How to Get a Senior Dog to Use Pee Pads

Updated: July 12, 2022

Senior dogs, with their age, may have several health problems. Your golden-year furbaby can get too exhausted after long walks or even be too tired to excuse themselves on eliminating at the right place, especially if they were trained to potty outside.

On top of it being heart-breaking to watch your senior sidekicks slow down and grow old, pet parents also know that consistently taking care of messy clean-ups from your older dog peeing in your house can be frustrating. That's why we have dog pee pads. So, if you are running into problems getting outside in time, it is a great idea to learn how to potty train an older dog indoors.

"On top of it being heart-breaking to watch our senior sidekicks slow down and grow old, we also know that consistently taking care of messy clean-ups can be frustrating, and that's why we have dog pee pads."

older dog peeing in house, pee pad for senior dogs

In this article, we’ll talk about how handy dog pads can be for senior dogs, how you can get your senior dog to use these puppy pads, and how to choose the right dog pads. An older dog peeing in the house can be a huge mess, but pee pads can be a simple and effective solution. 

Though a lot of pee pads are readily available with different features, having your dog use it does not happen overnight. Why? Because many senior dogs are not accustomed to using pee pads at all.

Luckily, contrary to the belief that it’s hard to teach old dogs, it’s fairly easy to teach them new things. We will share how to pad train an older dog to use pee pads and some tips to make it easier. Training senior dogs to use pee pads for older dogs comes with so many benefits, both for you and your dog.

Always Schedule Enough Time to Train Your Dog

Before anything else, having time is most important when you want to train your senior dog to use pee pads. So it’s almost necessary to push aside and block off some extra time, but if that is not an option, you can hire a professional or somebody you trust to do the job. Remember that just like with puppies, learning how to potty train an older dog on pee pads will take a few weeks. During this time patience and consistency are key!

Plan Scheduled Feedings

Feed your dog at the same time everyday and never let any food bowl just lie around. Take it away after they are done eating even if there are still some leftovers after about 20 minutes. This way, it will reduce any chances of your pup having that “extra fuel in the tank.” This will help with an older dog pooping in the house in inappropriate areas. Keep in mind, your dog should always have access to water!

Introduce your Pup to the Pee Pads for Older Dogs

Introduce your dog to their new toilet. Allow them to sniff it, paw it, lick it, and help them develop their interest on the pee pad. You can do this a couple of times a day until they are no longer curious about it and you think they are deemed ready to use it.

pee pads for senior dogs, pee pads for adult dogs

Set a Potty Area

The first step how to get a dog to use pee pads is to set the pee pad in an area that will show your dog it's okay to relieve themselves there. In this way, your dog will become familiar to go that exact same place whenever they want to pee or poo. You can have different potty areas inside and outside your house.

As stated by the American Kennel Club, when thinking about how to potty train a puppy, don’t underestimate routine and consistency. Setting a schedule and sticking to it will help prevent accidents and ensure you give your puppy every chance to go in the right location. The same goes for house training an adult dog with pee pads!

Practice the Routine with Pee Pads for Older Dogs

When you see your dog about to pee or poop in the wrong places, gently call their attention (like calling out their names, whistling, or clapping) and walk or guide them to the pad, and encourage them to eliminate there. You can use a leash indoors while training to guide them over to the pad when the time is right.

Note: When calling the attention of your furbaby, make sure you don’t shout or startle them. Doing so will only scare them and will eventually cause them to pee or poop in inappropriate places as long as you’re not around.

Reward Your Dog When They do a Great Job

This is a crucial step in how to pad train an older dog. When your dog finds their way and eliminates on the pee pad, make sure you praise them and reward their good behavior. This way, it will be clear to them that peeing or pooping on the pee pad is a good thing! Remember that your dog is probably unsure that they are allowed to potty inside, so this step is very important.

For the rewards, you can give your furbaby a belly rub, some cuddles, their favorite toy, some treats, or Gnawtlers®. Gnawtlers® are Grade A deer or elk antlers that are odor and mess free. You are guaranteed that your dog will enjoy their reward by a one-of-a-kind gnawing experience. What’s even better is that these chews are safe as they don’t easily break or splinter and are jam-packed with nutrients to keep your furbaby happy and healthy for doing a great job! For senior dogs with sensitive teeth, Split Elk Gnawtlers® are the recommended choice as they are the softest. 

Remember, positive reinforcement is the key. According to NAFC Animal Control & Center Org, positive reinforcement means giving your dog something pleasant or rewarding immediately after they do something you want them to do. Because your praise or reward makes them more likely to repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful tools for shaping and changing your furbaby's behavior.

Never Punish Your Dog for Any Accidents They Might Cause

If you catch your dog about to “drop the bomb” at wrong place in your house, startle them instead of scaring. You can do that by shouting or clapping your hands to get their attention and then you can lead them to the pee pad to do their thing. Don’t forget to give them a praise or offer them a reward after your pup finishes eliminating. Rewarded behaviors tend to become repeated behaviors. As The Dog Training Secret mentioned, “Positive reinforcement is essential throughout the training process, no matter what you’re training your dog to do.”

Punishing your dog while training will only scare them, causing them to continue peeing and pooping in inappropriate places as long as you don’t catch them! Most pet parents believe that yelling and punishing their dogs for eliminating at wrong places in the house is okay, but this will only cause your dog to be afraid of you. And when your dog is scared of you, they will hide from you every time they find the need to take a break.

Keep in mind that nothing happens overnight and you just have to practice the routine over and over again until they got it. Consistency is key.

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, previous studies have suggested that although both reward-based and punishment on your -based training methods are effective, punishment-based training can have negative effects.

Keep in mind that nothing happens overnight, and you just have to practice the routine over and over again until they got it. Consistency is key.

Use Only the Best Quality Pee Pads

When we say use only the best quality of pads, we mean use Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads. These pads have large, wide and sturdy stitches that make heavy-duty binding. This secure, triple-stitched binding guarantees you to not worry about leaks anymore as you are focused on how to pad train an older dog peeing in your house.

Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads are washable, which help you save money by not needing to repurchase packs of disposable potty pads every month. Pawtect® Pads also have the StickyPaw™ feature that keep the pads gripped on the floor to prevent the pad from slipping and sliding, and keep your mind at peace. Since older dogs can dislike slippery surfaces or even lose their balance on them, this is essential!

To make sure nothing is tracked through your house, Pawtect® Pads have WickQuick®, a proprietary fabric blend that locks in liquid and doesn't let your senior pup track throughout the house. Pawtect® Pads make the perfect training pad for your senior dog.

What’s even better? Our Pawtect® Pads are completely machine washable, not adding to the tons of garbage dumped in the landfills. These pads also come in convenient packs of two, one placed on your furbaby's potty area and another one just in case! Always being able to cycle the usage and never being left unprotected. You can throw FurBall® into your washer with the pee pads or any pet laundry to remove pet hair while in the washer and dryer. In fact, FurBall® is safe for all laundry, including your own, due to the unique design and smooth shape. So, you never have to worry about furry laundry again.

how to potty train an older dog, old dog peeing in house

Other things to keep in mind

Here are some other helpful things to keep in mind when they eliminate on the wrong spot:

  • Engage in some deep cleaning so that the smell of his poop or urine will not draw him back to eliminate in the same spot again.
  • Use a cleaning product that disinfects and breaks down the smell, rather than those products that just cover up the mess with another odor.
  • Never use ammonia-based cleaning products; these smell like urine to your dog and they'll end up eliminating on the same area again.

Using reusable pee pads for older dogs is helpful to you and the environment. Using a reusable pee pad saves you money, as you don't have to go out and buy more, and saves the environment by not throwing them into landfills. Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads are a great reusable pee pad alternative, and have unlimited uses around your house. 

how to potty train an older dog to use pee pads

"Most pet parents believe that yelling and punishing their dogs for eliminating at wrong places in the house is okay, but this will only cause your dog to be afraid of you."

These tips will mostly be enough to pee pad train your senior dog. But always remember that potty training will be challenging and will take time. If you have an older dog peeing in the house, it is a great idea to teach them how to use a pee pad to prevent messes. As a pet parent, you can now improve the quality of life of your senior dog while keeping your home clean, and your pet family happy.