The PAWS Blog

4 Potty-Training Tricks for Dogs Who Are Indoors

Potty training can be straightforward if you walk your dog regularly. All you need to do is bring a scooper and a plastic bag on your post-meal walk, and your dog will do their business. Training a dog to pee outside also works the same: you can combine the time for walking with their peeing schedule, keeping your home free from stains and dog waste.

However, it’s not so simple if you must be confined in a small space for long periods of time. If you and your dog are spending more time indoors, you need to potty train them so they don’t use the bathroom wherever and whenever they feel like it. Potty training your dog for your home becomes easier when you use these techniques:

1. Let them get accustomed to pads

Buy a potty pad for your dog—a small, rubber square may be enough for a puppy or a smaller dog, but you may need to buy a larger one for sporting breeds. A 24”x24” potty pad is good for pups and small dogs, while big ones can comfortably use something about 36”x28” big.

Before you use the potty pad for the first time, allow them to sniff and examine it. Allowing your dog to get used to the pad reduces the anxiety they might feel around new objects. You may opt to use newspapers and scraps of paper as pee pads, but these are messy to clean up and will leave a lingering smell in your house. Pads are more absorbent and are easier to clean.

2. Create routines around this time

Be aware of when your dog goes potty. Usually, dogs go after playing, sleeping, eating and drinking, so be on high alert at these times. Once they are done with these activities, you’ll want to bring them to the potty pad as a signal that they should do their business in that area.

A good signal to look at is when dogs start sniffing the ground around them. This means that they are finding their “territory,” or their own scent, so that they can relieve themselves. When you see them doing this, you can pick them up and put them on the pad.

3. Reward them when they go potty

When your pet is successful in going potty on the pad or in your designated area, you must give them a treat. This makes them associate positive things with the potty pad, and they will remember that this is where they should go for eliminating waste.

A trick to keeping them excited about potty training is by giving them a treat that is reserved for when they successfully use the training pad. This can be a biscuit they particularly like or a special type of kibble. You can combine verbal reinforcement, pats, or belly rubs with rewards, too.

4. Stay in touch with a trainer

If your dog is chewing on the potty pads, playing with them, or otherwise using them for other purposes, you should intervene. They will not learn that this is where they should relieve themselves if you let the behavior continue.

You can get in touch with a dog trainer if you are having difficulties getting your dog to use the potty pad. Trainers will have the experience necessary to train your dog. If you are unable to visit them at their headquarters, you can use video conferencing for consultations.


Potty training your dog should not be a headache. You can easily get your dog trained if you consistently reward or admonish them for their behavior. Consulting a trainer is also a good way to make sure that you’re doing the right thing when training.

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