How to Use Puppy Training Pads

Puppy potty training is an integral part of every new dog owner‘s life. Whether you choose to take the new pup outdoors or potty train it indoors, the journey can be arduous and rewarding.

When we got our new pup, Max, home, we were living in an apartment. Going down fifteen floors every few hours in the dead of winter seemed tricky. We decided to try a dog training pad for our new puppy.

Puppy Pee Pads

A puppy pee pad is essentially an absorbent pad where the dog can pee or poop. A new pet owner can find disposable potty pads at a pet store or they can make it at home themselves. You essentially need a quick-drying surface that is absorbent, it could be towels, newspapers or even turf and grass.

Towels make a great puppy pad. They are eco-friendly and less expensive but can be messier to clean. If buying, you would want multiple washable pads so that you always have one handy while the soiled one is in wash.

A disposable pad, while more expensive, is low-hassle and easy-to-clean. You can just wrap it and put it away in the trash or in a dog waste station.

Are Puppy Training Pads a Good Idea?

Ideally, toilet training should take place outdoors since that is where you would eventually want the dog to go pee. However, depending on your unique circumstances, you may want to use pet training pads.

As mentioned, we lived in an apartment at the time our new puppy came home. If a pet owner is elderly, physically bound or living in a place where the outdoors are not easily accessible, investing in a dog pee pad can be a life-saver.

How Do You Train a Puppy to Pee on a Pad?

A new puppy needs to be monitored carefully for any signs of it needing to do its business. Max would start sniffing the floor, whining or going around in circles. We learned to recognize these signs and rush him to his disposable pad pronto.

Having regular mealtimes for him also meant that we were familiar with his schedule and would walk him to his puppy training pad fifteen minutes after meals.

Apart from that, we took Max to his potty pad after a nap, a drink of water, or any rigorous playtime.

If you are wondering how to use puppy training pads after you walk your pup to them, it is nothing different from what you would do outdoors. Wait for your pet to start its business and issue a standard command just when it begins.

For example, if you say ‘Go potty’ every time your pup relieves itself, it will soon form the association between the command and its action. Keeping the dog on a leash helps it focus on the task at hand.

Once it does its business, offer your puppy an instant reward. It can be a treats kept handy at the potty spot or it can be lots of praise and love.

Be consistent, going to the same spot at the same times, and issue the same command until your pet pooch figures out what you want.

Should I Use Puppy Pads at Night?

When Max came home, I was struck by the question that should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?

Eventually, we decided to have a puppy pee pad handy near Max’s sleeping area for the nights. When Max was about 3 months old, we were setting our alarm for 4hours after his last pee and we would rush him to his potty spot after gently waking him up.

We did have the occasional potty accident, but Max learned quickly. With every success, we added an hour to our alarm until Max was sleeping through the night.

How Often Do You Change Puppy Training Pads?

The frequency for changing the dog pee pad depends on what material you are using and the size and age of the dog. Washable pads may not hold as much pee as a commercial disposable pad can.

A small dog may pee less, but a large dog may require more frequent changes of its wee wee pad. An adult dog can usually hold its pee much longer, but a senior dog may need a potty break more often.

What Do You Put Under Pee Pads?

Good quality disposable pads are not likely to leak, but if your dog is large in size or if you are using towels and newspapers, you may use a pad holder under your puppy pad.

A pad holder is a non-skid, polished tray that contains the mess and can be washed off quickly. It prevents scratches and doesn’t slip away while your pup is doing his job.

Should I Put a Pee Pad in my Puppy‘s Crate?

It is best to have a consistent potty spot in the house and put your new puppy‘s dog pad there at all times.

You don’t want to put the dog training pad inside their crate because you don’t want them to get in the habit of peeing inside there.

It is also important to use a crate that is appropriately sized for your dog. If it is too big, your pup may pee in one corner and sleep in another. If the crate is too small, the puppy may feel uncomfortable and develop negative associations with the crate.

Max, being a Labrador, was going to change size quite a bit from 3 months of age till it grew into an adult dog. So we invested in a dog crate with a dividing panel that could be opened as the pup grew.

How Long Should I Use Pee Pads?

An adult dog can hold its pee for six to seven hours and may not need to use a pee pad if you can take it outdoors.

Once your dog has mastered peeing on the dog pee pad, you can slowly start moving its potty break to the outdoors.

Start by gently shifting the pet pad closer to the door and then outdoors, so that your older dog starts associating the outdoors with potty breaks.

With Max, we identified a designated potty area outdoors. We would take him on his leash there as soon as we got out and issue the same command he used to hear at his potty pad. As an older dog, Max only used the dog pad if we were out for extended periods of time.

Positive Reinforcement

As a new pet parent, you are going to invest many hours in house training your pup. Whether you do this outdoors or opt for potty pad training should depend on what is most convenient for you in the long run.

Treats, praise and positive reinforcement when your dog does use its potty training pad will help speed up the process.

At the same time, be patient and understanding. Your little puppy is trying to learn, but may still make mistakes and have the odd potty accident.