Potty pads are a helpful training tool when you’re not able to take your puppy outside frequently. Maybe she has not had all of her vaccinations yet, or you live in an apartment and can’t get outside every half hour.
But the soft, fluffy texture of the pads make them incredibly fun to tear apart.
You can get your puppy to stop ripping up their potty pads, or find alternative potty solutions that your puppy will actually use!
Why Puppies Chew Up Potty Pads
I think every dog has their chewing vice.
Some love tough rubber or plastic toys that challenge their jaws and soothe the soreness of teething.
Others like fluffy stuffed animals that they can murder – and tear the guts out of. Potty pads have a similarly destroy-able texture that makes a satisfying tear as your dog attacks it.
Sometimes, though, it’s just the novelty of them. If your puppy has not spend much time using pads, she might find the unfamiliar papery smell interesting. She might be investigating the scents and textures during her destructive process.
Then, after learning to use them and getting used to them, your puppy will probably grow out of tearing up their pads.
Like everything else, it takes consistent training, but you can teach your puppy to use the pads as intended.
Fast Fixes To Keeping Potty Pads Intact
In a pinch, you can tape down your potty pads to keep your puppy from tearing them up.
You’ll need a strong, wide tape like duct tape.
When you’re taping down the pad, make sure the blue border is visible. A dog is red-green colorblind, meaning that yellow and blue are the easiest colors for them to see.
So, the blue border around a pad is a highly visible target. If you cover the blue border with tape, the pad will be harder for your puppy to see.
Redirect That Wild Child
When your puppy is in hyper Tasmanian Devil mode, it’s unreasonable to ask her to settle down.
If she starts going for the pad, you’ll need to call her away from it, and then offer a soft, fluffy toy.
You have to make the toy more interesting than the potty pad. Shake it around, squeak it and slowly wave it near her paws, then quickly swipe it away when she tries to grab it.
It’s imperative that you’re gentle when you guide your puppy away from the pad. You don’t want her to develop a negative association with it – or she may never actually use it.
If possible, avoid picking her up or pulling her away, even if you’re being gentle about it. You may not have a choice if she’s already overstimulated and going crazy on the pad.
But it’s important that you do not rely on physical means of directing your puppy around. You want her to learn, as early as possible, to respond to your voice.
You can even start teaching “leave it” at this early age.
One way or another, you have to guide your puppy away from the pad and directly into a more fun, rewarding activity.
Avoiding Potty Pad Destruction When You’re Not Home
Of course, you can easily redirect your puppy from tearing up her potty pad when you’re home, but what about when you leave the house?
With consistent redirection when you are home, she’ll find the pad less interesting.
In the meantime, though, you won’t be able to trust her, so you might need to rely on crating her until then.
Another possibility – if she only destroys her potty pad when it’s clean, you can make sure she’s only left with a lightly soiled pad.
Or… you can use a dirty pad or paper towel to rub a bit of her pee/poo scent onto the new pad. This would help her recognize it as a bathroom, not a toy.
You can also try making sure she has interesting toys to play with instead. Soft toys should quell that “fluffy” craving. A food filled toy like a Kong can also keep her busy.
Do Potty Pad Holders Work?
You can put your potty pad in a holder to keep your puppy from chewing it up.
This pad holder from Pet Awesome USA (check price) has a removable grate that keeps the pad safe, and I love that it separates your solids from your liquids. When your pup is done using it, you can remove the pad, use it to clean the poop off the grate, and discard. As needed, you can hose it down outside.
This pad holder from IRIS PET USA (check price) holds the edges in place, and if you get the largest size, it folds up so you can place it against a wall so your male can lift his leg on it – and it would be easier to clean. This one’s a good choice if you don’t want to clean poop off a grate, and for less-determined dogs, it can be enough to discourage destruction.
Pad holders can help keep your floors clean, but you cannot depend on them to keep your puppy from destroying the pad – if she’s determined enough, she might attack both!
If you’re going to use pads in the long-term, you might want to consider a potty pad alternative – one that is also better for the environment.
Bark Potty (available on Amazon or direct from BarkPotty) is a great choice because it can last up to a month – or even more – depending on how often your dog uses it. It has a mesh top, but the whole thing is disposable. Total game-changer!
When you have a truly destructive puppy, you’ll need to do a lot of management – keeping certain items out of reach and using a pad holder – but you’ll still need to work on redirection.
Dogs can learn to only play with appropriate toys. They can learn “leave it.” But until then, you’ll need to keep your puppy safe. Puppy pads, particularly the plastic backing, can cause an obstruction if eaten.
I know, just another way your puppy is trying to hurt herself! I promise, once you get past that crazy first year, if you’re consistent with training, you’ll have a wonderful, polite dog who can be trusted to not eat her own bathroom.