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When Should You Take Puppy Pads Away – And Switch To Outside?

When Should You Take Puppy Pads Away – And Switch To Outside?

It makes a lot of sense to use puppy pads in the first phase of house training.

When your puppy is very small, her bladder control may be very weak, especially if you have a small or toy breed like a Chihuahua or a Yorkie.

It’s better for your puppy to relieve themselves on an approved pad indoors than to expect her to always make it outside – and cause her to have accidents instead. Using a pad is always better than having an accident.

But puppy pads require lots of clean-up. They cost money. As your puppy grows up, she’ll develop the control to wait until you’re able to take her outside.

Take the puppy pads away too soon, though, and you’ll take a step backwards in your training.

Signs It’s Time To Take Away The Puppy Pads

  • If there’s no pad available, your puppy will wait for you to put one down.
  • You take your puppy outside, but she waits until she’s inside to relieve herself. This means she’s already gotten the idea that inside=bathroom, but she has bladder control, so she’s ready to be retaught.
  • Your puppy goes through a full night (8 hours) without going potty.
  • You come home from work (or errands, or any time you leave your puppy alone) to a dry pad.
  • Your puppy is showing a preference for going outside.
  • You can put your puppy near the pad and say “go potties” and she will potty on command.

Signs It’s NOT Time To Take Away The Puppy Pads

  • Your puppy still relieves herself every 4 hours or less
  • Your puppy gets up at night (or barks to get out of her crate) to potty
  • You always come home to a wet pad
  • Your puppy is having accidents even though a pad is available

How To Transition From Puppy Pads To Outside

There’s no need to quit cold turkey, unless you’re out of pads and simply cannot (or refuse) to buy any more. While quitting “cold turkey” is definitely an option, it may lead to accidents. When your puppy goes potty on the floor, it reinforces a bad habit – when instead, you want to focus on replacing one good habit (using a pad) with another (going outside.)

It’s better to take the pads away for just an hour each day, at first. Watch your pup carefully for the hour. If she rushes to her usual pad area, or show signs of needing to go, take her out.

A pad-trained puppy is accustomed to relieving herself whenever she wants. She’ll need to learn to “hold it.” Using a crate teaches your puppy to hold it because most puppies will not pee or poop in close quarters, where they sleep. A crate is the best option if you’re dependant on using pads when you’re at work or in the nighttime.

For more information on transitioning from puppy pads, check out these tips.

Can You Use Puppy Pads With An Adult Dog?

I think pad-training a puppy is a great idea because most dogs never forget how to use them, even after years of going outside. That means you can use pads for long trips, travel, or if your dog is ever on restricted mobility due to sickness or injury.

You may live in an apartment and need to go down a flight of stairs or an elevator to get their dog outside. Or, you might not have access to a yard.

Puppy pads are handy for bad weather, too.

It’s important for an adult dog to be able to go outside. But there’s nothing wrong with using them for a healthy adult dog.

You can also try a dog litter-box or a Bark Potty for a more permanent solution.

Normally, dogs like going potty outside. They want to leave their scent mark, and there’s probably something more satisfying and natural about going in the grass or dirt.

Even a dog that uses pads should go on walks for the exercise and mental stimulation. If they need pads to be comfortable while you’re at work or asleep, that’s perfectly fine.

There’s no perfect age for quitting pads, every dog is different, and you’ll know what works best for your lifestyle.

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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Friday 29th of October 2021

I have a 6.5 English bulldog and it's been a journey. As soon as he arrived he did not have a problem using the training pad. At night leave one not too far from his bed. During the day he does not pee or poop inside the house. I work from home and can afford to take him out ever 4 hours or so. I am debating when would be the right time to stop putting a pad at night. When I wake up in the morning the pad is usually wet. But today I became a witness of something I haven't seen in the whole 4 months since he's been with me. He ate his breakfast in the morning and started playing around with his toys. Then all of a sudden he ran towards his bed and pooped inside it... I couldn't believe it! Any sort of advice is more than welcome. Thank you!


Thursday 22nd of April 2021

I have 5.5 mth old min pin/french bulldog mix that i got at 7.5 wks fully pad trained. i have taken her on many walks and she rarely pee or poos on walks ?? she has went outside a few times but she will also hold it for along time while we are outside n then come in to do her business. i crated trained her in larger crate with pad on one side and when it was used less I tried to leave her loose in the house while at work and she started to poo on the area rug instead on the pads. She will pee on the pad n then shred one side of the pee pad. So today i decided to put her back in crate while at work cause im frustrated with her accidents when theres pad at the patio & back door where she normally goes. Plse help with training from pads to outside

thanks sincerely frustrated Linda

Rania Ibrahim

Saturday 17th of April 2021

Sorry I meant a 15 week old maltipoo from the previous comment.

Rania Ibrahim

Saturday 17th of April 2021


Thanks for your website. I have a 15 month old maltipoo who uses the pee pad inside and I take her every 2 hours outside to pee/poo. On a bad day, she may have up to 2 accidents inside. On a good day, no accidents.

Question: When can I take away the pee pads and just have her go outside? How do I do that that? I also have a kennel outside when we are out and she goes there too. Any advise would help.


Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Hi I have new puppy , King Charles ,and experiencing same advise/ issues . Been told by trainers to ditch puppy pads but my little boy dies wees and pops outside but still needs to keep passing urine , rearely poo indoors . Started to stress me out taking them away and him ! Any other help would be appreciated . He is 9 weeks

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