How To Train Your Dog To Use Pee Pads

How to train your dog to use pee padsI almost titled this article, “How Puppy Pee Pads Saved my Life!”, but I thought that might be a bit dramatic. 🙂 But, I am extremely happy I have decided to try them.

When we took in our foster dog, a 13 year old, 5 pound Maltese named Sparky, he was inconsistent about where he would decide to do his business.

Sometimes, even after we let him out and he would go potty, he would come inside only to leave us a nice little poop on the carpet 5 minutes later. Other times it was exactly the reverse, where he would poop outside, and pee indoors.

Which is worse, I don’t know, but on occasion he was even the role model dog, doing his business outdoors each and every time. But, like I said, that was just… “on occasion”.

In his defense he is small, elderly, and does have medical issues all of which are contributing factors. With that in mind, I decided puppy pee pads would be the way to go.

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This Is How I Trained My Dog To Use Puppy Pee Pads

I’ve always had mid to large sized dogs, and ample space in which to let them out, so using dog pee pads was new to me. He’s only been using the pee pads for a few weeks now, but so far so good. Here is how I trained him to do it…

  1. Confine your dog to a small space. Lucky for me I work from home so I just shut the office door and kept him in the room with me while I worked (more on what to do when you’re not home in a bit…). But, you can confine your dog to any room where you will be most of the time or, keep him leashed and attached to you while he is learning. Just don’t let him roam around the entire house because you’re trying to eliminate any accidents at this point.
  1. Keep a close eye out, and when you see any signs that your dog is getting ready to do his business, bring him to the pee pad and say something like, “go potty”. You can say whatever words you’d like, but just make sure you say the same words every time so your dog learns to associate those words to what is expected of him.
  1. Bring your dog to the pee pad often, and use the “go potty” command, especially during the times you know he most often goes, and definitely every couple of hours. He won’t go potty every time you bring him to the pad, of course, but you are letting him know what he is supposed to be doing.
  1. The first time Sparky did his business on the pee pad it wasn’t hard to let him know how happy I was, since I truly was VERY happy. So, tip #4 is to praise, praise, praise your dog when you see him using the pee pad. Dogs thrive on praise and when they hear it they are encouraged to repeat their actions.
  1. If you are not going to be home (I mean, most people have to go to work!), then confine your dog to a small room (the bathroom works great, or even an exercise pen), and cover the entire floor area with pee pads. Be sure to leave a space for his bed, water and favorite toy. Covering the floor with pee pads will ensure he eliminates on them; he won’t pee on his bed because dogs don’t like that (Yuk!). Do this for a few days, then begin removing one pad every day or two, until you are eventually down to just one pee pad. If, while in the process of removing them you discover an accident on the floor, then just start the whole process over again (sigh…). Hang in there!
  1. After your dog shows consistency in using his pee pads for an entire month, try to slowly graduate to letting him have free roam of the house. The key word here is “slowly”…so, maybe add on a hallway, an additional room, etc. in which he can have access to as time goes on.
  1. If there are any accidents on the floor never, ever scold your dog in any kind of way. Scolding a dog for accidents is a common mistake that dog owners make, but it only makes things worse, and in the future your dog will just learn to go on the floor when you’re not around to yell at him.
  1. Note of caution: Sometimes it is difficult to get a dog to stick to using the pee pad if you move from the spot you originally trained him to an entirely different spot in the house. So, if at all possible, try to train in the same spot that you will be using going forward.

It’s still the early days that Sparky has been using the pee pads, just about two weeks now, and way too early to have complete trust in him to have free roam of the house. So, for at least the first month, I plan to keep him either confined to a small space (usually with me in the office with the door shut), or very supervised, and near to me when we’re not. No free roaming for this little guy for a while. Sparky is the one on the right…

How to train your dog to use pee pads

Tips & Tricks For Success Using Dog Pee Pads:

  • Don’t “free” feed your dog…meaning; don’t leave food in a bowl for your dog all day long. Stick to a feeding schedule. Dogs usually need to go out 10-30 minutes after they eat so sticking to a schedule will help you with the timing, and to eliminate house accidents during the day.
  • Always keep the pee pads in the same place, don’t move them around to different locations because it can confuse your dog.
  • Choose your pee pad area wisely from the start! Remember, it is pee and poop we’re talking about here so think of a place where you won’t be completely grossed out, or that your guests won’t be subjected to despicable smells.
  • If your dog starts having accidents again after you’ve allowed full roam of the house, it most likely means you’ve given him full access too quickly. Just go back to the smaller confinement area again, and expose him to the rest of the house at a slower pace.
  • Clean up all accidents thoroughly! If you don’t, your dog will smell it later and make that the “go-to” spot. My life saver for all clean up messes, from kids to dogs and everything in between, has been the little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner. It’s small, quick, and fairly cheap for what you get (I’m now on my 2nd one, but the 1st one lasted forever, before it finally clogged up and would no longer spray). Otherwise, there are some great spray cleaners on the market that will do the trick, but make sure it’s one for pet odors.
  • Be consistent with your training…don’t give up if discouraged…it all takes time, and a little patience!

Dog pee pads we recommend:

How to train your dog to use pee pads

Real grass patch recommendation:


  1. Jessa September 16, 2016 Reply
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