Fake Turf Vs. Real Grass: The Pros and Cons of Accessible Grass Potty Patches for Dogs

fake turf header

People all over the world own dogs. Some are posh apartment pets, while others spend their days running around on farms.

The common denominator of all of these dogs?…They all have to use the bathroom!

If you live in a nice suburban area with a fenced-in backyard or a rural piece of land where your pup can roam, letting your dog out to go to the bathroom is a no brainer.

But, if you live on the 14th floor of an apartment complex, getting outside every few hours to let your pup relieve himself is more of a challenge. The good news is that companies now make grass potty patches that you can place on your patio so your pup can use the bathroom whenever they need it.

When it comes to these patches, you can find them made of fake turf or real grass.

Which is better to use?

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons starting with fake turf…

Pros and Cons for Fake Turf

Fake Turf Pros

Fake Turf Pro #1 – Fake Turf Never Dies

It’s obvious that fake turf will never die. Therefore you don’t have to continuously replace the turf if it ends up getting a little too much sun or you forget to water it.

Because it’s fake, your dog’s urine also won’t discolor or kill the grass.

Fake Turf Pro #2 – Fake Turf is Cost-Effective

If you’re diligent about cleaning your dog’s fake grass potty pad, it can last for a long time.

This does require time and effort and must be done on a weekly basis, if not more frequently.

Fake Turf Pro #3 – Fake Turf is Easy to Access

Fake turf patches for dogs can be found in just about any pet store.

If you need a quick solution to provide your pup with somewhere to use the bathroom, running out and buying fake turf isn’t difficult.

Fake Turf Cons

Fake Turf Con #1 – Fake Turf Needs To Be Cleaned

Fake turf is typically made out of plastic. And plastic won’t absorb your pup’s urine.

For this reason, fake turf needs to be cleaned frequently so it doesn’t smell. If it gets too messy, your dog might refuse to use it all together.

Fake Turf Con #2 – Fake Turf Isn’t Environmentally Friendly

Producing patches of fake grass for dogs to use isn’t very environmentally friendly. During production, a number of harmful CFCs are released into the environment.

While these grass patches are reusable, they will need to be replaced from time to time. This leads to even more waste.

Fake Turf Con #3 – Unnatural Scent

Fake turf is plastic, so of course, it’s not going to smell like normal grass.

Most dogs are drawn to the scent of fresh grass and associate that smell with where they are supposed to use the bathroom. If you are potty training your pup, fake grass that smells like other synthetic materials in your home might be confusing.

And now onto using real grass turf…

Pros and Cons of Real Grass

Real Grass Pros

Real Grass Pro #1 – Real Grass Potty Patches are Self-Cleaning

Real grass potty patches are able to clean themselves.

The grassroots absorb the urine and whatever doesn’t get absorbed ends up being filtered through the dirt. Of course, any solid waste will have to be scooped up.

Real Grass Pro #2 – Real Grass Naturally Attracts Your Dog

Have you ever noticed while out on a walk that your dog waits until they find the perfect patch of grass to do their business, instead of relieving themselves on the concrete or in the dirt?

There’s something about fresh grass that naturally attracts a dog and encourages them to do their business. So, if you choose to use real grass, you may have an easier time teaching your pup how to use the bathroom on your potty patch.

Real Grass Pro #3 – Real Grass is a Safe, Natural Option for your Pup

When you’re using real grass, you don’t have to worry about your dog using the bathroom on a product filled with chemicals and toxins.

A grass potty patch is the closest thing you can give your pup to a natural backyard.

Real Grass Cons

Real Grass Con #1 – Real Grass Must be Maintained

If you want your grass patch to last for a little while, you have to water it and keep it in an area that gets adequate sunlight.

Neglect your grass patch and it will die before your dog gets full use out of it.

Real Grass Con #2 – Regular Replacement of Real Grass is Costly

Real grass patches will have to be changed at least once a month, possibly more depending on how frequently your pup does his business on it.

Most grass patches cost about $30 each, so if you replaced yours every month it would cost around $360 per year to maintain your dog’s outdoor potty area.

Real Grass Con #3 – Real Grass Patches Are More Difficult to Find in Stores

Grass is a living thing. Therefore, many pet stores don’t keep it in stock on their store shelves!

If you want a grass patch, you will likely have to order it online. This means it could take days or weeks for your potty patch to arrive at your doorstep. Although there are now (believe it or not) companies that specialize in delivering regular pieces of lawn to your door such as Doggie Lawn.

So Which Option Should You Choose?

There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to selecting the type of potty patch that will work for you.

Both options have pros and cons. What’s important is that you provide your dog with a safe place for when nature calls.

If you are interested in trying out a real grass option, I recommend a service called Doggie Lawn.
(Only available in the United States.)

Doggie Lawn is a subscription service that sends environmentally-friendly patches of grass to your door on your own schedule.

Find out more about Doggie Lawn here!

Best of Luck!

Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

4 Responses

  1. I recently purchase a real grass patch. The problem I’m seeing is that my dog won’t go near the spot she went earlier. Is this going to be a problem? Will she stop using it because she’s already used it?

    1. Hi Jodi, it may help if you hose the grass pad down as it can be common for some dogs not to want to go in a spot where they have already toileted. All the Best, Doggy Dan

  2. My dogs are 3yrs old and I still don’t have them house broken…they use pee pads for the bathroom but they still occasionally use it wherever they want…Also my male dog marks everything…I need help!!! Lol

    1. Hi Nee Nee! When adult dogs are toileting inappropriately inside the cause is generally behaviour related, rather than the dog not knowing what the correct procedure is. Obviously there are some exceptions, for example the dog maybe new and getting used to their new environment. The best piece of advice I can give you to address the behaviour in the short-term is to supervise your dog, restrict their access to a smaller area of your home and be proactive in taking them out to toilet so as to reinforce the correct procedure. To really get to the bottom of the behaviour, and address it for the long term, you may like to take a look at my membership website TheOnlineDogTrainer.com where we do cover this behaviour…maybe take a quick look…its a $1USD trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

No More "Accidents" In Just 3 Days!

No More "Accidents" In Just 3 Days!

Get your Free Potty Training Made Easy video series and regular updates…


Is your dog the problem, or are you?

Start my Training Level Quiz... the answer will surprise you!

Recent Posts


Is your dog the problem, or are you?

Start my Training Level Quiz... the answer will surprise you!

Is your dog the problem, or are you?

Start my Training Level Quiz... the answer will surprise you!


7 Massive Mistakes Every Dog Owner Is Making

Have you tried just about everything, but you're still having problems with your dog? Discover how to fix the errors you're inadvertently making so you can finally have the dog of your dreams.

We will only send you awesome stuff!