How to Teach a Dog to Use Puppy Pads

Puppy pads can be a lifesaver -- or at least a carpet-saver. These absorbent pads are perfect for injured dogs or those that can't tolerate inclement weather, and training your little one to use them requires little more than a push in the right direction.

Step #1 - Lay your puppy pad out on the floor in the same place every time. This makes it easier for your dog to remember where to go -- instead of hunting around for a pad, she can go to the same location every time.

Step #2 - Show her the pad a few times by leading her there, or even picking her up and placing her on it once an hour or so. Carefully monitor her behavior when you think a potty break is imminent.

Step #3 - Take her to the pad when she starts sniffing around, circling or demonstrating other "gotta go" behaviors. Continue setting her down on the pad until she goes -- if she keeps wandering, close her inside the room, and make sure there aren't other things on the floor that she may be tempted to wee on, like towels, blankets or piles of laundry.

Step #4 - Pick her up and place her on the pad if you catch her having an accident inside. Whether she went on the pad on her own or you put her there mid-squirt, leave the semi-soiled pad there for now. Dogs are naturally attracted to urinating in an area they have already marked, so leaving the pad in place until she uses it one more time helps motivate her to use it.

Step #5 - Clean any non-pad areas where she has an accident thoroughly. Because dogs are attracted to going where they've already gone, the site of an indoor accident could be defiled all over again if she smells her own scent there.

By Tom Ryan

Warning: Never scold or punish a dog for having an accident in the house. This only teaches her to be afraid of you and to find a better hiding spot for going to the bathroom.

By Tom Ryan i

About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.