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It’s natural for people to want to toilet train their puppy in the quickest way possible. One of the most common things people ask me when they’re toilet training their new dog is whether they should use puppy pads. It’s a very common method of house training and it can work well for many puppies.
Lots of owners use these pads as an easy way to teach their pup not to toilet directly on the floor indoors, or what we call “house training.” You might wonder if this technique actually works well though and is it worth trying out? Let’s have a look at the pro’s and cons of puppy pads.
What are puppy pads?
Puppy pads are a disposable absorbent floor covering for puppies and small dogs. They can come in various sizes, but they’re mostly rectangular or square shaped with moisture absorbing material at the top to catch urine as it seeps through from the surface below where your puppy squats.
They have a plastic backing to protect your carpet or flooring from being stained with the mess of a puppy that isn’t fully house trained yet.
What’s good about puppy pads?
There are many good things about using puppy pads to house train your dog which is why they’re so popular.
Firstly, some people like them because it’s easier than constantly encouraging the puppy outside every single time he needs to pee. It can make cleaning up indoor accidents quick and easy.
They’re especially useful for new owners that aren’t yet fully confident with training their pup and want to avoid any accidents at all costs. They’re also useful for older dogs that might experience some age-related bladder issues.
Secondly, they’re also quite popular because it can actually work really well to house train your puppy quickly and effectively if done correctly with the right amount of practice. You just need to understand how puppies learn about where is ok to toilet so you can teach them to use the pads instead.
Puppy pad training has its disadvantages though, so let’s look at those now…
What’s bad about puppy pads?
The disadvantages of using pads for house training are not always obvious, but they can cause problems in the long run. Firstly, some puppies might be confused about where it’s ok to go, which can make it hard to teach them that this spot is wrong later down the line when you want them fully toilet trained indoors.
Secondly, even though pads are used for house training it doesn’t mean that your pup won’t ever toilet indoors during their early days with you or later down the line if you don’t have those toilet training fundamentals in place. If this is left unchecked, then it can become a problem and cause more accidents in the future.
Puppy pads aren’t very environmentally friendly either, which is another reason you might not want to use them for house training your pup. When they’re disposed of, they’ll end up in a landfill where their lack of biodegradability can cause all sorts of problems.
Once your puppy has been in your household for a few weeks, as they explore their world and become more confident, they may discover that puppy pads are a great toy. I’ve seen many puppies grab hold of their puppy pads and parade it around the house like a lion dragging home their dinner.
Some puppies learn it is amazing fun to destroy puppy pads, shredding them into a million tiny pieces! This can make your clean up time even more of a chore once you’ve discovered the mess they’ve made. They may chew on them, which can cause digestive problems, especially if your puppy eats too much of the absorbent material.
Are puppy pads a good idea?
Even though it’s a popular method and often recommended by trainers, I feel the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. That’s why I don’t recommend using puppy pads to house train your dog. Instead, I recommend you take the time and effort necessary to teach them where they’re allowed to go outdoors instead, which will be better for you, your puppy and the environment.
In summary, teach your puppy where they’re allowed to go to the toilet outside from the very beginning so you can avoid any accidents at all times.
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If your puppy has had a messy accident and needs a wash, check out this article on giving your puppy a bath.