From city living to health issues, getting your dog outside for a bathroom break on time every time can be challenging.
Luckily, there’s a great solution: real grass dog potties.
We’ll explain what real grass dog potties are, list some instances where they’re helpful, and compare the two top options on the market below. We’ll also share some indoor bathroom alternatives and tips for training your dog to use a real grass dog potty.
Fresh Patch vs DoggieLawn: Key Takeaways
- Real grass dog potties offer a reusable and biodegradable indoor potty solution. Featuring natural grass that’s good for a week or more of use, these compact relief stations can be placed inside or on your apartment patio.
- Fresh Patch and DoggieLawn are super similar. The top products in the real grass potty pad market are nearly identical in design but have some differences to consider, including price and sizing.
- Fresh Patch is higher rated. Pet parents give higher marks to Fresh Patch, noting its great overall performance and ease of use.
- DoggieLawn is less expensive and offers more sizes. The company’s product is priced slightly under Fresh Patch’s offerings, and they have two additional sizes, one of which better suits larger pups.
What Is a Real Grass Dog Potty?
A real grass dog potty is a patch of natural grass your dog can use as a restroom. You can place one indoors, on a covered patio, or just about anywhere else it makes sense.
It resembles a strip of sod arranged in a biodegradable or reusable tray to prevent leakage. Most real grass potties for dogs don’t contain soil, helping them remain as mess-free as possible (and less tempting for dig-happy hounds!)
When your dog does his business, liquids are absorbed into the grass pad, containing the mess and odor. Just pick up solid waste with your pooper scooper and mist the grass with water as needed to keep it green.
Natural grass dog potties last between one and four weeks, depending on how often it’s used and how many dogs use the pad. Larger dogs may go through them more quickly as well.
Real Grass Dog Potty Comparison: Fresh Patch vs. DoggieLawn
There are two main natural grass pottying products for dogs on the market: Fresh Patch and DoggieLawn.
We’ve dug into these Rover relief stations and gathered the facts to help you decide which might work best for you.
1. Fresh Patch
About: Fresh Patch is a chemical-free natural grass solution for canine pottying. Set in a durable cardboard frame, this potty pad is safe for use indoors and outdoors and absorbs liquids and odors to keep your dog’s space fresher for longer.
- Offers free training advice for helping your dog adjust to the pad
- 50% lighter than traditional grass
- Fully disposable for simple cleanup
- Made in the USA with natural grass hydroponically grown in Florida
- Mini (16” x 12”)
- Standard (24” x 16”)
- Large (24’ x 24”)
- Made in the USA with natural, dog-safe grass
- Most owners report it’s easy to keep the pad clean and fresh
- Several size options for big and small doggos
- A few owners report receiving grass containing bug eggs
- Some quality issues with pet parents receiving dried-out patches
About: DoggieLawn is a fast-absorbing potty pad featuring natural grass that can be used indoors or outside. DoggieLawn grass is not treated with chemicals or fertilizers, keeping your canine safe.
- Fully disposable and biodegradable
- Lasts between 1 to 4 weeks, depending on usage
- Dirt-free sod design
- Made of natural hydroponic grass grown in California (non-hydroponic grass available direct)
- Mini (24“ x 6“) (Amazon-only!)
- Standard (24“ x 16“)
- Medium (24“ x 20“)
- Large (24“ x 24“)
- X-Large (24” x 48”) (Direct-only!)
- Made with real, dog-friendly grass grown in the USA
- Multiple size options to choose from, suiting dogs large and small
- Can buy direct with a subscription service for cost savings and free shipping
- Several owners report the grass arrived dried out
- Some pet parents felt the holding tray was flimsy
Fresh Patch vs. DoggieLawn: Which is Best?
These real grass options are super similar, but some differences might make one better for you than the other:
- Customer Reviews: Fresh Patch has more reviews and higher ratings than DoggieLawn, with more pet parents seeming satisfied overall with their product.
- Sizing: DoggieLawn has two more size options than Fresh Patch: Medium and X-Large. X-Large is ideal for large dogs or multi–pup families. The mini size also differs between brands, with DoggieLawn’s measuring 24” x 9” and Fresh Pet’s being 16” x 12.”
- Pricing: DoggieLawn’s pricing is slightly lower for all sizes. The amount isn’t significant (a dollar or less,) but bargain-chasing pet parents may appreciate the savings.
- Location: DoggieLawn grass is sourced in California, while Fresh Patch is from Florida. It’s hard to say one would be fresher than the other based on your location, as this varies by supplier.
When you compare them head-to-head, DoggieLawn offers cost savings and two additional sizes, but Fresh Patch has higher reviews overall. DoggieLawn’s X-Large size is better suited for families with large dogs or multiple pups using the pad.
Bark Potty: An Interesting Dog Potty Alternative
Another all-natural option is the Bark Potty. Like natural grass potties, this bathroom station is set in a tray, though it features a tree bark potty zone instead of grass.
1. Bark Potty
About: Bark Potty is an earth-friendly, reusable bathroom pad featuring absorbent, natural tree bark. As with grass pads, this potty station absorbs liquids and only requires you to pick up solid waste to keep it fresh.
- Natural tree bark helps keep odors at bay
- Each pad lasts about a month, depending on usage
- Netted layer prevents pups from tracking tree bark around
- Made in the USA
- Standard (24” x 16”)
- Large (30” x 20”)
- Lasts up to a month, offering cost savings and convenience over pee pads
- Can be purchased individually from Amazon or purchased via subscription direct at a lower price point
- Eco-friendly, fully disposable design
- Not the best at absorbing odors
- Some dogs refuse to use the pad entirely
Compared to most real grass potty products, the Bark Potty is more expensive per pad, but it potentially lasts longer, with a lifespan of roughly a month, depending on usage. This is better than the one to four weeks promised by real grass pads.
However, most dogs may prefer the natural “feel” of pottying on a real grass pad. Also, owners might prefer the odor-blocking power of grass over the bark, which some find to be lacking.
Reasons to Use a Real Grass Dog Potty
Grass dog potties are handy for several reasons, ranging from convenience to safety.
Let’s run through the most common reasons for using a real grass potty with your pup to see if they’re a good fit for you and your doggo.
You live in a high-rise.
High-rise living is lux for you and your big-city barker, but that long elevator ride down to walk him is a pain when he needs to tinkle. This is especially true if your fur friend needs frequent or urgent bathroom breaks.
Setting up a potty point in your unit or on your dog-proofed balcony makes the chore much more convenient. It can also prevent accidents if your pup needs to go ASAP.
Your dog fears going outside.
Dogs may fear going outside, with some anxious doggos refusing to pee or poo outdoors, particularly in noisy or public areas. Your pup may also fear rain or storms, worsening the issue during inclement weather.
Setting up a safe, quiet space for your nervous buddy to relieve himself is easy with a real grass potty station.
You live in an area with bad weather.
Getting your dog to potty outside on a rainy day is hard enough, but in areas with established “wet seasons,” it can lead to a barkin’ bathroom nightmare for weeks on end. This is also true in places that experience heavy snow or extreme cold, especially with small or short-coated canines.
An indoor potty station provides a comfortable location for your dog to do his business, saving everyone from venturing outdoors in inclement weather. It can also protect your floors from accidents.
Your dog doesn’t like to potty on a leash.
Some canines have an aversion to using the bathroom on a lead, resulting in a frustrating standoff between pawrents and pups, usually including the begging “go potty” routine we all love. This is a real headache if you don’t have a backyard or if yours is under construction.
A grass potty area mimics your pup’s favorite outdoor potty point, letting him do his business indoors without a leash cramping his style.
Your dog is tiny.
Small breeds are at-risk of multiple predators outdoors, including coyotes and birds of prey. In some areas, the safest option is keeping your pup indoors when you can’t walk him on a lead.
A real grass pad for pottying indoors creates a safe place for petite pups to use the bathroom without such dangers.
Your dog requires frequent bathroom breaks.
Puppies and seniors need to potty more often, along with canines with certain health conditions like diabetes or Cushing’s disease. This means you have to either walk your dog more often than most, install a doggy door, or hire a dog walker for multiple stop-ins a day – options that aren’t feasible for every family.
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Having a grassy pottying area inside gives frequent bathroom flyers a chance to go without needing to be let outside or walked, potentially eliminating accidents around the house. That said, with increased pottying, you’ll need to replace the pad more often.
You want to protect your lawn.
Dog urine spots are unsightly, leaving some owners leery about letting pups potty in the backyard. The right type of grass for dogs can go a long way, but it doesn’t always mean your lawn will stay green with frequent Fido “watering.”
Grass potty pads provide the same surface your dog is used to without putting your beloved lawn at risk of urine marks.
You or your dog have mobility challenges.
Sometimes, outdoor bathroom breaks are just too hard on pet parents or pups, whether due to a short-term injury or ongoing issue. Walking around is hard enough, but if you have steps to navigate, too, it can be downright impossible.
Establishing a level indoor grass zone for pottying is ideal in these instances, but it’s also not a bad idea for every owner to keep a grass pad or other pottying solution around in case you or your pup are injured.
You’re concerned about lawn chemicals.
If your dog potties in areas beyond a backyard you control, you may encounter grassy areas treated with pesticides or fertilizers that can seriously injure your dog or make him ill (though some fertilizers are pretty safe for dogs). This is a significant risk in urban environments where having a yard is rare.
Real grass doggy pads are made for dogs, and as long as you’re buying from a reputable provider, you don’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals.
You are away for long periods of time.
When you have a four-footer, few things are worse than getting stuck late at work since your pup is waiting on you to do his business. These surprise scheduling snafus can lead to upsetting potty accidents for you and your dog.
An indoor grass area provides an appropriate place for your pup to do his business, just in case you get snagged in traffic or run a little late at the office.
Your dog is an escape artist.
Having a Houndini at home can make bathroom breaks in the backyard stressful. This is especially true when you don’t have time to walk him or when you can’t monitor him closely to prevent yard escapes, such as at night.
An indoor grass area creates a secure place for your escape artist to do his business.
You want an eco-friendly bathroom option.
Dog pee pads are often made with plastics and other materials that aren’t biodegradable. Considering how often pee pads need to be replaced, this is a real downer for waste-conscious woof owners.
Grass dog potties feature real grass, usually set within recycled cardboard or other materials that break down in a landfill, making them favorites for earth-loving owners.
You need a travel potty station for a boat or RV.
There are some places where a suitable barker bathroom isn’t readily available, such as boats or RVs. This can cramp your canine’s fun if he regularly accompanies you on excursions.
A grass pad potty provides a compact area for your pup to do his business on adventures without much fuss, as it mimics his favorite squat spot with natural grass.
Pups can be peculiar about bathroom habits, but if you notice anything off, such as peeing inside after potty breaks or an uptick (or downturn) in your dog’s urination or defecation, give your vet a call to rule out any health issues.
You are short on time.
Sometimes you don’t have time to run your dog out for every bathroom break, such as during a conference call. This is especially true if your dog is known to take a while to do his business (though you can train your dog to potty faster if he’s physically able to!)
Keeping a grass pad for pottying allows your dog to relieve himself when you’re too tied up to run him outside for a break.
Training Your Dog to Use a Real Grass Potty
Some floofs take to a real grass potty with ease, while others need some guidance and patience to get the hang of it. Luckily, dogs trained to go to the bathroom outdoors usually prefer grass, so real grass potties aren’t much of a change.
Introduce your pooch to the potty
Similar to training your dog to potty in one spot, you want to associate the grass pad with going to the bathroom. This takes time and dedication, but if you stick with it, your pup will do his business on the pad like a pro.
When it’s time to potty, take your dog to the grass pad while on a leash, as you want to maintain control at all times.
The goal is for him to potty on the pad, not on the other side of your patio. Your dog might wander right onto the grass, but some pups need encouragement to give the new area a sniff.
Stay here until your dog does his business, which might take longer than usual.
If your dog has a guaranteed verbal cue like “go potty,” you can use it, but otherwise, let him do his thing without any input. Too much attention can distract him from the task at hand.
If your pup potties on the pad, shower on the praise and offer a treat as a reward. This is also when he can come off his lead if the area is secure.
If your dog doesn’t potty after a considerable amount of time, keep him leashed and circle back to try again. In some instances, he may not have to go, but in others, he may need a little patience to be comfortable using the pad.
Try a training spray
If your pup absolutely won’t use the grass pad to relieve himself, you might need to call in reinforcements in the form of a dog poop training spray.
These mimic pheromones released during bathroom breaks and encourage your pup to go wherever they’re applied.
Remember: The concept of pottying inside can be jarring to a pup used to tinkling outdoors, so have some patience with your pooch while he learns the ropes of this new routine.
Real Grass Dog Potties: Maintenance and Management Tips
Real grass dog potties are convenient, but they do require some maintenance to keep them looking and smelling their best.
To maintain the best grass pad potty for your dog:
- Mist it daily: Keeping the grass lush and alive means providing daily water via misting. This keeps the grass moist and healthy without making it soggy, which not only can kill the grass but greatly reduces how much liquid waste the pad can handle from your dog, impacting the product’s longevity.
- Keep it somewhere covered: Don’t leave the grass pad out in the rain or direct sunlight. Keep it somewhere that’s covered at all times to prevent oversaturation or frying in the sun, such as on a patio or balcony.
- Remove solid waste promptly: Clean up stool immediately and dispose of it properly. Lingering stool is not only gross for your dog (and likely to discourage him from using the pad) but it can also attract flies and harbor bacteria.
- Replace as needed: Real grass pads can only handle so much liquid waste before it’s time for a new one. Regular replacement keeps your pup’s potty zone fresh and encourages him to keep using the pad as a relief station.
Indoor Dog Potty Comparison: The Benefits of Real Grass Dog Potties
Real grass pads for dog pottying have several advantages over other options:
- Biodegradable: Unlike artificial grass pads and plastic pee pads, a real grass pad placed in an eco-friendly tray breaks down quickly in a landfill.
- Reusable: A grass pee pad is usable for at least a week (and sometimes up to a month), while a standard pee pad needs replacing after every bathroom break.
- Absorbent: Real grass pads can handle ongoing tinkling for a period of time, but traditional puppy pee pads can only handle so much piddle and litter boxes usually need daily cleaning.
- Don’t require washing: Canine litter boxes need regular cleaning to remove bacteria and reduce odors, while real grass pads just need misting between replacements.
- Helpful for housetraining: Real grass pads mimic the outdoor area your puppy will eventually use for bathroom breaks and associate pottying with grass, making them more ideal than plastic training pads or litter boxes.
- Can work with cats or bunnies: The natural look and feel of grass pads suits a variety of species, while traditioning pee pads are centered around canines.
The Drawbacks of Real Grass Dog Potties
At the same time, real grass dog potties have cons to consider that may make them the wrong option for your needs.
The negatives of real grass dog potty pads are:
- Cost: Real grass pads start around $30 a piece and need to be replaced every few weeks (or more often in some instances,) which can get pricey.
- Requires water: Real grass pads need daily misting to prevent them from drying out. Note: you mist the grass; don’t water it like a traditional lawn.
- Smell: Real grass pads can absorb some but not all odors, and a few owners just find them smellier than other indoor potty solutions for dogs, no matter what. This boils down to personal preference, as some owners don’t mind them.
- Mess: Some dogs like to shred the grass or even the tray beneath, creating a mega mess to clean up. This is most common in puppies and shred-happy doggos, making them a less suitable option for some.
- Must do due diligence to ensure the grass is dog-safe: Grass is often treated with dangerous pesticides or fertilizers, so ensure the company you’re buying from (or the DIY version you’re creating) uses dog-friendly grass that is free of such chemicals.
- Must be replaced every week or every few weeks: While this is less often than pee pads, it’s more often than artificial turf and can be costly and a hassle to switch out.
- Run small: Large and extra-large grass pads are available, but they’re usually only suitable for dogs up to 50 pounds, leaving most large dogs in the dust.
Real grass dog potties are great for pet parents needing a more eco-friendly, reusable option for canine bathroom breaks. Like any product, they have pros and cons to consider, but many owners report they’re an excellent addition to everyday life with a doggo.
Have you tried Fresh Patch of DoggieLawn with your dog? Another option? Share your experience in the comments. We’d love to hear.