Which is better, teaching puppies to go potty outside or on pee pads?


Published: July 22, 2020

There’s no hard and fast rule on where it’s best to potty train a puppy, because it really depends on each family’s preference and living situation. Let’s take a look at a few points to consider, so you can make the best decision for your puppy.

Backyard Safety

If you have a securely fenced back yard and easy access to it, then potty training your puppy to eliminate outdoors is a great idea! There are often fewer mistakes and less confusion when the elimination area is completely separate from the house.

How long will the puppy be left alone?

If you anticipate leaving your puppy alone in the house for long periods of time, pee pads might be a better option. Unless you have a doggie door and your puppy has easy access to it, along with minimum risks (pool, wild predators frequenting your yard, gardeners who may accidentally leave the gate open), it’s wise to provide your puppy with an appropriate indoor elimination area. It’s unhealthy and unfair to require your puppy to wait to go potty on a regular basis.


Depending on where you live and what time of year you acquire your puppy, the weather can play a big role in potty training. Frequent rain or frigid snow not only makes dogs reluctant to go potty outdoors but having to stand outside early in the morning, waiting for your puppy to eliminate, can also be a challenge. If you think this may be an issue, indoor potty training may be a better choice.


If you’re a frequent traveler and anticipate having your dog become your travel buddy, potty training your puppy on a pee pad can prove incredibly helpful. Airports and hotels often have limited grassy areas suitable for elimination. Additionally, taking your dog several stories down the elevator several times a day can become quite a chore. Pee pad potty training can be incredibly useful in these situations.

Other dogs

While your new puppy can certainly learn to eliminate in a different area than the other dogs in the house, it can oftentimes be quicker and easier for puppies to imitate what they see another dog doing. Not only will the odor of their urine and feces draw the puppy to want to eliminate in that spot, but seeing another dog consistently eliminate in a particular location will encourage your puppy to do the same.

With careful consideration of your lifestyle and living situation, you can make the best choice on what surface you would like to potty train your puppy on.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss potty training puppies to multiple surfaces.

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