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How to Train Your Dog to Use Pee Pads or Fake Grass Pads

It’s no secret I am NOT a fan of indoor pee pads for dogs.

I find they cause more potty training problems than they solve.

That being said, my opinion doesn’t always matter, so the next best thing is to help people train their dogs to use the pee pads properly.

Do you have any tips or advice? Please share. 

You’ll find my tips below.

First things first. Ask yourself, do you want your dog to use pee pads over the longterm or just for initial potty training?

If you don’t want your adult dog using pee pads all his life, then it’s best to skip the pee pads all together and begin outdoor potty training from Day 1.

If you plan on using the pee pads longterm, here are my tips.

How to train your dog to use pee pads

Teach your dog to use pee pads

1. Choose one spot for the pee pads.

Don’t move them around. This is confusing for the dog, especially at first. Keeping the pads in the same spot will help your dog learn to pee in one area.

I would choose a hard surface or put a tarp or newspaper under the pad. There are also pee pad tray holders you can buy. These will also keep the pads from slipping.

IRIS puppy and dog training pad holder

2. Don’t assume your dog knows what to do.

Even if someone told you your new dog is “pee pad trained” that doesn’t mean he’ll know what to do in your house. Keep him on a leash and bring him to the pee pad every 20 minutes or so if he’s a puppy and every hour or two if he’s an adult.

Puppy Potty Pee Pads

Praise and give him a treat immediately if he goes on the pads. “Yay!” If he doesn’t go potty, keep him on a leash and near you or in his kennel. Try taking him to the pads again in 30 minutes.

It helps to start out with multiple pads down at first to cover a larger area. Then you can decrease the surface area as your dog starts to understand what the pads are for.

3. Supervise.

Until your dog is 100 percent pee pad trained, keep him on a leash and near you at all times or put him in his kennel/crate. This will prevent him from wandering off and having “accidents.”

The more accidents you can prevent, the easier this will be. Use a kennel when you can’t supervise, and keep putting him in his kennel/crate for a good six months or so at night and when you’re not home.

4. Give your dog freedom only after he poops AND pees.

Once your dog has pooped and gone potty, that’s a good time to give him 20 or 30 minutes of freedom. As he gains your trust, you can increase this time, but remember puppies tend to go potty every 20 minutes or so!

If you give your dog freedom only after he’s peed, you can expect him to run around only to poop in a corner somewhere, so wait until he’s done “both his jobs.”

That’s really all there is to it!

Order puppy potty pads on Amazon here

It just takes a LOT of patience, time and consistency to get it right. You can’t just throw down some pee pads and expect your puppy or dog to know what to do. After six months or so, he should be pretty close to getting it right if not 100 percent trained.

Common mistakes when training a dog to use pee pads

1. Assuming the dog “gets” it.

Just because the dog pees on the pads once doesn’t mean he knows what to do or that he’s not supposed to pee on the floor.

This takes a lot of time and consistency. If your dog pees somewhere other than the pad even once, then you know she is not ready for more freedom yet. Keep up with the basics for now (see above).

Dog pee pads

2. Moving the pee pads around too often.

This confuses the dog about where he’s supposed to go. Just keep the pads in the same area each time for now.

3. Not changing the pads often enough.

Yuck, who wants to step in their own pee?

4. Giving the dog too much freedom too quickly.

This is a patience game. I know it’s natural for people to feel bad about crating a dog or not giving her free reign, but think of it this way:

Once she’s 100 percent potty trained she will have all kinds of freedom! This is only temporary to make life easier for HER and YOU.

If she’s having accidents, she just doesn’t fully understand what to do yet. Restrict her freedom for now. It’s only for a few months.

Other tips for training a dog to use pee pads

  • Block off certain rooms – bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Dogs tend to “wander” into these quieter rooms to relieve themselves. Don’t give them the opportunity.
  • Pick up all rugs, mats, clothes, towels, etc. for now. Don’t want to confuse your dog.

Let me know what other tips or questions you have

Just leave them in the comments below!

Related posts:

My dog pees next to the pee pad instead of on the pad

How to stop my dog from peeing in her kennel

My dog won’t pee in the yard

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How to teach a dog to use pee pads

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