A DIY porch potty with drain can be a great solution for Puppy owners who either live in an apartment or want their dog to be able to use the toilet on an upstairs balcony.
We have trained our Labradoodle puppy Max to do his business on a portable fake grass patch. I even installed a doggy door on our second story balcony so he can use the bathroom whenever he feels the urge.
The plastic grass and trays are great, but are not perfect.
You have manually wash the plastic trays and empty the urine drip tray daily
If the Puppy does a poop on the fake grass – he sometimes would run out of space and some would go off the side. This got messy!
Our ideal potty needed to have
- Much larger potty area
- Self draining solution that we can just hose down
- Something durable
- The option to replace the plastic/turf if it became damaged
I looked at some of the commercially available porch potty options. Some looked great! But most were either quite small and the best ones were really *really* expensive.
My solution? I drew up some quick plans and headed down to the hardware store!
Over a weekend I made this self-draining doggy toilet. It’s pretty luxurious and over the top for a miniature Labradoodle – but our puppy Max LOVES it!
See below the materials list, the step-by-step DIY instructions, and a video showing the process of how we made the balcony porch potty for our puppy!
Video of the DIY Porch Potty With Drain Build
Check out the whole process of our DIY pet potty build. You can see Max testing it at the end!
There is so much space for a Miniature Labradoodle, and even a standard size Goldendoodle or Bernedoodle would have no issues with such a large space
DIY Porch Potty With Drain Materials List
- Pine of adequate width to form the four walls of the potty
- It needs to be of adequate width (which will be the height) to give the PVC plastic board enough slope to drain properly
- We used 1.2 metre and 950mm as this allowed the perfect space for our 1200×900 PVC board
- Stain to colour and protect the wood (I used a durable oil based varnish)
- Three wooden 950mm battens to support the steel mesh
- PVC sheet (1200×900)
- Steel lattice (can use stronger fencing lattice) also 1200×900
- Pond liner (any plastic is OK but pond liner is very tough)
- A soft shower liner is fine – even thicker concrete lining plastic is ok.
- Spare wood to support the PVC sheet (does not need to be stained or good quality)
- Cable Ties
- Astro Turf/Fake Grass
- Timber screws
- Nails (or a nail gun)
- Wood strength staples
- Pipe (We used 10 metres of 25mm diameter)
- Matching L shaped pipe
- A metal pipe fastener (the type that can be tightened or released with a screwdriver)
- Some Silicone to seal the drain pipe
- A special ornament to give the puppy (male) something to aim at while peeing (we use a red gnome!)
Tools that would make life easier
- A nail gun
- A circular saw
- An impact drill
You can get by with simpler tools but it will take longer.
Step by Step guide to a DIY Porch Potty With Drain
Step One: Figure out the plans and dimensions
Step Two: Stain and Varnish the exposed wood
Step Three: Assemble the rectangle base
Step Four: Mark the draining exit spot and cut it in
Step Five: Cut in spaces for the support beams
Step Six: Setup the Plumbing and Drainage
Step Seven: Set up the angled PVC plastic sheet
Step Eight: Attach the plastic sheeting
Step Nine: Trim and Neaten the sheeting
Step Ten: Attach the support beams
Step Eleven: Get the grass ready and attach to the steel lattice
Step Twelve: Final touches!
Benefits of Porch or Balcony Potty
- The puppy can use the toilet without you being around
- Installing a doggy door is easy as long as the balcony or porch is secure
- Super small puppies (like the super cute teacup Goldendoodle!) have small bladders and find it hard to hold on
- Eliminates early morning or late night barking – and also eliminates one potential cause of problem barking
Tips for Porch Potty Training
- Like any potty training, start by giving the area a smell
- This means collecting some of your dogs urine and wiping it onto the fake grass where you want your puppy to pee
- Only use positive reinforcement
- If you have a toilet command, use if even when at the porch potty – and have treats ready for an attempt to pee
- If the puppy does pee near, but not on, the porch potty, use an enzymatic urine cleaner to remove the smell completely
- Just wiping the pee is not enough, the dog will still smell the remnants and pee there again
- Use a urine cleaner to wipe the smells completely
DIY Porch Potty FAQ
- Could you use real grass with this build?
- If you used real grass with this build it would need to be replaced very regularly
- In most climates I see limited benefit to real grass with this kind of build
- Plus the simple and effective self draining could become clogged or effected by the dirt or sod
- Could this DIY porch potty clean itself?
- Nothing is going to clean away poops, but you absolutely could use a tap timer and a sprinkler to automate the cleaning of this build!
- You could mount a sprinkler inside, or it would also be easy to attach pop up sprinklers to the build.
- I wanted the fake grass to be easily replaceable though, so ended up not using the tap timers we have to rig a system.
- What size dogs would this work for?
- If you follow the build here- you end up with a very large porch potty. It would be good for all standard and even large dogs. Giant dogs like a full size Bernedoodle might have space issues still however.