Pee Pads: Good or Bad for Housebreaking?

by Melissa on December 4, 2011

Pee pads for pups are a subject of debate in the dog world. Some trainers and pet parents like them, while others feel it is detrimental to housebreaking a dog and see it as counteractive. The most popular argument against pee pads is that they teach dogs to eliminate in the house. Are pee pads all that they seem?

Some pee pads, like the as-seen-on-TV Potty Patch, resemble faux grass and are designed to naturally draw a dog in for her elimination needs. Other pee pads, like the Nature’s Miracle brand, claim that the grass scent will attract dogs. A dog is not like a cat when it comes to learning good potty habits quickly. Most dogs will require more effort than being shown to the pee pad when it comes to housebreaking, so a pee pad does not serve as a replacement for positive reinforcement with potty training. Just like any other type of dog housebreaking, the best way to start is to leave the dog in a small space with the pee pad, whether it is in a room or behind a baby gate. Another issue with pee pads is that the area is quite small to use for elimination, especially for larger breeds.

This doesn’t mean that pee pads don’t have their place in the dog community. For some, pee pads serve an important purpose when a dog is already trained. If a dog is left inside while someone is at work, training a dog to use a pee pad instead of the floor saves a messy clean-up when the owner gets home. For some, a pee pad is used for small dogs during winter months when going outside is potentially dangerous (for both the person and dog) during inclement weather, or for use during storms when some dogs are too scared to be outside. Other uses include rehabilitating rescue dogs who were never trained or need a reminder session in housebreaking, or for aging dogs with incontinence issues. Many apartment-dwellers with limited access to grass (mostly in larger cities) are fans of pee pads in order to avoid accidents during the night when getting to a grassy area is difficult.

Pee pads are likely here to stay, despite the debate! Has your dog used pee pads, and would you consider having your dog use them?

[photo credit]

This article was written by My Pet Saving’s contributor Melissa. She has a master’s degree in creative writing, owns several pets and runs her own online pet magazine. To learn more about this author check out the contributor profile page.

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Tisha December 4, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I think pee pads are the worst idea. A dog can’t differentiate between when it’s okay to use the potty in the house and when not to. If you don’t want your dog using the potty in your house, train him to use it outside and not on a pad in your house. Dogs learn to hold it and eliminate where they’re suppose to. Crate training has worked on all my dogs. It was super easy after they got a certain age. When they were pups, I had the neighbor let them out every few hours. They have not had any accidents except when I gave one a bone from a roast and it gave him diarrhea.

debbie December 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM

I have a slightly different use for the pee pads. I have a large, several gallon water bowl, that both my cats and dog drinks out of. My youngest cat will literally get in it, with all four paws and play in it. It was getting everything soaked. So I took a large black garbage bag, spread it out, put a pee pad, and then the water dish goes on it. It catches all the spills. (Sorry to be off topic, but I love those pee pads.)

Kristy December 4, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Great tip! Thanks for sharing.

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