Dogs are wonderful companions, but they do require some house training to prevent accidents indoors. While most dog owners prefer to train their dogs to relieve themselves outside, some situations call for the occasional indoor alternative. For example, if you live in an apartment or work long hours, providing an indoor potty option can make potty breaks more convenient for your canine friend.
Litter boxes are typically associated with cats, but many dog owners have successfully trained their dogs to use them. In this article, we will provide an overview of dog litter boxes, discuss how to train dogs to use them, and recommend some dog litter box options that may suit your needs and preferences.
Can Dogs Use Litter Boxes?
Yes, many dogs can be trained to use litter boxes. Litter boxes are ideal for puppy potty training and smaller dogs because of their size and the amount of urine they produce. However, larger dogs may require larger litter boxes or alternative indoor potty solutions.
For adult potty-trained canines, indoor dog bathrooms aren’t meant to replace doing their business outdoors fully. However, in certain circumstances, such as inclement weather or health issues, providing an indoor potty option can be helpful.
How to Train Your Dog to Use a Litter Box
Training your dog to use a litter box requires patience and consistency. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Choose a designated space for the litter box: Place the litter box in an area that is easily accessible but away from your dog’s bed and feeding area.
2. Introduce your dog to the litter box: Bring your dog to the litter box and encourage them to investigate it. You can also place some of their favorite toys or treats near the litter box to create positive associations.
3. Reward them when they use the litter box: When your dog uses the litter box, praise and reward them with their favorite treats. Positive reinforcement encourages them to use the litter box consistently.
4. Clean the litter box regularly: Keep the litter box clean and odor-free to encourage your dog to use it. Clean the litter box immediately after your dog uses it, and replace the litter as needed.
5. Be patient: Litter box training can take time and patience. Be consistent with your training and be prepared to clean up accidents until your dog gets the hang of using the litter box.
Best Dog Litter Boxes and Indoor Potty Options
After researching and testing various dog litter boxes, we’ve rounded up some of the best options on the market. Our recommendations and reviews are based on the product’s quality, performance, ease of use, pricing, and customer feedback.
This traditional litter box (made for dogs rather than cats) is a popular choice for owners of puppies and small dogs. The PuppyGoHere litter box is a bit more affordable compared to many other indoor dog potty options on the market. It has an open top and low entrance design to make it easy and comfortable for your pup to circle around and then take care of business. You can use it with litter, potty pads, newspaper, etc., and it comes in six colors and three sizes.
Many dog owners say it is durable, does not leak, and works well for their little buddies. However, based on the reviews we’ve seen, the XL size likely won’t work for dogs over 25-30 pounds.
Works well for liquid and solid waste
Can use with litter and potty pads
Users say it does not leak
Easy to clean
Not a good option for most medium-sized dogs and large pups
Can be messy if used with litter – dogs tend to dig around in it before eliminating
2. Shirley K’s Indoor Dog Potty Tray
This traditional litter box is the largest one we could find on the market and gets overall fantastic customer reviews. The design is similar to the PuppyGoHere litter box, with a low front entrance and fairly tall raised sides to help contain urine spray and litter. This box comes in one size, measuring 30″ x 30″ x 9″ (with a 3.5″ high front opening), and is recommended for dogs up to 70 pounds. Not only can you use it with litter and potty pads, but it’s also large enough to fit an artificial grass pad.
Works well for liquid and solid waste
Can use with litter, potty pads, fake grass, etc.
Users say the sides are tall enough to keep urine spray contained
Smooth, non-porous surface is easy to clean.
Not for dogs over 70 pounds
Can be messy if used with litter
3. LOOBANI Dog Grass Pad With Tray
Our choice for the best artificial-grass indoor potty system, this LOOBANI product has a triple-layer design with an artificial grass mat, a drainage grate, and a leak-proof collection base. It is lightweight and easy to clean with a hose and comes in four sizes (ranging from 16″ x20″ to 23.6″ x 35.5″) to accommodate larger dogs. This system comes with two grass mats, so you can spray off and dry one while the other is available for use. You can use it indoors, on an apartment balcony, or on a patio. It’s also easily portable in case you need to take it on the go.
Reusable system saves money over time and is more eco-friendly than potty pads
Faux grass may help your dog associate the indoor pee area with outside potty time
Good for most dog sizes
Comes with 2 grass pads and replacement pads available for purchase
Cleanup can be a bit cumbersome if you don’t have a hose
Some complaints that the faux grass sheds and frays
Low grass pile height makes collecting solid waste easier than some other grass pads
4. BrilliantPad Smart
This smart self-cleaning dog “litter box” saves you from the cleanup hassle and odor of your pup going #1 and #2 in your house because it automatically wraps and seals the waste. You can set the device to clean once your dog steps off the machine or create custom cleaning schedules. It also has a built-in camera with live view so you can see when your dog goes and then you can remotely advance the pad with the smartphone app. One roll is equivalent to 21 traditional potty pads, so you can go days or even weeks without changing the roll. The pads are extremely durable and absorbent and made of decompostable material. Once the roll is all used, you just dispose of the entire thing and replace it.
Excellent for odor prevention
Auto-cleans after each use
Biodegradable rolls are 80% thinner and use 33% less plastic than traditional pee pads
Convenient for tech-savvy pet parents
Includes app and training support to help dogs transition to using BrilliantPad
Only for dogs under 25 pounds
Must be near a power source
Rolls are expensive to replace
5. Skywin Pad Holder Tray
For many large-breed dogs, traditional litter boxes (even the largest sizes available) are simply too small given the raised sides for them to use comfortably. The large size of artificial grass boxes may suffice, but some pup parents find that this Skywin Pad Holder Tray is the most effective and affordable (and least messy) option for their super-sized pooches. This tray works with potty pads measuring 24″ x 24″ and smaller. It has slightly elevated edges to help prevent urine from flowing onto the floor (for those pups who like to pee on the edges of potty pads). It’s also made of anti-slip silicone so your dog won’t scoot it around the floor.
An excellent solution for some large dogs
Simple to clean
Flexible, lightweight silicone is easy to roll up, making it very portable
Some dogs try to chew it
A few complaints that the edges aren’t raised enough so urine leaked over the sides
6. PS Korea Indoor Dog Potty Tray
Some pup parents find grated litter boxes work best for their dogs. They involve a plastic-grated top where urine flows through to a collection tray underneath. These are often excellent solutions for dogs who tear up potty pads — you simply place the potty pad in the tray. Or if you prefer, you can add litter to the tray. This product measures 22.6″ W x 17.77″ L x 6″ H so it’s suited for puppies or smaller dogs. And it comes in four attractive colors: gray, pink, blue, and wine. The grate is easy to attach and remove.
Excellent solution for dogs who dig in litter or rip up potty pads
Works with potty pads, litter, newspaper, etc. (but the pan is fairly shallow)
Has non-skid feet
Overall good customer reviews
Only for small puppies and dogs
Cleaning up solid waste can be a bit messy if it gets into the grates
7. Doggy Bathroom Dog Litter Box
Have a male dog who sprays too high to use a traditional litter box or potty pad? This innovative dog litter box may be just the ticket. It has clips on the sides to attach pee pads for no more mess and easy cleanup. This doggy bathroom also gives your pup some privacy while he takes care of business. The box is primarily white, with four base colors to choose from. The doggy bathroom comes with four pee-pad clip adapters and a one-year warranty.
May be more effective than traditional litter boxes or potty pads for male dogs who lift their leg
Has a built-in privacy screen
Easy to clean
Only for dogs up to 25 pounds
Some reviews indicate it is difficult to assemble
Dog litter boxes and other indoor potty options can be helpful for dogs that are not trained to go outside or that have limited outdoor access. PuppyGoHere and Shirley K’s Indoor Dog Potty Tray are great traditional litter box options, while LOOBANI Dog Grass Pad with Tray is the best artificial-grass indoor potty system. The BrilliantPad Smart is an innovative self-cleaning litter box for pet owners willing to invest in technology. Skywin Pad Holder Tray is effective for larger dogs, while PS Korea Indoor Dog Potty Tray is an excellent option for small dogs. For male dogs, the Doggy Bathroom Dog Litter Box may be the best solution to avoid messes. Keep in mind that litter box training takes patience and consistency, but with the right tools, it is possible to keep your pup happy and healthy with an indoor potty option.