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Should You Use Puppy Pads?

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I know doggy pee pads have their place. I used them at different times for different circumstances. But I prefer having my dogs do their business outside.

Then my chihuahua Lucy came into my life when she was 11 months old. The lady I got her from assured me she would go potty outside or on a potty pad.


The first time I took her outside, Lucy acted like she had never seen grass before. She walked on it like it was hot lava.

Despite months of trying to train her, she refuses to potty outside. She will hold it in until we get back in the house and go then. Ugh!

So it was pee pads for her. 

My other 2 will go pee or poo outside UNLESS it’s raining. Then they act like they will melt if they step foot outdoors. So the pee pads work well for those days too.

I have seen lots of questions about whether using pee pads for dogs is a good or bad idea. And the answer really depends on your situation and preferences. 

There’s no real right or wrong answer.


Below we will go into the pros and cons of using potty pads for dogs and how to use them.

smiling puppy by pee puddle

Pros of Using Puppy Training Pads

  • Great for disabled pet owners.
  • Good for a dog that has to spend hours by themselves while the pet parent is away at work.
  • Good for times when the weather is bad such as snow, rain, or extreme heat.
  • Good for the night time so the pet parent doesn’t have to get up out of bed to take the dog out.
  • Works well for small dogs with small bladders.
  • Great for apartment dwellers.

Cons of Using Puppy Pee Pads

  • It’s an added expense.
  • You have to be careful leaving the newspaper or any other papers on the floor as the dog may think it’s a potty pad for them to use.
  • You have poop and pee in your house. Yes it’s on pads but it is in your house on your floor.
  • May prolong potty training outside as it may confuse a dog.
  • Your dog may miss the pad and get it on your floor.
  • If you use the disposable pads, they aren’t environmentally friendly.

How To Train Your Dog to Use Pee Pads

  • Don’t switch the areas you keep the pads in. Stay consistent and keep them in the same place all the time.
  • But you can have a pad in several areas of the house. Keep them in the places your dog is in the most such as the living room or bedroom or a playpen if you use one.
  • To encourage your dog to use the pad, you can use a paper towel to wipe up some pee and put it on the pad. Same if you find some poop. Just place it on the pad.
  • If you notice your dog sniffing around, that may be a sign that he needs to “go”. Pick him up and put him on the pad.
  • If your dog disappears to another room, she may be looking for a spot to potty. Pick her up and put her on the pad.
  • If you see him use the pad, praise him.
  • If you are training a young puppy, put her on the pad every hour or so at first.
  • Your puppy will want to potty shortly after waking and eating so be aware and put her on the pad at those times.
  • Use a word or short phrase whenever you want him to use the pad. We say “go potty”. 

white and tan chihuahua pooping

How to Transition to Going Potty Outdoors

  • Gradually start moving the pee pad closer to the back door.
  • Take some of the waste on the potty pad and put outside where you want your dog to pee or poo. 
  • Lead your dog to that spot whenever you think they need to potty.
  • Do the same things you did to train them on the pads.
  • Praise and reward them with a small treat or playtime with you after they do their business outside.


What Kind of Pads to Buy

Disposable Pads

The typical pads most people use are the disposable pads. I like using the large ones as they cover more area.

The good thing about disposables is when they are soiled, you just pick the whole thing up and throw it away.

The bad thing is it’s an ongoing expense.

One of our readers (thanks June) turned me on to this adorable fire hydrant pee pad. How cute is this:

fire hydrant pop up pee pad

You can get it here.

Washable Pee Pads

We use washable pee pads. I keep several sets on hand for when one is in the wash.

They aren’t cheap but they hold up much better than disposable pads. They are cute and once you buy a set or two, there’s nothing else to buy.

Grass Dog Potty  

I have never used this but I have a good friend who swears by hers. Her two chihuahuas love it and use it all the time when she’s at work. 

You can get them with real grass or fake grass.


I hope this helps you make a decision on which way to go. Let me know if you have any questions.


Monday 6th of January 2020

My three go both outside and in do to my work schedule. I bought a large kennel and took the top off so when the boys lift their legs it doesn’t get on the floor.


Monday 6th of January 2020

I'm confused. How does taking off the top keep the pee off the floor?

Jama Fann

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

We have 5 long hair chihuahuas. The 2 boys always use the potty outside. The 3 girls are too “delicate” for grass, rain, snow, sunshine.... ??. We use disposable pee pads for them. Funny thing; we have a litter box trained house rabbit. She will occasionally use the pee pads to do her business as well.


Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

Aww, the bunny thinks that's where her siblings go potty she should go there too. Cute!

Ethel Blitz

Monday 29th of April 2019

I am disabled and walking Mia outside is difficult. I use large pads (Amazon) and she goes on it. Trick is that she has been trained that I leave it one spot so she behaves since 8 Weeks, she is 6 years old.


Monday 29th of April 2019

I've used those before too. They are reasonably priced and work pretty well. Thanks for sharing the tip on keeping it in the same place.


Sunday 28th of April 2019

I haven't caught her at it, but I have a sneaking suspicion my cat uses them occasionally too! She has 2 litter boxes, but I know she eats from the dogs bowl and drinks from their water dish too, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit to discover she uses their pee pads! Better on the pee pad than on the carpeting! Fortunately I don't have to worry about the dogs snacking in the cat box.


Saturday 4th of January 2020

You are lucky they don't eat the cat poop. Most dogs seem to think it's a delicacy.


Sunday 28th of April 2019

I have a boy who is not great about asking to out. My girl is better. We use washable pads because I got tired of filling the landfill. Mine are also in the dining room and hall primarily. I also have a 14 year old cat that uses them when she doesn't want to jump into the litter box. (Which has to be tall enough to keep a Chi from having a snack.) Life is a zoo!


Sunday 28th of April 2019

LOL. yes it's definitely like a zoo here too. That's funny that your cat uses them too. I've never heard of that. Maybe she thinks she's one of the dogs. LOL.