Puppy Training Pads: A Beginner’s Guide on How to The Best Products to Housetrain Your Puppy

Puppy training pad
John Walton
Written by John Walton

One of the biggest issues dog owners face is house training their new puppies. Finding a pee puddle or poop on your favorite carpet is not pleasant. Besides, you cannot get a paid leave for an extended period of time, as much as your puppy would need to learn where and when to do his business. So you can use puppy training pads confidingly to make housebreaking easier for both you and your dog.

In this article we will get you through the advantages and the disadvantages entailed by pads, how you can use them effectively, and how you can choose the best training pads for your puppy.

The advantages of training pads

If you have to leave your home for extended periods of time and can’t trust your puppy to hold it in until you come back, or if the weather is too nasty to take him to an outdoor place in which he can freely pee or poop, you may want to consider training pads as a good option.

Training pads

Since every dog is different, these may be a great fit for some puppies but may not be entirely accepted by others. As such, the advantages of using these products vary depending on the situation, but many dog owners are faced with the following issues:

Lack of access to a safe outdoor spot

If you have a new young puppy on your hands and you have not vaccinated him yet, it is best to keep him indoors. Otherwise, if you let him roam freely outside, in a dog park for example, he may come in contact with germs, parasites or small critters which may infect him. Consequently, unless you have yourself a clean and fenced back yard, it is healthier for the pup to use his indoor training pads than go to the dog park to do his business.

Long work hours

Of course, if you work from 9 to 5 every day, and you also have an hour long commute to and from work, that amounts to almost half a day when you are not home for your puppy. If he is really young, he will need to pee and poop more frequently than an adult, and you may very well end up with another 9 to 5 “treats” of your own after work. Just put some training pads inside his crate or in your bathroom and both of you will feel more comfortable like that.

Owning a toy breed

These little fellows hate it when they wet their feet, and they cannot stand cold weather at all. If you get a puppy like that during late autumn or winter, then you have a problem. It does not even have to be a toy breed, because all puppies are more sensitive to cold and damp weather when they are young.

Training pads for toy breeds

Besides, it cannot be very pleasant for you either.

Warm weather

If it is too hot outside and you are the proud owner of a Bulldog or another breed that can’t stand the hot summer time not even long enough to do their business, then training pads are an ideal solution for you.

Mobility issues

If you can’t get outside fast enough because you can’t get out of the house that quickly, then the dog will have to hold it in until you are ready to leave. But if you have a puppy on your hands, he may not know how to do that yet. The issue complicates itself if you live in an apartment or if you are otherwise mobility challenged, and can’t just jump out the door.

Submissive urination

This is a problem for many puppies who are showing their submission by urinating. Some of them may even have some urinary incontinence episodes when they feel really happy to see you, or when they get really anxious because you are leaving the house without them. In either case, proofing your house with training pads is a good idea – you never now when your puppy may get too giddy.

The disadvantages of training pads

Every rose has its thorn, and every solution can give birth to an additional problem. Puppy pads are not an exception to that rule, and you may soon find out that there are supplementary issues you have to solve if you have decided to use training pads for housebreaking your puppy.

Below is a list of the biggest problems dog owners have confronted themselves with when it comes to using these products, the underlying disadvantages pads have, and how you can overcome these problems.

Seeing pads as toys

Many puppies believe that their training pads are for chewing and playing with, and they do not even stop at doing that with the new ones you put out for them, but they even play with the ones they soiled themselves. You can solve this issue by placing the pads into a frame or in a holder, and put them some place from where they cannot be dragged out so easily. You may still have some trouble if your dog comes from a breed with nipping tendencies or from a larger breed, but it is way better than leaving the pads on the floor.

Large breed puppies

You may think that if you own a puppy that comes from a breed of bigger sized dogs, then he must also have a bigger sized bladder. This assumption is true, but it does not mean that he will be able to hold in more urine.

Training pad for dogs

On the contrary, these dog breeds have problems with keeping it in and they tend to pee all the time. To solve this problem, just buy the XL version of the training pads. It is always better to choose these because they are more absorbent, and they should also fit nicely into a frame. Nevertheless, you should also know that other owners feel their big puppies deal better with using a litter box rather than pads.

Difficulty in training them to go outside

Once a habit has formed in your puppy’s mind, then it is hard to break it and we have all seen how repetition is quickly internalized by dogs, especially when they are really young. As such, if you teach your puppy that he is supposed to pee or poop inside on a training pad, he may not want to do his business elsewhere. So, most dog owners out there believe that it works better when you teach your puppy to go outside really young, and not use pee pads for a very long time to begin with.

How to use training pads effectively

If you have decided that the best thing for you and your puppy is house training him by using training pads, you need some good advice to get yourself on the right track. There are some dog owners who take the matter of pee pads very lightly, which leads them to a number of mistakes that trigger a negative use of the pads or even resentful feelings towards them.

Get the right product

If you choose a small sized pee pad for your larger breed puppy, or less absorbent ones for a dog that pees a lot, then you will be in big trouble. In point of fact, you should always be sure that you get the right size according to the instructions on the package and do not assume that if you have a toy breed and get XL pads, then you will save some money.

Get the right product

Your smaller sized puppy may feel completely overwhelmed, or could even perceive the pads as a bed and never use them properly. Do not forget about frames and holders either, in case you really do not want to see the pads chewed. Besides this, you can also get scent impregnated pads which trigger your dog’s potty instincts.

Do not punish your dog

Learning how to use the puppy pads properly is no walk in the park for your pup, so accidents may occur, like his peeing or pooping outside the training pads area. If you do not actually see him do this mistake, then it is no use punishing him at all, because he will not understand what he did wrong. If you see him try to do his business elsewhere than on a pee pad, then you can place him in the according spot and give him the “Go potty” command.

Teach your dog how to use them

We will tell you more about that later, but it is important that you do not neglect the fact that your puppy has to be taught how to use the training pads. Even if you get the best ones on the market he will not know how to use them instinctively. He may not know what the pads are for at all, at least at first.

How do you teach your dog to use training pads?

We know that teaching your dog new tricks can be a very hard thing to do, especially if they regard something very intimate and natural like relieving himself. He still has to learn that the areas he considers most appropriate for that are not in fact the most suitable for you.

Teach your dog to use training pads

Here are some tips and tricks to make him understand that better, and to minimize the number of his mistakes.

  1. Teach your dog how to stay in a designated area for him, where he can eat, sleep and play freely. This area may even be a room or the kitchen, but it has to be small. If you do not have something like that in your home, you may want to consider using a crate.
  2. Put a puppy pad somewhere in this space, but further away from his sleeping bed, because he will not do his business near there.
  3. Get some of his urine on a towel, and place it under the training pad so he knows that is where he is supposed to go.
  4. Keep your puppy in the enclosed area and if he is exhibiting signs that he is ready to do his business, give him the “Go potty” command after you have placed him on the training pad, and reward him once he has successfully peed or pooped on the pad.
  5. After he has learnt to use the puppy pads in the enclosed area, you can allow him to move freely in more rooms of your house. If he has accidents, simply restrict his access a bit.

How do you use training pads to teach him to do his business outside?

After you have managed to housebreak your puppy by using training pads, you may find that he doesn’t want to go outside anymore. As such, you can use the training pads to show him that the world has many potential toilet spots and he does not have to be afraid to use them.

Teach him to do his business outside

You can do that in another 5 easy steps:

  1. When your puppy is showing signs that he needs to relieve himself, take him outside immediately.
  2. Place one of his dirty training pads in the area you have brought him in, to show him that it is ok to pee or poop there.
  3. Give him the command “Go Potty” you have already taught him, and reward him after he does his business.
  4. Be consistent and try to bring him to the same spot for his potty needs.
  5. Remove the training pads after you have successfully taught him that the world is his oyster when it comes to relieving himself.

Disposable pads or washable pads?

We have already talked about absorbency and size when it comes to choosing the best puppy training pads, but you can also take into account the eco-friendly option of picking washable training pads versus the short-term solution of disposable pads.

The difference between these two is obvious, but the choice between them is highly pragmatic in nature because people will choose disposable pads if they want to teach their dog to eventually go outside, and conversely choose washable pads if they want their dog to get used to going potty inside.

Disposable pads or washable pads

As such, disposable pads are more easily used, they can simply be thrown away afterwards and their initial cost is quite low. They are also impregnated with scents that cover your dog’s natural poop odors. However, their initial low cost gets higher every time you buy new ones, they can be easily mistaken for chewing toys and they are not an eco-friendly option.

On the other hand, washable pads may have a higher initial cost and the poop-stink can be a little too much to handle if they are not washed fast, but they tend to prove a great investment on the long term. Besides this, they are more resistant and can’t be easily gnawed by puppies or dragged through the entire house since they can be secured to the floor. They are also more absorbent than disposable pads, plus they are a better option for environmental reasons.

The best products on the market

Without much further ado, we will provide you a list of the best training pads for your puppy to use when you are trying to housebreak him.

All-Absorb Training Pads

These pads have a surface that allows quick drying, which in turn will prevent tracking. They have an absorbent core that will turn your dog’s urine into gel spontaneously and a scent that will attract your dog to use them more freely for his potty needs, and neutralize the odors from his excrements. The best thing about them is that they hold almost 24 oz of liquid, which means that they can also be successfully used on older, incontinent dogs.

All-Absorb Training Pads

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AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads, Regular

These scented pads are 22×22 inches, and they have a 1.5 inch plastic border on every side to ensure that your dog’s urine does not overflow. They also present a very absorbent core which turns liquid into gel immediately, and they have a plastic lining that protects your flooring against leakages.

AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads

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Four Paws Wee-Wee Standard Dog Housebreaking Pads

These pads are dispensable and very easy to use. They have a leak-proof system with 5 plies that guarantees your carpets and floors will be protected even against heavy leaking. They are scented to attract the dogs, and they are available in a lot of sizes ranging from Little Dogs to Gigantic.

Four Paws Wee-Wee Standard Dog Housebreaking Pads

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Petphabet THE BEST Carbon Technology Activated 23 by 24 Inches Odor Killer Dog Training Pads

The carbon technology turns these pads into effective odor free products, which apart from being leak proof and very durable, they can also stay in place anywhere. The best thing is that if you do not like them, you are offered a money back guarantee. You can either get a pack of 20 pads or choose one with 100 pads.

Petphabet THE BEST Carbon Technology Activated 23 by 24 Inches Odor Killer Dog Training Pads

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AKC Training Pads

With a composition of 6 layers for better absorbency, this product has a quick drying gel that prevents unwanted leaking and tracking. It is also scented to prevent the spreading of disagreeable odors, but it moreover has antibacterial properties. All that makes it perfect for training your puppy or helping an elder dog.

AKC Training Pads

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Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty with REAL Grass

This ingenious product can be used effectively, especially if you are interested in teaching your dog how to do his business in the great outdoors, because it has hydroponically grown grass, which triggers the dog’s instinct to go potty. Besides, you will be able to teach him faster to go, and if you buy this you will also get some free dog training consultations.

Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty with REAL Grass

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California Pet Supply Dog Training Pads

These training pads are more large and thick than any other regular pads out there, and offer a great deal of protection since your dog’s business will be transformed into gel in less than 1 minute, apart from holding 24 oz of liquid. The core doesn’t drip, which means you can sanitize the floor under it really fast.

California Pet Supply Dog Training Pads

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OUT! PetCare Moisture Lock 30-Pack Dog Pads, X-Large

Apart from the characteristics of instant absorption, leakage-free and odor control, this product is especially designed for larger breed puppies. They are extra-large and will deter your pup from chewing or playing with them, since they have a scent that triggers their potty needs.

OUT! PetCare Moisture Lock 30-Pack Dog Pads, X-Large

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Simple Solutions Washable Training and Travel Pad

If you are more interested in getting your dog to pee indoors for a long time and looking for an eco-friendly alternative, these washable pads can be washed 300 times, they are 10 times more absorbent than disposable pads, and they control odors.

Simple Solutions Washable Training and Travel Pad

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EZwhelp Washable Whelping & Puppy Pad

These pads have rounded corners which prevent curling, ensuring that they will stay at the appointed place. They are laminated, which means they are a good environmental options regarding low energy consumption.

They are also pretty absorbent and have an waterproof bottom to protect your floor, as well as a brown top which is resistant against stains.

EZwhelp Washable Whelping & Puppy Pad

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To sum up, whether you want to use the eco-friendly option of washable training pads or whether you want to use the easy option of disposable pads, these products are amazing as a first stepping stone before teaching your dog how to do his business outdoors.

They come in different shapes and sizes, and they benefit from ingenious innovations which will help your dog learn faster how to use them, while you will feel less apprehensive about your favorite carpet being in peril.

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.