How to Pee Pad Train Your Dog

Place potty-pads on hard, easy-to-clean surfaces.

Place potty-pads on hard, easy-to-clean surfaces.

Pee pad training is great for small breeds, owners with physical disabilities and those living in tall buildings. It's not the best choice if you want your dog eliminating outdoors anytime soon. Once pee pad trained, some dogs can even be trained to use a litter box.

Confine your dog to a small non-carpeted room. Choose a permanent location, such as a bathroom or laundry room. It is very difficult to train your dog to use a different location in the house at a later date, according to The Housebreaking Bible. The confinement area should be large enough that your dog has separate areas to potty, sleep and play.

Cover the entire floor in the confined area with potty pads. After three days, take one pad away while leaving the others on the floor. Two days later, take away another pad. Continue to remove a pad every other day until one pad remains, the Animal Humane Society recommends. If your dog poops or pees in a different location, cover the floor with potty pads and start from scratch.

Take your dog to the potty pad frequently. A puppy can only control his bladder one hour for every month of his age. Put your dog on a leash and walk him to the pee pad every two hours, as well as upon waking, after playing and after eating. Say “go potty” and wait for results. If your dog eliminates on the pee pad, praise him enthusiastically and give him treats. If your dog has not relieved himself in five minutes, remove him from the pad and try again later.

Use potty accidents to your advantage. Blot accidents with a paper towel and then spray an enzymatic cleaner to remove urine odors. Place the urine-soaked paper towel on the potty pad. The smell of urine will attract your dog to pee on the pad.

Increase the size of the confinement area each month your dog is free from accidents. You could add a hallway or additional rooms. If your dog starts having accidents, start the process over using a small confinement area.

Items you will need

  • Pee pads
  • Baby gate
  • Treats
  • Leash
  • Non-carpeted area


  • Avoid establishing potty areas in kitchens, bedrooms, playrooms, food storage pantries or near doors that visitors use as entrances. Remember, your dog's pee and poop is visible to both you and guests.
  • Feeding your dog on a schedule decreases the chance of accidents during the day.
  • Watch for signs that your dog has to potty, such as pacing and sniffing. Say “potty” and take him to the potty pad, recommends the Animal Humane Society.


  • Remove collars before confining an unsupervised dog. If a collar gets caught on an object, your dog is at risk for injury or death by strangulation.
  • Never punish a dog for having an accident. This teaches the dog to potty when you're not around.
  • Using potty pads to train a puppy prolongs the process of training to eliminate outside, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

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About the Author

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Photo Credits

  • Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from