The Pros and Cons of Potty Training with a Puppy Pad vs. Outside

Potty Training

December 05, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Potty Training with a Puppy Pad vs. Outside

Getting a puppy to go to the bathroom where they’re supposed to go is one of the hardest parts about the puppy stage.

It seems like every five minutes your pup will be walking around in circles, doing their “potty dance” as you chase after them in hopes they don’t pee on your new rug.

One popular method to puppy potty training method is to use potty training pads. The other form of puppy potty training is strictly going outside every time.

If you’re up in the air with the best method to potty train your dog. Here are the pros and cons of using pads to potty train your puppy vs. strictly training outside.

dog on a wooden floor

Puppy Potty Training with Pee Pads

Training with pads involves laying out the pad in a consistent area for your dog to get used to going to the bathroom at.

Start by keeping your dog on a leash. Whenever they act like they are about to go to the bathroom, use a command word (such as “go potty”) and bring them to the pad.

When they successfully go to the bathroom on their pad, reward them with lots and lots of praise!

If they don’t, remain silent. Scolding will only confuse your pup. Instead take them to their pad and try again.

Always stick to a schedule when feeding and keep a close eye on them 5-15 minutes after they eat.

The Pros

  • If you’re having trouble consistently letting your dog outside, pads offer a better alternative accidents in the house.
  • They keep bathroom smells limited to one space. Making it less likely your pup will smell they’re odor in a different location and relieve themselves there.
  • A pack of puppy pads are cheap and last a long time.

The Cons

  • Dogs can get too used to them, which means they’re less likely to become fully potty trained.
  • Some dogs will confuse rugs and carpet with their potty pad.
  • It can hinder getting into the habit of taking your dog outside regularly.


white fluffy puppy in grass

Potty Training Outside

Potty training outside is the ideal method of potty training, but it takes more effort and can be difficult for some (like people who live in apartments, live in colder climates, or have mobility issues).

By getting your dog to go to the bathroom outside, you eliminate any confusion about where they are supposed to go to the bathroom.

Much like potty pad training, training your dog to use the bathroom outside starts with keeping them on a leash until they seem like they need to use the bathroom.

Once outside, also use your designated command word to let them know it’s time to “go potty.”

Remember to bring treats or toys with you each time to you go outside to reward them when they successfully use the bathroom.

The Pros

  • Confusion from being allowed to go to the bathroom in the house is avoided.
  • You’ll both develop good habits early on.
  • They’re more likely to become fully house-trained.

The Cons

  • If you can’t seem to take them out regularly enough, an accident in the house will set them back.
  • It’s important you stick to a regular schedule, which takes plenty of dedication.

Combination Training

Using a combination of both puppy pads and going outside is effective for dogs. This features the same techniques used in training with the potty pad.

Once your pup is accustomed to going on their pad without any accidents, begin moving the pad a few feet every day towards the door.

When make it to the door, place the pad directly outside the door and continue until you make it to the grass. Then remove the pad all together.

Using this method involves the same risks that come with training with a potty pad but can also be more effective than inconsistently training you pup with the outdoor method.

No matter which approach you choose for puppy potty training, praising your dog for good behavior will always result in better outcomes than punishing.

Remember to try to remain consistent as possible and to remember it may take a little while for them to become fully trained.