The Ultimate DIY Porch Potty Guide + Printable Plans
Abernathy (the first dog I had as an adult) lived with us in an apartment. He was SO stinking cute – a little ball of Shih Tzu fluff. But we had to take him out on a leash every time he needed to pee. There are no fenced yards in an apartment complex.
I REALLY wish I would have known how to build a DIY Porch Potty back then.
Scroll to the bottom for printable plans.
At the time I had NO idea you could basically “litter train a dog” – not with litter, but on an artificial turf. And it actually works if you stick with it. Which is a huge benefit to anyone living in an apartment or a house without a fenced backyard.
Why build a DIY Porch Potty?
Whether it’s convenient for us or not, our pups need facilities at all hours. And if you live up several flights of stairs (elevator or no) or don’t have a fenced backyard, sometimes the effort to get the dog outside is just too difficult or not fast enough to avoid accidents.
This is especially a problem for older dogs and puppies who have a harder time holding their pee and poo. They just can’t wait that long between the realization and the act of going.
If you’re in this situation a porch potty for dogs may be just what you need! They’re inexpensive and relatively easy to build. If you don’t want to build a DIY porch potty there are also commercial varieties available – usually called a Dog Potty Patch, which I’ll go into more towards the end of this article.
The biggest reason to build a porch potty for your dog is to make sure they have a place to go without going on your carpet or floor. After all, dogs can only hold it so long before peeing or pooping.
How long can a dog go without peeing?
This can vary from dog to dog, with puppies and smaller dogs usually having to go more frequently.
Most of the time, dogs will need to go pee about 3 to 5 times per day. If you make your dog hold their pee for too long they can be at higher risk for urinary tract infections or urinary stones.
How long can a dog go without pooping?
Dog pooping is another thing that varies from dog to dog depending on the size and age of the dog and also how their stomach is wired.
Dogs that are healthy will normally poop right after they eat, because eating triggers a pooping reflex. So to answer the question of “how often should a dog poop?” – it’s probably two times a day for most dogs that are on a twice daily feeding schedule.
Sometimes dogs will get constipated though. Here are the signs to look for to know if your dog is going enough.
How to build your DIY Porch Potty
Porch Potty Standard
- A 2×6 frame with 1×2 rails to hold the plywood/pan in place –
- A bottom-draining water heater drip pan.
- A piece of plywood cut to the same size as the pan, with a hole for the drain spout
- 1-1/4-in PVC Reinforced Braided Vinyl Tubing
- 1-1/4-in Diameter Insert Combination Elbow
- 1-1/4 inch Plastic Slip Joint Nut
- A small hose clamp to fit 1-1/4 inch tubing.
- expanded steel the size of the frame
- a steel crossbar the width of your base frame
- Metal Flashing
- A wood frame to outline the top of your finished potty.
- To build the base frame for your porch potty, you will need 4- pieces of 2 x 6 lumber each cut 30 inches long.
- Screw or nail the frame together following the layout in the image.
- To make the inner rails for the plywood and pan to rest on, you will need 4 pieces of 1×2 lumber cut 27 inches long. You will screw or nail these rails to the inside bottom of the frame with the 2 side rails at a slight slant to allow for liquids to flow toward the drain.
- The placement of the rails should allow enough room on top for the plywood and drain pan and allow enough room underneath for the plumbing.
- Cut the plywood to fit inside of the frame so that it will rest on the inside rails.
- Lay the drain pan on top of the plywood and using a pencil, mark the drain pan hole onto the plywood.
- Cut the drain hole in the plywood. Make sure the hole is big enough for the threaded end of the elbow to fit.
- Cut the pan sides to size and set the pan on top of the plywood with the drain holes aligned.
- Attach the plumbing elbow to the hose and add the clamp to the hose.
- Place the plumbing elbow (the side without the hose) through the hole in the plywood from the bottom.
- Secure it in place from the top of the plywood using the plastic slip joint nut.
- Add the plywood and drain pan to the frame making sure the drain hole in the drain pan lines up with the hole in the plywood.
- Cut a notch in the bottom side frame large enough for the hose to pass through.
- Make two notches on opposite sides of the top of the frame to lay your steel crossbar on.
- Cover the top of the wood frame with metal flashing overlapping the edge of the metal pan.
- Add the expanded steel to the top of the frame.
- Add the AstroTurf on top of the expanded steel.
- To finish off your porch potty, you will need to add a frame to the top of the potty.
- To build the frame, cut your boards to fit the outside dimensions of the potty box. 2x 4 will work well for this.
- If you are building a 30 inch potty, you will want to cut your boards about 33 inches long.
- Of course you will want to measure your finished box and adjust your measurement as no two pieces of wood are exact.
- After building the sides of your frame, cut pieces of 2×4 or 2×6 to create a kind of picture frame to fit on top of the sides you just built.
- The finished frame should slip over the top of your porch potty creating a safe edge for your dog and giving your project a finished look.
Porch Potty for Large Dogs
The instructions above work well for small and medium sized dogs. If you have a large dog, then increasing the dimensions can give him more room to go. It’s a pretty simple fix if you’re handy.
How to clean your DIY Porch Potty
You’ll need to clean your porch potty every day if you don’t want it to smell up everything. Pick up and dispose of any poo right away – flushing it down the toilet can work very well.
Then in the evening before bed rinse out the grass and drip pan with a hose or pitcher of water (that’s why it has drainage), and twice a week wash it with mild dish detergent.
It’s pretty simple and can be much easier than taking your dog for long walks late at night.
BTW… If you’re having trouble potty training your dog (and boy do I know that pain), make sure you grab my Dog Psychology 101 guide – it’s free, and as far as I’m concerned Dog Psychology is THE way to fix almost any behavior problem with your dog. Period.
Hope you have fun building this! Send me pictures when you’re done and I’ll feature them on the site.