Indoor Toilet Training by Siobhan Owens

Yes, you read that correctly. I decided to do this article for several reasons.

1 As we are now at home due to confinement and travel restrictions pet dog owners may have decided to foster, to get a new puppy or to tackle an on-going issue with toilet training.


2 I see indoor toilet training issues on an on-going basis and indeed more and more frequently owners who live in apartments that do not have access to a garden area.


3 I had one case last summer of a medical reason for indoor toilet training from a client and indeed my own experience of having a dog diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus which causes frequent urination that requires medical treatment along with careful management.


To begin I should say that I have a previous article on Toilet training with some pointers and tips you can find them by searching Toilet Training on my Facebook page.


As you will see from my previous articles on Toilet Training I am not a big fan of pads, they lead to confusion and I am almost certainly guaranteed to discover they are being used in a case where the dog is still not toilet trained often into adulthood. But like I said this article focuses on using them if you have too.


This article is focusing on toilet training where it may be necessary for a dog to have indoor access to an area to do his business on or for small puppies not yet vaccinated who have no access to a secure garden area or puppies alone for several periods who are not yet toilet trained. In other words, if you must use the indoors for potty then let’s do it correctly.


If for any of the above reasons you want to allow the dog or puppy to go to the toilet indoors then this is my following advice.


1 Instead of placing a pad on the floor it should be placed inside one of the toilet training trays. This gives the dog or puppy not just a very visible area to go to, but it also raises it off the floor. It is no different than training a dog to go to his or her bed or mat in the corner of the room. The bed or mat themselves may be on the floor, but the bed and mat are very visible to the dog and if they are in the corner, they are not going to go the back or centre of the room. They are just going to target that area.


2 Choose the size of the tray appropriately. Often people buy for the puppy without realising they can grow or indeed that if the puppy pees on one area and they do not have enough room to go again on the tray without using that area then they will often just go beside the tray. So bigger is better.


3 If you think you are going to need to have the tray long term then do consider the location very carefully. Do you really want it in the kitchen where you are cooking and eating with a big poop on it? Or is it possible that young children can get access to the area and disturb him when using it thereby putting him off the use of the tray. Somewhere quiet tucked into a corner but that you can observe him going to the toilet so you can praise. Again, I stress these are for exceptional circumstances.


In one of my previous articles I stress not using them. However I am seeing quite a few clients who do live in apartments with no outdoor access so we do the next best thing which is to train the dog to use the tray but that doesn’t mean we take our eye off the ball with long term toilet training goals in mind.

The elderly lady with the elderly dog who had arthritis in her back and hips, living on a second floor would be a long-term acceptable case. Or leaving a puppy for 4 hours while you work should be done with a tray in one location only but you need to then support the long term toilet training goals by removing the tray when you are at home and bringing the puppy out frequently.


See my previous articles on toilet training.


Toilet training trays like the one below are available in most good pet shops or online.