How to Train a Puppy to Use a Pad & Go Outside

Be consistent and patient when housebreaking your puppy.

Be consistent and patient when housebreaking your puppy.

Just like toddlers, potty training your puppy can be a messy and smelly experience. If done incorrectly, your puppy might end up fearing you and you might frequently come home to find unpleasant surprises on the floor. Gradually transitioning from puppy pads to an outdoor bathroom might ease the process.

Find a small area in the house with tile, linoleum or other hard flooring that provides enough space for your puppy to eat, sleep and play. Use a small room like the kitchen or bathroom or close off an area with dog gates.

Place a puppy pad in an area of the room, away from your dog's sleeping area, because dogs dislike eliminating where they sleep.

Put a paper towel soiled with your pup's urine under the puppy pad so your pet companion smells it and recognizes the pad as his potty area.

Confine your puppy to the small area, observe him and if he shows signs that he needs to go, such as circling, sniffing, whining or barking, place him on the puppy pad and say "go potty." Do this each time you think he has to go -- be consistent.

Reward your puppy with a treat and praise him immediately after he successfully uses the pad. Avoid waiting until after the fact, because your pet companion won't understand what he's being praised for.

Allow your puppy access to more areas of the house, after about one month of using the puppy pads without any accidents. Keep monitoring him to ensure he uses the puppy pads. If he has accidents, you might have allowed him to explore too much of the house too soon -- reduce the area somewhat.

Observe your puppy and when he shows signs that he needs to go potty, bring him to a designated bathroom area in the great outdoors.

Bring along a soiled piece of paper or a soiled pad and place it in the potty area outside. The familiar scent might help your pup feel more comfortable in the new environment and might motivate him to go potty.

Tell your pet companion to "go potty" and wait patiently for your pup to relieve himself.

Reward and praise your puppy on the spot, immediately after he goes potty.

Bring your puppy to the same outdoor bathroom area each time, because his scent will motivate him to go potty. Remove the indoor puppy pad as your pup gets used to using the outdoor potty area.


  • Feed and walk your puppy at the same times each day so it becomes routine. Take him to his potty area at least every two hours and right after he plays, eats, drinks and wakes up in the morning. A set schedule makes it more likely for your puppy to go potty at the same times each day.
  • If you catch your pup having an accident, clap your hands so the noise stops him in his tracks and carry him to his potty area.
  • Unless you catch him in the act, avoid scolding your puppy after an accident, because he won't understand what he's being disciplined for and he might start fearing you.
  • Thoroughly clean up your pup's indoor accidents with a commercial product for dog stains. If your pup smells his feces or urine, it might motivate him to soil the area again.
  • Crate-train your puppy for times when you're not at home. Leave puppies under 4 months old in the crate up to three hours. Puppies 4 months and older can stay in the crate for up to five hours.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Cuteness
Brought to you by Cuteness

About the Author

Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.

Photo Credits

  • I love my puppy image by Elliot Westacott from Fotolia.com