Throughout my years of potty training dogs, I have used pee pee pads a few times. I personally wouldn’t use them anymore, but I can understand why dog parents do. They can be great for puppies who aren’t fully vaccinated yet, small breeds during harsh winter months, and elder/disabled pooches who have trouble walking. However, one major con that drives me away from pee pee pads is the fact that dogs get used to them! You essentially have to train your dog twice – once to use the pad and then again to stop using it. If your dog is trained to go on pee pee pads and you’re ready to take the potty outside, don’t worry! It’s a doable task. It won’t be an overnight fix, but with time and patience, you can do it!
The Tricky Part
Since your fur baby is already trained to the pad, this is going to require re-training. At first, he’s not going to understand why. Think of it from his point of view. When your pooch is used to going on a pad in the house he never has to exert any real control. He gets the urge to go, walks over to the pad, and goes. So now, not only do you want to change where he goes, you want him to hold his urges until you get him there. For you: “Yay no more pee pee pads.” For him: “What the heck!”
Needless to say, you can’t just take the pee pee pad away or else your fur baby will go on the floor where the pad used to be. With that in mind, the pee pee pad will become the tool that is actually going to train him to get out the door.
Weaning Off Pee Pads
Step 1: Move the Pad Closer to the Door
The goal here is to move your dog’s potty closer to outside. Don’t rush this process, though. You’re going to have to move the pad slowly until you get to the door. This process could take up to two weeks. If you try to move too quickly, you increase the chance of accidents and then weaning could take even longer. So no drastic changes and every time he goes on the pad offer lots of praise. Praise works wonders because your fur baby thrives when he pleases you.
Step 2: Move the Pad Outside
When you finally get the pad to the door and he’s not having accidents you’ll want to open the door and take the pee pee pad outside. Continue this step for a few days. Before you know it your pooch should be going over to the door and waiting for you to take him outside.
During The Weaning Process
When you start to move the pee pee pads, make sure to thoroughly disinfect the floor where the pad has been. This is very important since you don’t want to leave any scents behind to attract your dog. You will want to use a bio-enzymatic formula that will break down and permanently destroy urine and fecal odors. There are many brands available at your local pet store.
Keep a watchful eye on your pooch
During this transition time, you will have to keep a watchful eye on your pooch. He will most likely try to return to the place he was initially trained to go.
If your pooch has an accident and you see it happen, clap loudly to alert him that he’s doing something wrong. Then, take him outside. Don’t get mad or yell – that will only make matters worse. If you didn’t see it happen, just clean it up and forget about it.
Go outside for a walk
If you notice your pooch sniffing, walking in circles, or giving cues that he needs to go, either place him on the pad at the new location or – if possible – take him out for a walk. When he goes, give lots of praise and a treat is always a good idea. Make a big deal about it!
If you have crate trained your pup prior to the pad, you might want to get the crate out and use it during this transition period. If you can’t watch him, crate him until you can. If he is left to wander you are more likely to have accidents during this period. If you never used a crate before, you may want to consider one until the outdoor house training is complete. When choosing a crate always make sure the dog has enough room to stand up, turn around, and move comfortably. However, you don’t want the crate so large that your pooch can go the bathroom on one side and take a nap on the other. Dogs don’t like to sleep where they go to the bathroom, so crate size is important.
Throw rugs or floor mats
If you have throw rugs or floor mats by your doors or around the house, you may want to remove them during the training period. During the weaning process, your pooch may see these rugs as replacement pads and go on them. I can tell you this from experience because I had a dog who did this. I removed the throw rug and she was fine. After she was acclimated to the outdoors only, I was able to return the rug to the back door.