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In a perfect world, house training a new puppy involves making frequent trips outside while you carefully watch for signals that they need to go. However, accidents happen—especially in those first few weeks—and you may not be home all the time or able to give your pooch your undivided attention. The good news is that puppy pad training can help you avoid messes, odors, and ruined floors.
If you're ready to start training, here are the best puppy pads.
Best Overall: American Kennel Club Ultra-Absorbent Training Pads
The best puppy pads overall are the American Kennel Club Ultra-Absorbent Training Pads. For over 130 years, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has been a trusted resource for all things pertaining to dog ownership, and you can bet the organization makes high-quality pet products. These six-layer pads contain a super absorbent quick-drying gel, which prevents leaks and helps you track how many times your pup went potty.
They're also twice as thick as most pee pads and have carbon-filled layers to trap and eliminate odors. The pads come in two sizes: standard (22 x 22 inches) and extra-large (30 x 28 inches). You can choose from various scents, too, like eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, and newspaper print.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Dog and Puppy Potty Training Pads
Looking for a budget-friendly pick? AmazonBasics Training Pads are not only affordable but also notably absorbent. Thanks to the high-absorbency core, you can count on puppy pee turning into a gel upon contact. Also, the leak-proof design and 1.5-inch plastic border help prevent overflow and damage to your floors. These training pads come in a regular size, which is 22 x 22 inches, or extra-large, which measures 28 x 34 inches. You can get packs of 40, 50, 60, 100, or 150, each of which offers an excellent value.
Best Washable: Pet Parents Pawtect Pads Washable Dog Pee Pads
If you prefer a non-disposable option, we recommend Pet Parents Pawtect Pads. You'll get a pack of two washable pee pads, each with a WickQuick fabric blend. The durable material quickly wicks and absorbs liquids while preventing your dog from tracking their mess onto your floors.
The Pawtect Pads come in the option of round, square, or rectangular shapes, and you can choose from several sizes. Since you can throw them in your washing machine, you'll create less waste and can save money on replenishing a disposable stash.
Best Leak Proof: Frisco Premium Potty Pads
When it comes to leak protection, Frisco Premium Potty Pads stand out from the competition. They're designed with five layers of absorbency to lock in wetness, a leak-proof plastic lining, and a bonus quilted top layer that dries fast to prevent tracking throughout your home. These training pads also have a built-in dog attractant, encouraging your furry friend to mark their territory in the right spot.
Best Grass: Petmaker Artificial Grass Bathroom Mat for Puppies
The Petmaker Artificial Grass Bathroom Mat helps train puppies to go to the bathroom outside. It comes in two sizes, 20 x 25 or 20 x 16 inches, and features a synthetic grass pad with a plastic insert and a collection tray. The three-layer, antimicrobial design helps control odors and makes it easy to clean. Just wash each piece with warm, soapy water, rinse, and let it dry.
This training pad is ideal for people who live in apartments or pet owners who work long hours. Your pooch will be less confused about your potty rules when they have a grass-like area to relieve themselves indoors.
Best Scented: ASPCA Dog Training Pads
If you're looking for a scented option, the ASPCA Dog Training Pads are your best bet. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is a trusted nonprofit, and you can rely on the organization's line of odor-eliminating puppy pads.
They come in a fresh, citrus, or mountain scent in either 22 x 22-inch squares or 30 x 28-inch rectangles. Each six-layer pad contains a quick-drying gel for instant absorption and leak protection, which is ideal when housebreaking or crate training a puppy.
Best with Adhesive: Bulldogology Premium Puppy Pee Pads with Adhesive Sticky Tape
Bulldogology Premium Puppy Pee Pads have sticky tape on the back. This helps keep them in place and prevents messes on your floors. The six-layer material contains highly absorbent polymer technology to instantly turn liquid into a gel.
These puppy pads also quickly neutralize odors and have a built-in attractant. This is helpful when housebreaking a pet, as they'll know where to go, even when you're away from home.
Best Odor-Control: Glad for Pets Activated Carbon Training Pads
The best odor-control puppy pads are Glad for Pets Activated Carbon Training Pads. As the name suggests, they have a layer of activated carbon, which is known to absorb both the smell and wetness of pee. In addition to effectively neutralizing odors, they have a polymer layer that turns liquids into a gel for easy clean-up and tracking prevention. Plus, the built-in pheromone attractant helps your pup know exactly where to go potty.
Most Absorbent: Simple Solution Training Premium Dog Pads
In terms of absorbency, Simple Solution Training Premium Dog Pads are a standout pick. The 23 x 24-inch puppy pads have six layers of leak-guard protection. Thanks to their built-in InstaShield Technology, they can hold up to six cups of liquid, so your dog can go multiple times before you have to change it out.
You don't have to worry about odors, either, as they're designed to effectively neutralize unpleasant smells. These pads also have a three-in-one attractant to attract, engage, and encourage your pooch to go potty.
Best for Large Dogs: Four Paws Wee-Wee Gigantic Pads
For large dogs, we recommend the Wee-Wee Gigantic Pads from Four Paws. Measuring 27.5 x 44 inches, these sizable pads are 25 percent more absorbent than the brand's original Wee-Wees.
The five-ply Floor Armor Leak-Proof System is designed to keep your floors dry while keeping your pet's pee where it belongs. You'll get a rip-resistant top layer, an absorbent liquid-to-gel polymer layer, and a leak-prevention bottom layer, plus an attractant to guide your dog to the right spot and prevent accidents.
Made with six layers, American Kennel Club Training Pads contain a super absorbent quick-drying gel plus carbon-filled layers to trap and eliminate odors. Pet Parents Pawtect Pads Washable Dog Pee Pads use a durable fabric blend material to quickly wick and absorb liquids—just toss in your washing machine to clean.
What to Look for in Puppy Pads
Puppy pads come in various sizes. Small and medium-sized puppies can use about any size pad. If you have a giant breed, look for oversized puppy pads, which offer more surface area and can contain a larger volume of liquid.
Absorbency and Odor Control
Generally speaking, more layers are better. The thicker the puppy pad, the better it contains liquid. Some contain special chemicals that turn liquid into a solid gel, trapping it within the layers. Puppy pads may also contain odor-fighting ingredients, such as activated carbon.
Disposable Versus Washable
Most puppy pads are disposable, meant to be used for one day, or several hours, and discarded. Washable puppy pads are reusable and designed to be placed in your washing machine after becoming soiled. Washable puppy pads are a good option you are concerned about your impact on the environment. Over time, they are also less costly than disposable puppy pads.
How many puppy pads should I put down at once?
You usually only need to put down one puppy pad at a time. Good-quality puppy pads are waterproof on the bottom and absorbent enough to last two to three uses before you need to toss them. If you have a very large puppy or if your puppy is routinely missing the pad, you might try putting down multiple pads, and slightly overlapping the edges to create a larger surface area for your pup.
How long should you use puppy pads for?
Puppy pads are generally used short-term while puppies are very young. It’s best to transition away from puppy pads as soon as you can if you eventually want your puppy to go potty outside rather than on a puppy pad inside the house. Some people, however, use puppy pads forever, and often use them in combination with a litter box or puppy pad holder. Long-term puppy pad use is ideal for very small dogs, for pet owners living in places with temperature or weather extremes, or for pet owners who live in high-rise apartment buildings or otherwise have difficulty bringing their dog to go outside to potty.
Do puppy pads work for cats?
Most cats prefer to use a litter box and cat litter to go to the bathroom, but puppy pads can work for cats, too. For cats that routinely “miss” the box, pee pads are excellent to use under and around the litter box, to keep pee off your floor. Puppy pads can also be used in lieu of litter, either in the box, flat on the ground or in a pee pad holder. Puppy pads may be helpful for cats that start refusing the box and instead pee on rugs, clothing, or towels.