Should You Use Pee Pads with Your Dog?

Learn whether you should use pee pads and how you can teach your dog to ring a bell to go out. Yes, really.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #81

Dogs Don’t Automatically Pee and Poop on Pee Pads

Pee pad manufacturers claim that the pads’ scent naturally attracts dogs to eliminate on them. Maybe so, if you’re using them in a small space, like a puppy pen. I hear from plenty of clients and readers baffled because their puppies sleep on the pee pads, pee next to the pee pads, and defecate behind the sofa. For a puppy or a tiny dog, a pee pad in the far corner of the room might as well be in Tibet.

How to Teach Your Dog to Use Pee Pads

Pee pads are good for tiny dogs in bad weather, and they can help in tricky housetraining situations.

So, you may have noticed that I spoke several times of teaching a puppy or dog to eliminate on a pad. Do this exactly as you’d housetrain in the usual, outdoor way: confine and closely supervise your pup between his frequent toilet breaks. Bring him to the pad on leash and give him a minute or so to eliminate. If he eliminates, he gets praise and a few minutes at large in the room with you, then goes back to his confinement area till the next toilet outing. If he doesn’t eliminate, put him back in the confinement area for five or ten minutes, then give him another shot.

Why not newspaper? Plenty of people use it with no problem. The catch is that once some dogs learn to love eliminating on newsprint, their love is lifelong. And which dogs are those? No way to know in advance. Nuff said.

Should You Use Dog Doors?

Next up, dog doors. Short answer: No--though not quite “Never.”


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).