HEALTH & CARE

DIY Dog Potty: Step-by-Step Instructions for A Useful Project

Homemade dog potty
John Walton
Written by John Walton

A DIY dog potty can be the best solution if you cannot find the “right one” for your dog. We all know that different dogs have different sizes and modes of answering nature’s call. Being your pet’s parent, you would probably know more about what your dog needs when it comes to their own potty. It is also important to have your own version for times when your pet cannot go outside or if you live in an apartment or area where there is no grass for your dog to do their business on. It will not only be a good idea for puppy training but it will serve practical purposes as well.

There are a lot of dog potty products that are being offered in the market today but there are several problems that owners usually face when buying them. It could be either the poor quality of the product where it falls apart easily or it could be the size, one in which your dog could not fit properly.

Potty train your dog

Also, the costs could be very prohibitive where pet owners cannot afford to pay such a large amount just to have their own pet potty. With these types of concerns that pet owners are faced with, it can be a great relief to create one that is custom made for your own needs.

Things that you would need

In order to create your own pet potty, you will need several items. Now, the main material for the potty (i.e. the materials that would catch your pet’s poop and pee) can differ depending on your own choice. Natural grass can be more difficult to handle as it would need some care to let it grow whereas stones and mulch would not require as much tending.

Potty area

You will also get different advantages when you use different materials so make sure that you can keep up with the required maintenance for these materials and that it would work well with your pet.

  • Wooden frame. You can use your own lumber size depending on how high you want it to be. For smaller dogs, it would be best to use the smallest size (1×3) but you can also go as far as 4×4. You can also recycle any type of square frames as long as it fits what you are in need of. The frame will serve as the borders of the potty and will prevent the sod, mulch, or stones that you will be putting inside it.
  • Pieces of tissue or newspaper. You will need this to catch some of your dog’s pee so he or she would know where to do their business. The smell of the pee will help attract them to the potty and so training them to get used to it will be a lot easier. Put the pieces of tissue or paper in the area where they usually pee or try to absorb as much pee as you can after they have done their business by pressing them on the ground.
  • You can use either a plastic or metal screen as long as it would not let the potty materials slip through. For example, if you will be using a roll of sod then you can use plastic crates as screens whereas if you will be using stones or mulch, you would need a much finer screen such as those that you use on doors or windows.
  • This will be for walls if your dog happens to have a habit of covering up their mess after pooping. You will notice this if your pet kicks their back legs to throw some dirt over their poop. If your pet does not do this however, then you will not be needing walls.
  • Plants or shrubs. This is another optional material as it would only suit those pets which tend to pee standing up. Dogs who love to spray on anything that is upright would need a plant or a shrub for them to pee.
  • Tarp or any durable plastic material. This will serve as the lining or protection for your potty. This is to make sure that any liquid or moisture does not go to your floor and that it is contained within the wooden frame. You can also use a plastic drip tray or any plastic that will fit inside the frame and hold up the liquids coming from the potty.
  • Sod, stones, artificial grass, mulch, soil, etc. These are the materials that you will be using to serve as your pet’s potty. This would depend on what you can actually work with since these materials have different maintenance requirements. If you want to go with grass, you will have to water and trim them every now and then. Artificial grass and stones on the other hand, would have to be cleaned with water and soap whereas mulch and soil would have to be changed every few days.
  • For this project you will need a drill, staples, hammers, nails, pliers, scissors, and some paint or varnish if you want.

Steps on how to make the potty

So now that you know what materials would be used for this project, it would now be time to layout the plan for your pet potty.

Building a dog potty

Remember that the size and dimensions of the potty will depend on your own needs so make sure to cut the wooden frame and the screen into the size that you need. So here is what you need to do in order to construct your own pet’s indoor potty.

  1. Create the frame using the pieces of wood. So the first, thing that you need to do is to cut the lumber into the dimensions that you want and then create the right angles or joints at the corners to create a perfect square. You can also use a ready-made wooden frame which you can purchase from your local hardware or simply have them make it for you. Bring the frame to the area where you want it to be placed. You would also be putting up the plywood walls at this time if your dog would need it.
  2. Line the frame with the tarp of plastic. The next step is to place the plastic inside the frame. You need to make sure that you have enough to come up towards the edges of the frame up to the top. Staple the plastic into the frame and make sure that the corners are all covered. You also have to be careful not to staple on the lower edges of the plastic or liquid and moisture will seep out of it. So what you need to do is to press down on the corners but only staple at the upper edges of the frame.
  3. Cut out the screens to make it fit inside the wooden frame. Cut out the screen using a sturdy pair of scissors or with pliers to a size that is smaller than the frame. If you will be using fine screen, you will need some sort of buffer between the plastic base and the screen. Some of the things that you can use are planks of wood or some hard plastics that can withstand the weight of the potty materials.
    If you are going to use plastic crates, then there will be no need for the buffers. You just have to cut the crates into the size of the frame and make them fit inside it. You will be putting them upside down so the sides serve as a support for the things that will be laid on top of it.
  4. Lay out the potty materials. This will be the time to put out the materials that you want to have on your dog potty.
    • If you will be using artificial turf, then what you need to do is to cut them out to the size of the frame and then lay them over the screen or crate. You also want to put some holes on the turf so liquids can easily drain through the turf.
    • For natural grass or sod, you will need to order them by square foot so you will be the one cutting it to size as well. Make sure that you cut them a little smaller than the frame so there is space for them to grow and expand. You can also put some plants inside the frame by cutting out holes in the sod where the potted plant would fit.
    • If you will be using stones, then just fill the frame with it. You may also want to use some smoother stones as your pet would be stepping on them.
    • For mulch materials, you will need to spread them evenly on fine screen. You will not be able to use a crate on this one.
  5. Put your tissues and newspapers on top. So the last thing that you would have to do is to put the tissues and newspapers that contain your pet’s pee on top of the last materials. You can help spread the smell of the urine by pouring over some water on them or by combining them with the mulch or soil. For grass and stone materials, just pour a small amount of water so the urine can pass through the paper and onto the turf and stones.

After you have finished these steps then you now have your own dog potty.

Here is a short tutorial for an artificial turf dog potty:

Here is a sample of a dog potty box that uses mulch:

The last part, and perhaps the least entertaining part, is maintaining the potty. Put it in an area that receives enough sunlight so it can get disinfected and to avoid the growth of bacteria. In order to keep it clean, you will have to do some maintenance jobs as well.

First, you will need to pick up your dog’s poop from it and put it in a plastic bag. You cannot just leave it there lying in open air as insects can infest the potty and ruin it. Besides, it will also pose some dangers to your health as well. Next, you will have to clean it every day. This means that you need to wash it by spraying some water over it and then draining the water into a proper disposal area.

For stone materials, you will need some water and bleach in a weak solution to wash over the area. Mulch on the other hand, would have to be replaced every week in order to keep the area from smelling. As for the grass, you just need to water and trim it every few days to keep it alive. Sod is often preferable to plastic grass because dogs won’t often go in a plastic one. But if you do use artificial turf, you will have to rinse it with hot water in order to disinfect it.

Dog in a potty area

Most of the things that you will be using not only costs very cheap but you can also find them around the house. You can use old plastic crates, tarps, wood pieces, and door screens in order to build one. As for the potty materials such as sod, stones, and mulch you can easily find them or make them on your own. You also do not need kitty litter or pee pads to attract your pet to the potty. You can use pieces of turf or newspaper that they have actually peed on to lure them.

Attract your dog to the potty

If you are at a loss on how to handle your dog’s peeing and pooping problems, then just try to make your own pet potty. It is very cheap and easy to do that you can use them within hours or minutes. Making your own dog potty is really easy and all that it needs are a few materials as well as some skills in carpentry. If you don’t have the skills then you can have the local hardware do the more difficult things for you. All that you would have to deal with then will be the cleaning and maintaining of the potty.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Jemma Mayer

    We let our dogs out at times and that’s when they potty. I’ve never considered having one indoors because it really seems like a lot of work for something that isn’t very rewarding. This is a good guide, it’s easy to follow and all that. But is it alright that the ‘litter’ or the stones/etc that would catch the pee and poo are random ones? Isn’t there a chance that the dogs would be harmed? Just my concerns as there aren’t any strict specifications on the materials.

  • Winona Matthews

    My eldest daughter who lives out of state has a small dog under 2 years old. She has a roommate who told her that the dog often pee when she’s not there and is not properly house-trained. But surprisingly, my daughter tells me that the dog is well-behaved when she’s home and NEVER peed or pooed in the house. I’m all for positive reinforcements but what else can my daughter do to make the dog stop making a mess when she’s at home? Thanks everyone!

  • Anne Hunter

    Hosing the potty down every few days should be part of the routine unless you’re willing to deal with the smell. Oh, and a small dry-well could handle liquid waste! This article is pretty inspiring, even though we don’t have much use dog a dog potty since we have a very extensive garden, and we let our dogs out religiously. Well, at least the ideas are out there for someone to pick them up! Do it for the dogs!

    • Hosing is very important to make sure that the potty is clean and it will keep the smell to a minimum. Thanks for the feedback, Anne! Indeed, hopefully these ideas help pet parents who would like to make their own dog potty.

  • Angie

    The dog might be stressed if our has the run of the house when she isn’t home. She could try putting it in an ex-pen with a crate and a place to potty and see if that helps, or confining it to a room with a potty and crate.

    • Great recommendation, Angie! This is something that Winona can really try and observe if the results will improve.

  • I appreciate that you’re really aiming for some positive reinforcement to make sure that your daughter’s dog stops making a mess. As Angie recommended, it is better to temporarily confine the dog in a room with a crate and potty. While this can take time because the dog is already an adult, it can eventually work for her.

  • The stones should not be totally random. They should be smooth and solid, not rough, jagged, or crumbling to avoid injuries or ingestion of crumbled rocks. In addition, smoother stones are quite easier to clean.

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