There are definite times when house training a dog can be difficult, such as during the winter or if you live high up in an apartment or condo. Potty Patch is a product designed for these situations and while it can work, it's not necessarily the best option for every dog.
What Are Potty Patch Type Products?
Potty Patch features a piece of synthetic grass over a plastic shell that you can use to house train your dog inside. The product has several competing options that all work on the same basic principles despite some manufacturing, stylistic and pricing differences. The goal is to train the dog to use synthetic grass in the house for urination and defecation and either eventually wean them onto using real grass outside, or use it as a permanent solution.
The Pros of Potty Patch
Using Potty Patch has some clear benefits as reported by users on Amazon and customers from other retail sites who like the product.
Good for Small Dogs
It can work very well for small dogs and puppies as the size of the box can accommodate them. Many positive reviews are from owners of toy dogs like Shih Tzus.
Easier For People Who Live Upstairs
It's extremely convenient to use if you need to take the dog up and down stairs or an elevator and miss getting them outside in time. It's also useful for older dogs who can't move around as well or dogs that have been injured and need to stay inside.
Good for Training in Cold Weather
Owners who live in colder weather cite the ease of training their dogs without having to go out in the cold several times a day. It likewise would be a good option for rainy days.
Owner Training Knowledge
Owners need to be patient and have an understanding of how to acclimate properly a dog to the Potty Patch. These owners appear to have the most success training their dogs to use the product.
The Cons of Potty Patch
However, despite the benefits of the product, it would appear that users have a hit-or-miss experience with Potty Patch. Since every dog is an individual, in addition to living in unique household environments, Potty Patch may not work well for you compared to other dogs with owners posting happy reviews. Some of these issues are related to whether or not the product works and others to individual dogs.
Dogs Won't Use the Potty Patch
Many reviewers cite the fact that their dog will not use the Potty Patch as the reason they believe it doesn't work. It's possible that the dogs may find the box unpleasant or uncomfortable to use. It's also very likely that these dogs were not trained properly in its use which makes definitively stating whether "it works" is difficult to say. For example, one reviewer on Amazon stated that their dog peed right next to it, but, if they're properly supervising their dog as part of a house training routine the dog should not have been able to choose freely a place to pee in the house.
Not Easy to Clean
Other reviewers state the product "works" as far as the dogs using it but the actual promised "ease of cleaning" aspect to Potty Patch is misleading. Users claim that there's a strong smell of urine unless it is cleaned every day which is more work than originally perceived. Others claim that the smell of urine is difficult to get rid of even with daily cleanings. Another issue owners state is how hard it is to not spill the urine when they attempt to empty the tray for cleaning, even with tiny amounts of urine.
Grass Stays Wet
Another issue that owners cited was that the grass stays wet for some time after a dog urinates, and this can discourage the dog from using it again as they don't want to walk on wet grass. Reviewers also noted that cleaning the grass caused it to shed a lot leaving bare patches fairly quickly.
Particularly with puppies, many users note that dogs tend to dig at the grass in the tray and even rip it up and chew it to shreds. Destructive behavior is common with puppies and this can be attributed to a lack of management of the puppy. However it's also possible that despite supervision the temptation to rip up the grass is too high for some dogs, especially terriers and other dogs with a strong digging instinct.
User reviews on Walmart.com note that even the large size Potty Patch is simply too small for larger dogs. A medium to large size dog won't have very much room to move around in and may need more space to be able to feel comfortable going. Some large dogs may also mean to pee on the grass but miss it and splash on the surrounding floor and walls by mistake because of their size.
Makes House Training More Difficult
If you're using the Potty Patch with the eventual goal of training your dog to go outside, some users and trainers argue that this will be confusing to the dog. Either the dog won't understand the connection between synthetic and real grass, or they will not be able to distinguish between peeing in one acceptable area of the house and the house as a whole. Most of these are training and management problems that can be easily dealt with, but it requires a dog owner with a good knowledge of dog behavior and house training to handle them.
Is Potty Patch Worth It?
Potty Patch appears to be a decent option for allowing dogs to urinate and defecate in your home with a few caveats. Its size accommodates toy and small dogs best, and you must know how to train a dog to use it and not expect them to understand what it's for by simply placing them on it. You also need to be willing to clean regularly the entire unit every day in order to remove the urine odor from your home. Since there are many similar products on the market, it's worth it to review other options to see if Potty Patch best fits your needs or not.