If your dog walks in your backyard, having a special potty area designated for it would be a good idea. Then your dog will only pee and poop in that area, and your yard will stay clean.
I’ve put together the most effective DIY ideas for the dog potty area here. Let’s go.
What do you need to build a DIY dog potty area
Making a dog potty area with your own hands is relatively easy.
- You need a suitable ground cover and stones to create a drainage layer (although sometimes you can do without them).
- You will also need a shovel to dig a small pit for drainage.
- In some cases, you will need to install a small curb around the perimeter of the dog potty area. You can use any curb you like, including rubber, wood, or brick. Some require fixings or special nails.
- Finally, you can use a special weed barrier to keep it from sprouting in the potty.
Next, I will tell you more about the ground cover for the outdoor dog potty area and choosing the right place and size.
What place to choose for a dog potty area
When choosing the right place for a potty area, paying attention to your yard’s topography is essential. If you set the potty on an elevated spot, the urine will run downhill and could damage your lawn or plants. So look for a low spot.
Choose a secluded spot in your backyard, such as a corner:
Or maybe you have a clear passageway between your house and the fence. Use it.
The main thing is that it shouldn’t be near the kitchen or bedroom windows or an outdoor dining area. You won’t likely be happy with a doggie litter box under your window.
If you don’t have a suitable secluded spot in the yard, no problem! You can set up a Privacy Screen to hide the dog potty area from prying eyes. Your dog will be more comfortable, and your guests won’t be embarrassed by the view.
You can also make a DIY potty area on your patio or even on your balcony:
However, making such a potty is quite tricky; you will need a lot of tools and carpenter skills. If you live in an apartment, you'd better check out my list of the best doggie potties.
How big should the dog potty area be
Of course, you can make the potty area for your dog as big as you want. The main thing is that it should not be too small. It should be bigger than your dog’s length.
It’s good if your dog can walk back and forth, spinning around to find a suitable and clean spot. Then your Fido will be comfortable.
A potty area for a medium-sized dog is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet.
Check out my article on how to make a dog-friendly backyard. You can find more ideas there.
What is the best material for a dog potty area
Ground cover for the dog potty area should be safe and easy to maintain. You also need to consider your dog’s preferences.
Based on my research, I have identified the 4 best ground covers for the dog potty area: mulch, natural grass, artificial grass, and fine gravel. Next, I’ll talk about their features and how to make a DIY dog potty area out of each of these materials.
Tip: If you are not sure that your dog likes this material, it is better to do a small trial run first and see how he reacts. He may flatly refuse to do his business in such a pot.
Materials like mulch and wood chips drain well and absorb unpleasant odors. In addition, it’s an inexpensive and natural material, and it’s comfortable for dogs’ paws. You don’t even have to clean up the waste every time because it will all decompose naturally.
Keep in mind that wood mulch has its drawbacks. It’s lightweight so that it can get blown around your yard by the wind. Also, when the mulch absorbs a lot of urine and feces, it emits an unpleasant odor. If you have a large potty area, the unpleasant smell will be less of a problem.
How to make a mulch dog potty area in the backyard?
- Choose the right mulch. Yes, it comes in many forms, and some options can be dangerous for dogs. Most dog owners recommend cedar and pine, non-stained mulch. Also, good mulch should be soft and dust-free.
- You can dig a hole and fill it with pebbles or other materials for better drainage. However, some people put mulch just on top of the soil.
- Outline the perimeter of the potty area and level the ground.
- Install a curb. It can be a rubber, wooden curb, stones, or bricks. The main thing is that the curb should hold back the mulch. Keep in mind that you will need to dig a trench to install some types of curb.
- Fill the entire potty area with a 4-6 inch layer of mulch. Calculate the amount of mulch you need based on the potty area size. You can find special calculators for this purpose.
In the future, you should monitor the condition of the potty area and, if necessary, replace the mulch with a new one. Usually, you need to do a complete replacement once a year. But since it’s not a very expensive material, it’s no big deal. You can waste the used mulch in the compost, which is another plus.
Be prepared that your dog will throw mulch around the yard or try to chew it. Training is required to correct this behavior.
This is one of the easiest and most natural options. It absorbs urine and odor naturally. Many dogs like to pee in the grass, but a natural lawn requires maintenance. It needs to be watered and replanted.
It’s also not easy to clean poop off the grass. Also, urine marks appear on the lawn. You can fight this with special remedies, but they will not eliminate the spots 100%.
I do not recommend making a dog potty area out of grass if your entire backyard is planted with lawn because it will be harder to teach your dog where he should go to the potty.
If you’re not happy with the drawbacks of real grass, you can use artificial grass instead.
This material has many advantages:
- it can be washed relatively easily with a hose or sprayed with a disinfectant to eliminate odors;
- the dog won’t dig his potty and won’t eat the filler;
- it is durable.
But creating a potty area out of artificial grass is no easy task. Also, such a coating absorbs unpleasant odors and heats up in the sun.
How to build an outdoor dog potty area from artificial grass:
- Mark the borders of the future potty and clear the area for the drainage layer. This is a must; otherwise, the urine will stagnate.
- Put a special anti-weed cloth on the bottom (you can skip this point if you are not afraid of weeds).
- Put a drainage mat for artificial grass. The mat needs to be properly secured, which requires some skill.
- Attach the artificial turf. The supplier usually gives instructions on how to do this. Do not buy the first artificial grass you see. Low-quality grass may not be safe, and it may not last long. So find quality artificial grass for dogs made from environmentally friendly materials. It will be more like real grass and more pleasant for the dog.
- Fill the top of the grass with a special filler (like quartz sand), which must then be hammered into the grass. You need it to flatten the lawn and improve drainage.
In my opinion, this is a little complicated. It’s easier to hire people who can do the job professionally.
Tip: If you see water accumulating in any part of your yard, add more drainage in that area.
Many dog owners find this material best for outdoor dog potty because it is more durable, doesn’t spread around the yard like mulch, and doesn’t absorb the smell of urine as much.
However, pea gravel has many disadvantages. You must remove the solid waste from such a pot every time. The poop will get smeared on the stones, so you will have to throw away the stones little by little, and the material is not cheap. Also, dogs often play with pebbles and can swallow them.
If you do decide to make a dog potty area out of gravel, here’s a plan of action:
- You can buy gravel at any hardware store, but you need much material to cover a large area. So it may be better to contact a landscaping or construction company to order a truckload of gravel. The main thing is that it should be fine gravel with no sharp edges.
- Choose a curb to fence off the potty area. You can choose any curb you like.
- You can dig a hole and lay a 20-30 cm layer of stones for better drainage.
- You can also lay an anti-weed cover on the ground.
- Attach a curb and fill in the necessary amount of fine gravel (you need at least 4 cm). Then tamp down it.
This potty area took 16 bags (8 cubic feet) of river pebbles and 16 packs of pea pebbles. That’s why I advise you to order a truck. A consultant at a construction store can tell you how much gravel you need.
To keep the potty clean, you can hose it down once a month with a little urine odorant. Over time, you should add more fine gravel.
Here’s another video tutorial on how to make your own dog potty area out of small pebbles:
You can also fill the dog potty area with sand, but it is not very practical. The sand sticks to your dog’s paws and will end up in your house. Also, your dog is very likely to dig it up.
Ideas for an outdoor dog potty area
Here are a few more ideas for setting up an outdoor dog potty area.
✅You can make a dog exit from the house right to the potty area:
✅If your dog tends to poop all over the yard, you can enclose the dog potty area with a high fence and put your dog out there for a walk.
✅To make your yard look more attractive, you can enclose the potty area with a decorative fence or simply put bricks, rocks, or other decorations around the perimeter.
✅How about adding an artificial fire hydrant? If your pooch likes to put his foot up to pee, he’ll definitely love this idea.
✅Make a canopy over the dog potty area, but this will require hiring professionals.
Here’s another video for more inspiration:
A dog potty area is a good idea to keep your yard clean and tidy. You can make a DIY Dog Outdoor Potty Area out of mulch, fine gravel, real or artificial grass. Consider the features of each material to make the right choice.
Remember to put a good drainage layer under the bottom. In the end, you can decorate this area with landscaping elements.
After making the potty area, you must teach your dog to use only this place for the toilet. Regular exercise and positive reinforcement will help you.
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