All new puppy owners anticipate that toilet training will be difficult and… er… well downright messy at times!! Puppy pads and paper training do offer a temporary solution to housetraining. But, consistency, attention, understanding, and patience are all key when it comes to really cracking that housetraining. Doggy potties are also an easy and clean solution to your puppy’s toilet training journey.

In this guide to doggy potties, we’re going to help you understand what a doggy potty is, why a doggy potty might be a good choice for you, the lowdown on the best doggy potties, and how you can train your puppy to use a doggy potty as well as train them to use the toilet outside.

If you’d like to learn more about toilet training a puppy, how to socialise them in the right way, and teach them those all important life skills, download a free trial of the Zigzag puppy training app. We don’t want you to do it alone, and we know that toilet training especially can be 2 steps forward and 5 back, so we have a team of puppy coaches on hand to talk you through absolutely anything puppy related, available seven days a week there really is nothing they haven’t dealt with before!

Dog laying on Grass
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

What is a doggy potty?

So, what is a doggy potty? Does such a thing even exist? Well a doggy potty is exactly as you imagine, well ok, no it’s not like a kids potty that they scoot around on, but it is an indoor or outdoor toilet that you can train your puppy to use.

Doggy potties come in various formats, from the more homemade ones that take their cue from a cat litter tray, to the ones which resemble a grass patch. Some of the grass patch ones make use of a piece of fake grass and a run off tray, whereas other ones use real turf that requires watering.

Some doggy potties are simply puppy pads secured into a tray. Considering using puppy pads? Check out our puppy pads article

A doggy potty can be used inside an apartment or outside on a balcony or terrace to toilet train a puppy. They can also be useful if you’ve got a playpen so that your puppy has a place to go to the toilet when they’re in their puppy-proofed area and not yet toilet trained.

Puppy owners who worry about toilet training their puppy outside before they have had all of their vaccinations may also find a dog potty useful to give the puppy somewhere safe to go. 

Why should I use a doggy potty? 

There are several reasons why using a doggy potty might be great for your puppy, here’s a few

A doggy potty will save your rugs and carpets

Puppies like to pee on soft surfaces, and if they’ve got used to using puppy pads, rugs and carpets can feel the same under their feet. Having a doggy potty means your puppy will have a rewarding place to go pee so they’re less likely to use your soft furnishings.

A doggy potty will cut down on bad smells

Doggy potties are designed for peeing on! This means they’re more hygienic and easy to keep clean than putting newspapers down, or rugs that trap bad smells. 

A doggy potty gives your pup a reliable to place to go to the toilet indoors

Puppies learn what works and what brings about rewards. Having a doggy potty in a reliable place, means your puppy can go and use the toilet when you’re on a work call or aren’t paying attention to them. Hey, it happens, we won’t judge you! 

Your puppy can use a doggy potty when you go to work

For a puppy who isn’t yet toilet trained, a doggy potty can be used when you need to leave your puppy for longer periods like going to work. We don’t advise leaving your puppy for long periods until they’re used to it, but a doggy potty can be good between the petsitter or dogwalker coming in. 

A doggy potty is great for senior dogs

A dog potty can also be of benefit to senior dogs who can’t hold their bladder like they used to. Dogs who were previously toilet trained can get very upset when they ‘make a mess’ indoors.

A doggy potty means less trips downstairs and fewer accidents

Toilet training a puppy in an apartment or flat is no fun with the amount of times you have to go downstairs. It can get a bit exhausting for the human, even if you have a lift! Accidents happen more frequently because you don’t want to go downstairs AGAIN! 

A doggy potty means your puppy can toilet when they need to

Not only is going up and down the stairs every hour exhausting for us, it’s also hard for a puppy to hold it long enough to get them outside when you live in an apartment. This means the chance of having an accident on a communal stairwell or travelling down in the lift or elevator is high. How embarrassing, and it might get you and your puppy in trouble too! 

Be sure to check out our article on Puppy Exercise if you’re using stairs a lot with your puppy.

A doggy potty is great for ‘fair weather’ puppies

Does your puppy hate the rain? Most do, and it can mean they don’t want to go outside and wee. They’d much rather stay inside where it’s dry and warm. Can’t blame them, can you? 

brown and white puppy on grass
Photo by Austin Kirk on Unsplash

What are the best dog potties?

There are quite a lot of dog potties on the market and it can be hard to know which one to choose. Here’s our top five and we’ll tell you what we like about them.

Real Grass Training Pad Doggy Potty

This is a good bet if you want to use a doggy potty that feels like real grass. You can pop the dog toilet on your terrace or balcony, give it water to hydrate the grass and voila, your dog has the perfect pee spot. 

The box this turf comes in is cardboard so you might want to put something waterproof underneath if using it inside.

Purchase at Amazon 

Budget Artificial Grass Doggy Potty 

This doggy potty comes at a great price (less than £30 at the time of writing this) so is a good option if you want to try out a doggy potty without any big expense.

This doggy potty has drainage holes in the bottom so can be rinsed through. 

Purchase at Amazon

Reusable Puppy Pad Doggy Potty

While reusable puppy pads won’t teach your puppy about peeing on grass, they can be a great option for staying clean inside a puppy pen, and are easily washed and reused so a good eco-friendly option. Quick to dry, these can also be a good solution for senior dogs who can’t hold their bladder well, or for putting in a bathroom if your puppy has been taught to pee in there.

Purchase at Amazon

Doggy Potty with Waste Draw

This doggy potty comes with a spare piece of fake turf so you can have one drying and the other one in use. It also has a grid over a drawer drainage system so that urine will drain through to the drawer for better hygiene and cleaning. 

Purchase at Amazon 

Australian shepherd on grass
Photo by Honest Paws on Unsplash

How to use a doggy potty for house-training?

You can of course, use a doggy potty and train your puppy to go potty outside as well. That way you won’t be reliant on the dog potty forever, and can toilet train your puppy.

  1. First, you’ll need to train your puppy to use the doggy toilet

For a young puppy they will want to go to the toilet frequently. Take them to the doggy toilet at the following times

  • Immediately after waking up, whether it’s first thing in the morning, or after one of their daytime naps
  • After playing
  • After eating
  • After a training session
  • And probably about once an hour

When your puppy goes to the toilet, heavily reward them with lots of praise, really make that bum wiggle and tail wag from your excitement, and give them a tasty treat.

  1. When your puppy has started understanding what the potty is for, start labelling the behaviour of going for a wee or a pee. Do this by saying the word you’ll want to use like ‘go wee wee’ ‘pee pee’ ‘business’ or whatever feels comfortable for you to say.
  1. Carry on with the method above. After a few days of successfully taking your puppy to the doggy toilet you might find they start going there on their own and using it as a toilet. Did they do it? Great, now keep rewarding them to let them know that’s exactly what you want.

Don’t take it for granted that your puppy KNOWS this down pat already, keep taking them there at the times mentioned so they have the opportunity to get a reward. 

  1. Make a note of the times your puppy goes to the toilet. If you have a reliable schedule for eating, sleeping, training and playing, then the times they need the toilet can also start to become predictable.
  2. Once your puppy has had all of their vaccinations and it’s safe for you to take your puppy out to go to the toilet, decide on a local ‘pee spot’ you’re going to take them to.
  3. Take them to this area just before the time you identified that they need the toilet and use that cue word ‘go potty’ or ‘wee wees’ as it will help jog their memory and they’ll go to the toilet.
  4. Be patient! It can take a while for your puppy to really get that this is the NEW place to also toilet, so stand in your new pee spot, be boring and wait.
  5. Don’t be surprised if your puppy goes back upstairs and uses their puppy toilet – this has been their safe place to toilet for a while now. The difference is you’re going to stop reinforcing them with food for peeing on the puppy toilet, so that they only get potty treats for peeing and pooping outside. 

We hope you’ve learnt something in this article about using a doggy potty for your puppy or dog. While having a doggy potty might not be for everyone they are super useful if you live in a flat or apartment. While you’re here you might want to check out our articles on puppy nutrition, or how about best crates for puppies.

Got a question about puppy toilet training, or how about night time problems, or how much you should be feeding your puppy? Download a free trial of the Zigzag app and get in touch with our team of puppy coaches, they’ll be happy to help you with any of your questions.