Puppy litter box training...?


8 Years
Oct 16, 2011
Eatonville, WA
Weird question, I know, but it's like this:

As a kid, our dogs always had doggie doors. The ultimate in convenience for both owner and dog, and it made housebreaking really easy.

Last summer we bought a house with a half acre fenced yard, so this coming spring I'm getting a puppy after being dogless for 15 years. I'm so excited! A doggie door out to the yard utopia isn't a possibility, though, as we have 2 exclusively indoor cats who would hop the fence and get eaten. (They have no street or forest sense.)

We DO have a doggie door into the garage, however, and the cats have their litter boxes out there. Using puppy pads in a box, and gradually diminishing the size of puppy pads while adding litter to the box, could the puppy be box trained? My husband and I are both teachers, so we'll have the summer to work on it.

Certainly, a dog won't instinctively bury the leavings, but quite frankly, one of our cats doesn't, either. (
And better in the garage than in the living room!

The pup can have total outdoor access when we're home, but my thought is that the box would ultimately eliminate "failure to hold it" accidents when we're away.

What do you think? Anyone else out there tried it? The puppy will be a sheltie, so trainability shouldn't be a problem...they're pretty darn smart.


p.s. I tried posting on a dog training forum, but there's a lot less internet traffic there. You're lucky to get one or 2 replies in a week. BYC is a whole different world, isn't it?!


Apr 9, 2010
Glasgow, KY
Litter box training a dog is not the same as a cat.
If the dog will be a very small dog, it can be done.
All of my dogs were litter boxed trained as young pups (they're Papillons).
Dogs do not naturally seek out sand to poop in (they prefer grass).

For training you just need to put puppy poop inside the litter box.
Get as LARGE and WIDE a container as you can find (Rubbermaid -etc. makes nice large ones).
Instead of bringing the puppy outside to potty, you bring the puppy to the litter box.
Wait for the puppy to do it's thing and praise.
Same as you would if you're pottying the puppy outside.

There will be a large mess so make sure the litter box is not in a room that you intend to use (basement or garage works well).
Dogs love to dig up a mess in the litter.
Dogs also do not cover up their poop as a cat would, so you will have to scoop.

Puppies also do not understand where their hind quarters are, so they will poop over the edge of the litter box; it happens.

Enjoy your new puppy!


8 Years
Oct 16, 2011
Eatonville, WA
Way ahead of you! Cat litter boxes will be placed UP and out of puppy reach. We've had dogs and cats at the same time before, and we know ALL about puppies and kitty boxes. Eeeeewwww....



Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 10, 2010
NE Wisconsin
They actually have a product for what you are asking about. It is indoor dog potty grass and some Petco's carry it, I remember seeing the commercial on TV for it. It is basically a special astro-turf that sits on a grate over a tray to hold urine and allow the "grass" to drain.

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