Puppy Pad Alternatives: Eco-Friendly and Affordable Solutions

That growing mountain of soiled puppy pads taking over your trash bin doesn’t have to be your reality. What if I told you there is a way to potty train your pup that doesn’t harm their health or trash the planet?

I know it sounds too good to be true, but eco-friendly puppy pad alternatives exist that are better for your pet and the environment.

Here’s a sneak peak at what you will learn:

  • Innovative reusable and biodegradable alternative to pee pads.
  • The shocking ingredients hiding in those convenient puppy pads.
  • How to choose the best surface to potty train your pup.

Tired of wasteful, damaging pads? A new world of healthy, sustainable puppy potty training awaits you.

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eco friendly puppy pads
Puppy Pad Alternatives: Eco-Friendly and Affordable Solutions

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Puppy Pads

There are plenty of non-toxic alternative to puppy pads that you can use for potty training your pup. Check out this list of options to find the perfect fit for your furry friend.

Washable Fabric Pads

Washable fabric pads are a great alternative to traditional puppy pads for people who care about the environment, want to keep their pet safe from chemicals, and want to save money.

Here’s what makes washable fabric pads are a great alternative:

  • They help reduce waste and are good for the environment.
  • You can reuse them more than once, which saves you money over time.
  • These fabric pads do not contain any toxic materials that are found in traditional puppy pads such as bleach and synthetic fragrances.

With the right care and maintenance, fabric pads can last for months or even years. This makes them a reliable and effective way to train your pup to use the potty indoors.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

SincoPet Washable Dog Pee Pads

The Proper Pet Washable Pee Pads for Dogs

Grass Pads

Grass pads are another great option for potty training your puppy indoors. 

They are either made of real grass or fake grass, giving your dog a more natural place to go to the bathroom. 

Pros of Using Real Grass Pads

  • They have a natural grass scent which will help draw your pup in.
  • These grass pads are very easy to clean.
  • Most importantly, they’re free from harmful chemicals. It’s all natural.
  • They’re better for the environment compared to traditional puppy pads.

Cons of Using Real Grass Pads

  • Real grass pads need to be replaced every 2-3 weeks.

Benefits of Using Synthetic Grass Pads

  • They last longer compared to real grass pads. With proper care, they can last for 1-2 months of use.
  • Synthetic grass pads are more cost-effective.
  • Like real grass, synthetic grass is better for the environment.

Cons Using Synthetic Grass Pads

  • Some synthetic pads may use synthetic grass scents, so always read the label when you buy.

All in all, both are a great choice if you want to put your pet’s health first and help the environment at the same time.

If you want to give these a go, try these:

Fresh Patch Standard – Real Grass Pee and Potty Training Pad for Dogs

Artificial Grass Puppy Pee Pad for Dogs

Biodegradable Pee Pads

Alternatively, you can also use Biodegradable Pee Pads.

These types of pads are usually made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials such as:

  • corn 
  • wheat 
  • bamboo fibers 
  • sustainable pine 
  • and other plant-based materials.

These materials are not only safe for the environment, but for your pooch as well. 

This means that you can dispose of them in a more sustainable way without having to worry about contributing to landfill waste. 

Usually, biodegradable pee pads are made without harmful chemicals such as:

  • dyes 
  • bleach 
  • and synthetic scents. 

This makes them a safe and non-toxic option for your fur baby. 

These are just as absorbent as traditional pads, but better for your dog and the environment.

Here are a couple of good ones to try:

Pogi’s Earth-Friendly Dog Pads

Four Paws Wee-Wee Superior Performance Eco Pee Pads

Newspaper or Old Towels

Don’t worry if you don’t have any non-toxic puppy pads or other potty training materials you need to train your dog.

For a cheaper alternative to puppy pads you can use newspaper or old towels.

Even though this option might not be as absorbent or easy to use as others, it can still save the day in a pinch. 

Just put down some newspaper or old towels in the potty area and change them when they get dirty.

Here are some benefits of using newspaper and old towels:

  • They’re easily accessible. You can find them around the house.
  • They are cost-friendly.
  • You can easily clean or dispose of them.

Newspapers are easy to get rid of because you can recycle or compost them, depending on your local waste regulations.

If your puppy has sensitive paws, using newspaper might not be the most comfortable thing for them to use. 

Using old towels is a good reusable option, you just have to do a bit of washing.

Dog Litter Box

Dog litter boxes are a great option and they are easy to clean. 

Here are some of the reasons why I love dog litter boxes:

  • They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can pick the one that fits best for your puppy.  
  • They keep the mess contained inside the box.
  • You can use them with reusable pads or a natural sustainable litter.

So Phresh Dog Litter Box

Indoor Dog Potty Systems

Self-cleaning, Wi-Fi enabled indoor dog potty systems are the latest innovation in dog potty technology. These systems are designed to automatically clean and sanitize themselves after each use, eliminating the need to manually clean up after your dog.

Using sensors and algorithms, these high-tech potty systems detect when your dog has finished using the bathroom and trigger a self-cleaning cycle.

Wi-Fi enabled dog potty systems allow you to remotely monitor your dog’s bathroom behavior through a smartphone app. This allows you to receive real-time alerts and track your dog’s potty habits, which can be helpful in monitoring your dog’s health.

Indoor dog potty systems have their own pros and cons, but are ideal for dog owners with a busy lifestyle looking for a convenient and hygienic solution to potty training. 


  • Convenient: If you have a busy lifestyle, this useful gadget is an efficient alternative. It gives your dog a designated inside space to go to the bathroom.
  • Odor control: Instantly clean up after your pet no matter where you are, so the odor doesn’t spread through your home. Perfect if you live in an apartment or a home with limited airflow.
  • Easy maintenance: This smart system uses an absorbent roll that provides hands-free cleanup for days and seals waste for easy, mess-free disposal when it’s time for a new roll. It reduces the need for hands-on cleaning.
  • Handles #1 and #2: All pet waste is neatly contained inside the roll. When you throw away the old roll, the waste is tucked away so it doesn’t get messy.
  • Health monitoring: Get health insights and usage alerts via the smartphone app. The camera records your dog’s waste and usage in a photo journal you can share with your vet to address any potential health issues.


  • Costly: Smart Indoor Dog Potty Systems come at a hefty price. There is also an ongoing cost for the refillable rolls.
  • Only for small dogs: The one I recommend below can only accommodate dogs under 25lbs.
  • Wi-Fi needed: These smart systems need to be connected to Wi-Fi to work.
  • Training challenges: Some dogs might not be used to using these machines, so it can take some training and patience on your part to get your dog to become comfortable with it. 

Overall, these indoor potty systems are a good solution to save you time and effort when cleaning after your fur baby. 

But they aren’t for everyone. You should look closely at the pros and cons to determine if it is the right fit for you and your dog.

BrilliantPad Smart Self Cleaning Indoor Dog Potty System

Non-toxic Alternatives vs Puppy Pads: What’s the Difference?

The main difference is in their components and how they affect the environment. 

Indoor potty training can be done in a safer, more eco-friendly, and more effective way with non-toxic alternatives. 

By using non-toxic alternatives, you can be sure that your puppies won’t be exposed to dangerous chemicals, and you’ll also be helping to make the world a cleaner and healthier place.

Components of Traditional Puppy Pads:

  • non-biodegradable plastic base
  • chemicals such as polyacrylate gel and bleach for absorption
  • fragrances for odor control.

Potential Problems with Traditional Puppy Pad Components:

  • Non-biodegradable plastic base contributes to plastic pollution.
  • Polyacrylate gel can be harmful if ingested by puppies and cause digestive blockages.
  • Bleach can be an irritant for puppies with sensitive skin and respiratory systems.
  • Fragrances can contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and synthetic musks that can cause allergies or other health problems for both puppies and humans.

Components of Non-Toxic Alternatives to Puppy Pads:

  • natural fibers such as bamboo or hemp
  • compostable or biodegradable materials
  • reusable materials
  • no added chemicals or fragrances.

Benefits of Non-Toxic Alternatives:

  • Natural fibers are more sustainable and eco-friendly than synthetic materials.
  • Compostable or biodegradable materials reduce waste and do not contribute to plastic pollution.
  • Most of them are washable, which means you can reuse them again and again.
  • No added chemicals or fragrances reduce the risk of allergies or other health problems for both puppies and humans.

And if you have a pup who loves to chew everything, these reasons why it is dangerous when dogs eat puppy pads will have you searching for alternatives.

Tips for Using Non-toxic Alternatives to Puppy Pads

When Using Washable Puppy Pads

  1. Make sure you have enough: Have some extra washable pee pads so you can switch them out when they get dirty. This will make sure that your puppy will always have a clean pad to use.
  2. Place them properly: Place the washable pee pad in an easily accessible area for your puppy. This will make them more likely to go on the pad instead of the floor.
  3. Use it regularly: Take your puppy to the washable pee pad every time they need to go potty. This will teach them to use it regularly. When housebreaking your puppy, it’s important to be consistent.

When Using Grass Pads

  1. Choose the right size: Make sure you choose a grass pad that is the right size for your dog. If the pad is too small, your dog might not have enough room to use it comfortably. If the pad is too big, it might be hard to move around.
  2. Keep it clean: Clean the grass pad on a regular basis to keep it fresh and sanitary. Remove solid waste as quickly as possible, then wipe the pad with a pet-safe cleaner.
  3. Place it in a convenient location: Consider the position of the grass pad when putting it together. Pick a location that is convenient for your dog, but also consider things like noise levels and foot traffic in the area. Avoid putting the pad too close to your dog’s sleeping or feeding areas.

When Using Biodegradable Pee Pads

  1. Introduce gradually: If you’re switching your dog from ordinary pee pads to biodegradable ones, it’s best to do it gradually. Begin by using the biodegradable pads for a few pee breaks each day, then add more slowly until your dog is comfortable with them.
  2. Keep an eye out for allergic reactions: Although biodegradable pee pads are created from natural materials, some dogs may be sensitive to them. If your dog exhibits any indications of allergic response, such as itching, redness, or swelling, stop using the pads.
  3. Dispose of properly: Although biodegradable pee pads are supposed to degrade over time, they still need to be disposed of correctly. Check with your local waste management department to see if the pads can be composted or recycled, or if they must be thrown away.

When Using Newspaper or Old Towels

  1. Choose a specified location: Select a specific area of your home where you want your pup to relieve themselves. This may be a room corner or a specific location in your backyard. You can help them develop a routine by designating a specific place.
  2. Layer it up: Once you’ve decided on a location, lay down several layers of newspaper or old towels to make a soft, absorbent surface for your dog to use. Stack the layers thickly enough to absorb any moisture and prevent it from soaking your floor.
  3. Regular cleanups are needed: Cleaning up spills on a regular basis is important to preventing odors and stains. Remove any solid waste using a scoop or bag, then clean up any urine with a pet-safe cleanser. To keep the space fresh and tidy, replace the newspaper or wash the towels on a regular basis.

When Using Dog Litter

  1. Choose carefully: Dog litter comes in a variety of forms, including plastic and wood-based litters. When selecting a litter, consider your dog’s size, age, and preferences. Some dogs may prefer the texture or scent of one type of litter over another.
  2. Keep the environment clean: In addition to cleaning the litter box, clean the surrounding area. If your dog forgets to use the litter box, use a pet-safe cleaner to clean up any accidents and keep odors at bay.
  3. Consider litter box liners: Litter box liners can make cleaning the litter box and maintaining sanitation easier. Liners made specifically for dog litter boxes are tear-resistant and will not leak.

Choosing the Best Surface to Potty Train a Puppy?

how to choose the best surface for puppy potty training
Puppy Pad Alternatives: Eco-Friendly and Affordable Solutions

Choosing the best surface to potty train your puppy requires taking into account several factors. This includes things like your lifestyle, your puppy’s breed or size, and the level of convenience and cleanliness you’re looking for.


The type of surface that’s best for your pup will depend a lot on how you live and what you do. 

  • If you have a busy schedule – choose a non-toxic puppy pad or a dog litter box.
  • If you have more time, and want to help preserve the environment – choose a grass pad or a washable pee pad. 

Your Puppy’s Breed & Size

It’s important to think about your puppy’s breed and size when it comes to potty training. 

  • Larger breeds need a bigger area. So choose larger-sized non-toxic pee pads, or reusable pee pads.
  • Smaller breeds are more comfortable in a smaller area. So you can choose a dog litter box or reusable pads.
  • Some dog breeds are more likely to have health problems, like joint pain, that may require a softer surface, like grass or turf. 

If you know what your puppy needs, you can choose the best surface for potty training that will help them learn good bathroom habits.

Convenience & Cleanliness

How easy and clean you want things to be is a big part of figuring out which surface is best for potty training your puppy. 

  • Easy to clean and maintain – biodegradable pee pads or dog litter might be the best choice for you. You can clean these materials quickly and easily, which can be helpful if you have a busy schedule.
  • Natural and biodegradable – real grass or biodegradable pee pads might be better. These choices are made from natural materials like grass or corn and are made to be good for the environment. They can also be composted, which cuts down on waste.

In the end, the best surface for potty training your puppy will depend on your lifestyle, the breed and size of your puppy, and your own personal preferences.

Think about these things and consider them carefully, then you can choose a surface that is safe, effective, and easy to clean. 

This will make potty training your puppy as easy as possible.

What Not to Do When House Training a Puppy?

what not to do when potty training your puppy
Puppy Pad Alternatives: Eco-Friendly and Affordable Solutions

Now you know what surface to use, but what about the things you shouldn’t do when house training a puppy?

Punishing Your Puppy

It’s important not to punish your puppy for having accidents in the house when you’re house training them. 

Punishing your puppy can make the problem worse by making them afraid and anxious. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior. 

When they go to the bathroom in the right place, give them treats and praise. 

If you catch your puppy having an accident, stop them with a clap or a soft “no” and quickly take them outside to their designated potty spot.

Punishing your puppy for accidents can lead to several negative outcomes. 

  • It can create fear and anxiety in your puppy, which can interfere with their ability to learn and trust you. 
  • Punishment can also make your puppy dislike potty training, which will make it harder to do in the future.
  • Punishing your puppy can hurt your relationship with them and make them less likely to trust you.

And you should never yell at your dog – here’s why.

Not Supervising Your Puppy

During house training, many pet owners make the mistake of letting their puppy roam around unattended. 

If you let your puppy run around free, it could lead to accidents, and that makes it harder to catch them in the act.

To avoid this, it’s important to keep your puppy in a certain area where you can keep an eye on them during training. 

This can be a crate, a playpen, or a room you’ve made safe for your puppy. 

By keeping your puppy in a designated spot, you can quickly see if they need to go potty, like when they whine, sniff, or go around in circles.

Remember to give your puppy more freedom as they get better at going to the bathroom. 

Slowly let them into more parts of the house, but always keep an eye on them and be ready to help if they get into trouble. 

By doing this, you can help your puppy learn good bathroom habits and make sure house training goes well.

Find out more about how to stop puppy accidents when training.

Not Being Consistent with Training

Inconsistent training can make it hard for your puppy to learn how to go to the bathroom outside. 

Puppies do best with routine and consistency, so it’s important to make a clear training plan and stick to it as much as possible. 

This means putting potty breaks on a regular schedule and always using the same commands and treats.

If you’re inconsistent with your training approach, your dog may become confused about what they’re supposed to do and where they’re supposed to go potty. 

For example, if you let your puppy go to the bathroom on the grass sometimes and on a pee pad other times, they might not know the difference and have accidents in the wrong places.

It’s also important to make sure that everyone in your family follows the same training method. 

If one person lets the puppy do something that another person won’t let it do, the puppy might get confused, which can make training harder. 

By being consistent with how you train your fur baby, you can help them understand what you want them to do and make house training go more smoothly.

Learn how to transition an indoor dog to the outside.

Is There an Easy Way to House Train a Puppy?

I’ll be honest, house training your pup is not always an easy process. As I have mentioned time and time again, it requires a lot of time and patience.

There are, however, some potty training tips that will help things go smoothly for you and your fur baby.

These include being patient, consistent, and positive. 

What Is the Fastest Way to Potty Train a Puppy?

There is no “fast” way to guarantee that a puppy will learn to go to the bathroom outside, as it takes consistent work and patience from you.

House training a puppy can be a challenging task, and it’s not uncommon for puppies to have accidents or take longer to learn than expected. 

It’s important not to get discouraged during the process and to remember that each puppy is unique and learns at their own pace. 

Consistency and positive reinforcement are the best ways to teach your puppy where they should go to the bathroom.

Remember that potty training is a process, so be patient and keep trying.

It could take a few weeks or even a few months for your puppy to fully understand the idea, but with time and effort, they will get it. 

If you’re having trouble with house training, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Do Puppies Naturally Use Puppy Pads?

Dogs don’t have a natural tendency to use puppy pads.

They are born with the instinct to go to the bathroom in places that are far from their shelter or where they sleep and eat.

But because they can’t control their bladders and bowels yet, puppies can, and will, have accidents in the house. 

Non-toxic puppy pads can be used as a temporary solution to these accidents and to help your dog learn to go to the bathroom inside. 

It’s important to remember that puppy pads shouldn’t be used as the only way to train a puppy to go potty. 

Instead, they should be used less and less as the puppy gets used to going outside or to an indoor potty area like a grass pad or litter box.

Learn some strategies for what to do if your puppy poops inside after being outside.

How Do You Make Homemade Puppy Pads?

You can also try DIY puppy pads instead of buying them. 

For this, you will need:

  • waterproof fabric
  • fusible fleece
  • a measuring tape
  • an iron
  • sewing pins
  • scissors
  • a sewing machine
  • and some sewing skills.

Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to make them.

When Should I Stop Using Puppy Pads?

You should stop using puppy pads once your puppy has learned to use them consistently and can hold their urine and poop for longer periods of time. 

Most of the time, this happens when your puppy is 4 to 6 months old. But this will differ from one pup to another.

To help your dog transition from using puppy pads, you can try this step-by-step process:

  1. Start by moving the puppy pad closer and closer to the door to the outside. This will help your puppy learn that when they need to go potty, it’s time to go outside.
  2. Gradually move it closer and closer to the door over the course of a few days.
  3. Move the puppy pad just outside the door and start to cut the puppy pad down bit by bit. Reducing the size of the puppy pad slowly helps to train your dog to gradually shift their preference for eliminating on the pad to going outside.
  4. Take your dog outside often, especially after meals, naps, and playtime. This will help them associate going outside with potty time.
  5. When you take your dog outside, use a specific phrase or command such as “go potty” to help them understand what you want from them. Give them plenty of praise and a reward when they do go.
  6. Once your puppy is going to the bathroom outside every time, you can get rid of the puppy pad.
  7. During this time of change, keep a close eye on your puppy and be ready to take them outside often to avoid accidents.
  8. Be patient and consistent. It may take several weeks or even months for your dog to fully transition to going outside.

If you are dealing with an older dog you can find out how to stop adult dog accidents as well.

As you can see, there are plenty of non-toxic alternatives to puppy pads. Personally, I have opted to use these biodegradable pads because I feel like, as human beings, we should be responsible for our planet’s wellbeing, too. 

Occasionally, I use old towels and old clothes when I have a lot of extra time. But most days, biodegradable pee pads are the way to go.

If you are having trouble with potty training you learn more about why your dog won’t pee on the pad anymore.

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