The Potty Patch is one of many devices designed to make it possible for a dog to do its business indoors. The idea is that it can be useful for housetraining a puppy, or for owners who are away from home all day or live in a high-rise. The commercials also contend that some dogs hate to go outdoors in the rain or snow.
The Potty Patch has three layers: a top layer of artificial turf that's supposed to attract a dog as if it were grass, a screen that keeps the turf in place in the middle, and a tray that holds about a gallon of liquid at the bottom. The Potty Patch comes in two sizes: 17 inches by 27 inches for dogs under 15 pounds (*Est. $40) and a larger 27-by-34-inch size (*Est. $80) for larger dogs. Customers who order from the product's website can get a free upgrade to a deluxe version which uses anti-microbial, odor-resistant turf.
We found very few positive reviews of the Potty Patch. Most dog owners report that their dogs simply ignored it, or tried to use it but found that the turf slid around or made too much noise. If a dog does use the Potty Patch, the tray is odorous and hard to empty, report owners.
If you do want to try the Potty Patch, many users posting comments online suggest buying from a known retailer rather than from the product's website. We found many complaints about backorders, unauthorized charges and poor customer service from PottyPatch.com.
Two TV reviews demonstrate how difficult it can be to persuade dogs to use the Potty Patch. The clip from WOIO (Cleveland) tops our list because the Potty Patch is tested with dogs of different ages and sizes. The test at WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.) is also convincing, since the owner (and his dog) tries the Potty Patch for a full week. A detailed review at the blog She Scribes describes a dog owner's efforts to persuade her dog to use it. We also found useful owner-written reviews and ratings at Petco.com and Amazon.com. ConsumerReports.org doesn't test the Potty Patch, but does comment on its design. More customer service complaints can be found on the blog As Seen On TV Fan and at Doggies.com, where other indoor options are described.
1. WOIO (Cleveland)
This TV reporter puts Potty Patch to the test with two large 9-month-old puppies; both refused to do anything but jump over or play with the Potty Patch. Then, to be sure the size of the Potty Patch wasn't an issue, reporter Danielle Serino tests the Potty Patch with a smaller 9.5-pound puppy. This puppy, too, prefers an ordinary floor to the Potty Patch. Serino concludes that the Potty Patch "is a bit of a pooper."
Review: Does It Work: Potty Patch, Danielle Serino, July 21, 2009
2. WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.)
This TV clip shows parts of a weeklong test of the Potty Patch by a four-year-old Italian greyhound that basically ignores it. The accompanying article notes that other dogs might use it.
Review: Product Test: Potty Patch, Mary Friona, Jan. 25, 2010
3. She Scribes
This long, detailed review of the Potty Patch describes the blogger's efforts to get her dog to use it. She concludes that though it might work for a puppy being housetrained, it didn't work for her dog at all. Her cats use it for scratching.
Review: Potty Patch -- Can You Teach a Not-so-old Dog New Tricks?, Kimberly, Jan. 10, 2010
A dozen or so owners give the Potty Patch mixed reviews. Some owners of puppies or very small dogs are satisfied with it, but quite a few owners complain that the turf mat is noisy and slides around, or slips off the tray entirely.
Review: Potty Patch -- As Seen on TV, Contributors to Petco.com
The handful of owners reviewing the Potty Patch here give it a thumbs-down; none of them were able to use it with their dogs. Either the dogs refused to use it (often because the "grass" slides around on the tray), or they did -- and a strong odor of urine annoyed the owner.
Review: Potty Patch (Small Green), Contributors to Amazon.com
Usually even a short review by ConsumerReports.org tops our list of sources, but in this case, no testing is reported. Just from observing the design, the author warns that the Potty Patch is likely to spill.
Review: The Potty Patch Seems Well Suited to Super Bowl Couch Potatoes, Steven H. Saltzman, Feb. 1, 2010
7. As Seen On TV Fan
At the time of our report, two people warn of dubious practices by an online retailer of the Potty Patch.
Review: Potty Patch, Contributors to As Seen On TV Fan
Quite a few people weigh in with complaints and concerns about buying the Potty Patch from the product's website rather than from an established retailer. Another article at this site describes 10 alternatives to the Potty Patch, but without testing or ranking them.
Review: Considering Buying a Potty Patch for your Dog? Read this First!, Contributors to Doggies.com