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Is your entire yard your dog's toilet? 

How's that working out?

If good - then no need to continue reading. 

But if you're having issues such as unsightly landscape, accidentally "poop-steppin'",  garden trampling, etc, then it may be time to consider having a doggy potty area.

A separate area for your dog to go to the bathroom comes with numerous benefits for pet owners and dogs alike.

Even better, separate dog potty areas can still look like an attractive space through a careful choice of materials.

Your dog will know not to do their business on your hydrangeas, and you'll be able to clean it in record time. 

With this in mind, read on to learn how to build the perfect doggy potty area for your pooch to poo with ease! 

Why Should You Build a Separate Potty Area?

You may be wondering why it's important to build a separate doggy potty– especially if you already have a large yard for them to use.

From potty training puppies, to making it easier for humans to navigate their own yard, here are a few benefits of a doggy potty area you should know:

Curb Appeal

Simply put, dog poop in your front yard does not have a great look. Some HOA's even prohibit dog poo from being visible from the street.

Having a dog potty area either on the side or back of the house can easily solve this dilemma. 

Less Contamination

If you have children that love playing outside, you know that they'll inevitably track dirt and debris inside.

Even if you're careful about cleaning up after your dog, they'll inevitably encounter feces during their playtime if you allow your dog to do your business unchecked in your yard.

These particles can easily be tracked inside on the bottoms of shoes. Although some may argue that being exposed to a lot of bacteria will strengthen you immune system - being exposed to contaminated feces can cause illness.

dog potty image with two flies

Cleaning is Much Easier


This is especially true if you have a large yard. A separate area for your dog to use the bathroom is a smaller, enclosed space, making it much easier to clean over time.

You can even store a scooper and a trash bin in this enclosed area so the smell doesn't spread across your entire yard.

A separate dog potty area is just convenient. You won't have to carefully tiptoe through your yard as if you're trying to avoid landmines every time you just want to enjoy some fresh air.

You also don't have to spend as much time carefully searching for each smelly bomb. 

Easier To Potty Train


Last but not least, a dog potty area makes it easier to potty train puppies. Many trainers recommend choosing one spot for your dog to do their business so they can build strong associations in their minds.

how to potty train shiba inu puppy

Some puppies are more anxious than others, so an enclosed space that's away from foot traffic will make them feel more comfortable and safe to go. 

How To Build The Perfect Dog Potty Area

Sizing is IMPORTANT:

Choose The Size

First, consider how much yard you have to work with. Generally, it's best to allot as much space as you can spare to give your dog ample room to sniff and choose a good spot. 

A good rule of them is to start with an eight-foot length and width area for a medium-sized dog. Mark this out with stakes in the area of your yard that you're considering and see how it looks. 

Don't Forget Drainage

It's important to plan for drainage before settling on a potty area. Consider where water run-off could overflow to. You wouldn't want any run-off to flow to trafficked areas.

Determine The Material

Choosing the right type of material is important.  It's best to choose a material that your dog prefers.

Most dogs like natural materials like grass over synthetic materials like artificial grass, however it's best to have a fairly large size potty area when choosing grass.

happy shiba inu running in open field

Grass is also the best easiest option if you already have a yard full of grass, but you'll need to remember that your dog will be going to the bathroom in the same area for years to come. This will cause the grass to yellow and die, so it will need to be maintained and re-sodded regularly. 

Other materials to consider: 

  • Artificial grass
  • Gravel or pea gravel
  • Smooth rocks
  • Mulch

Mulch is the easiest alternative option because it's cheap, looks nice, and feels good beneath your dog's feet.

Gravel or rocks look nice, but you'll need to ensure that your dog isn't prone to playing with the rocks and it doesn't bother their feet. 

Artificial grass can be the nicest looking option if it's installed correctly. However some dogs may not like "going" on artificial grass. It will also need to be cleaned regularly since it won't absorb their urine. 

Create The Barrier

Now that you've decided on the size of the area as well as the material you'll use, your next choice is the physical barrier for containing your dog.

Pay attention to the physical features of your current yard space and try to incorporate some of the elements into the design of the dog potty area.

For instance, if you notice that you've used cedar for your raised garden beds as well as your porch furniture, keep up with the theme by using a similar cedar set-up for the barrier.

Remember the potty area doesn't necessarily have to contain your dog. It just has to have a visible border between their bathroom area and the rest of your yard.

Indoor Potty Areas

Not all of us have the luxury of having a yard. Additionally, elderly dogs, sick dogs, or puppies may struggle with going to the bathroom outdoors consistently.

If this is the case, you have plenty of options when it comes to indoor solutions. Here are some ideas: 

Disposable Dog Potties

dog potty area artificial grass

You can purchase dog potties that are built to be disposed of after a certain number of uses–or you can create one yourself.

These are often come with real grass patches that are installed on cardboard frames that have an absorption material beneath.

You don't have to worry about cleaning up afterward because they're meant to be thrown out immediately.

However, you can see how the price can quickly add up if your dog is using them exclusively. But for short-term options, these could be great choice.

Reusable Plastic Potties

reusable plastic indoor dog potty

If you're willing and able to clean up their potty afterward, reusable dog potties are more cost-effective and reliable ways for your dog to go to the bathroom indoors without the mess.

These types of potties are typically made of a plastic grate that's placed over a shallow plastic pan in order to collect the urine. 

With only two parts, this makes it very easy to clean. The grate won't hurt your dog's paws, and they often come with rubber pads underneath so it doesn't slip around while your dog uses it. 

The Doggy Litter Box

dog litter box mulch porch

If you have a patio area that's not seeing as much use, you can opt to create a semi-indoor area for your dog to do his or her business.

Instead of grass, you can create a large frame that's able to hold a large volume of mulch.

After your dog goes to the bathroom, you'll need to clean it like a litter pan for cats by scooping out the feces and replacing the mulch. 

The only issue is that this can get messy, which is why we recommend a patio area. You'll also need to budget for extra bags of mulch. 


Although building a separate doggy potty area takes time and resources , you'll find that it provides convenience for both you and your furry friend.

You'll no longer have to worry about stepping in landmines or your children exposing themselves to bacteria that could make themselves sick. You'll also have an easier time cleaning a doggy potty area versus your entire yard.

Ready to learn more ways to improve the life of your Shiba Inu one step at a time? Take a look at our play and exercise section today! 

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