Dog lovers generally prefer that their furry friends potty outside, but those living in high-rise apartments or those with sick or elderly animals may not have that luxury. A potty patch is a lifesaver for these dogs, allowing them to be comfortable no matter where they potty.
What is a Potty Patch?
A potty patch, as the name implies, is a small patch of artificial grass that acts as an alternative to outdoor house-training. The base of the potty patch is made of heavy-duty plastic to catch liquid waste, and the patch of grass sits on top to provide a comfortable footing for your pampered pooch. Potty patches come in a variety of sizes to accommodate all dogs, although they are mainly marketed to smaller breeds. The grass tops are removable, and should be replaced every few months to maximize effectiveness.
Liquid or Solid?
While potty patches are mainly designed to catch liquid waste, dogs can and do defecate on them. The artificial grass is scent- and stain-resistant, although routine cleaning is necessary to cut down on offensive odors. Many potty patches are infused with a house-training aid that encourages dogs to go on the grass, making it a little easier to convince Fluffy that the patch is the right place to potty. Scoop up poop piles as soon as possible to prevent your pup from stepping in it and tracking a smelly mess all over your house.
Teaching your dog to use a potty patch uses the same training method as teaching him to go outdoors. Set the potty patch up in a quiet place, such as a spare bathroom or laundry room. Lay a tarp or plastic sheet on the floor to catch accidental spills, and set the patch in the middle of the tarp. Watch your pooch for signs that he has to go, such as circling or sniffing the ground. As soon as he looks like he has to go, pick him up and set him on the patch. Tell him to “go potty,” and stand quietly until he goes. Reward him with a little treat and praise him for using the patch. Repeat the process every time he looks like he needs to go, and soon he will seek out the potty on his own.
Cleaning your potty patch every day is necessary to keep your house from smelling like a latrine. Pick up solid waste as soon as your dog leaves the patch, and pour liquid waste down the toilet at least once a day. Before you turn in for the night, wash the grass patch and the plastic base with a mild soap, such as dish soap, and allow it to dry overnight.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.