Trainer Tips–Puppy Potty Pads

27August 2014


Potty training a puppy or new dog in your home can be quite frustrating at times.  Many people forget to use patience.  Remember to stay calm and never punish a dog for going potty in front you.  This will only make them want to go out of sight and potty somewhere else (not exactly what we are trying to teach).  Instead, snap them out of what they are doing (loud clap) and immediately take them outside.  Encourage them to finish going potty outside.  When they do, praise lavishly and reward with a treat.  When you return inside, be sure to clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner.

When potty training, many people tend to use some brand of Puppy Training Pads or Wee-Wee Pads.  There are many variations to choose from.  Unfortunately people use these potty training pads in the wrong way.

IMPROPER USE of potty training pads:
Most people just pull up all their throw rugs throughout the house and randomly put down the wee-wee pads, hoping that the puppy will go there.  Or they figure out where the puppy or dog goes inside most often and put pads there.  This is not really the way this is supposed to work.  First off, when you remove rugs and then use puppy pads, the puppy is learning to go potty on this square or rectangular object on the floor (which is very similar to most throw rugs).  Then the owner decides that the puppy is potty trained, removes all the wee-wee pads, and puts all the rugs back.  Is it really that surprising that the puppy then goes potty on the rug?

PROPER USE of Wee-Wee pads:
First, do NOT remove your regular rugs when getting a puppy or new dog.  Second, the puppy should have to earn his freedom.  Puppies and new dogs brought into your home should be given a very small space when they cannot be constantly supervised.  This is usually a crate, kennel, or play pen area.  This is where your puppy should be when you cannot watch him, or leave the house.  THIS is the area where you put your wee-wee pads down.  Cover the entire area or kennel with wee-wee pads.  Eventually you will see in which spot the dog goes to the bathroom most often.  Start removing the other pads (where the dog does not usually go) slowly, one at a time.

For potty training our new puppy DEVO, I only use Wee-Wee Pads in his kennel.  There are NO pads throughout the rest of the house.  This does not encourage him to go on our rugs.  But again, the puppy must be constantly supervised when not confined.  Even though DEVO’s puppy training is going well, he is certainly not trustworthy yet.  So we will continue to keep pads in his kennel and take him outside often, until he has not had any accidents (inside the house or kennel) for at least a month.

Don’t forget, this is only half of potty training…
What is more important that the use of wee-wee pads?  Actually TAKING YOUR DOG OUTSIDE TO GO POTTY!  Puppies generally have to go out to go potty every 2-4 hours.  This means a lot of in and out for you, so get used to it!  Also, you should take your puppy out after any of the following:  waking up from a nap, eating or drinking, exciting play time.

When taking your dog outside to potty, add a command word, like “Go potty.”  Do not constantly repeat, but say a few times, especially right before you see the signs of the dog about to go potty.  Once the dog begins to potty, remain silent (we don’t want to distract them).  Once the dog has finished, loudly praise, “GOOD POTTY! GOOD POTTY!” and give a treat.

IMPORTANT:  Another part of potty training that is very important is to stay outside another 1-4 minutes after your dog has gone potty.  The reason for this is, some dogs learn that once they go potty outside, they go right back in the house.  So when the dog wants to stay outside, they will start to hold their potty, then have an accident when they go back inside.

I hope this has cleared up some things on Potty Training and the proper use of Wee-Wee or Puppy Potty Training Pads.

If you live high up in a building like a city high-rise and need a place indoors to teach your dog to potty, I recommend using the potty grass instead of puppy training pads.  This will make it easier for your dog to transition onto the real grass, which you should also be taking him out to as often as possible.  If you have it available, use a balcony for the potty grass (at least this way it is still going outside to potty).