Dog Potty Training: Transitioning from Pee Pads to Outdoors

Dog / Puppy Potty Training

A fellow parti poodle mom asked me about transitioning from pee pads to outdoors. I figured it'd just be easier to post the question and answer. And I'll ad any extras afterwards. 

Question, Burt's Mom:  Burt finally has all his shots and can go outside for walks. I figured you went through this phase as well and wonder how you transitioned from the pee pad to the great outdoors for potty training. I am totally perplexed and everyone seems to have a different idea on how to do it but for some reason I thought I'd ask you.

Answer:   It happened pretty naturally. Thirty or so minutes after he eats, take him on a long walk. It might take awhile, but he will "go potty"-- and be sure to say "potty" when he is doing it so that he associates the action and word. In a way the dogs sort of indirectly teach each other especially if you live in the city, near the park, or in a neighborhood full of dogs. They can smell where other dogs have "went potty" and will often go in the same area.  Basically they can sense where the outdoor toilet is, lol. And be sure to give him a lot of praise when he goes in the correct place.  Just be patient, loving (keep in mind he's basically a baby/toddler), and consistent... lucky for you he's a poodle,  a parti poodle at that so he'll catch on pretty quick.

Huxtable going potty 
I usually hate it when people post pictures of their dog taking a dump, lol, but this was the one time I unintentionally did, so I figured I'd post it since its relevant to the post (plus with all his fur you can't see anything)

In addition to the answer above I'll add that Huxtable is trained to go both inside on a potty pad as well as outside. His preference is outside, but he will always go inside when needed. This may not work for some people, but this works very well for me -and- it's oh so convenient on days in which it's raining, cold, super late, or if you're visiting someone else's home.

There wasn't anything too special I did to achieve this. He learned to go on the potty pad as a young pup, then he naturally learned to go outdoors (as stated above). And I kept up both for well over a year. As of this year, and since I've been very health and fitness focused, he's pretty much gone exclusively outside. But him being able to go on potty pads comes in handy... this past week is a perfect example. It rained every other day, so I was able to whip out a potty pad, place it in the bathroom, tell Huxtable go potty, close the door behind him, then check on him a few minutes later and he's done his business. 

This may be easier for a small dog, but I would also try this for a large dog too. I have a friend who often works late, so he has to ask his dad to go to his house and let his dog out. His dad will do it of course, but he often complains about it. If his dog knew how to go on a potty pad he could leave that in his bathroom area on days that he knows he's going to be late.  Many people worry about whether or not this will leave the wrong impression on their dog, confuse their dog even, making them think it's okay to go anywhere inside the home. But no, this isn't the case. As long as you are stringent about them only going on the potty pad, having it in a set area, he (or she) will learn to go in that proper place. For some this may just take a few weeks, for other breeds it could possibly take months. But your patience and diligence will pay off in the long run. 

Depending on your dog's energy level you may come home to poop on your hardwood a few days here on there, lol, but just take them to that wrong spot say, "no bad dog". Make them watch you put it back in the right spot (then flush it). Maybe have them sit in the corner for a little while, and the process starts over. It's SO very important to give them the HIGHEST of praises when they do it right and go in the proper spot. I learned that positive reinforcements yield the best results. I know that everyone doesn't have the patience for this, and having them go exclusively outside is the easiest and best (because it keeps your house much more fresh), but having that option pays off. 

(I usually purchase my Potty Pads in bulk, HERE.)

Feel free to share your thoughts on transitioning and dog potty training. 
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