Indoor Grass & Sod for Potty Training Puppies

by Jon Mohrman
    A pile of old newspapers is a classic indoor pooch potty.

    A pile of old newspapers is a classic indoor pooch potty.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If you're training your puppy to go potty inside, you need to choose an appropriate material for her to relieve herself on. There are a number of options, among them indoor grass, sod or turf pads. Like anything else, these materials have their upsides and their drawbacks. Of course, a main consideration will be whether or not your puppy readily learns to urinate and defecate on them.

    Positives

    Indoor grass, sod and turf pads offer some key advantages for indoor potty training your puppy. Of all the options, they most closely resemble real grass. As The Housebreaking Bible notes, the visual and textural similarities help puppies understand where to go if they split bathroom breaks between an indoor location and outdoors; it also facilitates retraining if you switch from inside to outside or vice versa later. These potty pads are also easy to distinguish from hard or carpeted floor surfaces, helping your puppy identify the right place to pee and poop. These pads are relatively heavy, so they usually stay put, even if your puppy wants to play with them. And, if you don't mind spending a little extra, some suppliers provide regular cleanings, used pad disposal and new pad replacements.

    Negatives

    Probably the most significant disadvantage of using an indoor grass, turf or sod potty pad is that many are difficult to clean. They are often cumbersome to remove from their pans, especially without spilling or dropping some waste. Real sod can just be tossed out if you're able to replace it, but artificial grass is generally reused and has lots of nooks and crannies that need to be cleaned. These pads are likely to develop strong odors if not often and thoroughly washed. If you use real grass and dirt for an indoor potty, though, your puppy might prefer digging it up to using it for a bathroom.

    Alternatives

    If indoor grass, turf or sod pads aren't for you or your puppy doesn't take to them, alternatives exist. A pile of old newspapers is a long-used indoor potty option. It's cheap and easily acquired if you're a subscriber, and it's easy to dispose of. Of course, your pooch might decide to redistribute the papers around your house or track ink paw prints over your couch, and newspaper doesn't remain absorbent for too long, so you must replace it regularly. There are also all sorts of absorbent puppy pee pads, but quality and durability vary. Litter boxes filled with puppy litter are fairly convenient and easy to clean, but some dogs are more interested in eating the litter or digging in it and flinging it all over the room than relieving themselves in it.

    Potty Training

    Teaching your puppy to go to the bathroom on the indoor grass, sod or turf pad requires patience, consistency and positive reinforcement. Take her by leash hourly to the pad and place her on it. Bring her there before and after sleep, feeding, play, crating and other activities. Learn how she indicates the need to go, whether it's by circling, sniffing around or scratching a door, and take her promptly to her potty. Offer immediate rewards for going on the indoor grass, sod or turf pad in the form of a treat, praise and physical affection. Don't punish or yell at your puppy for accidents. Instead, clap to interrupt her if you catch her going in the wrong place, quickly take her to the grass or turf potty, then reward her for finishing in the right place. If you don't catch her in the act, thoroughly clean up the accident to remove the scent and pay closer attention during housebreaking from then on.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.

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