How Do Puppy Pads Work?

One of the more unattractive activities you’ll be involved in as a new puppy parent is cleaning up after your precious pup. After raising several puppies, I can tell you that it doesn’t get any easier (or less disgusting). Stepping on gross little surprises, though, is a rite of passage when you adopt a puppy.  

The average puppy is an intelligent creature, of course, who, if trained well, will quickly learn that mommy and daddy don’t enjoy cleaning up their poop and pee. To that end, there are various ways to housetrain a puppy, many of which work well. All of them will help to reduce indoor potty accidents to a minimum and ensure a more enjoyable relationship for everyone.

I was potty training a puppy recently and thinking about this very thing and how it’s imperative to do it well. That reminded me of a question I repeatedly hear from new puppy parents who are at their wit’s end due to constant doggy doo disasters; how do puppy pads work?

The quick answer is that puppy pads work by teaching your puppy they have one spot where poo and pee are acceptable; the pad. Puppy pads are a convenient and easy potty training tool for pups, especially when they’re very young and have weaker bowel control. 

Puppy pads are also versatile, transportable, and easy to clean up after they’ve been used. In short, for many new puppy parents, puppy pads will be a dream and make potty training much easier and less frustrating. Depending on your particular lifestyle, you can also use puppy pads to train your puppy on a full or part-time basis. 

Knowing the basics about how puppy pads work, I’m sure you’ve got more questions about this versatile puppy potty training tool. If you do, please feel free to keep reading. I’ve got the answers to how to use puppy pads, what to put under them and more, below. It’s valuable info that can reduce poop-related problems to a minimum and make life with your new puppy more enjoyable.

How To Train a Puppy to Pee on a Puppy Pad

Using puppy pads, aka potty pads and pee pads, isn’t the easiest thing to teach a puppy; it’s true. However, if you’re consistent, persistent, and follow the steps below, your puppy should be able to learn how to use a puppy pad pretty quickly.

Step 1- Choose the Correct Puppy Pad

A puppy pad provides a consistent, recognizable area for your puppy to relieve themself. Most brands are more or less the same, with good absorption that soaks up your puppy’s mess and allows you to dispose of it with far less cleanup. Remember that larger dogs will need larger pads and vice versa. Also, in a pinch, towels, indoor-outdoor carpet, and the granddaddy of all puppy pads, a newspaper, can be used in place of a store-bought puppy pad. Whatever type of puppy pad you choose, be sure to use the same one or the same kind throughout your puppy’s potty training.

Step 2- Let your Puppy See, Smell and Touch the Puppy Pad

Some puppies might be scared of a puppy pad. Letting them smell it, walk on it, and so forth will help ease their fear. 

Step 3- Use a Consistent Command

Dogs, unfortunately, don’t speak human. However, they connect different words with different things, including their bowel movements. Using the same command every time you potty train will become ingrained in your puppy’s subconscious. This, in turn, will allow them to be potty trained more quickly.

Step 4- Be Vigilant During Times when Your Puppy Typically Pees or Poops

Like a new baby, the first few weeks with a new family are crucial to every puppy’s future health and welfare. If possible, plan to spend most of your day with them, at least for a week or two. That way, you’ll get a sense of when they need to go and be able to guide them to the puppy pad. 

Step 5- Reward Your Puppy after they Successfully Use their Pee Pad

Your puppy, like many other mammals, responds well to positive reinforcement. When they successfully use their puppy pad, you should heap on the praise so that they clearly understand they’ve done something positive. A treat would be helpful and words of praise about what a good dog they are.

Step 6- Stick to a Regular Potty Schedule

This might be the most important of all the steps. A regular schedule will help your puppy successfully pass potty training in far less time. 

How To Use Puppy Pads and Outdoor Potty Training Together

Using both puppy pads and outdoor training involves a few extra (but relatively easy) steps. One of the most important is to pick a specific place both outdoors and indoors for your puppy to go potty. Experts recommend staying away from bathrooms, kitchens, and children’s rooms because they’re high-traffic areas. 

Once you are puppy has mastered indoor potty training, you can start using outdoor potty training simultaneously. The best way to do this is to progressively move their indoor potty area closer to and exit to the outside of your home. (From a mudroom into the backyard is an excellent choice.)

The key is to be near your puppy when they wake up from sleeping or after eating and drinking. At that point, you should start alternating between your puppy’s indoor and outdoor space. Whatever your pupper decides to do, don’t stay in one spot for too long. Also, keep an eye on them in case they start to go somewhere else.

What Do I Put Under Puppy Pee Pads?

Here’s the thing; there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to what you can put under puppy pee pads. A large plastic bag would be an excellent choice to protect carpet or wood floors, as would a painter’s tarp. Even if it’s on cement or concrete, you might want to place several newspapers or other types of paper underneath your puppy pads.

It’s best to use puppy pads in an area of the house that can’t absorb water, like a mudroom, garage, or low foot traffic part of the kitchen. That way, their urine, and excrement won’t soak into any carpets or wood flooring. 

When Do I Take Puppy Pads Away?

The question of when to take puppy pads away has a different answer for every dog. Depending on the breed and several other factors, some will be potty trained much faster than others. That being said, there are some typical signs that your puppy will exhibit, showing you can take their puppy pads away without risk of accidents (mostly). They include:

  • Being able to go at least 8 hours without having an accident or going potty outside.
  • When you come home after work, their puppy pad is still dry.
  • If your puppy shows you signs that they want to go outside when they need to go potty, like pointing or scratching at the door.
  • Your puppy will wait for you to put down a pee pad before relieving themself.

Final Thoughts

Puppy pads work by giving your puppy a specific location to urinate and defecate and teaching them that it is the only acceptable place to do that. Puppy pads can be a big help when training your puppy to go outdoors also, and you can use both training methods simultaneously once your puppy is more experienced and older. 

I hope you enjoyed the information in today’s blog and that it answered all of your questions about how puppy pads work. If you have more or want to learn more about raising your precious new puppy, please see my other blogs on the subject. I try to pack them with as much practical, real-world information as possible to help you raise a well-behaved, happy and healthy fur baby.