Do you have a new puppy in your house? Or perhaps you have an older dog with a leaky bladder or a dog just out of surgery? If so, you know pet accidents happen. But thanks to puppy training pads, they don’t have to be a big deal. The options on the market these days are better than ever before. Whether you’re looking for a disposable option or a reusable pad that fits your decor, we’ve got you covered.
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How To Potty Train a Puppy With Puppy Pads
Pads aren’t the magic solution to potty training—it still takes hard work and patience (for you and your puppy) to housebreak a dog, but pads can help you get through the first few weeks without destroying your house.
If your puppy already has a place where they’ve had an accident in the house, that’s probably one of the first places they’ll look the next time their bladder is full—which makes that an excellent spot to place a puppy pad. The goal is to give them a spot where they’re encouraged to pee, then slowly move that target in the direction you’d like them to go.
If your puppy hasn’t had an accident yet, congrats! Choose a spot close to the door to make the eventual transition out the door easier. As your puppy gets the hang of using the pads, move them closer and closer to the door to help ease this final step outside. Frequent bathroom breaks and praise are essential to potty training, and pads should be used for accidents, not as the first option.
What Age Should a Puppy Be Pad Trained?
Most puppies can start being pad trained as early as 8 weeks old. Puppies have minimal bladder control at this young age, so having pads readily available for them to use will help tremendously with house training. The pads give the puppy an appropriate place to relieve themselves inside while they learn to hold their bladder and bowels.
Around 12-16 weeks is when most puppies gain enough control to transition from pads to going outside consistently. Of course, each puppy is different when they are developmentally ready to be fully house-trained without using pads. The key is to be patient and consistent and reward successes during this potty training process.
Puppy Pads and Crates
Crates are for sleeping and quiet time—ideally, not where you want your puppy to pee. If you have to place a pad in the crate, put it in the far corner, away from your dog’s sleeping area, and in a place where they don’t have to step on it to exit their crate.
Some trainers recommend having a crate just big enough for a puppy to be comfortable to train a puppy right away, not to pee in their crate. If the crate is associated with peeing, you may set yourself up for a long potty training journey.
Lastly, if you are using the pad for an older dog with age-related accidents or for a dog just out of surgery, put the pad in a place where your dog can easily get to it if the urge comes. These dogs are potty trained already, so they need them for emergencies, not as a rule.
Shopping for the Best Puppy Training Pads
When shopping for a puppy training pad, look for thickness and absorbency since a thick pad will be more likely to keep any liquid from penetrating the floor underneath it. Pads with built-in attractants may also be a beneficial feature to look for since this will help encourage the dog to pee on the pad and establish a routine.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want disposable or reusable pads. Disposable, one-time-use pads offer the most convenience, but reusable pads are more cost-efficient in the long run if you wash them regularly.
What Is the Best Way to Use Puppy Training Pads?
The best way to use puppy pads is to start pad training as soon as you bring your puppy home, around 8 weeks old. Place pads in a designated potty area near the back door or in a bathroom. Keep the pads in the same spot and be consistent.
Take your puppy to the pads often, especially first thing in the morning, after meals, after naps, and before bedtime. Use verbal cues like “go potty” when they go on the pad and reward them with treats and praise. Avoid punishing for accidents and be patient.
Move the pads closer to the door as your puppy learns to hold their bladder longer. The last step is placing the pads right outside the door and removing them once your puppy is fully housebroken. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to success.
How Do I Get My Puppy to Stop Using Puppy Pads?
Once your puppy consistently goes only on the pads, it’s time to transition them to going potty outside. The key is gradually moving the pads closer and closer to your back door. Put a pad right outside the door, then try taking your puppy out on a leash to go on the grass. Reward outdoor potties heavily.
Next, remove the outdoor pad, but still take your puppy out frequently. Only leave one or two pads down inside in case of accidents. Continue to praise outdoor potties and limit access to the remaining pads.
When you see signs your puppy needs to go, like circling or sniffing, immediately take them outside. Limit water before bedtime, and never leave pads down overnight. With consistency, your puppy will learn to wait until they are outside to relieve themselves.
Is Using Puppy Pads a Good Idea?
In conclusion, using puppy pads can be an excellent temporary training tool. Pads give young puppies the right place to go inside while they build bladder control. They also protect your floors during this initial training period. However, puppy pads should not be a permanent potty solution. Pads can delay full-house training if overused. The goal should be to transition your puppy outdoors successfully as it matures. Petty pads can aid this process with proper use and patience without becoming a long-term crutch.