If you have just brought home a puppy, or are thinking about adding a new little furball to your family soon, it is important you understand the importance of house training and making it a simple and successful process. This blog series will cover the three different ways to train your puppy – pee pads, potty patches and crate training, in individual and detailed blogs. They will discuss what the products are, how they work, the pros and cons and how to teach your puppy to use them.
This first blog covers the very popular product known commonly as pee pads.
Pee pads are made out of an absorbent top layer with a plastic backing and usually come in a square or rectangular shape. There are some pee pad products made out of cloth material which are able to handle more liquids but act just the same as the most common plastic products. Some pads have chemicals mixed in to the material top layer fibers that act as attractants and are used to promote your puppy to potty on the pads. Pee pads can be used by simply placing them directly on the ground or in plastic trays to keep them from moving around (see image above).
- It is very easy to teach your puppy to use
- They are an easy target for you puppy to learn where to go.
- They absorb urine well
- They are easy to clean up and dispose of
- They have many uses – around water bowls, under messy treats, in cars for carsick pups, etc.
- They are difficult to transition your puppy off of
- They inadvertently teach your puppy it is okay to potty inside
- Some dogs like chewing on the pad instead of using it
- They can be too small of an area
- If not disposed of timely, it can be too “dirty” for your puppy and he will potty off of the pad
There is virtually little training involved to teach your puppy to use pee pads, especially when using the ones with attractants added. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult to transition your puppy off of them when it’s time to teach them to go outside. Typically the pads are placed as liners in the crate or x-pen so when your puppy has an accident, they are training themselves to use the pads.
If you decide to use pee pads for your dog, you will need to transition them off of the pads and in to the yard. This will take a bit of time and your puppy will have accidents during the transition training, but it will be the clearest way for you dog. Here is a short step-by-step guide to help your puppy succeed:
- Slowly move the pad closer to the door you will want your puppy to use to go outside. This may be a slow process for some where you will only be able to move the pad a couple of feet at a time while others may be able to have their pad moved one time.
- Reward your puppy for continuing to use the pad in its new location.
- If your puppy has accidents, and you catch them in the act, startle them with a loud noise and carry them over to the pad to finish their business.
- Once your puppy is making it successfully to the pad in front of the door, you will move the pad just outside the door.
- It is important to start teaching your puppy to communicate that he has to go out (i.e. ringing bells – to come in another blog) during the previous step, so that he won’t just potty in front of the closed door once the pad is removed.
- Once your puppy is making it successfully to the pad outside, move it to the location you want him to potty on (grass, mulch, bark, etc.). After a few days you can remove the pad completely.
On a personal note – pee pads are my least favorite of house training methods because I find more people having difficulty with house training their pups when using pee pads. A large majority of calls I receive regarding house training issues in dogs older than 9 months of age are with dogs who were trained with pee pads. I urge people to stay away from this training method when at all possible so that life is easier for you and your pup. Full disclosure, growing up we used pee pads with all the puppies that entered our household and we had success transitioning them to go outside. But knowing what I know now, I see the hazards that come along with this method and see less benefits.
If you are having trouble house training your puppy or adult dog, please contact a professional in your area to help you figure out a better way that will be successful.