Best Material For Outdoor Dog Potty Areas

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This is our review of the best material for outdoor dog potty areas.

Creating and outdoor dog potty area not only limits the area to clean up, but can help your dog maintain a routine and help keep your outdoor living space free of surprise messes. 

Our staff researched 5 different materials and looked at cleanliness, drainability, absorbancy, and safety. Overally, we selected pea gravel as our favorite choice for the best material for outdoor dog potty areas. 

Since every dog owner and outdoor space is different, let’s take a look at what fits your lifestyle. 

5 Reviews For Best Material For Outdoor Dog Potty Areas

Best in Show: Pea Gravel

Best Absorpantcy: Mulch

Best Durability: Artificial Turf

Best Indoor/Travel: Bark Potty and Grass Potty Tray

Honorable Mention: Sand

While natural grass is an option, there are many reasons why dog owners look for the benefits of other materials. Here’s a look at 5 of the best materials for outdoor dog potty areas and what you need to consider before choosing the one that fits your living situation. 

Pea Gravel

After hours of research, we selected pea gravel as the overall best material for outdoor dog potty areas. 

What We Liked

Pea gravel allows for good drainage and it’s easy to replace from light kicking or scooping material over time. The gravel is smooth enough to be well-tolerated by paws without getting caught between paw pads or fur. It’s also a budget-friendly option for a longer lasting material. 

Our Concerns

While pea gravel checks a lot of our boxes for the best material for outdoor dog potty areas, it’s worth pointing out that the gravel is light enough to spread if your dog kicks or digs. This could interfere with nearby landscaping or lawnmowers. 

Check It Out

Pea gravel comes in a variety of natural colors and many dog owners like the appealing look it can add to a yard. Products like Natural NC Rock are gathered from rivers and listed as safe from oily coatings, toxins, and polluting dye.

Always check the packaging to make sure the pea gravel is safe for pets and hasn’t been treated with chemicals or dyes. Give the gravel a good rinse to clean off any debris that may be in the package.


What We Liked

When it comes to absorbancy and appealing looks, mulch is a favorite for many dog owners. The absorbancy is also great at absorbing odors that can linger between cleanings. While it does need to be replaced every few years, it still remains a low-cost material for outdoor dog potty areas. 

Our Concerns

Not all mulch is safe for dogs, so you’ll need to do some research before making a purchase. Look for brands that are labeled as ‘pet safe’ and read about what kinds of materials or dyes it contains. If you think your dog will chew on or eat the mulch, you should consider other materials that will be safe for your furry friend. 

Check It Out

Users of Petspick Red Cedar Pet Bedding like the absorption, quality, and scent of this product. The manufacturer lists it as 100% pet-safe material and all-natural.

Depending on the size of your outdoor dog potty area, you may need to purchase more than one bag.

Artificial Turf

What We Liked

If you are looking for durability, artificial turf is a good material for outdoor dog potty areas. It doesn’t discolor with dog urine like natural grass and many dog owners like how easy it is to spray clean with a hose.

Our Concerns

Since it won’t drain like pea gravel will, owners will need to be in a good cleaning routine to prevent bacteria or odors from collecting on the turf. 

As the temperatures rise, so does the surface temperature of the turf. Monitoring the surface temperature and creating shade should be taken into consideration before selecting this material. 

In addition, the price of turf can vary depending on the quality and size you need. Goasis Lawn artificial grass turf comes in a variety of sizes and custom sizing is available. It also has built-in drainage holes.

Hygena Scoop grass also provides drainage holes and can be used outdoors or indoors if you are looking for something that is portable.

It may not drain as well as pea gravel, but it is a useful addition to any outdoor dog potty area. 


What We Liked

Sand makes the list for being easy to clean and inexpensive to replace and maintain. Many dogs like the feel of sand and having a low barrier or fence will help with the clean up. 

Our Concerns

While dogs may love the feel of sand, it might also become caught in paw pads and fur which could mean that you’ll find sand in your home as well. Some dog owners also note that rainy weather can wash away sand quite easily. This is less of a problem if your outdoor dog potty area is enclosed. 

As with any material, make sure it doesn’t end up in your dog’s stomach. Sand can be harmful and cause blockages if ingested. The American Kennel Club outlines the dangers of sand impaction in dogs. Visit your vet if you believe your dog has been eating sand.

Check It Out

When it comes to choosing sand for your outdoor dog potty area, it’s a good idea to read the label and make sure the product is safe for pets. Kid-safe play sand like Classic Sand and Play is the way to go for outdoor dog potty areas.

Using good quality sand will help keep dust and potentially harmful toxins away from your furry friends. 

Balcony/Indoor Pad

What We Liked

This is not your typical puppy pad! Dog owners are impressed by the ability of the to trap odors and the eco-friendly products available. This is a great option for dog owners living in homes where access to an outdoor area may be difficult or time-consuming. It’s also an option if you and your dog like to travel. 

Our Concerns

All dog potty areas may require some training and time to be successful, and >…. Is no exception. If your dog is used to going outside, it may take a while for your pup to get used to this new routine. If you are on a pet budget, replacing the pads is an added expense.

Check It Out

We reviewed two different styles of indoor/balcony dog potty areas and included them both for you to decide which features are the most valuable to you and your pup.

The Pick For Life Grass Potty Tray comes in two different sizes with washable pads and an easy-to-rinse tray making it a good choice for the environment. It is listed as an indoor and outdoor option, but some users suggest it’s best suited for balcony use to keep any lingering odors away. Some dog owners also noticed some minimal grass material shedding.

The Bark Potty offers dog owners high-absorption bark chips with a tray underneath to catch any leaks before they make a mess. It lasts up to a month and is available in two different sizes. Users like the low odor and cleanliness for indoor or outdoor use. However, if your pup likes to chew, you might need to keep a close eye on their behavior so it doesn’t end up in their mouth.

Guide To Choosing Material For Outdoor Dog Potty Areas

Before choosing the best material for outdoor dog potty areas, there are a few things to consider. 


Make sure you can set aside enough space for your dog to comfortably move around without stepping in their waste. The exact size depends on the size of the dog, but many dog owners prefer the area to be large enough to build a small fence or low wall with stones or bricks. 

This helps keep the space separate, especially if children will be around.


While you may want the outdoor dog potty area to be away from the home, you also want it close enough for easy access in unfavorable weather. If you live where it snows, you’ll need to consider the convenience of shoveling a path to the area. If it’s in full sun, you may want to think about ways to provide shade in the hot months. 

You will also want to keep the location away from any edible gardens. The soil and material for outdoor dog potty areas should be kept a distance from the soil used for growing fruits and veggies. Make sure to clear a path that is free of debris.

Our Final Thoughts

After filtering through a lot of pros and cons, we believe pea gravel comes out as the best overall choice when choosing a material for outdoor dog potty areas. 

All dogs and outdoor areas are different and we hope this review has provided valuable information to help you make an informed decision about what materials will be best for you. 

While much of the decision on the best material for you might rely on the size of your outdoor space and budget, we at Dog Training Boss want to present information that can help you make your dog-owning decisions clear. Safety and dog health should always be a top priority – make sure to ask your vet specific questions related to your canine companion.

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As a parent, dog owner, dog foster caregiver, and writer, I strive to create a loving home environment for all two and four-legged creatures. My background also includes research analysis and journalism. I work closely with animal behavior experts, trainers, and staff at Dog Training Boss to provide clear information that helps dog owners make the best decisions for their canine.

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