Bringing a new puppy into your home is always exciting, but it also involves a lot of hard work. Puppies are full of energy and curiosity, and they can wreak havoc on shoes, furniture, and other items around the house. But the biggest challenge with a puppy is usually house training, which is why the right dog training pads are so important.
Dog training pads, also known as wee-wee pads, are pads of multi-layered absorbent material that allow your puppy to urinate inside the house without ruining your floors. The pads help teach your dog to only pee and poo in a specific area, which makes it easier to transition to only relieving himself outdoors. Dog training pads also come in handy if you live in an apartment and can’t take your dog out all the time or if you have a senior dog who sometimes has accidents.
When you’re shopping for dog training pads, you can choose from three main types: disposable, washable, and hydroponic grass pads.
- Disposable dog training pads are the most common option. They’re small squares made of layers of absorbent material that you throw away once they’re saturated. Disposable pads can cost more in the long run, but they’re usually the easiest to use and are very travel-friendly.
- Washable dog training pads cost more initially, but you can reuse them over and over. They’re typically machine-washable for easy cleanup and better for the environment because they create less waste for the landfill.
- Hydroponic grass dog training pads feature a section of real grass that you place inside a tray in your home. They not only absorb urine but give your dog the experience of urinating outside. You can also find training mats made of artificial grass.
One of the most important features of dog training pads is their absorbency. Good pads are highly absorbent, so they don’t wind up leaking after your dog pees just one time. Some brands provide details on how much liquid their pads hold. Most pads can hold between one and six cups, but you’re always better off choosing pads that offer greater absorbency.
What dog training pads are made of is an essential consideration because many puppies wind up chewing or tearing up the pads at some point. Check that the training pads are made with non-toxic materials to be safe. You may also want to choose pads that feature eco-friendly materials made from recycled items.
You can find dog training pads in a variety of sizes. You want to be sure the pads are large enough for your pup, but the pads shouldn’t be too large or they may slip underneath a smaller dog. Most brands offer pads in an average size that works for most puppies and an extra-large option that’s better for adult dogs and larger breeds.
Don’t place training pads in too many spots around your home. The goal is to get your puppy to understand that she’s only allowed to go in specific locations, so she may get confused if there’s a pad in every room.
Some dog training pads dry more quickly than others. A pad with a quick-drying top layer prevents your puppy from picking up any urine on his paws and tracking it around your house. The best pads can absorb moisture within a matter of seconds.
The bottom layer of a dog training pad is always waterproof, but some pads offer better leak protection than others. You want to be sure that the pads won’t release any moisture if they become oversaturated, so they don’t ruin your floors. Reusable pads typically offer the most leak protection, but you can also find disposable pads that provide a 100% leak-proof guarantee.
The problem with house training your dog is the smell that comes with having urine-absorbing pads sitting around the house. Some training pads combat that problem, though. They contain odor-neutralizing chemicals that help absorb the smell of urine, so you don’t notice it as much. Some pads are even lightly scented to counter odors.
To help make house training easier, some training pads are infused with attractants that help your dog understand that the pad is the designated spot to do her business. These attractants include pheromones, ammonia, and grass scents and can help reduce the number of accidents that your dog has.
On hard flooring like wood or tile, dog training pads tend to slide around. If the pad slips while your puppy is going, there’s a chance that he’ll miss the pad and urinate on your floor instead. Some pads have adhesive on the bottom, which holds them in place while your dog is using them. It can also keep the pad out of the way of people, so your family doesn’t accidentally step on it.
- Patience is key when you’re house training a puppy. The younger the puppy, the less control he has over his bladder, so it will take time to train him.
- Watch for signs that your puppy has to go so that you can direct her to a training pad. Common signs include walking in a circle, sniffing the floor, and whining.
- Most dogs need to do their business when they wake up, after they eat, after they nap, and after they play. Direct your dog to the pad after these activities to get him on a regular schedule.
- If your puppy hasn’t urinated in an hour or two, bring her over to the pad to encourage her to go.
- When your puppy successfully uses a training pad, reward him. Praise him verbally so he knows that he did the right thing, and give him one of his favorite treats to make him more likely to use the pad in the future.
- When it’s time to encourage your dog to start doing her business outdoors, move the training pads to an outside location if possible. Move the pads in small increments, starting just past the door, and continue increasing the distance from the house as your dog gets used to using the bathroom outside.
- You should slowly switch to smaller training pads when your dog starts to go outside, too. That will encourage him to use the ground instead.