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Potty Training Puppies
Reviews of popular aids


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No matter which aids you use, keep in mind three key points:

1. Don't wall him in

Dogs instinctively want to walk around their potty area before they relieve themselves. Don't keep the puppy pad, litter box, or whatever flush (no pun intended) against a wall.

2. Keep it clean

Sadly, your puppy will seek a cleaner area for his poop if you don't maintain a clean box,
pads, floor area or whatever.

3. Be consistent

Don't change from puppy pads to litter box and back again. He needs to get used to one
method.

Here are the most frequently used products and my review of each. Four paws is best.
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllYard post, sprays, doorbells, pads, litter tray, potty patch and crates


Pee Post Pheromone-Treated Yard Stake

Hammer in the ground and watch the non-toxic pheromones attract your puppy to pee in the designated area.

This sounds so reasonable, but I never had any luck with it and it smells awful. Victoria Stilwell's on It's Me or the Dog often uses one so there are those who like them.

I did better taking my puppy to the same area each time I took her out. If you want to create the same effect as the post, get your puppy to pee on some wooden item which retains odor (slip under him as soon as he starts to pee) and then put it out in your yard in the area you want him to use.

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Puppy housebreaking training spray to teach your dog where to peeNo-GO organic spray to stop your puppy from peeing
Go and No-Go Sprays

Simple Solution Puppy Aid Training Spray

Pet Organics NO-GO! Housebreaking

These sprays worked better for me than the pee post above although that's not saying much.

The first one is to be sprayed on something like a training pad where you want your puppy to pee.

The second one is sprayed where you don't want your puppy to pee.

Sorry, but there's no way to know if they will work on your puppy without trying them. If one or both work for you, they're great to have. If they don't, you're out about $20.

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Let Me Out -I Need to Potty

You can buy a grosgrain ribbon with bells on it called the Poochie Training Bells Doggie Doorbell 95% Success Rate !! that you put on a door knob or a device that emits a ring when your puppy steps on it called the Tell Bell.

You can have one on the indoors and one on the outdoors so your puppy can let you know when he has to come in or go out.

I had good luck with the bells. The act of grabbing something in her mouth is instinctive to a puppy and she enjoyed the ringing sound. Simply say 'Outside' and ring the bells each time you take your puppy outside for potty time.

The paw operated chime may take a little longer to train. That's not a normal movement for a puppy so the cause/effect may take awhile for him to get it.

Some puppies may be scared by the noise either of these make but with encouragement, they will get used to it.

There's nothing wrong with either of these products. It's simply a matter of how relentless you will be in using it and how willing your puppy is to keep using it.

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OUT! Dog Training Pads with Moisture Lock

This is the brand I use, and they're among the cheapest. They're also available at Walmart.

I like pads better than newspaper because the pads don't leave ink residue on the floor or my dog.

Pads are easily portable so once you've trained your dog to use them, they can be packed and used anywhere. Clean up is a breeze since you merely wrap it up and throw it away.

The cons to using pads are 1) regardless of what the packages say, they pad will smell if a soiled one is left on the floor for any length of time and 2) puppies love to shred them.

Even though my dog is housetrained, I leave a pad out in a discrete place if she's going to be home alone for a length of time so she doesn't have to hold it more than six hours. I think it's best to teach a dog to go outside and/or use a puppy pad.

Note: I would not waste my money on puppy pad holders. If the pad you're using isn't keeping waste off your floor, try a different brand. The benefit of a pad is that there's no cleaning; it's used and thrown away so why add to your effort by getting a tray you have to clean?

I like the OUT! brand but other people prefer different brands. You can read reviews here: Puppy Training Pads

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Image of Nestle Purina dog litter tray

Purina's dog litter trays

Second Nature Dog Litter Pan Miniature Breeds

Litter trays for dogs are quite popular and deservedly so. Puppies can be trained to use them and most small dogs do well with them PROVIDED you regularly clean the litter box. Ironically, most dogs do not like to soil an already soiled and smelly area.

That means scooping out and replacing soiled litter box matter and washing the litter tray itself once a week. Use a scoop like cat owners do (metal ones last and clean up better than plastic ones).

The pros of the litter box is that you can avoid the smells inherent in puppy pads. The expensive SecondNature Dog Litter is more absorbent with better odor control than cheaper brands.

If you are rigorous in scooping every day and cleaning weekly, a cheaper solution is wood pellets used in stoves. They will smell - very, very bad - if you don't clean regularly however. Remember, they weren't designed for litter boxes.

There's also the problem that many dogs will eat the litter in the tray. The SecondNature is not harmful to them, but I would not let my dog eat the cheaper wood pellets.

The con is that litter trays aren't easily portable. You can take one with you if you're traveling to Grandma's house by car rather than plane, but she may not like the idea of having a dog defecate in her house even if it's in a litter tray.

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Image of PetZoom Park Indoor Pety Potty, acrylic grass pad for indoor dog potty

Acrylic 'grass' indoor potty

PetZoom Pet Park Indoor Pet Potty

You may have seen these types of pet potty on TV commercials or in magazines. The American Kennel Club also offers a similar system. My comments are not directed at any one brand but apply to the technique.

The indoor patch is supposed to reinforce the idea that your puppy uses a green patch for potty when he's outside. The belief is that your puppy will mistake acrylic grass for real grass when he has to relieve himself. (Hope you don't have zeroscapping or brown parched yards.)

Obviously, I don't understand the popularity of these. At the end of the day, you literally have a pan of dog urine to CAREFULLY dispose of, and if you have feces, ugh. Don't kid yourself that it won't smell if it stands out all day. You'll also have to clean the unit weekly (use an enzyme cleaner) to avoid lingering odors.

As you can tell, I don't like these. If, for whatever reason, your dog has to potty indoors and he won't use pads or litter trays, then it's worth trying.

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