Potty Training Methods for Dogs- The Debate

We all know potty training is a non option but which of the potty training methods to use is always going to be a controversial issue. Puppy pads or going out to potty every 2 hours on the hour? Set your alarms y’all!

Some people love the idea of using puppy training pads where you start off with the pad somewhere in the house tell your pup to “go potty” once they are on the pad and then over the course of days or weeks you slowly move the pad closer to the door where your pup will eventually learn to “go potty” outside.

The opposition is all for taking their pup outside to go potty every 2-3 hours or as often as they need to go in order to avoid going inside.

The Potty Training Methods Debate: Puppy Pads vs. Going outside

Neither seem like the easiest of options but you can’t just do nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, I can see the initial hype of using the pads because it would make clean up easier because its already on the pad, so you just wad it up and throw it away. But what if, now I know it’s crazy, but what if when you would tell your dog to “go potty” on the pad you took them outside and told them to “go potty” instead? You would have even less of a mess to clean up am I right?

On top of having nothing to clean up, taking your dog out every 2-3 hours is better because you’re accomplishing your end goal every time your pup goes potty outside. This means you get to be excited for them going potty outside every time!!

If you go with the puppy pad option and your pup goes somewhere in the house besides on the pad you can’t be excited for them because they didn’t go where you wanted them to. That’s just going to lead to frustration for both you and your pup. They won’t know where they can go and where they can’t go or why. Besides why would you want to teach your pup to go potty in the house before going outside? That’s going to prolong the potty training process.

So what’s your decision, which potty training method will you choose?

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Which method did you use to potty train your pup? How’d it work for you?

37 thoughts on “Potty Training Methods for Dogs- The Debate

  1. People use puppy pads (i.e. nappies) so they don’t have to take their dogs outside? Am I alone is being bothered by this?

    One of the major issues in landfill is disposable children’s nappies – and they want to add to the problem with puppy nappies too. I can see the usefulness with training a little pup but surely a towel (washable multiple times) would do and it can be washed?

    Thanks for a great post. Puppy pads are an environmental and lazy human fail ( to us anyway!!)

    1. I’ve seen it being done or as a middle step to getting them to the point of going outside to do their business. You are not alone, my roommate tried them with her dog years ago which is why I just needed to get it off my chest! Did you see that they make fake grass stuff now, like potty pads, so they pee on this fake grass instead of going out, I’m not sure if there’s a pad under it to collect all of the waste or not I haven’t looked into it and probably won’t. Good point with the pollution it causes too! Yet another reason to not use them and try to decrease our carbon footprint, take your dog outside folks, help save the environment, I never even thought about it that way!

  2. I never liked the potty pads, it doesn’t make sense to me to teach a puppy to pee inside ever, even on a pad. BUT I can see the potential if someone lives in an apartment and has to take an elevator/stairs to take their puppy outside. I’ve also had other foster parents in my group say they use them for very young puppies, they are too young to potty train.

    1. I lived in an apartment and granted it was only the third floor I still don’t think that even if I was higher up that I wouldn’t take the trip outside😬 I know Sahara and I both could always benefit from the stairs and the fresh air, to me the stair/elevator trip sounds like an excuse. If they were newborn puppies and aren’t supposed to be outside I get that part too as with elderly dogs who just can’t make it that far. But not apartments haha.

  3. Ugh.. THANK YOU! I am SOOO anti puppy pads. It’s just more work and more confusing and an unnecessary step. Unless you have newborn puppies at home that are in a large pen and don’t have their shots and can’t go outside (like baby baby puppies, younger than 99% of people get them), there’s ZERO reason for puppy pads. The one exception in my mind is older dogs. We used them with my husband’s 17 year old Chihuahua who just couldn’t hold it anymore.

    1. I could see it with older dogs who don’t have the capability to hold it as long or make it as far as to be able to go outside but other than that I don’t get it!!

  4. Aren’t there the “pads” that look like indoor outdoor carpeting now too? You know, I have never had a problem potty training a pet before! How can that BE? But, it’s true! I got so lucky with every pet I have ever had. Come to think of it, my kids were easy to. Hummmm

    1. Yes I was just thinking about the ones that look like fake grass! OOH you must be sooo luckyyyy!!! Maybe you need to spread the wealth! You might make people feel bad about not being as lucky as you😆

  5. I’ve always looked at puppy pads as an option to use only if you are going to have to leave your dog at home for an extended period of time, or if you have a senior or special-needs dog who can’t make it outside for some reason. I don’t think I would use puppy pads for regular potty training – kind of seems to defeat the purpose!

  6. We adopted our dog as a senior. She had some separation anxiety and other anxiety when we first adopted her and she had lots of accidents. We did use puppy pads for her and still occasionally do if we are going to be gone all day.

  7. Well, it all depends, doesn’t it? Overall, puppy pads don’t really make sense at all and just confuse the poor pup. HOWEVER, unless one is able to take them outside as often as needed, then there has to be a substitute.

  8. Ugh, the struggle, i feel you! I remember training our pups, had to set the alarm every 2 hours during the night. You are doing great! xx

  9. I’ve never been a big fan of puppy pads either. I think getting them accustomed to going outside is ultimately the best step toward accomplishing the potty training goals!

  10. I trained Honey using the errorless house training approach–take her out after waking, eating, playing. No pee pads. I even got permission to take her to work where she slept in a crate behind my desk while I saw clients.

    The good news is she was house trained very quickly with few accidents. She even slept through the night at 10 weeks old.

    The bad news is that now we live on a boat and she refuses to “go” on the deck no matter what.

    Other cruisers suggest I put a pee pad on the deck to coax her to go. But since she has no such experience with them, I don’t think it will help.

    I’m still a firm believer in the method I used. It’s the faster method to train a dog. And it’s a whole lot less convenient for the person.

  11. I never thought about this! We adopted our dog so he was older and already trained, and most of our family adopted too so I can’t think of anyone who had to toilet train. It would be a tricky thing to want to do if you got a puppy in winter, to go out so frequently when it’s cold!!! I can see why people might choose different options.

  12. We have 4 babies. Actually they are all up in age, but like my children still my babies. We always take outside. I dont see the since in training twice.

  13. We always opt for going outside, and we’ve have had success with all our doggies. We utilized a crate for the first couple of months too. Great read, thanks for sharing. You are a great ambassador for the breed! <3

  14. Im not a strong fan of the puppy pads. You should get your puppy used to going outside from day one. Maybe in the case for an aging dog who has trouble holding it anymore.

  15. Hey Karlee! Great tips! I used them to potty train my Molly and they work really well. It’s a bit of work, but so worth it taking the pups out every 2/3 hours.

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