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What Are the Best Materials for a Dog Potty Area? Top 5 Options

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog Pee on Grass

In a perfect world, Fido would use the toilet just like everyone else—they’d even remember to flush. Dogs that know how to use a human toilet are few and far between, so you probably won’t have much luck in that regard. But if you’re tired of finding dead grass and piles of poo all over your lawn, you do have an option.

Instead of dealing with landmines all over the place, many dog owners choose to designate an outdoor dog potty area. Creating a special area makes it easy to train them to only go where you want, rather than anywhere and everywhere they please.

So, are you ready to start enjoying a clean yard again?

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How to Build a Dog Potty Area

Believe it or not, creating a dog potty area is as simple as building a small fence around a corner of your yard. This fence doesn’t even need to keep your dog contained; it just needs to clearly mark where you want them to go to the bathroom.

Installing a fence won’t always be enough, though. Training your dog to go in one spot can lead to its own issues, such as killing off grass and waste buildup. After you designate your dog’s new potty area, you also need to lay down a base material that is easy to clean, drains well, and won’t cause any potential harm to your pooch.

While every material comes with its own pros and cons, there are several popular options to check out. These are the top five.

The Top 5 Materials for a Dog Potty Area:

1. Pea gravel

Pea Gravel
Image Credit: Pxfuel

The most popular material for dog potty areas is, without a doubt, pea gravel. This finely ground gravel essentially acts as kitty litter for your dog—it drains well and doesn’t wash or blow away in the rain and wind. Pea gravel also looks nice in almost any landscape design, so you won’t have to sacrifice your yard’s aesthetics for your dog’s bathroom needs.

Unlike most types of gravel, pea gravel is very smooth. Because of this, your dog won’t experience any discomfort when doing their business. However, less confident dogs might need some encouragement when first learning to use their potty area.

If you’re interested in using pea gravel for your own dog bathroom zone, get in touch with your local landscaping supplier. Most gardening retailers offer pea gravel at an affordable price and many will deliver your order right to your lawn.

2. Mulch

Image Credit: corrode2k, Pixabay

When creating a D.I.Y. dog potty area, many owners choose mulch as their base. After all, mulch is affordable, readily available, and already exists in most lawns. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind when using mulch in your dog’s potty area.

First, not all mulch is safe for dogs. Before purchasing mulch, ensure that the wood it’s made from is safe for your dog to ingest.

Second, mulch is very absorbent. While this might seem like a great property at first, it can mean that odors linger. Some owners report that their mulched potty areas smell terrible after rain.

3. Sand

german shepherd dog sniffing sand
Image Credit: DanaTentis, Pixabay

Sand is extremely similar to most commercial cat litter, so it makes sense as a filler for your dog’s potty area. While many dogs prefer sand over other materials, this material often isn’t the best option out there.

If you’re worried about your dog tracking dirt and debris into your home, then think twice about using sand for your potty zone. It will very likely stick to their paws and get brought inside.

Also, sand can easily wash away in heavy rain. If your potty area is fully enclosed, this won’t be a big deal. If it’s not, though, you may soon find yourself without much of a potty area left at all!

4. Artificial turf

A closeup shot of artificial turf
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

One of the most convenient materials to use in your dog’s potty area is artificial turf. This material blends into the rest of your yard while also being easy to spray clean as needed.

Artificial turf is super convenient because it won’t erode or wash away. It also won’t absorb odors like more absorbent materials. However, it can be difficult to clean dog poo out of the turf.

5. Natural grass

Natural Grass
Image By: Pexels

Finally, you can always just leave your dog’s potty zone completely natural. If you use natural grass, you won’t need to worry about refilling your dog’s potty area from time to time. Instead, you can let the grass (and your dog) do their own thing.

Of course, your dog’s waste will build up in this area, killing off the grass over time. For this reason, we recommend placing your dog’s potty area somewhere you, your neighbors, and other passersby won’t often see. While you can reseed the area on occasion, it’s typically not worth the time or expense.

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While we all love our dogs, we don’t all love stepping in dog poo when walking through our yards. If you’re tired of dodging landmines every time you go out to play fetch or enjoy some fresh air, why not invest in building your own dog potty area?

Creating a designated zone for your dog to go to the bathroom is surprisingly easy. All you need are materials to make a border and fill the area with a base layer.

Whether you go with pea gravel or turf, sand or mulch, you’re sure to love the convenience that comes with giving your dog their own space to go potty. Who knows, your dog might even enjoy having their own personal space, too!

Featured Image Credit: Ching Louis Liu, Shutterstock

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