After countless accidents, you’re just now getting the hang of potty training your new puppy with pee pads.
Just as things are going so well, a dilemma rears its ugly head.
The potty pad that your precious pup has been using to do its business is starting to look a bit…soiled.
It smells pretty bad, too.
But if you change the puppy pads now, you are rightfully scared that all progress will be lost, and it will become a ‘pee-for-all’ inside your home again.
The question is: how often do you change puppy training pads?
Though the exact answer will be different for each puppy, in general it is a good idea to change the pad after two or three uses. This will stop the potty area from smelling so terrible. It will also prevent the puppy from accidentally stepping in its own waste- something NOBODY wants.
Again, how often you change training pads will depend on many different factors. These include your dog’s personality patterns, as well as your own environmental and budget concerns.
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Yes, of course you can!
Pee pads are designed to be absorbent on top and waterproof on the bottom. This will keep any puppy pee off the floor for a certain period of time so that it doesn’t soak straight into your home.
You can use them twice, three times, four- or more! It all depends on your own unique situation with your puppy, as well as what you can tolerate.
If you have a small puppy, there probably won’t be much liquid each time it urinates. That means that a large area of the pad would remain clean and usable. In this kind of situation, it would be both economical and environmentally-friendly to use the potty pad at least twice or three times!
Not only that, by reusing pads that already have the scent of urine on them, you will reinforce good habits and teach your puppy where it should be peeing. This will definitely speed up the house training process.
Owners of big puppies won’t have this luxury. Since bigger puppies will expel a larger amount of urine, the pad will need to be replaced much more frequently. Otherwise, the urine could run off the pad and onto the surrounding floor.
The pad may need to be changed if the puppy poops on it. Droppings tend to smell worse than puppy pee, so you will probably want to remove it as soon as possible.
If the stool is solid enough, you may be able to pick it up with a scoop or some toilet paper and throw it down the toilet. This will save an otherwise clean pad from the rubbish bin.
However, if the droppings are soft or runny, it would be better to simply throw the whole pad away due to hygiene.
Some dogs and puppies are notorious for their own particular toilet standards. In many instances, once they have urinated once on the pad, they will refuse to go on there again! This can be very frustrating for both the owner’s mind and wallet.
There are a few solutions to this problem:
- Put a thick layer of newspaper on top of the pee pad
- Use a washable potty training pad
- Train the puppy to take potty breaks outdoors
The easiest way to reuse a disposable pad is to layer a thick piece of newspaper on top before your puppy has to use it.
This will help to soak up the urine before it reaches the pad, keeping it clean. Your puppy will be none the wiser, and you will be able to use the pad over and over again.
Another method that will cut your usage of disposable pads is to not use them at all!
It is easy to find reusable cloth puppy pads that you can use and wash repeatedly, like the one pictured above.
They are usually made with a highly absorbent fabric that wicks away moisture quickly. Meanwhile, the bottom is made of plastic or other waterproof material to keep the floor clean and dry.
Washable potty pads can absorb up to 10 times more moisture than disposable ones! That alone is enough reason to use them as they will most likely beat the value of disposables over time.
Cloth pee pads can potentially be used for days without being washed, due to their anti-odor qualities. Once you think that it has soaked up enough urine, you can put it in the washing machine with a good dollop of detergent. Give it an hour, and it will come out as good as new.
Finally, the true long term answer to disposable pads is successful potty training. After all, the whole reason anyone uses pee pads is to train their puppy to pee in one designated area, rather than all of them.
Ideally, you want to train your puppy to go to the toilet outside rather than in your home. To accomplish this as quickly as possible, there are a few things you can do.
- Set a timer and take your puppy to go potty outside every one or two hours. Get them into a routine of going outside after every event, such as meal or play time.
- Make sure to praise them loudly and happily every time that they pee outside.
- Set one area outside as their toilet area. This way, each time you take it there, it will start to act out of instinct.
- Did you know that you can use the potty pad outside as well? Even if it is used to peeing on pads inside the home, you can slowly relocate them to an outdoor location.
- Once you move the pad to an ideal outside location, you can start to reduce the size of the pad. In a sense, this is like ‘weaning’ the puppy of pee pads. Soon, he will be peeing on the ground instead of a pad.
There are legitimate cases both for and against using puppy pads as a house training tool. Some swear by them, while others wouldn’t use them even if they were free!
- Puppies have small bladders so they need to pee frequently. They also don’t have a developed sense of self-control yet and will urinate when they need to.
- As you won’t always be able to make it outside in time, potty pads provide a good, easy-to-clean alternative.
- If you are elderly or live in an apartment, it may be inconvenient to take your puppy outside all the time for potty breaks.
- If your puppy hasn’t yet received all its vaccinations, it may not be safe for it to go outside yet due to lurking diseases.
- They are an easy way to clean up puppy pee after all- wrap them up and throw them in the bin!
- Pee pads create an approved place for your puppy to go to the toilet. This helps to build good habits.
- When it’s storming outside, the last thing you want to do is take your puppy into the rain. If they are used to using pads, toilet breaks will be no problem at all even if indoors.
- Even when puppies have grown into adult dogs, they will still remember their pad training. This can come in handy if you travel or if it ever becomes sick and immobile.
- Puppy pads can also build bad habits. If your new puppy becomes reliant on pee pads and will only go to the toilet if one is present, that creates obvious problems.
- Puppies learn by using their senses. They learn from the things they see and the things they smell. If a puppy gets used to one environment for one particular task, it can be difficult to change their behavior later on.
- Puppy pads can be costly. On average, disposable potty pads can cost around $20-$30 per pack. If your puppy pees a lot, you will burn through pads like fire through a forest.
- The environmental impact is significant, since disposable pads are designed to be thrown away after use. As they are made out of plastic and foam material, they are not easily biodegradable.
- Puppies don’t know that pee pads are ‘pee pads’. Anything that is a similar shape, smell, or thickness may then make it think that it is a potty area.
- Most puppies love to chew and will happily chomp on anything. Pee pads are no exception. Given the opportunity, puppies will be able to cause quite the mess!
If you use potty pads when house training your puppy, keep in mind that how often you change training pads will depend on many different factors. These include the age, size and breed of your puppy, as well as your individual tolerance of smell and cost.
For most situations, throwing out pee pads after two or three uses seems to work well.
Washable puppy pads are also an excellent option if you want to reduce the amount of rubbish you generate.
At the end of the day, make sure to not let your puppy become too reliant on pads, whether it’s 6 weeks or 6 months old. They are only a tool to be used to move towards the true goal: training it to go to the potty outside with consistency.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.