How Well Do Puppy Training Pads Work?

Puppy training pads can provide your dog a place to relieve himself if left home for long periods of time, especially when he's a puppy. However, their effectiveness often depends on your training goals as well as your individual dog.

Choosing a Substance

Puppy training pads can be made of many different substances, but most consist of some type of gauze over plastic. They are excellent at trapping the urine so it can be easily disposed of, their primary value. However, if you want your dog to eventually relieve himself outside only, they can be a hinderance.

Puppies are very impressionable about the substrate on which they relieve themselves. Many become so accustomed to puppy pads that they are uncomfortable going on grass. Thus, many trainers recommend using a sod training box rather than puppy pads for potty training, since they imitate the area you eventually want your puppy to use.

Attraction of Puppy Training Pads

One of the main claims made by puppy training pad manufacturers is that the scent draws puppies to them to relieve themselves. In many cases, this simply isn't true. Newspaper works just as well when used properly. However, it isn't as easy to clean.

In addition, many puppies may be so attracted to the scent that they tear up the pads, leaving them no place to relieve themselves when the time comes. In these cases, puppy pads may be less effective than newspaper or a sod or artificial turf litter box.

Ideal Use of Puppy Training Pads

If you would like your puppy to eventually go outside, puppy pads should only be placed down when you are going to be gone for several hours. Place your puppy in a small area with a bed, water bowl, toy or bone and potty pad. Then, he will have no choice but go on the potty pad.

Many owners inadvertently become dependent on the potty pad by leaving it on the ground all the time, so their puppy learns to use it rather than the dog door. To avoid this, anticipate when your dog needs to go and lead him outside. Never leave him unattended during potty training. If you seeing him sniffing around, head outside.

However, if your goal is for your dog to always use the potty pad rather than a yard, they can be an effective substitute. Leave them on the ground and lead your pup to the potty pad rather than the yard when you think he has to go.

Weaning off Potty Pads

Sometimes puppy training pads work so well that your dog won't go anywhere else. This is great if that was the original plan, but if you would like your dog to use the yard, this can be a pain.

To wean your dog off the potty pad, stop leaving the pads on the ground in the house. When you notice your dog sniffing his favorite spots, lead him outside and place a potty pad on the ground. Gradually, reduce the size of the potty pad until your dog is relieving himself on the grass. When he does use the grass, praise and give a treat or two. When he uses the potty pad, praise only.

Puppy training pads can be useful, but they can also be a hindrance to potty training. Use only when needed to avoid dependence.