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Why Does My Dog Pee Next to the Pad? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

puppy pad

Why Does My Dog Pee Next to the Pad? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Using puppy pads is a convenient way to potty train a puppy, especially if you’ve got a smaller dog breed that has to relieve himself more frequently.

Potty training can be challenging, and one common issue many dog owners face is their dog missing the puppy pad. If this is the case for you, it’s important to identify the cause of the issue to find the most effective solution.

There are various reasons why a dog might miss their pee pad. So, make sure to take a step back and examine the situation to gain a better understanding of how to address it correctly.

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The 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons Why Your Dog Pees Next to Their Pad

1. The Dog Doesn’t Understand the Purpose of the Pad

Puppy pads aren’t natural items in a dog’s life. So they won’t immediately understand their purpose. Therefore, if your dog isn’t fully potty trained, it may miss the pad simply because it hasn’t clicked that it should pee on the pad.

Your dog most likely doesn’t understand the purpose of a pee pad if it’s also peeing in various parts of a room or house. If your dog is inconsistent with using the pee pad, you’ll have to go back to the beginning steps of potty training your dog so that it can clearly understand that it should use the pee pad.

Potential Solutions
It’s essential to keep track of your dog’s peeing schedule. Some puppies may need to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes to an hour. So, identify the general amount of time your dog can hold its pee. Then, guide your dog to the pee pad when it’s time for it to pee. Wait until your dog relieves itself, and then give plenty of praise or a treat for positive reinforcement. To help your dog pee more quickly, you can reuse a soiled mat, as long as it has one or two pee stains. The scent can help your dog understand that the pad is the designated spot for them to use as a bathroom.

2. The Dog Can’t Aim Well

Dog Pee Rug
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Sometimes, a puppy just doesn’t have good control of its aim. So, it may intend to go on the pad, and it just misses. You can usually tell that your puppy is missing the mark if it consistently goes to the puppy pad to relieve itself and doesn’t tend to go anywhere else.

Potential Solutions
If your puppy is working on its aim, you can do a couple of things to help it out. First, you can try placing the pee pad on a pan with raised edges or walls so that the urine stays in one spot and doesn’t splash or spill out. You can also lay out more pee pads to increase the space that your dog has to pee.

3. The Pad Is Too Close to the Dog’s Food and Water

Dogs like having designated and segmented spaces. They like having a spot for their sleeping area, a different spot for eating, and a separate bathroom space. So, if your dog’s items are all gathered in one corner, your dog may not like it, especially if its eating area is too close to its bathroom area.

Potential Solutions

Try sliding the pee pad to the opposite corner of your dog’s living area. Then, keep guiding your dog to the pee pad whenever you suspect it has to relieve itself. If your dog willingly pees on the pad, make sure to reward it with praise or a treat.

4. The Pad Is Too Dirty

Cute dog near underpad with wet spot on floor
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Dogs tend to develop a habit of peeing in the same spot. However, if the pad is too dirty, it’ll be unwilling to use the pad, especially if there are feces on the pad.

You don’t have to change out a pee pad after your dog uses it once. However, it shouldn’t be left soaking or have little clean space for your dog to step on.

Potential Solutions

Your dog can use the same pee pad about two or three times, depending on the size of the puddle left on the pad. As a general rule of thumb, your puppy should be able to step on clean spaces on the pad easily.

If your dog pees right in the center of the pad, it’s best to switch it out right away so that your dog doesn’t develop the habit of scooting closer to the edge of the pad to pee.

5. The Pad Is In a Busy Location

A lot of puppies need a calm and quiet environment to pee. A place with too much action can distract your puppy and cause it to miss the pad. Therefore, it’s best to avoid placing pee pads near entryways and other places with frequent foot traffic.

Potential Solutions
The general setup of your dog’s living area should be in a quiet spot in the house. If you keep your puppy in a pen, you might have to relocate the entire pen to a space with fewer distractions.

You may have to pay more attention to guiding your dog to pee while getting used to peeing at a new spot.

6. The Pad Is Difficult to Reach

Image Credit: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

Pee pads can be unsightly in the home, so it can be tempting to hide them in secluded areas of the house. However, this arrangement can make it difficult for some dogs to reach the pad quickly. They might not be able to hold their bladder until they reach the pad.

Potential Solutions
Make sure to place the pad in a strategic location. It shouldn’t be where your dog can easily get distracted, but it shouldn’t be in a completely hidden spot. Find a spot where you know your dog can easily see the pad.

As your dog consistently uses the puppy pad, you can try moving the pad gradually from one part of a room to another. This slow transition can make it easier for your dog to learn to pee in a different part of a house.

7. The Surrounding Area Smells Like Urine

Dogs are creatures of habit, so they’ll usually pee in the same general spot. If your dog misses a pee pad and urinates on the floor, it may continue to pee on that same spot if it’s not properly cleaned.

Potential Solutions
Urine smells can linger, especially for a dog’s sensitive nose. So, it requires special cleaning to break down the odor. You can use a solution of one part vinegar and one part water and spray it liberally over the spot where your dog consistently pees. Leave the solution to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, wipe up the spot thoroughly.

There are also special enzymatic cleaners that get rid of any smell trace. These cleaners are specifically designed to destroy pet odor and often also help to remove any stain.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?

A dog’s ability to hold its pee depends on its stage of life, size, and breed. In general, puppies can hold their pee for an hour each month in age. So, a 3-month-old puppy can hold its pee for 3 hours.

However, some puppies of smaller breeds may not be able to hold their pee for that long. They have smaller bladders and will have to go more frequently.

Elderly dogs can also start urinating around the house if they develop medical incontinence.

Healthy adult dogs can hold their pee for about 10 to 12 hours. However, they should be let out to pee more frequently than that. It’s best to let them pee at least every 8 hours.

Can Dogs Use Pee Pads Forever?

Yes, dogs can technically use pee pads forever. They’re a good option for people who can’t consistently take their dog out to pee.

Just keep in mind that they can smell up a home, especially if a large dog breed uses them. The costs can also increase, especially if you don’t use reusable pee pads. Disposable pee pads can also negatively impact the environment, so it’s best to use eco-friendly options.

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How Long Does It Take to Puppy Pad Train?

Dog pee underpad
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Training a puppy to use a puppy pad successfully can take as little as a couple of weeks to several months. The amount of time it takes to potty train a puppy can depend on the puppy’s breed, but it’s heavily dependent on the consistency of training.

If you’re on top of training, the chances of your puppy learning quickly increase. Therefore, staying consistent with potty training is essential to help your puppy learn from more successful moments.


Dogs can miss pee pads for various reasons. The best way to prevent this incident from happening is to be observant and look for clues that point to the reason why your dog is missing the pad.

Puppy pad training your dog will require patience and consistency, but the hard work will pay off. Your puppy will eventually learn to use the pad with some time and a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: MCarper, Shutterstock

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