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Have a situation where you can’t take your dog out to a grassy area to do their business? Don’t fret! They actually make some pretty cool dog potties; and we tracked down the best patio potty for dogs so you don’t have to.
Many of us balk at the idea of letting our dogs loose in the backyard, for fear of discolored grass or turning the whole area into a sort of minefield. In some cases, all we have is a patio or a balcony. Whatever the case may be, a potty is an optimal remedy—and easier to implement than you might think!
Why It Is Worth It to Potty Train Your Dogs
We have briefly touched upon a few situations and reasons that make a potty a sensible alternative, but they aren’t the only ones:
For when we can’t go out. Dog owners are not like postmen, and can therefore be stopped by rain or snow—or even by a particularly exhausting day. A potty provides the dog with a perfectly good spot to address their needs, whenever they see fit, without you having to leave the couch.
No more running back home. Many of us have schedules for taking our dogs out, but life is not always so lenient; with a potty, you don’t have to worry about beating traffic after groceries so your best friend won’t go where he’s not supposed to.
For assisting sick or elderly dogs. Sometimes our cherished companions no longer have it in them to walk the distance to do numbers 1 and 2. Now you can place their spot closer to them, and make their life easier.
Bonus: a potty is also a pretty good tool for housebreaking puppies!
Tips for Dog Potty Training Success
When bringing any new element to your dog’s life, it all comes down to training. Here are a few tips to help your best friend get the hint.
Place it appropriately. Your chosen location should be easy for your dog to navigate to, with as few turns and obstacles as possible. It should also have a certain degree of privacy.
Introduce your dog to it. Once the potty is in position, bring your dog to it and let him explore it to his heart’s content.
Work around their schedule. Squatting, moving in circles, sniffing around, and being restless in general are usually reliable signs that your dog hears the call of Mother Nature. Puppies and elderly dogs will need to go more often. When this happens (which tends to be after a meal, or following a playtime session), lead him to the potty. Introduce a clear, standard verbal cue, such as ‘go potty’.
Stay positive. Whenever your dog goes where he’s supposed to, don’t forget to reward him with praise and even a treat.
It’s All in the Grass
Dogs love grass, it is known. For this reason a potty will incorporate this element almost unfailingly, either in synthetic form (easier to clean, needs very low maintenance, lasts longer), or natural (which does require replacing periodically, and somewhat often).
Urine will drain down into a tray or into the mat itself, depending on the type, whereas more solid waste should be picked up as soon as possible after it is left there. Here are the options we have prepared for you, covering dogs from small to large.
iMounTEK Grass Patch with Tray
Among the available designs for a dog potty, this one is fairly common: the top layer is artificial grass, which easily lets urine through into a tray. From there, several ridges strategically located channel the discharge into a draining slot, where it finally ends up in a waste tray that can be removed for easy disposal of the contents.
The grass mat is detachable, and requires rinsing with warm water daily (manufacturer recommends higher pressure, for better results), with a more thorough cleaning that should include vinegar or soap 2 or 3 times a week.
It is not unheard of for the product to give off a certain smell after unpacking; to address this, washing and ventilating are recommended.
- Purchasing a pad replacement is made fairly easy by the provider.
- Pad does not have a seam around it. This makes grass come off too easily.
- Draining can be less than efficient; some customers have reported poor performance on the pad’s part, some other complaints have referenced the middle tray.
TSIANHUZY Large Dog Potty Tray
Similar in principle to the option we just covered, this one comes with an additional feature, namely a pad under the grass mat for capturing the urine as it drains through, thereby keeping it away from the tray at the bottom, which needs emptying less often as a result.
The pad features 3 layers—flannel at the top, polyurethane laminate in the middle and a non-slip silicone backing at the bottom—, and it can be run through the washer machine.
Measuring 35″ X 23.2″, this one is made to accommodate larger dogs, although nothing disqualifies smaller breeds or even puppies from using it.
- Grass pad is especially made to endure pet bites, thanks to its rubber backing.
- Includes 2 grass mats, for interchanging.
- Bottom tray is strong enough to bear heftier dogs; it won’t bend when lifted.
- Only comes with one absorption pad; there is no temporary solution if dog uses the potty while the pad is in the washer.
Porch Potty Standard, Self-Draining
Most of us are busy people, and this extends to pet owners, who may have a hard time keeping track of when it’s time to empty the potty tray. If you feel this applies to you, then this option could be worth a second look, as it comes with a 14′ drain hose that you can then bring to a nearby gutter.
This means, of course, that you gotta have somewhere for the urine to go before you can put this unit to use.
This one gets creative in a couple more ways, both involving the hydrant. For starters, this decoration is scented, which is intended to more easily draw your dogs in to use the potty. The second innovation is present in the ‘premium’ version of this model, and is useful only for owners who have a water source nearby: in that version, the hydrant acts as a sprinkler, intended to save you the trouble of rinsing the pad off yourself.
- Capable of minimizing workload by letting the potty drain itself.
- Scented hydrant provides an additional incentive.
- Includes booklet to help with potty training.
- Hard to put to use if there is no drain destination nearby; a tray alternative is available, but it has to be purchased separately.
- Drainage doesn’t always work at its fullest; circumstances such as freezing temperatures can easily disrupt its function.
- Strikingly more expensive than a great many other options.
Fresh Patch XL – Real Grass
The name is not a euphemism: this one is all real grass, and it’s the size of a standard tray, which may account for its success on Shark Tank and its decent popularity. The kit consists of 2 parts: a patch of hydroponically grown grass, and a plastic tray for said patch to sit on.
Since it is natural it absorbs liquids and odors completely on its own, which eliminates the need for washing or deodorizing. It is not, however, without its caveats: the pad must be replaced regularly (and it is not exactly cheap), and it requires certain additional precautions, such as never pouring water on it, and never exposing it to sunlight—even if placed outdoors.
- A more Eco-friendly alternative, as the pad is natural instead of plastic that may never be recycled.
- Completely odor-free.
- Known to develop mushrooms occasionally, which can be a cause of health concerns if the dogs eat them.
- Requires more careful handling and positioning.
- Must be periodically replaced, which entails a regular expenditure to budget for.
Hompet Portable Litter Box For Dogs
The design on this one is fairly standard: grass pad on top, draining tray in the middle and tray for collecting at the bottom. Where it stands out, however, is due to the baffle it features, which provides a target for male dogs, who are more prone to missing the pad due to urinating essentially sideways.
The grass pad is made in polyurethane and polypropylene yarns, which makes it resistant to UV light and discoloration due to urine.
Measuring 30”×20”, this one is intended for small or medium dogs, and it comes with an extra pad to put in when the other is out of commission being washed.
- Much more convenient for use by male dogs, as the baffle helps prevent misfiring.
- Drainage is more efficient, thanks to the 56 holes the grass patch sports.
- Includes an additional patch so the potty will remain on duty while one patch is being washed.
- Not available in a size optimal for larger breeds.
Best for Your Dog: Hompet Portable Litter Box For Dogs
Although it shares several features with many of its competitors (polyurethane and polypropylene yarns, 3-layer system, and so on), we feel that what makes this one shine is the one feature most other alternatives don’t pay attention to—and they probably should: we refer to the baffle, which provides about as good a target as that provided by walls and hydrants, thereby keeping a male dog from splashing where he shouldn’t.
It’s generally praised in other areas too, with several customers mentioning their dogs took to the product with little to no effort on their part. It’s well within average in terms of price, too. Although some competitors are more affordable, we believe this one is the best patio potty for dogs and well worth the investment.