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Dog Diapers: How to Use Puppy Diapers for Potty Training Dogs

A black dog with white markings wearing a type of dog diaper.

I've had a lot of foster dogs to house train recently and also happened to have a few dog diapers laying around for product testing. I got to wondering if using the diapers as an aid for potty training dogs would be effective. After testing my theory and putting them to use, I discovered that dog and puppy diapers can be very helpful in many cases!

Old yellow lab laying on a beige rug

Generally, dog trainers only recommend diapers for incontinent dogs or dogs in heat — not necessarily for house training. I think trainers are worried that people will use the diaper as a crutch and end up being unsuccessful at house training the dog as a result, which is a valid concern. However, I've found that using dog diapers as part of a complete house training program can be a really helpful aid.

Is your dog a good candidate for house training with a diaper?

  • Is your dog or puppy mostly house trained, but hasn’t got it quite down yet? The diaper is more useful in potty training dogs for those towards the end of the house training process. For instance, your dog readily goes potty outside and only has one accident a day.
  • Does your dog do well with wearing things and being handled? This method works best for dogs that don’t tend to fuss about being handled and typically won’t mind wearing puppy diapers. If you don't think your dog has this kind of personality, you’re probably better off skipping dog diapers and sticking with traditional house training methods. For male dogs that just have pee accidents, the Male Wrap can be a perfect version of the diaper as it is easier to put on and take off.

Firstly, find a well-fitting and comfortable diaper. For male dogs that just have urine accidents, the Male Wrap can be a perfect version of the diaper as it is easier to put on and take off. For female dogs, you have several options. Take some time to find what works.

Older dog being given a treat

Next, it is important to teach your dog that wearing a diaper is a positive thing. This way, your dog is not frightened by the process or doesn’t become upset when you approach him/her with dog diapers. Do this by being patient and taking it slow with your dog. Utilize treats during the process of putting the diaper on. In the beginning, it might be helpful for a second person to give your dog the treats while you position the diaper on your dog. If your dog tries to wiggle out of the diaper once it is on, try to interrupt, and then reward your dog for calmness. If after some time, you find that your dog really dislikes the diaper, it may not be worthwhile. In that case, try potty training your dogs using the basic house training protocol (without puppy diapers).

The right time to begin using dog diapers is when you are almost 100% certain that your dog won't have an accident in the house. The diaper is helpful in the following ways:

  • Helps prevent floor, carpet, and furniture messes. Lingering odors can be difficult to remove and can further delay house training.
  • Lets you know with certainty that your dog has had an accident and that you need to give him or her less freedom. Often with little dogs, they have accidents that go unnoticed for some time. The use of diapers can keep this from happening.
  • Makes going potty in the house somewhat uncomfortable for your dog, which can help discourage him from "going" in the house altogether.
  • Helpful (and courteous) to use when visiting new places, as dogs are more likely to have accidents at new locations. It is also important to remember to give your dog less freedom whenever you’re somewhere new.

Black and white dog ringing a bell to go out instead of wearing dog diapers

If your dog has an accident while wearing dog diapers, it means that you need to:

  • Give your dog less freedom in the house. Do this by utilizing a crate, tether (only when you are home), exercise pen, or by gating them to a smaller area.
  • Take your dog outside more often for potty breaks (up to once an hour during the day).
  • Reward with an extra tasty treat whenever they successfully go potty outside.
  • If the accident is happening by the door, consider teaching your dog to use a potty training bell for dogs so they can signal you when he/she needs to go out. 
  • Clean the diaper regularly and wash/dry your dog to prevent a rash and general discomfort. Having spare dog diapers on hand is helpful.

Just remember that I am proposing the use of a diaper for house training as an add-on to a traditional house training program — which uses prevention of accidents and rewards for going potty outside. The dog diaper will not allow you to skip all the "hard work" that goes into house training, but it can help with clean-up and consistency.

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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  • Thank you SO much for sharing this! I have been using this method to assist with the end phase of potty training for several puppies over the years. So many pet parents are frustrated and stressed with constant accidents. I recommend they try this method. It is definitely not a 24/7 thing and does not replace proper housetraining but is a good tool that can help.

  • I have an 11 week old terrier and she can’t use the bathroom outside until she’s had all of her shots. I have been using doggie diapers on her until she’s able to use the bathroom outside. BTW she’s only 2.2lbs and she’s in the house with her sister that is house trained and she is 4lbs and 1year older.

  • I adopted a 3 year old cocker spaniel and he’s been a challenge to potty train. He finally got it at home but when I have a visitor with another dog he has an “excited” pee which is a trait of cocker spaniels. He never pees unless there is someone visiting. I tried everything so I started putting a male diaper on him and he no longer has these accidents. The next issue is if my boyfriend is the one to take him out, he pees right after the diaper comes off. Have no idea what that means in his doggy mind, but never does it when I take him out. The diaper has taken a lot of stress off me, I just wonder why he always pees with my boyfriend. I’ll probably never know

    Judy C.
  • I have been thinking of using a diaper to help train my puppy alfor a few weeks now. I’m not sure how to proceed in training him as, we will take home outside to go to the potty, he will go both pee and poop and then come back in the house and literally do it again within ten minutes. We’ve tried staying outside longer even if he has gone but he will not go. It’s like he saves it for indoors. We’re totally at a loss for what to do. We never had as much problems with our other dogs.

  • I can’t wait to try this with my 8 month old. She’s very smart and already potty trained but she can’t hold her potty as long as my male dog. I think this will be a great thing for her to encourage her to let us know when she needs to go outside!

    Elyssia Reedy

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