Congratulations! You’ve just become a puppy parent and a whole lot of fun awaits. But there’s also plenty of responsibility involved – and quite a bit of it comes from the tail end.
Potty training is one of the most important aspects of caring for a puppy. And puppy pads are a valuable aid in this process. But it’s not as simple as plonking down a few pads and hoping for the best. You need to know how often to change the pads to keep your puppy happy, healthy, and comfortable. If you get this right, they’ll be eager to pee on the pads, rather than leave puddles for you to stand in.
Here's everything you need to know about puppy pads and how to make them a positive part of potty training.
What Are Puppy Pads?
Puppy pads are pretty much what they sound like – they’re also called dog pee pads which aptly sums them up even more. They’re absorbent pads that puppies can pee on so that they don’t ruin your floors or carpets.
Puppy pee pads aren't just for puppies either, they’re great for dogs who stay indoors for long periods of time, or senior dogs who can’t hold their bladders so well.
Dog pee pads tend to be made of a few layers to make them leakproof. The top layer is cotton or another gauze-style fabric, the middle is usually super absorbent, and the underneath is plastic or thick card.
There are several styles of indoor dog potty solutions. It's important to pick the type right for you and your dog.
You’ll find all kinds of puppy pads, from the super cost-effective cardboard and plastic options to those that turn urine into a gel and have antimicrobial properties to prevent bacterial growth. Pee pads also come in different shapes and sizes so you can choose the ones that best suit your dog.
Disposable vs Reusable Puppy Pads
You can choose between disposable puppy pads that you throw away after use, or you can go for reusable pads that are more eco-friendly. Just remember that reusable training pads may not create as much waste, but they require a lot of water to keep them clean.
You’ll need to wash reusable puppy pads regularly to get rid of the smell of dog urine and need to have a few in rotation so you can allow them time to dry.
Disposable dog pee pads are best if you’re short on time, live in an apartment, don’t have much space to wash and dry, or simply prefer the convenience of them.
If you have time, space, and the inclination to rotate your pads on regular washdays, then reusable pads may be for you. It’s really a personal choice, as long as you keep the pads clean!
Disposable puppy pads are single use. Reusable pee pads can be rewashed and are generally more eco-friendly.
How To Use Puppy Pads
Potty training is not just about training your pup, it’s training for you too.
The first thing you need to do is set up a puppy area that’s just for them to do their business in. Try to make this far away from where they eat and sleep, and if possible, in a quieter, more private space. Don’t change this location either. Dogs repeat behavior, so you need to reinforce a habit of where they pee. Pee pads make this easier and contain that dog urine odor to one spot. Decide on the pee spot and stick to it. Continuity and consistency are key to training.
Once your dog pee pad is in place, take your pup to the pad every few hours, especially after playtime, when they’ve just woken up, or after they’ve eaten or drunk. Show them the pad and give them a cue like pee time or wee-wee!
If your dog looks at you like you’re crazy, don't force it. Let them run around and play, and try again 10-15 minutes later.
Every time your pup pees on the pad, give them a reward as this will reinforce the behavior and create a link to the command you gave. A reward can be a treat or praise, but make sure you do it as soon as they’re done so they can create the connection.
Artificial attractants can speed up potty training.
If you’re struggling to get your pup to use their training pads you can also try a potty training spray. These sprays are made with pheromonal scents that attract dogs and stimulate the urge to pee.
With the right mix of consistency, training and reward, you’ll soon find that your dog heads to its puppy area when the need to pee strikes.
How Often Do You Change Puppy Training Pads?
The short answer? As soon as they’re dirty.
But the age of your pup comes into the equation too.
- Puppies younger than 12 weeks or not fully potty trained should have their dog pee pads changed every 1-2 hours.
- For slightly older pups, changing pads every 3-4 hours is recommended, or as soon as they’ve been soiled
How Do I Know The Puppy Pad Needs To Be Changed?
Your nose will tell you, surely?
Wrong! If you can pick up the strong smell of dog urine your pad should have been changed a while ago. As soon as disposable puppy pads are soiled or wet you should bin them, and if you’re using the reusable option, it’s time for a wash.
If the puppy pad smells to you, imagine how much it smells to your dog, whose nose is 10,000 more sensitive!
If the pad doesn’t seem dirty check it for discoloration or dampness every few hours, as sometimes they draw in all the moisture.
It’s essential that you change the pad regularly. If you don’t, you may cause your puppy discomfort, or they may develop health issues.
Tips For Managing Puppy Pads
Puppy pads are a great way to get your toilet training off to a good start. To keep your pup happy, healthy, and peeing in place it’s a good idea:
- Use the best high quality pads you can afford to minimize leaks and mess and make clean up easier
- Choose the right size dog pee pads for your pup. Not too small and not too big either!
- Opt for a pad holder or tray to keep the pads in place.
- Change your pads on a regular schedule.
- Use positive reinforcement training techniques to reward your puppy for consistently doing their business in the same place.
Puppy Pads Promote Potty Training
Puppy training pads are an excellent tool for teaching your dog where to potty. They’re brilliant for potty training but you must keep them clean. It’s a simple and easy task but the rewards are huge.
After all, no one enjoys that wet-foot surprise from stepping in an unexpected puddle.