Training a puppy to use pee pads is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, you will probably be surprised at how easily your new dog adjusts to using puppy pads once you have done a little preparation and know what to do. The following steps are for dogs less than six months old. If your pet is older, this training method might work well with a few small changes:
1. You will need a good-quality puppy training pee pad holder that fits in the area where you want your pet to do its business. Make sure that the surface of the training aid has holes that will allow any liquid from the absorbent towel or pad to pass through properly into the main bag under the pad holder.
Line the floor of this surface with pads or puppy training absorbent towels. Don’t attach the pad to anything yet, though. Just make sure it is sitting right. If you are using a towel, make sure it is secure on all sides so that your pet can’t grab one end and pull it out from under the holder onto the floor.
2. Let your puppy explore its new area without interrupting him for about 10 minutes-Don’t bring attention to his pads or treats while he’s looking around -Be patient!!! He will probably sniff them at first but be interested only in moving around freely, not in eliminating yet and might even urinate in a spot other than where you have placed the towel or pad. Don’t worry about this! He will soon realize that he is supposed to do his business there. When he does, offer lots of praise and a treat
3. As soon as your dog eliminates on its own in the proper place, reward him with a treat. Don’t make a big deal out of it when your pet goes to the bathroom in the right place. Your goal at this point is simply to familiarize your puppy with going to the bathroom in one spot only. So if you notice him pottying anywhere else, let him finish but then scootch him over to his designated pad-using area and use a firm voice to say “No!” or “Get over here! Do your business!”
4. Once your puppy has done his business in the proper spot a few times, pick up one of the pads and hold it under his bottom as he eliminates
Don’t place the pad directly under him – make sure you have at least one inch between your pet’s body and the absorbent sheet.
This will help prevent any accidents from hitting the floor as well as make it easier for him to see where he is going. Avoid letting him step on it until he has completely finished eliminating so that he will continue learning where to go every time. When he finishes, give him lots of praise and another treat – but don’t give it to him until he steps completely off of the pad.
5. Use an obstacle course as a way to teach your dog where its pad is and help it recognize that it’s allowed to go potty on those spots only
Layout pads or absorbent towels in a pattern that will make your pet walk around them, over them, and between them.
Do this for about 10-15 minutes every day so that he learns what you want. Another thing you can do is place pads at various distances from each other – start by putting one really close and work your way up to having four or five pads further apart. If you notice that he has an accident somewhere else in the house, move the pad away to the right spot.
6. Keep using your obstacle course to help teach him where his pad is and that it’s okay for him to go potty there only
Figuring out what you want will take some time, but he’ll get the idea after a while.
Don’t forget to offer lots of praise when he makes it through the course without having an accident at any point. As soon as he gets confused about where he can or cannot go, slow things down by placing fewer obstacles in his way so that there are fewer choices for him to make. Also, put an absorbent sheet on each spot before laying down pads or towels so that your pet becomes familiar with its designated potty area.
7. After your dog consistently goes to the bathroom on its pad in the proper spots, you can start confining it to a smaller area with just one pad
Only move this one pad if and when your pet goes potty, and if he does so elsewhere in the house, scootch him over by his leash and put him back on his original spot.
As long as he is going to the bathroom where he should be going, let him roam around inside for a little while longer until you notice that he starts having accidents again. If this happens then place an absorbent sheet on all of his designated areas except for where he has been going. Gradually make his off-limit zone smaller until it only includes the bad spot then increase the number of pads in that area until he knows that it’s okay for him to go potty there.
If your pet eliminates on any other place inside the house, you must move his sheet closer to its designated spot and be sure to praise it each time it goes where it is supposed to.
8. The last step is to gradually take away one pad at a time so that your dog only has one spot left where it can eliminate
Keep an eye out for signs that he doesn’t know what you want – this includes sniffing around or even circling after eliminating elsewhere. When you notice something like this, quickly scootch him over by his leash and put him back on his original spot. Praise whenever he does go on the pad correctly. If he starts having accidents, put down more pads until you get back to where you started
9. To ensure that your puppy knows which areas are allowed for him to eliminate on, scatter treats on some of the designated spots so that he goes there first thing upon waking up. This will help condition him so that even when you aren’t home, he’ll know what is expected of him. Eventually, this good habit will become second nature to him, and you won’t have to use treats anymore.
10. If your puppy has an accident, take it as a learning opportunity and try again the next day, keeping in mind that getting it right every time isn’t realistic or expected
If he goes potty where he should be going but is making mistakes elsewhere, clean those spots up with an odor neutralizer so that he doesn’t go there again. When accidents do happen, place a treat or two on that spot so that your pet gets a positive association with going there.
This will help encourage him to go potty in the right places without you even being around! After scolding your dog, give lots of praise whenever it does go to the bathroom where it should be going.
Training your dog to use pads is easy as long as you follow the steps. Be patient, be consistent and have a lot of patience! Remember that it takes time for puppies to learn new habits so they may need reminders from their owner now and then. Your pup will thank you with lots of love in return!