Beyond the Puppy Pad

Beyond the Puppy Pad

When people find out I’m a dog trainer, I get all kinds of questions wherever I go. At brunch this week, my friend Stephen was telling everyone stories about his new puppy – a Maltese named Gus. He’d been potty training Gus using a puppy pad, but he wanted to know how to train Gus to advance from the puppy pad to going outside. I get this question a lot.


puppy on puppy padWhen it comes to training your dog, consistency is always key.

Once your puppy is trained to go on the pads inside and you want to train him to go outside, here’s what you do:

  • Take a soiled pad outside and put it on the ground. Put it in the same place every time. (Consistency, remember?)
  • Your puppy will instinctively go to the pad – when he does go to the bathroom on the pad outside, give him lots of praise.
  • Keep doing that over and over. Eventually, remove the pad but take him to the same spot in the yard where the pad was.
  • When he goes outside without the pad – lavish him with praise.

puppy outside

You’ll want to keep the puppy pads around for a while just in case, but now you have effectively trained your dog to do his business outside. The next step – you’ll want to train him to let you know when he needs to go outside. We’ll save that for another day.


Shari Strader is the owner of South Paw Pet Services in Norfolk, VA. She has a personal commitment to giving dogs a better life and specializes in positive, reward based dog training. Shari conducts individual in-home dog training, clicker training, and offers group obedience classes. She has worked for and volunteered with a number of animal rescue organizations nationally and in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia including the SPCA and Best Friends Network. She has donated time assessing, training, and rehabilitating rescue dogs and has also worked in the political arena to lobby for humane legislation to protect animals.