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Waggin' Tale Blog

Puppy Pad Training in an Apartment: A Step by Step Guide

Posted by WizSmart by Petix on November 6, 2017 11:40:32 AM EST

What is Puppy Pad Training?

To all the new puppy owners out there, welcome, and congratulations on your newest member of the family! The time has now come to look into potty training puppy, and you’re probably wondering; with all of the different options out there, how to potty train a puppy in an apartment.

Puppy pad training is one of the greatest solutions if you live in an apartment, have mobility issues, or live in a particularly cold climate (we could add “or if you have unpredictable working hours, may not be able to get home when you expected to”). In essence, these dog pads work as stationary doggy diapers, meaning that they absorb fluids and control odors. And would you believe - they even contain scents scientifically proven to make your dog want to go!

Potty Training Apartment Style

Bringing a dog into your home is one of the best decisions that you can make. There’s just something about having a dog in your life that’s good for the heart.  Unfortunately, many potential owners rule out the option of buying or adopting a pup purely because they live in an apartment, or house with no outdoor space.

Thanks to products such as dog pee pads, it is finally possible for you yard less dog lovers to become proud puppy parents, without worrying about how you’ll deal with potty training! Potty pads were created to absorb urine and control odor so that your dog has a “safe zone” to do his business indoors without leaving your apartment smelling like a dog kennel.

What You’ll Need for Puppy Pad Training

Back in the day, potty pads were nothing more than glorified napkins, not able to soak up much more than a cup worth of liquid - far less than your puppy produces for sure! Not to mention newspapers – they are good for many things but they don’t do well as a bathroom for a puppy!

Today, advancements mean that the materials used in some of the top performing pads are able to withstand up to 24 hrs worth of bladder emptying. And without a single leak onto your precious hardwood floors! The better ones also dry fast, which is key to eliminating odors.

If you’re sold on the idea and thinking of heading to the pet store to pick up some dog pads, here are a few things to think about:

  • Pee pads. There is a wide variety available, so make sure to compare the dog pads before making a selection.
  • Favorite treats, cut up in small pieces, as a reward when your puppy has done the right thing on the pad
    • Stain and Odor Removal Spray. Great for cleaning in case an accident happens off of the pad. It’s important to clean thoroughly as dogs are attracted to the smell of urine.
    • A dog travel/carrier crate of adequate size. This is optional. This may be helpful in the beginning as you’re waiting for your puppy to go.

Getting Started with Puppy Training

So now that you know the basics and are ready to get started, it’s time to figure out how to train your puppy to use the puppy pee pads.

  1. Setting up your apartment

First you need to get your apartment properly set up to make the transition easy. Most trainers and dog professionals seem to agree on the fact that when it comes to potty training, the most important constant is keeping your “go spot” the same, and pick the right spot from the beginning.

Your pup has a natural instinct not to make a mess where he eats and sleeps. You’re going to want to set up an area nearby, but slightly away from where he sleeps and eats/drinks for the potty pad to go. If possible, try to limit his area of circulation during the first few weeks, to make finding the pad easier (See puppy pen/crate training below).  And you don’t want a lot of human foot traffic in the area,

You also want to remove carpets. There is a reason they go for the carpets – they absorb and puppies like the feeling of a soft, absorbent material - they don’t want to get their paws wet!  That’s why you want a thick pad that absorbs fast!

  1. First Days With You

A puppy will be at least eight-weeks old before he’s old enough to leave his mother and head home with his fur-ever family. At this time, his bladder is pretty tiny and unable to hold much more than thirty-minutes worth of urine, at best. Remember this varies quite a lot depending on breed.

It’s important to set in place a potty training plan as soon as he arrives home, as once your pup has learned that he can have “accidents” he’ll stop trying to “hold it” and just go when the urge takes him. And don’t open the bag of pee pads in front of your dog as he may think it’s a toy for him to play with.

  1. Timing Is Everything

Potty training can be quick, easy, and pretty mess free so long as you time everything. When puppies are young, their bladders work almost like clockwork, and as a general rule of thumb, after each of these activities, your pup will need to go potty this soon afterward:

  • Upon waking               Immediately
  • After eating                 10-20 mins
  • After drinking water    10-20 mins
  • During play                 Every 15 mins
  • At rest                         Every 2 hrs

These figures are based on an eight to ten-week old puppy and will increase as he grows. And please remember, they are all individuals, so there is large variation here.

After these activities, put your pup on the pad… and wait. It may take several minutes. If he doesn’t relieve himself, try to keep him in your lap for some time, play with him, and then put him on the pad again. You can also put him in a travel crate for some time and then try again. 

Make sure you have a favorite treat easily accessible in order to reward him as soon as he’s done his business on the pad. This is super important.

  1. Crates vs. Pens

Many dog owners, hearing about the wonder that is crate training and how it helps to stop accidents, will leverage the use of a crate when they cannot be home for a short period of time.

Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, your pup is physically unable to “hold it” for too long. A much better way to leave him, if you plan to be gone for more than 2 hours is to purchase a puppy pen. This is essentially a popup fenced in area for indoor and/or outdoor use.

We can combine the crate with the pen and his bathroom spot/pee pad to make a more enriched and comfortable environment for the pup! Do this by placing the crate on one side of the pen, along with his food and water. Then, put his potty pad at the other end of the pen.

Start with the pen at a smaller setting, this makes it easier for him to “choose” the right spot, and after a few successful attempts you can gradually increase the size of his area.

  1. Weekend Warrior

When you’re home on the weekend, you can be more proactive with the little guy’s training. Using the estimated times we discussed earlier (in our Timing is Everything section), you should clip him onto the lead, pick him up and place him on the pad whenever you feel as though he might need to go.

Patience is everything for this part of training, and you may need to stand with him for five minutes or more before he does the deed.

An excellent way to teach him to go as soon as you take him over is to use a code word, such as “Go Potty” as he’s piddling, then, when he’s done, praise him readily and reward with his favorite snack.  Remember to keep the snacks readily available! Keep this up, and you’ll have him going as soon as you say the code word. 

  1. Uh Oh

Teaching him to use a potty pad is a real learning curve and there isn’t a puppy in the world who hasn’t had the odd accident. The important thing is to never punish your pup for this. Instead, use praise readily when he does use the puppy pee pad. And, pay close attention to when he may need to go in the future!

It Doesn’t Last Forever

There’s no point in lying. Potty training isn’t exactly worth writing home about. But, it doesn’t have to be a horrible task either. After all, pad training can be perfected in a matter of weeks if done correctly! But you need to be patience, persistent and dedicated. You need to “listen to” and observe your little guy during those critical weeks. A pee pad can be a great help if you are simply unable to take your dog outside as much as you’d like to. It isn’t a good idea to request your dog to “hold it” for extended periods of time. He may get sick.

So, when you’re getting sick of hanging around waiting for your pup to do his business; just take a deep breath. And remember, this is such a short-term task compared to the years of happiness you’ll get from having a dog in the family!

Happy Puppy Potty Training Apartment Style!

When considering a puppy, consider how you will potty pad train. Try a free sample of  WizSmart dog pads and see the difference the right pad can make when it comes to keeping your puppy and apartment clean! 

Ready to Try WizSmart? Request a Free Sample


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Topics: New Puppy, dog potty pads, pee pad training

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