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How to Litter Box or Pad Housetrain Your Dog or Puppy

By Jess Rollins
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To teach your dog to use a litter box or fake grass potty area, follow the steps below and continue on to the next step once your dog uses the papers or pads two times in the previous step.

  1. Set up an exercise pen and cover the floor inside the area with newspapers or potty pads. Give your dog dog broth to drink in order to get lots of repetitions and begin work on this over the weekend.
  2. Crate your dog, and then every 30 minutes place him in the pen for 5 minutes (set a timer). If he "goes". he gets a big treat and gets 30 minutes of freedom. If he doesn't "go", then back in the crate for another 30 minutes. Repeat!
  3. Continue to feed your dog broth. Once your dog is pottying reliably on the papers or pads, reduce the area of the papers/pads until you are down to the final size area that you wish to use.
  4. Once he is pottying on the smaller area of papers or pads, transfer the papers or pads into the final potty area or "litter box".
  5. If your dog is comfortable now using the potty area, the next step is to leave the exercise pen door open and after you take him out of his crate, encourage him to go in by himself to potty. You are almost there!
  6. Now you can remove the exercise pen and take your dog out of the crate and watch carefully so that you can encourage pottying in the potty area.
  7. Now, move the potty area to it's final place and work on getting your dog to use it in that location.

Once your dog is going to the potty area and "going" with your guidance, you can remove the crate and simply supervise (of course rewarding any breakthroughs). A Male Wrap might be a helpful preventative for your boy dogs at this stage. You may need to encourage your dog to go to his potty area from areas in the house that are farther away. Continue rewarding your dog for using the potty area / litter box for a few weeks. If there are any accidents, you will want to increase your supervision and decrease the amount of freedom your dog has. You can decrease freedom by keeping your dog in a small area such as a crate, pen or indoor tether.

View more housetraining supplies and articles.

Happy Training!


Jess Rollins

The Author:

Jess Rollins

Jess Rollins and Pet Expertise's Mission is to Help You to Maximize Your Dog's Potential!

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  • Very helpful thanks

  • Hopes are to get a Cavapoo. I live in a garage converted apartment and my disabled brother will be living in the main house. The dog will probably be spending most of the time with me…so looking forward to training him/her to use a potty pad or litter box…but would the dog, if shown where the potty pad is in the main house, then go directly to that pad, too or would we have to go through the complete training process again for a second location?


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