Canine House Training Tips

October 27, 2010 | By Amy Lieberman | Category: Care & Safety | 12 comments
Tags: behavior & training, house training, care & safety, dog training, housetraining, housebreaking, Clean-Up, puppy pads

The pros and cons of using puppy pads.

Puppy pads provide puppy owners with an apparent solution to not having to take their puppy outside every few hours, without worrying about a soiled house or apartment. Young, or sometimes elderly, dogs who struggle to hold it in when they are kept inside may also be appreciative of a clean option to relieve themselves inside when they just can’t wait anymore.

Especially when it comes to apartment living, these pads, no more than fancy version of newspaper that are also easier to clean up, have become a lifesaver of sorts for some owners who don’t have an easily accessible patch of grass to rely on.

But owners should be cautious about not turning to puppy pads as a crutch, preventing their dogs from fully becoming housebroken, says Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’ s Animal Behavior Center. Puppy pads can ultimately confuse dogs, especially young dogs still learning, and make them think that relieving themselves inside the house is okay.

“In general if there is the option for house training outdoors that would be the ideal scenario,” Reid said. “It’s less likely to confuse puppies trying to adapt to a certain lifestyle. But it can be an extreme challenge if you are living in a high-rise apartment and can’t always get out of the building in a timely fashion. “

“As long as you don’t have that incredibly long trip the puppy can’t endure, it is always better to not go through these steps with puppy pads or newspaper. It’s so much clearer for the puppy if they learn right from the get-go that outside is an appropriate place to eliminate and that’s it.”

If owners decide to train their puppy with puppy pads, they should try to begin weaning their puppies off the pads as soon as possible, at the latest around four, five or six months of age, once dogs begin to gain more control over their bladders, Reid says.

“The trick is convincing them that going outside is an O.K. place to go and going inside is no longer okay,” she said.

Puppy owners can help ease this process by relocating the puppy pad closer to or at the front door, for instance, so the puppy begins to get used to the idea of going to the front door when it needs to eliminate.

Reid recommends that apartment dwellers encourage their puppies to relieve themselves on a puppy pad on the patio, if available, allowing them to associate that action with the outdoors. If you can’t bring the puppy outdoors, it’s always possible to bring bits of the outdoors inside – providing your puppy with pieces of straw, or products resembling grass, could help the pup make the appropriate associations.

Such action could also help avoid accidents on materials that resemble the puppy pads, like bath mats, or carpets.

The transition will be much easier if the owner begins as early as possible, Reid says, since “the older dogs get the harder it is to convince them that it is all right to go outside, now.”

Fully house training a dog can take time, depending on the individual pet and the schedule it is placed on, and owners should be patient and aware that the process will not happen overnight. Seemingly simple fixes like sending the puppy away to become house trained won’t work, Reid says, since he or she could come home and quickly regress to going in the house. Rubbing the dog’s nose in the urine or waste and yelling at the dog if it goes inside the house aren’t good ideas either, according to the ASPCA.

Owners should consider their own fault in prompting the pup to go on the floor or elsewhere in the home, instead of turning the blame on the dog. Frequent visits outside, a regular schedule and constant praising for good behavior is a better path to consider.

For a full list of recommendations and guiding points on how to house train your dog, visit

Do you have house training tips to share? Let us know below!

Comments (11)

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3 years ago

What Odor? odor eliminator is a must. It truly does eliminate the urine smell. I have tried all the products out there and this one really does work. I am a believer and a customer for life.

Good Point | Reply ›


3 years ago

I wonder how well those grass-looking puppy pads work. I'm glad there was virtually no training with my cats!

Good Point | Reply ›

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