boy he is.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.