As a dog owner or perhaps someone interested in getting a pet, you probably understand that house training is one of the top priorities to tackle. Whether you have a brand new puppy, a newly re-homed dog, or just want to try something new, a dog litter box has the potential to be a game changer for pet owners.
You might be thinking- wait, a litter box for a dog? Can dogs use a litter box even? Yes, and I will tell you why and how it works!
Many owners face hardships with their pups by not have access to a proper location for elimination needs. They might live in apartments, be away for longer than normal hours, or have an aging dog with bladder problems and find themselves in a bind. This is where dog litter boxes can really help.
This process of potty training your pooch can truly involve a roller coaster of emotions before finally achieving the right outcome. Some dogs are quite adaptive to a litter box, and you might realize that training them is more natural than imagined. This can be even easier than potty training outside the house.
But how do you convince your pup that a litter box is the best? Although it may take some time, both adult and puppy dogs will eventually master the process. Puppies having an easier time usually due to easy adaptability, but even your old dog can learn this neat method.
Why Dogs Should Use Litter Boxes
Convenience is perhaps one of the top reasons why your dog should try using a litter box. By providing your dog with a litter box, this allows them to have a proper place to relieve themselves day or night if they have the urge.
In fact, a dog litter box can be a good option for you if you tend to work outside of the home, work occasional long hours, and have no one checking on your pup during the day. This is according to Irith Bloom, CDBC director for training at sophisticated Dog in Los Angeles, California.
If you are away from your home for over 6 hours, for a dog over 1 year old, or elsewhere for more than 2 hours for a new puppy, providing a litter box can provide a ton of stress relief for both you and your dog.
Also, an indoor potty can be the best option if you are unable to walk your dog around late at night or early in the morning. This is especially true if you have an older dog that might have problems holding urine in and need to go more often.
Further, if you live in high rises or have a disability that limits your mobility you may find it easier to allow your dog to do some of his business indoors. While walks should always be part of your dog’s life, dog litter boxes can significantly help you.
What Types of Dog Litter Boxes Are Available
- A top pick for many dogs- these are live grass patches inside cardboard boxes for easy moving and disposing
- Can be used inside or out
- A more costly option because the grass will eventually die so a subscription is needed
- Best for small to medium dogs
- These are extremely popular for all dog sizes and can be used indoors or outdoors
- Can be combined with a large enclosure
- Best for small dogs to medium dogs
Puppy Pad Trays: A tray to be used with removable puppy pads
- May include a grid above pads to keep feet dry.
- Will need a supply of puppy pads changed out daily
- Plastic type materials and easy to clean
Traditional Litter Box Style: A plastic tray used with pellets, pads, or dog litter
- Best for smaller dogs (especially if they dig)
- May require more training
- Easy to clean and replace litter but requires new materials often
Dog Litter Box Pros and Cons
So now you might be getting a better idea about how and why you might want to give litter box training a try. Although most dogs like to relieve themselves outside, there are some occasions where it’s not preferred or accessible and the best solution may be litter box training. Lets go through the Pros and Cons of using a dog litter box.
Getting What You Need is Very Easy
There are certain breeds of dogs that do very well with litter box training. There are several different types of litter boxes available, from pellets to artificial or even real grass. All of which can easily be found at your local pet store or online.
In some instances, the litter box training process is similar to what you do for cats. You just need to put the tray, pad, or box in a set place where you want them to use a bathroom.
Rewarding your pup after using the litter box correctly will reinforce that it’s the correct place for them to potty. If you are consistent with your praise, your dog can learn to master an indoor potty spot quickly. We get into more detail about how to train your dog to use a litter box a little later in the article.
You Can Do Away With Urine Stains and Odors
Sometimes when you gotta go, you got to go! Dogs are the same way, and they can only hold it up to a certain point without having an accident. Of course, this means if you are not around to take them out before this happens, you could be walking into a mess. A dog’s urine can get into your wood flooring or carpet and cause damage, stains, and odor issues.
If you litter box train your dog, managing the problems of liquid waste is so much easier. It’s also much healthier for your dog, as holding in urine can cause medical issues. So if you are running errands or at work, you can go about with ease, knowing very well that your pet will be using the litter box instead of the floor.
Litter Box Training Provides for Both Solid and Liquid waste
Most of the litter boxes on the market for dogs are aimed at making things easier for both the puppy and the owner. Depending on the type of litter box you choose, your dog can comfortably go number one or number two. Many of the receptacles have layers that collect the waste properly for smoother disposal later. Some will absorb the material, so all you need to do is toss it in the garbage after, while others let you rinse it off with water.
There Are Several Options That You Can Choose From
As we mentioned previously, there are many different types of dog litter boxes to choose from. These range from litter pans, to artificial grass patches, pee pads, potty trays, and even real grass squares. Depending on your dog’s preference, one of these choices should be more favorable to them. In some instances, a combination can work even better. If one doesn’t work out, you have options!
Litter Boxes May Help Adult Dogs With Bladder Control Issues
If your dog has bladder issues, it can affect the frequency by which they relieve themselves. So if you see that your older dog has some problems with leaks or accidents, then providing alternative potty areas can be the right choice. Instead of depending on diapers to take care of the issues, you can transition your aging friend to a litter box.
This will minimize the pain that they experience by waiting to go outside and make things more comfortable during this transitional time.
It Works Best For Puppies or Small Dog Breeds
This could be a pro or a con depending on the size of your dog, but most terrier breeds do well with dog litter box training. Some of the trays may not be suitable for large dogs or just too small of an area for them in general.
Large dogs also mean you’ll have to manage more waste products, thus possibly overwhelming the system’s capabilities and making a situation messier than initially intended.
Some Dogs Prefer To Live In the Litter Tray
If your dog loves digging things then a litter box may not be the best for them. They may have more fun moving the litter box supplies all over the room than adequately using them. You may also have to watch their behaviors through the training session to ensure they don’t chew or eat the materials.
Also, in case your dog is coprophagic, you should speak to the veterinarian so you can seek the best training options.
Severe Odors May Emanate From the Box
As compared to cats, dogs typically leave more waste. Because of this, litter box training can become a bit more stinky than desired. This is especially true if you are living in a small place.
It’s essential to choose a well-ventilated area such as a laundry room, garage, or bathroom that has open windows or a fan. This will help control the air movement in the house and make your room fresh.
Some Litter Box Set Up Costs Can be High
Although there are a variety of affordable options in the market, some can cost up to $500 a year to maintain. While you might not place all the emphasis on the cost of the system, it’s wise to understand the ongoing fees and time it takes to keep everything clean. If you feel the prices are a burden and can’t maintain or upkeep the system, it’s probably not going to be the right choice for you or your pet.
You Need Separate Boxes for Your Pets
If you have several puppies or multiple dogs, you will most likely want to get them their own litter box. While it can be easy just to use one, it can make things very messy. The ideal choice would be to invest in a larger system to accommodate multiple dogs or have two boxes for each of them. This of course comes with a higher price tag.
You also need to place the litter boxes away from other things that your dog may think are part of the litter box.
Dog Litter Box Training Tips
While the idea of training your dog to use a litter box might seem a bit wacky, it’s worth every effort. The litter box will give your dog the freedom to use it no matter what time of the day or night.
So how do you convince your dog to start using a litter box, and how do you train him to master the process? Well, you just need to be patient and offer positive reinforcement and rewards every time they use it. You can also use the same tactics on both adult dogs and puppies.
Choosing the Best Dog Litter Box
Do your research into the different types of dog litter boxes to find the right litter box for your training needs. Just a note- we have listed 10 of the best dog litter boxes just below- so read on to discover them all.
A few items that will make the job of owning a dog litter box easier:
- Newspaper: During the first stage of training; your dog may have a few accidents. Keeping newspapers under the litter box is ideal for messes.
- Pet Stain Remover: I use this as a cleaner and remover because if your dog does have an accident that is not close to the litter box, you will not want him to smell where he has marked his territory. Dogs often pee in the same spot where they smell their scent, so it is essential to get rid of that quickly.
- Plastic fencing: if you are looking to mimic a yard, this is a great choice. It also acts to keep everything tidy and neat looking.
- Trash Can and Scoop scooper: Every time your dog relieves himself using the litter box, you will need to clean up his poop. A dog proof trash can and scooper are excellent to have on hand to help you do this.
- Dog Safe Litter: If you choose to go the route of a more traditional litter box for your dog, know that there are litter formulas more specific to dogs. You may want to avoid using regular cat litter, especially if your dog tends to eat poop.
Make Sure the Box is Accessible
If possible, ensure that the box is placed where your dog likes to spend time and is comfortable. You should also ensure that it’s out of the way to give them the privacy they need.
Since dogs do not eliminate where they eat, don’t put it near their food or right next to their dog bed.
First Teach Your Dog to Visit the Box on Command
Before your dog learns how to use the litter box, you should teach him how to enter on its own. Let them know that’s it’s a safe and acceptable area for them to go. You should walk your dog on or inside and give a command such as “use the box” or another verbal cue you can repeat.
Continue to Repeat the Pattern
Keep practicing this until you are sure that you can guide them by using a command. And then, of course, the ultimate goal is to get them to eliminate in the box itself.
Have Them Enter With Your Command
Once your dog is comfortable with the guide, try using your verbal command. While doing this, you need to be as patient as possible. If he does not understand, simply leave them and then try the same again later. But if he gets the command, make sure you praise them and continue to repeat.
Make Sure You Are Positive but Consistent
While training your dog, understand that accidents might happen, especially if you are teaching an older dog or puppy unfamiliar with an indoor litter box. You should always avoid punishing them for not using the litter box as this might discourage them, scare them away, and make it hard for them to learn. The best way to train them is, therefore, to be consistent.
Monitor Your Dog Closely To Prevent any Accidents
Since you don’t want your dog to eliminate in the house, whenever your dog is confined, monitor it closely. For instance, when he is circling, pacing, sniffing, and leaving the room, this is often a sign that he wants to poop or pee. Ensure that you send him to the little box as first as possible.
When You Can’t Watch Him Closely Make Sure You Confine Him
If your dog has many accidents inside, keep him in a closed space. You can use a small room with the door blocked off or shut. Then, just place the litter box inside the room with him.
Reward the Dog When He Poops in the Litter Box
During training, it’s crucial to go with your dog to the litter box. You can then reward them for peeing or pooping with play, treats, and praise. This will let them know that what they are doing is good.
Once he is done, ensure that you clean the litter box and area well. Similar to cats, some dogs will refuse to the use a box if its too stinky or messy.
If Your Dog Makes a Mistake, Stay Calm
If you see your dog mid-act of eliminating not in the litter box, you can clap sharply to alert him. Next, run with him to the litter box. If he finishes doing this in the litter box, praise or reward him. Even if he has nothing left, use the command and let him try.
Just a quick tip: I have trained my dogs by collecting some of their urine and placing it onto the pad or box. Primarily, I will use a cloth or paper towel to absorb their pee from the grass or yard immediately after they go.
I place a piece of that cloth on the pad itself and let them discover the scent next time we do the training. For male dogs that like to mark their territory, if you use another dog’s urine, that works equally well.
10 Best Dog Litter Boxes
Now on to the finding the right litter box for your pet. I fully believe it boils down to the type of dog and their preferences. Some dogs will eliminate anywhere- flowers, concrete, dirt, etc. Other dogs have just one spot they go to over and over and still others prefer grass on their feet and need to smell a lot before going.
If you have an older dog, look for something flat and easy- trays with pads or turf work best. If you have a puppy, then give the one you prefer the most a first shot. They can usually adapt. If you have a dog that will go anywhere, give the tray or real litter box a try and if you have a pet who just needs his grass then try the real square disposable grass or turf option.
Best Turf Puppy Potty Trainer
(Check Out Petmaker Puppy Potty Trainer Here)
If you are shopping for the best puppy litter box, then this potty by PETMAKER will not disappoint you. Measuring 20 by 25 inches, this pet potty provides a training system meant to improve your dog’s experience. As an odor resistant and antimicrobial litter box, it’s set on top of plastic pieces to drain all the fluids.
Turf pad style solutions can become more smelly if you go for extended amounts of time without cleaning. They are best for pee but will work for poop as well and will require a good hose down often. Faux grass can shed and end up outside of the pad as well if they re diggers.
Most turf solutions will need to be modified for male dogs as they lift and will need an area to pee against. You can use any type of material- a cardboard siding covered in a garbage bag, etc.
Best Indoor Dog Tray Litter Box
(Check out Blyss Pet Klean Paws Here)
As one of the best grate litter boxes, Klean Paws Indoor Grate has everything you need in a litter box. One of its best features is that it has a money-back guarantee. So, in case you are not satisfied, you can always return it. Its grate system is also easily attachable. You just need to clamp it in and out.
These uppy pad tray style solutions are certainly easier to keep clean but not very environmentally friendly. With proper use, you will need fresh pads every day. The grid acts to protects the dog’s feet from a soiled pad and keeps them clean.
Best Outdoor Yard Box Training System
(Check out Petsafe Pet Loo Training System Here)
We love these boxes re they come in multiple sizes and are high enough to absorb one or multiple dogs eliminations. So whether you are after a large litter box or something that can make your training easier, this is perhaps the best option.
As compared to others, it comes in a variety of sizes; hence you can choose the right one for your pet. It also has a collection bin and clip on the grass at the top to allow urine to pass through. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for outdoor use (patio area or balcony work just as well!) and a good box for keeping paws dry and clean.
Best Dog Potty Tray For Male Dogs
(Check out the HIPIPET Puppy Indoor Dog Tray Here)
This is also another affordable litter box that you can use to train your dog- especially for the males. Featuring a perforated grate, this box will ensure that your pet’s feet remain dry and clean.
Given that it’s compact in size it’s suitable for indoor use. It’s also light in weight; thus you can transport it from one place to next with ease. It has a backsplash area and cone to encourage make dogs to urinate in the correct spot.
Best Real Grass Disposable Dog Potty
(Check out the DoggieLawn Disposable Dog Potty Here)
If you are searching for a compact, affordable, and odor absorbing litter box this is perhaps the best one. As a top-quality litter box, this box is disposable and uses real grass.
This is to ensure that your dog gets a more natural and welcoming feeling when using the box. Measuring 16 by 24 inches, it’s great for small dogs living in apartments. Can be places outside on a deck or patio area as well as laminated floors.
Best Artificial Turf Tray for Small Dogs
(Check out the Downtown Pet Artificial Turf Dog Potty Here)
This is a waterproof, well made, and durable litter box that comes in two sizes to enable you to choose the right one for your needs. Apart from the top grass, it also has a drawer system to allow you to clean it with relative ease. Since it’s lightweight and compact in size, you can easily transport it from one place to another.
Best Real Grass Disposable Dog Litter Box for Large/Multiple Dogs
(Check out Fresh Patch Disposable Litter Box Here)
As compared to other boxes, the Fresh Patch comes with an inter-lockable design that allows you to connect it to the other Fresh Patch boxes to make a larger toilet. Great for creating a specific zone on a balcony or indoor location that works for larger or multiple dogs.
The best part is that it’s easy to set up and is environmentally friendly. However, to maximize its use, you need to change it at least every 1 to 2 weeks which can get costly. After a while the grass will dry up and die as well.
Best Self-Cleaning, Automatic Indoor Dog Potty
(Check out BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning Dog Potty Here)
The BrilliantPad is the most costly dog litter box, however for convenience sake, its the best hands down and a great option for most dogs. The system provides an alternative to typical training pads and cleans itself while providing a comfortable place for your dog to go potty anytime.
The automatic pad rolls are strong enough to handle both #1 and #2. After your dog goes potty, waste is automatically rolled up and sealed between layers of absorbent and waterproof materials that hold in odor and moisture. These remain sealed inside while the outside stays clean and dry.
The Best Washable & Reusable Pet Pads
(Check out the Rocket the Rex Washable Pet Pads Here)
If you are looking to use puppy pads either with a system or without, these washable pet pads are the best training pads you can get. They are not only waterproof but also leak-proof and absorbent.
And the best part is that they are washable and re-usable! Since it’s easy to transport, you can always use it anywhere. Plus, it has super absorbent layers that allow you to train your dog without spending a lot of money.
Best Standard Dog Litter Box Pan
(Check out the Puppy Go Here Litter Pan Here)
The Puppy Go Here litter pan is an affordable and straightforward dog litter box. It has a high lip and will hold an ample amount of liter. As compared to other litter boxes the hassle of washing and cleaning is fairly straightforward. In addition, it comes in various sizes and shapes so you can choose the right one for your pet. The best part is that you can buy multiple trays at a lower cost.
The classic litter box solution is not as attractive to dogs as it is to cats, and due to the size and mechanics of these solutions, they are best for smaller dog breeds. We suggest trying the dog paper pellets inside or you can use a puppy pad and make clean up a breeze.
If you are planning to train your puppy at a young age, you need to buy a litter box as early as possible. Be sure you spend time observing his patterns, especially after the meals to train with ease. Once you have found the best dog litter box for your fur buddy and follow the above steps, your training will be a success and you will wonder why you didn’t give this try before.