The 10 Best Porch Potties
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in August of 2015. If you live in an apartment or home without easy access to the outside, try one of these porch potties to give your furry friend somewhere convenient to go. Better than a typical litter box for many, some feature real or synthetic grass to entice your pet, and draining systems to collect and remove waste easily. Depending on your needs, there should be a solution here for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 16, 2020:
There are a plethora of solutions for housebreaking your pets out there, and we felt that this list, as well recommending quality items, should also reflect as many alternatives as possible so you know what's on offer.
A lot of manufacturer's opt for an astroturf mat on top of their potties to get pets used to the idea of going on grass. We kept the Paws & Pals PTGP-02-LG and the Prevue Hendryx Tinkle Turf as examples of the simple three-layer system that drains liquids through the grass mat and perforated plastic middle, into a collection-tray base. They both have a durable construction with realistic-looking turf.
We removed the PuppyPro Trainer in favor of the Petmaker Portable, a much more popular solution amongst users that costs a little less and performs the same function. It's worth noting though that many of these cheaper options that have the top layer simply resting on the one below (and not fastened in any way) are prone to having it pulled off my boisterous pups.
We also removed the Giantex Portable Patch PS621, an option that includes a drawer, and added the PetSafe Pet Loo instead. Both feature this pullout tray for easy removal of waste, but the latter has a much more ingenious solution for minimizing cleaning and bad smells. By using disposable plastic trays to line the drawer that are filled with powder, you can easily take them out and throw them in the trash and the solidified powder will trap the bad odors in until it's time to do so.
We kept the DoggieLawn Real Grass for owners with fussy pooches that simply won't perform for the faux variety, although you need to consider the high cost of frequently replacing these boxes. The BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning kept its position as being the only automated "conveyor belt" solution, let down only by the fact it's not suitable for outdoors, which somewhat defeats the object of a porch potty for people who have balconies or terraces exposed to the elements.
The PuppyGoHere Litter Pan is a versatile option that cats and rabbits can make use of too, and the low entryway for easy access is a nice touch that older mutts will thank you for. The StarRoad-TIM Artificial Grass Rug is another option for those with dogs that have mobility issues and find steps hard, as you can just lay down the astroturf where necessary and your pet will barely notice the difference in levels. It's also a budget-friendly option, just be prepared for a lot of cleaning between visits.
Finally, there's the snaplock grate boxes. We added the Blyss Pets Klean Paws and the Richell Paw Trax, two models that utilize a plastic grid that pins down the pee pad (or newspaper) underneath, creating an all important distance between the wet and your pet, for dry paws and a clean floor afterwards. They both come apart easily for quick and simple cleaning with soapy water.
December 13, 2019:
There are many reasons pet owners may want a porch potty, from being so busy it's hard to stop at home often enough to take Fido out for walks, to dealing with young puppies or older dogs who don't have control over their bladders. We thought of each of these scenarios when making our selection.
Since we know getting animals used to going indoors in the first place can be tough, and you still want them to understand that grass — and not your floors or carpets — is the place to go so you aren't having to constantly use your carpet cleaner, we made sure to include some models that resemble lawns as closely as possible. The Giantex Portable Patch PS621, the Paws & Pals PTGP-02-LG, and the StarRoad-TIM Artificial Grass Rug fit that bill. Unfortunately, with this standard in mind, we had to remove the PetSafe Piddle Place, as many pets don't seem to like the texture of the turf.
Ease of maintenance is important, too, so we like that the BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning DM110 automatically swaps out a soiled pad for a fresh one after it senses new waste. The Alpha Dog Series Any Pet Toilet is another convenient option that is designed with a grated surface that clips on above a pee pad, resulting in a top level that stays relatively clean and dry. Though the UgoDog Indoor is a similar option, we removed it as the grates proved difficult to wash.
As for pets who simply won't go on anything but the real thing, we wanted to have a genuine grass option. However, we removed the Fresh Patch as there was a quality control issue with the grass and it would often contain large amounts of insects. We added in, instead, the DoggieLawn Real Grass, since the company seems to take better care to make sure each box is in pristine condition before being shipped out.
The Benefits Of A Porch Potty
While many suburban dog owners may not think they need such an item, there are multiple ways these products can be useful.
Unless you are a pet parent, there's a good chance you may have never heard of a porch potty. Sometimes called an indoor pet park, training toilet, or just a dog potty, these helpful little spaces are the brainchild of city-dwelling dog owners who live in high-rises and condos, where they don't have easy access to a back yard. While nothing can replace taking your dog for regular walks, some owners have difficulty finding the time to schlep a dog down the elevator to seek out an acceptable patch of grass every time Fido needs to relieve himself. Many find it easier to teach their pooches to use these toileting alternatives sometimes, saving themselves hours that would be spent cleaning up messes, and money that would be spent replacing ruined belongings. The potty can be kept indoors, or placed on a balcony without taking up too much room. While many suburban dog owners may not think they need such an item, there are multiple ways these products can be useful.
No matter what your method is, house training a puppy takes time, and you can reduce damage to your floors and furniture by giving them an indoor option for when they can't hold it long enough to wait for someone to notice they need to go out. While training pads are a popular option, if you find yourself going through a lot of them, you may want a more environmentally friendly choice. And once the training is done, the potty can still be of service. Nobody can guarantee predictable hours at work, yet part of training your furry little friend is to get her on a schedule. When your dog has access to a porch potty, she can take care of business, and you won't have to panic or call your neighbors if your boss asks you to stay late or if you get stuck in traffic yet again.
Parents of aging dogs will also appreciate having access to an indoor pet park. When the weather outside is too nasty for an arthritic animal to navigate, they'll have a safer, easier choice. It's also useful if they start to regress and their bladders can't always last a full work day anymore.
How To Choose A Porch Potty
When choosing a porch potty, size is not the only concern, although you will need to be sure to check if the unit you buy can support the weight of your pooch, especially if you have a larger dog. You generally have two basic design options, those made to look like a patch of grass, or those with a plain plastic grate on top for drainage.
This fake grass can be helpful in training pups to use it, although older dogs might require more convincing.
Many indoor pet parks come with artificial turf that drains into a plastic tray below. This fake grass can be helpful in training pups to use it, although older dogs might require more convincing. Another advantage of the synthetic grass is that it often incorporates a second layer with an antimicrobial treatment that helps reduce odors between cleanings. The grass can be kept fairly clean by rinsing it with water after it has been used, but you might need to keep some poop bags handy in case someone decides to go number two. Some dog owners will prefer the aesthetic of the fake grass, especially if they have it sitting outside on a balcony or patio. If you choose this look, but your pet is resisting, there are sprays that will attract your dog to use it, and some swear by putting a fake fire hydrant on the potty area.
The plastic grate style of potty is easier to clean, though not as visually appealing, and some dogs need to have a little grass to sniff around in before they go, even if it is fake. The simplicity of the grate design will also help to keep paws cleaner. In addition, they tend to have a lower profile, making this style a better choice if your furry companion is elderly or dealing with arthritis.
If your dog is a bit large, especially a male who raises his leg to urinate, one last thing to consider is whether your porch potty needs to have a wall. There are a few models out there with this option. While this will add considerably to the bulk of the unit, pups who are prone to marking their territory might even prefer it.
Puppy Training Tips
Making sure your puppy learns to relieve himself in the right place at the right time may be one of the most daunting tasks you face as a new pet parent, but be sure it isn't your only focus. Having a properly trained dog will actually improve your relationship and insure more peaceful interactions with family members and visitors. Your dog's well-being now and in the future just might depend on it. It's a well-known fact that a large number of dogs end up in shelters because of unresolved behavioral problems that could have been prevented with proper training. This includes toileting issues, but also aggression and obedience problems.
The dog training community and even scientific research now overwhelmingly supports positive reinforcement for all types of pet training, whether it's for toilet time, learning basic commands, or fun play-time tricks. It's important to get the entire family involved in using the same commands and rewards, to provide consistency and to help the process go more quickly. For potty learning, it's a good idea to keep a supply of treats near your indoor pet park.
Many new pet owners find that training a new puppy is more difficult than they realized, but you don't need a lot of money to get you and your pooch off to a great start. Your local ASPCA or Anti-Cruelty Society may offer free classes or help you find the resources you need.