Indoor Potty Training Your Dog: Using Pads

Training a puppy can be quite a task, not only for the patience it requires, but also for the messes made by accidents and the cost of damage to rugs, floors and furniture. However, one of the best tools to help protect your home, reduce your stress and aid in the training process, are pads your dog can use during this learning phase.

Available in a variety of sizes and materials, and both disposable and non-disposable versions, these pads will help provide a fresh, clean place to train your dog, while helping to keep your home clean and fresh too. These pads will effectively absorb urine and keep feces and its odor confined to a designated area, so that the rest of your home remains clean and unaffected during this crucial training. These pads also work great for other situations such as dogs suffering from chronic conditions where frequent urination is a problem, as well as older dogs who may find it difficult to make it outdoors in time to relieve themselves. Dogs recovering from an injury or surgery which prohibits their outdoor activities will be able to use these as well.


Although the methods for potty training a puppy are straightforward, use of the pads does make it simpler and less challenging. Choosing the disposable or washable pad is a matter of personal preference and will not affect the training. By following a few basic steps, you will be able to train your dog to follow your instructions:  

  • Choose a fixed location for the pad. Encouraging your dog to go to the same place to relieve himself will help him learn that no other place is acceptable. It will be a good idea to choose a place that is somewhat private, uncluttered with things that will distract or confuse the dog and that will be away from the main traffic areas of the home so that he is less likely to confuse the purpose of the location with other activities.
  • Placement of the pad is very important. If your dog has difficulty getting to the pad, or remembering where it is because there are other items located in the area where the pad is, he will become frustrated and refuse to use it. Make sure the pad is easily accessible. Difficulty at first is normal, simply because your dog is “learning” the why and the where of this process. Key positioning of the pad will help shorten the length of the training time.
  • Understanding the pad’s purpose. This is done by taking your dog to the pad and placing him on it when he is about to urinate or eliminate. At first this may be frequently to make sure he does not have an accident elsewhere in your home, but more so that he begins to understand why he is placed on the pad.
  • Rewards are essential. If your dog relieves himself on the pad, you must praise him with love and affection each and every time, even once he begins to go to the pad himself, without being taken or guided. Always use a gentle, happy voice. Positive reinforcement will help make sure he completely understands what the pad is for, and will encourage him to do his best to always use the pad rather than only when he is near it.
  • Relocating the training pad. As training progresses and your dog has come to fully understand the purpose of the pad, it should gradually be moved towards an exterior door. This can be done by moving the pad a little each day, or every couple days until it sits right at the door. Once your dog has mastered the pad at the door, you can move it outdoors. Whether your dog goes on the pad at this point or on the ground, makes no difference. It is very important to continue to praise him, and let him know that he has done the right thing.
  • Reinforcing the pad training. Continue to leave a pad right inside the door for a while. Allowing the dog the choice of the indoor pad or outdoor pad. When you see the dog heading towards the door, open it. If the dog chooses the outdoor pad, you can feel confident that he fully understands where he is supposed to relieve himself. Once you are sure the dog is trained, remove the indoor pad.


  1. Never scold or hit the dog for accidents or mistakes. Negative responses during his training will only reinforce negative behavior. Reprimands will give him a negative attitude about the training.
  2. Be calm and patient. Your dog is learning, so patience will be one of the most important keys to successful training. If you are calm, your dog will be calm and more likely to be receptive to the training rather than resist it.
  3. Be alert and responsive. When training starts and you are taking your dog to the pad frequently, you will need to be consistent. Once he begins to indicate he needs to relieve himself, do not hesitate or delay taking him right to the pad. It may not always be convenient, but failure to respond quickly each and every time will make the training take longer, and possibly fail.


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