Can Puppies be Trained to Eliminate Both Indoors and Outdoors?


Published: July 22, 2020

While it’s clearer for dogs to have one specific elimination area (either indoors or outdoors), it’s possible to potty train dogs to both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It may take a little bit more time and consistency, but your efforts can prove useful in situations of travel, severe weather conditions, or an unforeseen change in living arrangements.

To do this effectively, it’s important to reward your puppy for eliminating on any appropriate surface, whether it be grass/dirt, or pee pads. If your puppy eliminates on either a pee pad or outside, give lots of praise, treats, and playtime.

Most puppy parents prefer to have their puppy’s primary elimination area be outdoors, with pee pads being the second appropriate option when access to the first isn’t available. In this case, try to take your puppy outside as often as possible and make it very rewarding to do so (i.e give a favorite treat and spend some time playing after your pup goes potty before coming back inside). You can set a pee pad by the door, in case your puppy has to go but doesn’t make it outside. Reward with treats, play, and praise when you catch your puppy going potty there as well.

Supervision is key to potty training success. Whenever you won’t be able to give your puppy your undivided attention, place him in a secure area with a pee pad. Since puppies prefer to eliminate on absorbent surfaces they will often choose to go potty on a pee pad rather than tile or hard floor. As they practice this behavior, they will get better at choosing to go potty on a pee pad when the outdoors isn’t accessible. If you catch your puppy eliminating on the pee pad in the enclosure, hurry over to reward him with a treat and praise and release him from the enclosure for some playtime.

While potty training your puppy to multiple surfaces can take a bit more time and patience, it can be equally rewarding as you enjoy an adaptable dog who is potty trained for whatever situation life may throw your way.

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