My Puppy Won't Poop on Training Pads

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Sometimes a puppy seems to understand part of his house training, but not everything. Either the puppy will urinate on the carpet but defecate on the pad, or he'll urinate on the pad while defecating elsewhere!


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This is often a matter of giving the puppy more space, since some pups tend to move around a lot while defecating. Whatever the problem, training your pup to poop on a training pad can be accomplished (with patience and persistence) in almost all cases. The key is to be consistent in your training technique. Don't try it twice and then give up. Keep at it, and you and your pup will be happy campers in no time.

Items You Will Need
• Enzyme cleaner for pet stains and odors
• Litter pan (optional)
• Litter (optional)
• Training treats (if you train to go outside)


Step #1 - Observe your puppy on several occasions to determine if it is refusing to defecate on the pad, or just missing it. Many times a puppy will move around a lot before actually defecating, and even though it started on the pad, it ends up off of it. This is easier to fix than if the puppy just will not defecate on the pad.

Step #2 - Provide a bigger pad, or two pads together. Do this whether your pup is missing the pad or refusing to use it. Sometimes the pup just needs more space. If your pup is just missing the pad, this should solve the problem.


Step #3 - Confine your puppy to a small area, using an exercise pen (ex-pen) that you can buy in pet stores, or a crate. The puppy should be confined when you can't supervise closely, including overnight. If the pup has access to the full house at all times, it will never learn to use the pads.

Step #4 - Clean the pad immediately when your puppy uses it, but leave a tiny amount of urine and stool on the clean pad, to attract the pup back to the same location. Puppies won't want to urinate or defecate on a messy pad, but this is especially true on a pad they've already defecated on that hasn't been cleaned. Just a tiny smear of the stool is all that's needed on an otherwise clean pad to attract your pup.


Step #5 - Pick up the stool from where your puppy defecated as quickly as possible. If the pup defecated in the wrong place, use an enzyme cleaner for pet stains and odors to clean the surface thoroughly so the pup will not be attracted back to that spot. Before disposing of the mess, smear a tiny amount on the pad, where you want the pup to defecate.

Step #6 - Switch from a pad to a litter pan lined with artificial grass or litter, if your pup continues to refuse to go on the pad. It may be that the puppy doesn't feel comfortable on the pad, especially if the pad is moving around while the pup is walking on it. A washing machine overflow pan makes an excellent litter pan for dogs of all sizes, if you have room; they are about 4-feet square. If you don't have the room, try to find a smaller overflow pan, maybe one for a hot water heater. A shallow underbed box could also work. Most cat litter boxes -- and even most commercially available dog litter boxes -- are too small for most pups.


Step #7 - Discuss the problem with the veterinarian to be sure that no health problems are contributing to the house training difficulty.

Step #8 - Train the puppy to go outside -- if you've given it plenty of time to work, and still the pup refuses to defecate on the pad. Plenty of time means working on it daily for at least four to six weeks. Give your puppy a training treat as it begins to defecate outside.

Warnings: Do not use any harsh methods. House training problems are almost always the result of inconsistency or other mistakes on the part of the owner. Harsh methods only make the problem worse. Pads are not really recommended for potty training puppies, so the best bet is to use a crate and the outside to complete the puppy's training.


By Jane Tyne


Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Community Practice Newsletter: Potty Training a Puppy
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Training Information for the Dog and Cat: Housetraining Puppies

About the Author
Jane Tyne began writing professionally in 2000. She has a varied background, from experience as a veterinary technician and behavioral trainer to training in art. Her writing focuses on animals, pet health, human health and nutrition, and decorating. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in electrical engineering technology.